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Innisfail approves facilities deal with Catholic school board

Agreement already signed with Chinook’s Edge School Division
A recent basketball practice at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Catholic School. Innisfail town council has just approved a Joint Use and Planning Agreement with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) that now gives the community access to Catholic school facilities. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – Town council has approved a staff recommendation to enter into a Joint Use and Planning Agreement with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) that will see shared use and access of their facilities.

The approved agreement by town council on Feb. 27 is expected to be ratified by the board of RDCRS.

“They still have to approve it as well, yes. The Catholic school board will adopt it at one of their meetings in the upcoming month,” said Gordon Shaw, community development services manager for the Town of Innisfail.

The Albertan reached out to RDCRS for additional comment but a reply was not immediately received.

Shaw said the agreement is similar to the one with the Chinook’s Edge School Division that was confirmed last year.

“Municipalities are obligated to have an agreement with each school division by the end of June of this year,” Shaw told town council at its regular meeting on Feb. 27. “And by doing this, we will have completed our obligation to have those agreements in place.”

In Shaw’s report to town council he noted the provincial Municipal Government Act and the Education Act require a municipality and any school board operating within the boundaries of the municipality to have a Joint Use and Planning Agreement.

Shaw told council that administration has been working on the agreement with RDCRS since 2022.

He said the agreement outlines what facilities will be be shared between the two organizations and their administrative responsibilities; specifically their use.

Shaw said this includes playing fields for both jurisdictions and all matters relating to their maintenance, payment of fees and other associated liabilities.

The municipal facilities impacted, as outlined by Shaw for the new agreement, include the Innisfail Aquatic Centre, Innisfail Twin Arena, Innisfail Library/Learning Centre, the local sports fields and ball diamonds, tennis courts, parks, outdoor skating rinks, horseshoe pits and Innisfail Skatepark.

The RDCRS facilities impacted are the two gymnasiums at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Catholic School.

The agreement also lays out the process for funding for shared facilities and services, the planning and acquisition of new or expanded school sites, the disposal of school sites, how the municipality and school board will work collaboratively and the process for resolving disputes.

Shaw’s report to council said the agreement also outlines the creation of a governing committee. This will consist of two town council members, the town’s chief administrative officer, two school board trustees and the superintendent.

He said the committee will meet on an “as needed basis.”

Johnnie Bachusky

About the Author: Johnnie Bachusky

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