Winkler, MB – The City of Winkler and Garden Valley School Division today announced the completion of a formal Joint Facility Use Agreement. Although the two entities have worked together for many years sharing each others' facilities, the relationship has now been formalized with an official agreement.
Examples of the facility exchange include the school division using the swimming pool or arena; conversely the city runs youth and adult programs in the school gymnasiums. [See copy of agreement document]
In 2004 the Manitoba government created a task force to address health concerns of Manitobans. In January 2011, a recommendation was made for school divisions and local governments to develop facility use agreements. This document comes as a result of that mandate.
Mayor of Winkler Martin Harder says this is nothing new for the school division and the recreation department. "They have had a positive working relationship up to now in trying to maximize the benefit of sharing facilities with the community, and we look forward to continuing with that as we go forward." Mayor Harder also noted that Winkler has demonstrated that the city is "ahead of the curve" when it comes to these kinds of partnerships.
Sam Berg is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Garden Valley School Division. He sees many benefits of the partnership. "The agreement articulates how we'll share facilities to keep the costs reasonable for users. When the facility rental policy is complete, details including rental fees and application forms will make the process easier than ever. " Berg noted that this agreement "formalizes the access that the community will have" and is a win for the community that is already paying for facilities through their taxes.
Hank Hildebrand, Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Winkler commented that numerous recreation programs are being run through GVSD schools. Examples include adult volleyball and basketball, spring camps and others. Hildebrand noted that schools have also continually benefitted greatly by having access to facilitities such as skating rinks, ball diamonds, tennis courts and the aquatic centre, to name a few.
GVSD Superintendent, Vern Reimer, believes that this agreement will help the community meet several important goals, including making facilities more accessible and encouraging citizens to be active.
Both the city and the school division will post the information, application forms and policy on their websites in the coming weeks. [see GVSD's information page on School Rentals and Community Use of Schools policy.
For interviews, please contact:
Martin Harder (204) 325-9524 ; Sam Berg (204) 325-6350