As reported in the Bulletin last week, the City of Kimberley is looking at terminating, or at least updating, the Joint Use Agreement with School District No. 6, which allows reciprocal use of the other’s facilities.
At the last Council meeting on February 27, it was decided to defer a decision on a recommendation to cancel the agreement until more information could be gathered. A number of people did attend that Council meeting concerned that the agreement would be cancelled. The concern was that kids would lose their swimming and skating programs through the schools if ice/pool time had to be paid. There was also concern that organizations within Kimberley who used school gyms for their activities may have to pay for their use if no agreement was in place.
District 6 Superintendent Paul Carriere did say that the Board Secretary Treasurer and Director of Operations met with representatives of the City a few weeks ago to talk about the agreement, but that the Board was waiting for further information.
Long time Kimberley resident Struan Robertson says that it may interest people to know a little more of the background on the City School Board agreement.
He offers his recollection of events during the 1960s, when the agreement was first signed.
This is not, he said, a comment on the current discussion, just some background.
“The CM&S (Cominco/Sullivan Mine) had built recreation centres to provide leisure time meeting and recreation places for employees. Initially, the company also hired staff for these centres.
“Eventually the Kimberley Amateur Athletic Association (KAAA) was formed to manage the last of these, McDougall Hall on Townsite and to distribute ‘Chest’ grants to local sports organizations. Many locals will remember Herb Stanton as the ongoing boxing, badminton and gymnastics instructor.
“In the mid 60’s the CM&S handed over McDougall Hall to the City and the KAAA was converted to the city Recreation Commission.
“In 1968 the villages of Chapman Camp and Marysville amalgamated with Kimberley to form the current City of Kimberley.
“Recreation clubs and activities were gradually being given space in the school gymnasiums but this was dependent on the cooperation of school principals and the janitorial staff. In some instances it worked very well, but in others there was little cooperation, and locked doors.
“The Recreation Commission now represented a larger area and renewed efforts were being made to utilize all school facilities. As recreation director, I was working with recreation commission chair Jack Reid and members Bert Banks and Ron Brown, and came up with a basic agreement which allowed the recreation director to program school facilities for local groups after 5 p.m. and for the school programs to use city facilities before 5 p.m., free of charge. The rationale at the time was that the same taxpayer had paid for these facilities therefore a method must be found to use them to the fullest.
“The city had been uncomfortable with the deteriorating condition of McDougall hall and the heating system required major repairs. There were also safety and insurance concerns. Finally a petition was received from local residents asking for the hall to be closed and removed. The demolition happened at the end of 1969.”
And it was in 1969 that the agreement Robertson described above came into being.
“This was the first agreement of its kind in British Columbia and was quickly copied, first by Fernie then by many other BC municipalities,” he said.
The document itself was an almost exact replica of one which Robertson found existed in City of Edmonton. The first rough draft had the word Edmonton scored out and the word Kimberley penciled in.