The city is forging a new educational partnership with Selkirk College.
After the regional college approached the city’s recreational department earlier this year with the seeds of the new partnership, council gave its blessing and financial impetus to the notion.
On Monday night council waived the $700 in associated fees for rental of the Rossland Arena lounge, to encourage the development of an “education partnership” with Selkirk College.
The move to welcome Selkirk will open a door to add substance to what Rossland could potentially offer, said councilor Jody Blomme, and that ultimately could be worth more than the cost of the rental fee.
She saw intrinsic value in the city becoming an extra satellite to the college, already represented in Nelson, Grand Forks, Trail and Nakusp.
“It could potentially bring in more money and value to the community,” she said. “We will ultimately get more money and opportunity if we say yes to it.”
But the city was trying to make its facilities pay for themselves, said councilor Kathy Moore, and the decision was contrary to that sentiment.
“And here is an enterprise that brings in money and, as far as I can tell, we don’t get any of it,” she said. “I’m not sure what the benefit for us is in the long term.”
Moore said the city needed to charge something so as to avoid establishing the precedence that there was no such thing as a free lunch from the City of Rossland.
“I think we have some obligation to get a return on our facilities,” she said.
Councilor Jill Spearn wondered if Selkirk received free facilities in the other communities it operated in.
“When it comes to cleaning and rental that $700 would cover it,” deputy chief administrative officer Tracey Butler explained. “But there is always a loss when the city runs a recreational program.
Where the conundrum existed, she added, was that when Selkirk offered courses in other centres, they owned buildings in those places.
“So they don’t have to add that rental cost to their programs,” she said.
In the Official Community Plan for Rossland, under Education Policies, it indicates:
“Wherever possible enable the provision of a broad range of educational opportunities, including public school education, post-secondary education, early childhood education, continuing education and specialized and alternative education programs within Rossland”.
“Consider partnering with higher education institutions to provide post-secondary education opportunities in Rossland.”
Selkirk College would like a greater presence in the smaller communities within their catchment area and as a result approached the city’s recreation department to assist with program delivery in Rossland.
“Selkirk College is a much larger organization and already has many of the programs and Instructors in place that Rossland Recreation does not,” read a city staff report.
“It is a good fit for Selkirk College to bring their programs into our community to ensure that we have a wide range of courses, including adult education courses that are difficult for us to offer.”
The development of the partnership was within the current focus of the Sustainability Commission’s interest to promote lifelong learning in Rossland, including adult, college and university level education, city staff noted.
Although under the guise of learning, the courses were recreational in nature, said Mayor Greg Granstrom.
“So we have a lack of a facility with respect to recreation, other than this one,” he said.
Selkirk was looking to host French level 1 and 2, Spanish level 1 and 2, digital camera level 1, advanced camera level 2, Foodsafe, babysitters course, CPR, a standard First Aid with CPR course, Stalking the Useful Wild and Marketsafe.
The city will also be working with Selkirk to create a “First Aid Week” in April that would have the community participate at various levels of first aid awareness and education.
Between the two organizations it was envisioned involving the fire department, pool staff, instructors, schools, daycares and community members to create a week of first aid knowledge and education. Utilizing Selkirk’s resources, including instructors and first aid course equipment was a great opportunity for Rossland recreation, Butler noted.
The college will also be advertising the “partnership in community education” in their Winter Brochure and the city will be listing Selkirk College’s Rossland courses in its Winter Brochure.
The recreation department will not be administering the programs; they are merely securing a facility and providing some advertising.
The public works department will be asked to help set up the lounge and will be required to perform the custodial functions after the classes.
All other administrative functions will be handled by Selkirk, including providing the city with a copy of their insurance policy, with the city as a named party.