Update: Kingston Council to review partnership opportunities with new west-end French school 

Kingston City Hall. Photo by Josie Vallier.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since it was originally published on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, at 3:20 p.m. Please see bottom of article for most recently updated information.


On Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, Kingston City Councillors will receive a report outlining options for a partnership which would allow for “community and public access to outdoor amenities and indoor theatre” at École Secondaire Publique Milles-Îles and École Secondaire Catholique Sainte-Marie-Rivier, the new combined French high school in the city’s west end.

According to a report published ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, City staff are recommending a partnership between the City, the Conseil scolaire de district catholique du Centre-Est de l’Ontario (French Catholic school board), and Le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (French public school board). The agreement would cost the municipality $630,000. The report follows up Council’s direction to staff last October to evaluate potential partnerships that would facilitate community access to the new school and its outdoor campus. 

The report notes that public funds are needed, because the costs to build the school ended up exceeding what had been initially expected, which has resulted in outdoor amenities remaining unfinished.

“City staff have worked with the school boards to review the uncompleted portion of the school site and to develop cost estimates for the work needed to complete the construction of the outdoor amenities to a standard that would be mutually beneficial,” adds the report. 

Staff note the unfinished amenities include a “multi-use recreation field,” which will feature a long jump runway as well as an exercise track. The school’s campus is also expected to undergo additional landscaping work. 

The report explains that 85 per cent of the required municipal funding would be funded through development charges, with the remaining 15 per cent to be covered by the Municipal Capital Reserve Fund. In total, the project is expected to cost $1,170,000, with the City of Kingston set to cover more than half the expenses, while the two French school boards will contribute a total of $440,000. The two boards will lead the construction of the outdoor amenities. 

With the new school located in close proximity to the City’s new Gerard Hunt Memorial Park, staff explain the project is intended to benefit the surrounding community, “with… community access to a recreation field and paved (asphalt) walking track.”

Under the terms of the partnership, members of the public would have access to the school’s outdoor campus for more than 20 years, “outside of school hours and generally defined as weekdays after 5 pm, weekends, and summer.” During these times, the public would have access to most of the outdoor amenities, including “paths, basketball, parking, field, track and, landscape,” however, the report notes the playground for the primary school would remain off limits. 

In addition to outdoor access, the partnership would also include public access to the indoor theatre and gymnasium space in the school. The indoor space is set to replace the existing Octave Theatre at Ecole secondaire catholique Marie-Rivier. Public use of the space would need to be booked through the schools’ booking systems. 

The report notes, “In all cases, reasonable periods of closure for maintenance, security, unplanned interruption, etc. would be permitted. Through this partnership, the City is not responsible for maintenance, enforcement or liability of the shared school spaces.” Costs to book the theatre and gymnasium are not mentioned in the report. 

The staff report will be presented to City Council during its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at 7 p.m. inside Council Chambers. Full meeting agendas are available on the City of Kingston website. Meetings are open to the public and can be streamed live (or viewed after) on the Kingston City Council YouTube page.


Update (Thursday, Feb. 22. 2024):

On Tuesday. Feb. 20, 2024, Kingston City Council voted unanimously to approve the partnership between the City, École Secondaire Publique Milles-Îles, and École Secondaire Catholique Sainte-Marie-Rivier. The partnership includes a $630,000 municipal contribution toward the development of the outdoor campus in the city’s west-end.

Members of the public can view the full agenda from the meeting on the City of Kingston’s City Council meetings webpage, and the meeting can be viewed in full on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.

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