Breaking News

Making progress in community partnerships

ColumnHead-Education-SilasWhiteLast week the Sunshine Coast Board of Education and Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) had our most positive and promising joint meeting in well over a decade, following up on probably the most successful intergovernmental meeting (including the other local governments, too) in recent memory.

In general, the best explanation for this collaborative atmosphere is a synchronicity of priorities, concerns and strategies. For one, both the Board of Education and SCRD have strategic plan objectives to build better relationships with one another, which is a good start! Beyond that, we’re both specifically interested in rebuilding the “joint use” function, which essentially refers to the two organizations working together to maximize the use of our public facilities, sites and services for both community and school use.

The SCRD has recently released a Parks and Recreation Master Plan, available on its website, that includes a recommendation to form a joint use task force that will “develop strategies that will lead to a better sharing of resources, identification of new sources of funding, and more community use of schools and community facilities for the maximum benefit of the residents of the Sunshine Coast.” Our Board voiced our support for such a direction during the development of the Plan, and now we’re keen to work with the SCRD to implement it.

We have an impressive legacy of joint use on the Sunshine Coast, including such projects as the Pender Harbour Pool and the Roberts Creek Gymnasium/Community Use Room (which is now open to public bookings, with no custodial fees, on Saturdays). However with the exception of some direct rural-area partnerships such as building the Chatelech ball field and enhancing the Halfmoon Bay Elementary soccer field, there has been no official joint use collaborations happening on the Sunshine Coast for about a decade.

To get joint use going again, our next step is to modernize the Master Joint Use Agreement between the two of us, which has had a few different incarnations since 1977, but in recent years has fallen out of use and relevance. Staff members of SD46 and the SCRD have been hard at work studying agreements from other communities and identifying best practices, local needs and a combined inventory of our local assets. We look forward to meeting again in the new year to start constructing a new Agreement.

Another promising community partnership I witnessed last week was a climate change lecture by Dr. Patrick Walden to Capilano University’s Eldercollege educational community (55 and older) and Chatelech Secondary students at the Chatelech Theatre. While we could’ve had far more students at this event, the model is incredibly promising to eventually complement classroom learning with expert community lecturers, and moreover, with interactive, intergenerational co-learning opportunities with the Eldercollege community. Our Board looks forward to building upon the excellent relationships we currently enjoy with the SCRD and Capilano University.

Contact: / 604-886-8668 / SD#46 on Twitter: @SSCSchools

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll To Top