KENSINGTON – Kensington Town Council is seeking a meeting with the English Language School Board to work out a lease arrangement for the installation of washroom facilities for the soccer field next to Queen Elizabeth Elementary School.
© Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer
Kensington's town manager Geoff Baker
Council took the issue to the floor during the April town council meeting debating the prospects of leasing land or purchasing it from the school board for the project.
“The Kensington Area Soccer Club approached us a couple of months back about the construction of washroom facilities adjacent to the soccer field at the Queen Elizabeth Elementary School soccer field,” said Kensington CAO Geoff Baker. “At that time, my discussions with representatives from the soccer club seemed to be more about trying to access funding to construct these things and utilizing the town as somewhat of a conduit to access these funds.”
Baker said since that time, the soccer association’s board of directors met with the English Language School Board about the possibility of some land being allocated on the Queen Elizabeth Elementary School property. According to Baker, the English Language School Board’s preference would be to turn this particular property over to the Town of Kensington as opposed to the soccer club.
“We would take responsibility for this particular piece of property,” he said. “If it is in a lease agreement, we would reserve the opportunity to be a part of the negotiations of the terms and conditions under which this property would be transferred over to us. If it’s a straight purchase and sale agreement, I would suggest it would be a piece of Town of Kensington property under which we would certainly be responsible for maintaining.”
Baker was asked why the school board wanted to turn the property over to the town rather than the soccer association.
“The fear at the end of the day is there is less risk involved in turning it over to the Town of Kensington as opposed to a soccer association which could very well become non-existent at some point,” he said.
Kensington has about 250 youth registered in the soccer program and there is potential for more growth, said Deputy Mayor Rowan Caseley.
“They had a board of directors, and this is why the school board wouldn’t want it, they have some board of directors who haven’t been as active,” he said. “Now, they have an active board of directors that want to do something, that want to have washroom facilities and as long as they’re there, the thing should progress and be good. If they do what they should do, it should never be a cost to the town. They’re not looking to us to come up with money at this stage.”
Baker said as the situation now stands, he would recommend a lease agreement over the outright purchase of the property.
“If we take formal ownership of this particular piece of property then it’s our property and we are responsible for the maintenance of this property and we’ll certainly be responsible for the maintenance of the facilities contained on this property,” he said. “A lease gives us the ability where, at some point, if the soccer club becomes defunct, it leaves the Town of Kensington with options with respect to that facility. We just don’t have the capabilities right now to take on additional property, to take on the maintenance of additional facilities. We don’t have the staff for it.”
He said the soccer club has to be prepared to take up and commit to a long-term agreement that provides for these types of maintenance issues.
“What we’re prepared to commit to is to be a facilitator to allow them to construct a washroom facility on this particular piece of property,” Baker said.
Council directed the CAO to get in touch with the school board and see what kind of a land transfer arrangement can be worked out.