GRAVENHURST - A rural community facility once facing reductions and outright removal from the municipal budget is now subject of a draft proposal that would help entrench its future.
Town staff has a draft operational agreement in the works for the Ryde Community Co-op and its supervising volunteer board. While some debate and discussion need yet to take place, it would see council and volunteers work together to keep the facility operational.
Manager of recreation, community services and centennial centre operations Debbie Broderick presented the draft during council’s meeting of July 17, held in the community facility.
The agreement would place operation of the former Ryde Public School, at 1624 Barkway Rd., in the hands of the co-op for a five-year period, with the ability to renew for further five-year periods.
The co-op would still essentially act as it does now, organizing, promoting and staffing events for the community.
The volunteers would also be responsible for raising a minimum of 50 per cent of the annually approved budgetary amounts.
In drafting budgets, the co-op and town staff would work together in creating them and council would retain the right to approve any amount it sees fit. The two sides would also work closely together on strategies and programming to ensure the facility’s use.
In 2011 council budgeted $6,000 for the facility, a reduction from $9,000 the year prior and in 2012 the town has budgeted $7,683. The current arrangement has the co-op fundraising through the year to pay council back as much as possible.
For its part, the draft agreement would have council responsible to ensure the facility is maintained safely and in accordance with the building’s owner, Trillium Lakelands District School Board, as well as carry the liability insurance.
Broderick said the town would also be responsible to fund any annual operating deficits, although in the case where a subsidy would be required from the town, it would still retain the right to approve the overall amount of the subsidy and could lead to a full review of the budget. The agreement would also allow the Ryde co-op to recommend facility capital improvements, which council would consider through its budgetary process above and beyond annual operational funding.
Broderick said she will be meeting with the co-op’s board of directors to go over the proposal and along with council’s commentary in the next few weeks, will provide an updated draft for potential approval prior to the 2013 budget deliberations.