Charge laid in Hornby Island school fire

One person has been charged with arson in relation to a fire at the Hornby Island Community School.

According to Const. Monika Terragni, media relations spokesperson at the Comox Valley RCMP, a 25-year-old male was charged in relation to the incident on Aug. 26, which destroyed a large part of the school. The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, made his first court appearance Tuesday, Sept. 4 in Courtenay.

The accused had a judicial interim release (bail) hearing at Courtenay provincial court Tuesday afternoon and was granted a release. Last week, Comox Valley RCMP confirmed the fire was suspicious in nature and they identified a person of interest in connection.

School District 71 Superintendent Dean Lindquist said he was very pleased that police were able to apprehend a suspect.

“The RCMP were very quick with their response … and we appreciate the response of all first responders. We’ve had great support working with all the people on Hornby Island.”

He added in a written statement the district’s priority has been and will continue to be on taking care of their students and supporting the families and the community.

“Our first order of business was to find a suitable short-term location immediately so that students would not be delayed in starting their school year (Tuesday).”

A short-term solution for the students was reached last week.

“On Aug. 30th, we met on Hornby Island with parents and members of the community to discuss our immediate plan to deliver education programs at Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre and share with the public the options we are developing for the short and long term, thereafter.

“In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue our contingency planning to ensure the continuity of educational programs for students on Hornby Island. As the plan develops and decisions are made, we will notify parents/guardians and the community immediately, sharing details of the next steps.”

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