By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
The County of Paintearth has entered into a new recreation funding agreement with the two large urban municipalities within its borders.
A committee made up of members from the Town of Castor, the Town of Coronation, and the County of Paintearth have been working over the last several months to hammer out an agreement beneficial to all parties, and it was presented to county council during their Oct. 5 meeting for ratification.
“I’d like to thank council for inviting us here today for inviting us here today to review this document,” said Castor Mayor Richard Elhard, appearing before county council as a delegation.
“I don’t mind (this document) at all … I think it gives the county some idea of what our losses are.”
The recreation facilities in the communities of Castor and Coronation — large parts of the communities — run at annual losses. Until this agreement, the county would fund around $100,000 towards recreation in each of the communities.
Due to the large number of county residents who use the town facilities, the urban communities requested the opportunity to revisit the arrangement, and the agreement presented is what they came up with.
“The agreement steps away from specific dollar figures,” said County of Paintearth Chief Administrative Officer Michael Simpson.
“We will be funding the facility deficits fifty-fifty. Councillors recognize the value of recreation. I think we struck a balance without going too deep into the operations of the urbans.”
The approximate cost to the County of Paintearth for the new arrangement will be about $150,000 to each community, however there is no cap on that number.
“The cap is (the urbans’) ability to provide services,” said Simpson.
There had been no change to the previous recreation agreement since 2011, and while the new agreement has no expiry on it, there are mechanisms built into it which allow either side to request changes or pull out of the agreement with sufficient notice.
“I appreciate all the municipalities working together on this,” said Deputy Reeve Doreen Blumhagen.
Instead of one over-arching agreement between the two urbans and the County, each urban has its own agreement tailored to the specifics of the community, with the overall framework remaining consistent between the two.