City Considering Sale of Max Turyk Community Centre
May 25, 2023
The City of Fernie is considering the sale of Max Turyk Community Centre to Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSF) to provide a permanent home for École Sophie-Morigeau, the current anchor tenant of the facility.
The proposed sale would include the former elementary school facility as well as 8.5 acres of land and the associated outdoor amenities; the sports fields, pickleball courts, playground, play enclosures, and parking lot. As a condition of the sale, the City would subdivide and retain 1.5 acres of land to be used for future affordable housing or childcare opportunities.
The City purchased the former elementary school from SD5 in 2008 and began operating it as Max Turyk Community Centre, leasing out classroom space, and renting the gymnasium to community groups and the public. In 2014 the Max Turyk Community Sports Fields were opened behind the facility, and in the subsequent years a playground and pickleball courts were added on the site.
While the City has been operating the facility as a quasi-community-centre, its core function has been as a school and as leased space for childcare and preschool providers. Following a Supreme Court decision in 2020 that affirmed French language schools have the right to distinct facilities and the Provincial funding to facilitate that, CSF engaged with the City about the opportunity to purchase this facility.
The proposed sale of Max Turyk would provide an opportunity to support the continued success of École Sophie-Morigeau, while still maintaining a piece of land for future development, and access to the associated indoor and outdoor recreation amenities through a joint-use agreement. Existing lease-holders would have the opportunity to continue to operate out of the facility with renewed leases.
Selling Max Turyk Community Centre would net the City approximately $3.4 million into reserves and further benefit the community by providing annual operating savings, and allowing staff time to be reallocated from maintaining the facility and outdoor amenities to improving service delivery in other areas.
A joint-use agreement would be signed as part of the sale to ensure that regular users of the gym space and sports fields would continue to enjoy those spaces with minimal or no changes to booking processes, availability and user fees.
If you have questions or comments about the proposed sale and changes to existing services you can visit the City’s online engagement page Let’s Talk Fernie, email email@example.com or attend a public information session on June 6 from 6-8pm.