Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Town of Peace River is set to create a Joint Planning Agreement with school divisions in its area in the coming months.

“The province has been reviewing and modernizing the Municipal Government Act (MGA) for several years and has introduced requirements that all school boards and municipalities enter into agreements to address such common interests as the planning and acquisition of new or expanded school sites, funding of shared facilities and services, and shared use and access to facilities,” explains Peace River Mayor Elaine Manzer.

“The municipality and school divisions need to have plans in place for the prospect of new schools in new developments.”

Originally set to have a required agreement in place by June 10, 2023 the Province has recently extended the deadline to June 10, 2025 to better accommodate the creation of the agreements.

“The new agreements approved by the school boards and the Town will be forwarded to the Province for their review and record keeping,” Manzer says.

“The Town and school divisions currently have joint use agreements; an example of current agreements is the use of playing fields.”

The current agreement was signed in 2003, with amendments in 2005 and 2022.

Manzer says it will now be reviewed and renewed as part of the MGA process.

Peace River is required to enter into agreements will all school divisions that have boundaries within the town, so it will have agreements with Conseil Scolaire du Nord-Ouest, Holy Family Catholic Regional Division, and Peace River School Division.

“Council, board members and administration have started discussions on the new agreements,” says Manzer.

“Draft agreements will be sent with the board of trustees and town council for ratification. The joint planning component of the agreement is a new requirement under the MGA.”

Peace River has initiated an agreement development process with the three school divisions through the Education and Joint Use Committee. As Manzer indicated, the committee includes representatives from all parties.

The committee started the updating process in February and will meet regularly to draft the new agreement.