Friday, October 9, 2009

Picturing joint use in Brantford

It's been mentioned several times in this space that some school boards and municipalities in Ontario already get it. They're already doing a great job of co-operating and planning together, taking each others' needs into account when considering closure, consolidation, expansion and new construction.
I've reviewed this in the past in my own reporting, when I wrote about why our local boards treat joint facilities like an anathema. In the piece I looked at the joint facility in Brantford where the Grand Erie and Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic district school boards operate Branlyn Community School and Notre Dame School in the city's north end. The facility also includes a City of Brantford's Branlyn Recreation Centre.
I forget when it opens(ed), but the two boards recently co-operated again on building a joint facility in another section of Brantford.
The Brantford Expositor's Michael-Allen Marion had this published Friday showing the public school board and city are again at the same table, speaking about how they can work together to maximize use of a public space.
Before them was a concept plan to build a new high school and outdoor sports complex in the Shellard Lane area over the next decade.
According to the plan, they would locate the school and system of sports fields on a 172- acre patch of city-owned land on the north side of Shellard Lane just west of Conklin Road.
They all agreed they had interests in common. The city wants to move right way to build two baseball diamonds and a football field to replace what will be lost in the construction of the new four-pad arena at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.
Coun. Mark Littell, the task force chairman, is anxious to see them built in the growing southwest, a section of his ward that is devoid of sports and recreational services.
"I recognize an opportunity for the city to meet the needs of the football community, of relocating the baseball diamonds and bring recreational complexes to the southwest," he said in an interview.
Jamie Gunn, superintendent of business for the Grand Erie District School Board, told the gathering a new high school is on the board's five-to 10-year planning horizon and is committed to building on that site.
There you go. No need for a draft policy. No ministry direction. Just a board(s) and a municipality that get along and realize pooling their resources provides the greatest benefits.
Other boards and municipalities out there -- particularly whose relationship is not as productive as this one -- take note.


Anonymous said...

Our boards and municipalities have been working well together for years ER. Out of necessity and to share resources. Again, no government direction or bureaucratic oversight needed. We just did it.

I can recall as a member of my school council attending town council meetings on at least 4 occasions about a new partnership or idea we had. It always worked out well.

When you lack facilities you learn to share and make do for the common good of students and community.