March 12, 2014

Mayor wants new deal at Centre 2000

As published in The Erin Advocate

Mayor Lou Maieron wants to rip up the deal that controls the shared areas at Centre 2000, and start fresh negotiations with the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB).

In a Notice of Motion last week, he asks “that the Town of Erin consider rescinding the current shared use agreement with the UGDSB regarding Centre 2000 and that the Town work with the UGDSB to establish a new agreement based on a lease agreement based on fair market value for the facilities utilized by the UGDSB.”

His initiative could be brought forward at a future meeting. It would not be debated unless there is a seconder to the motion, and it would not take effect unless approved by a majority of councillors.

The facility is shared by the Town, Erin District High School and Wellington County, which operates the school library. Each has representatives on a Management Board, but the board is not empowered to re-write the shared use agreement. That would have to be done at a higher level among the participating entities.

County Councillor Ken Chapman was the county representative on the board and served as chair, but resigned as a member recently with no public explanation. Both he and Maieron have been critical of the agreement and how it has been implemented.

The property line between the municipal and school board lands runs right through Centre 2000, but the use and costs are shared. Critics of the deal say the Town is paying too much, because the school has become the primary user of areas like the theatre, and the Shamrock Room which serves as the cafeteria.

Lack of agreement has resulted in invoices remaining unpaid for a number of years.

The board has been in the process of trying to measure the usage and costs more precisely, in hopes of resolving issues under the terms of the existing agreement.