SUNDRE – The municipality has entered into joint use and planning as well as leasing agreements with Chinook’s Edge School Division.
Providing to council a background presentation during the regular May 8 meeting, Benazir Thaha Valencia, the municipality’s senior manager of planning and development, said joint use and planning agreements between municipalities and school boards serving their areas are a mandatory requirement that in 2017 was introduced in the most recent update of the province’s Municipal Government Act (MGA). The provincially mandated agreements must be in place by 2025.
Valencia told council the joint use and planning agreement pertains to facilities and amenities at River Valley and Sundre High schools.
Upon further conversations with the school division, she added it was also decided to enter into a separate leasing agreement for the use of the ball diamonds and road access for special events and festivals that occur throughout the year.
The agreements meet the MGA’s requirements and address the shared use as well as access to the school facilities, she said, adding administration recommended moving forward with officially approving the documents.
Speaking in favour of approving the joint use and planning agreement, Coun. Chris Vardas expressed gratitude for administration’s efforts and “for working so hard to make this become a reality for the rodeo grounds.”
Mayor Richard Warnock asked about the term’s timeline.
The agreement would come into effect June 1, 2023 for a two-year term that ends June 1, 2025 with an option to renew for another two years, said Linda Nelson, chief administrative officer.
After carrying a motion approving the joint use and planning agreement, council proceeded to also green light the lease agreement.
Speaking in favour of the motion, Coun. Paul Isaac said the agreement is a positive development that should help remedy the challenging situation that arose for the Sundre Rodeo and Race Association as well as Sundre Minor Ball when the gravel road behind Sundre High School was barricaded.
“This will really alleviate a lot of pressure at that bottle neck,” said Isaac.
Council proceeded to a carry a motion approving the lease agreement with the school division.
Responding to follow-up questions sent by email, Valencia confirmed the barricaded back alley access will be reopened, but only for events including the Sundre Pro Rodeo as well as potentially fireworks displays.
She added the agreement was made possible courtesy of a coordinated effort with Shawn Russell, the school division's associate superintendent.