Sidney, B.C.; The Town of Sidney and Memorial Park Society (MPS), the non-profit organization which manages the Mary Winspear Centre, have announced that they have entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) relating to a potential site for Sidney’s proposed Community Safety Building. The MOU provides the basis for entering into a long-term lease of a portion of the lands to the south of the Mary Winspear Centre for purposes of housing a Community Safety Building.
Mayor Steve Price stated; “This is a win-win scenario for both the Town and MPS. The Town is finally able to focus its attention and resources on a site that appears to meet all of the criteria for a new Community Safety Building, and MPS can be assured of a long-term revenue source to guarantee its sustainability”.
Under the terms of the MOU, the Memorial Park Society would lease to the Town approximately 6,000 square metres of land for a minimum of 75 years. The annual lease amount to be paid by the Town is based upon several factors, including the sufficiency of funding to the Mary Winspear Centre to ensure its long term financial sustainability. In the end, both parties are extremely optimistic and enthused by this opportunity.
Equally excited with the approval of the MOU, MPS Chair, Richard Paquette indicated; “This is such a critical first step in solidifying a long-term partnership with the Town of Sidney. To date, they have been an extraordinarily supportive partner, but now, if the lease agreement comes to fruition, both the Town and MPS can ensure our citizens that the Mary Winspear Centre is on solid financial footing as a community and cultural asset.”
Discussions between the Town and MPS began in March, shortly after School District #63 declined the Town’s request for use of a portion of the Sidney Elementary School site for a Community Safety Building. The MPS lands are one of seven suitable sites the Town looked at prior to engaging SD #63 and were in fact identified as the second best option. Proposed revisions to the MPS trust document, and the MWC’s requirement to ensure its long term financial stability, have resulted in circumstances that permitted this mutually beneficial long-term lease agreement to be realized.
This site has a distinct advantage over other locations near MWC that were previously considered, in that it features easy access to existing roadways. In addition, the preliminary design work undertaken to assess the feasibility of the SD #63 site allowed the Town to determine the potential physical fit of the Community Safety Building on this newly-proposed site.
The MOU is the first, preliminary step in a long-term process that will include community consultation and engagement, development of a high level concept plan, detailed architectural and building plans, community approval of funding, and finalizing a formal lease agreement, to name a few. The next step in the process will see the project team develop a detailed schedule and plan, which will be made available to the public once it has been reviewed by Council.
Media Contact: Mayor Steve Price