By Mike Gregory
The Town of Ladysmith has adopted a partnership with the school board in an effort to promote more collaboration between the two entities.
“There’s nothing binding in there (the agreement) but I think it does formalize our relationship and set out a couple of our objectives…,” said Mayor Aaron Stone.
Town and Nanaimo-Ladysmith School Board officials met behind closed doors earlier in October to discuss some of the details.
The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 23 where it’s expected the same agreement will be on the agenda.
According to a staff report presented at a recent town council meeting, it was the school district that approached Ladysmith with an agreement “designed to open up communication to collaboratively work on issues of mutual interest. The objective includes both short- and long-term needs for the community relating to education.”
A key component of the agreement is to establish a working committee comprised of staff from both the town and board.
The committee will meet twice a year, or as required.
Coun. Steve Arnett said he thought it was important to make sure those meetings take place.
“We tend to get so busy on these things and we say them in spirit but I think particularly around this issue and the future of our town and education in general that we need not only acknowledge the spirit but we need to make it work,” he said.
“I know for a fact that there are a number of people in the community that would be looking to us to be able to get their voices heard around the table on a number of these issues.”
The duties and responsibilities of the staff working committee include: providing advice to council and the board, implementing decisions of the council and board for the undertaking of specific projects and initiatives, establishing technical committees or working groups and identifying and recommending financial and other resources required to undertake projects of mutual benefit.
Mayor Aaron Stone also stressed that he hopes more discussion will take place before the end of the year.
“I think that the other thing to note in favour of these kinds of agreements is that community planning really needs to take into account asset management of these tools that we have,” he said.
“Having facilities dark in the evenings and all summer while we struggle to find community programming space doesn’t make sense.”
Either side is able to terminate the agreement by providing 60 days notice.
“I think long term collaborative planning exercises definitely do make sense and it’s not a downloading thing it’s a collaboration thing.”