Joint use deal between North Cowichan and school district saving tax dollars

The Crofton pool is one of the facilities SD79 can use free of charge under a joint use agreement. -
The Crofton pool is one of the facilities SD79 can use free of charge under a joint use agreement.
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Share and be fiscally aware.

That’s the idea behind a renewed municipal-school board deal involving co-operative use of buildings, fields and gear.

“It’s very much a co-operative effort,” North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said of the cost-neutral, facilities’ use agreement with Cowichan’s board of education.

“We’ve moved their (school) fields to a higher level of development, then we have out-of-school time use of them for say, baseball.”

Ernie Mansueti, North Cowichan’s parks and recreation boss, said the five-year deal — worth thousands in non-duplicated taxpayer services — is likely in its fourth renewal.

“Renewal with the school district is something we’ve done for about 15 years.

“It means the school district gets to free ice at Fuller Lake Arena. When we have the Crofton outdoor pool available, (school board) rent it for a day, and get to use the sports fields at Crofton, and some equipment we have, at no cost.”

Taxpayers are the big winners, Mansueti explained.

“We get use of the schools’ classrooms, gyms, playing fields if we need them, utility space, and their equipment, so we get to run programs right out of Chemainus elementary, and Chemainus secondary, and Crofton Elementary School.”

Those programs bridge babysitting and craft courses, to pre-school time, youth drop-in classes, and drop-in floor hockey.

“It’s a real win-win situation. It works great because those schools are our community centres in Chemainus and Crofton.

“We generally use them after school and in the evenings. That’s basically what the joint-use agreement is,” he said.

“It’s been done in other communities as well, with other municipalities and school districts.

“We’re using each other’s assets to our advantage and no money changes hands, so it’s great for our community.”

The school board’s long-awaited approval for using the old Chemainus elementary school field as a skate park is almost done, noted Lefebure.

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