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 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 sale of Max Turyk provides 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, reduce the City’s infrastructure deficit, provide annual operating savings, and allow staff time to be reallocated from maintaining the facility and outdoor amenities to improve service delivery in other areas.
A joint-use agreement would ensure that regular users of the gym space and sports fields would continue to have access to those spaces with minimal or no changes to booking processes, availability and user fees.
If you want to learn more about the proposed sale, or have questions visit Let’s Talk Fernie http://letstalk.fernie.ca/max-turyk-community-centre, email email@example.com or join the City for a public information session on June 6 from 6-8pm at the Fernie Senior’s Centre.