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Agreement includes future school site processes in county

Joint use of municipal facilities and school board facilities is an important tool in providing educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for residents

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has approved a new joint use and planning agreement with Chinook’s Edge School Division (CESD).

The approval came by way of motion at a recent regularly scheduled council meeting.

The agreement is mandated under a intermunicipal collaboration framework requirement in the provincial Municipal Government Act and needed to be in place before June 2023.

“Over the course of the last year or so we have been exchanging information with Chinook’s Edge,” chief administrative officer Jeff Holmes told council. “We have gone through a couple versions of the agreement and the administration at Chinook’s Edge have indicated that they have the authority to enter into an agreement whenever we get approval from our council to do the same.”

The agreement states: “The joint use of municipal facilities and school board facilities is an important tool in providing educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for residents in a manner that reduces or eliminates the need to duplicate facilities thereby making the most effective use of the limited economic resources of the municipality and school board.” 

Although the school division is likely to focus future school sites in urban areas, there is a section in new agreement regarding possible future sites in the rural county area. 

“We do have some language in our current municipal development plan, in Section 10.3.4, and they (CESD) said they were in agreement to have that wording go into this agreement on how future school sites might be identified,” he said.

Specifically regarding the acquisition and allocation of future school sites in the county, the agreement includes the following:

• The board shall communicate their need to construct a new school that is to be located within the municipality or intended to serve residents of the municipality, to the municipality as early as possible. 

• The decision of where and when to propose construction of a new school and the identification of the area to be served by that school shall be at the sole discretion of the respective board. 

• Where construction of a school that will serve two or more municipalities is proposed, the board shall notify all of the involved municipalities to enable early consultation on the availability and acquisition of a site. 

• The municipality may collect money-in-lieu of land dedication at time of subdivision in accordance with the policies of the municipality. All money-in-lieu of land dedication shall be paid to the municipality. All money-in-lieu of land dedication shall be allocated as allowed under the Municipal Government Act at the sole discretion of the municipality. 

• In the event that a school site is required prior to a planned site being created through the subdivision process, the municipality shall approach the owner of the land containing the planned school site about providing the site earlier than originally expected through a pre-dedication process. 

The agreement includes the requirement of a governing committee consisting of council members and school board members and administrators. The roles of the committee should be to “provide recommendations to the council regarding reviews of the agreement and proposed amendments to the agreement from time to time; and resolution of any issues or matters of disagreement that arise.”

Asked by Coun. Peggy Johnson whether there was any “down side” for the county going forward with the agreement, Holmes said, “None that I see. It is a requirement that we have to have something in place. I think this agreement accurately reflects our relationship with the school board, which is basically if the need comes along we will discuss it and make a decision at a later date. 

“I believe this agreement reflects what the relationship between the rural municipality and the school board will be.”

Council approved a motion authorizing administration to enter into the joint use and planning agreement with CESD. The complete agreement is available for viewing on the county’s website.

Dan Singleton

About the Author: Dan Singleton

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