Society signs lease after dispute over space

A Sylvan Lake non-profit group involved in a long-running spat with town officials and politicians over leased community space has agreed to sign a five-year agreement.

A Sylvan Lake non-profit group involved in a long-running spat with town officials and politicians over leased community space has agreed to sign a five-year agreement.

Kindercare Achievement Centre signed a five-year lease for 3,000 square feet in the town’s community centre. Not included in the lease, is the use of a room in the centre that became the source of a heated debate over the last few months.

Kindercare argued it needed the space, which it had been sharing with other groups, for its growing program. The town insisted that other community groups also needed more room.

Parents of the 200 pre-school children served by Kindercare were encouraged to write letters and contact the mayor, councillors and town officials to lobby for additional space.

Town communications officer Erin Peden said Friday the lease was signed Friday morning before the noon deadline. The town had warned Kindercare that if the lease was not signed by the deadline the group could be ordered to leave the community centre within 30 days. Council had already extended the original May 6 deadline after Kindercare said it needed more time to review the lease.

The new lease extends until 2013 and will cost Kindercare $17,550 in 2009. The cost, which is subsidized by the town, will increase each year based on the Consumer Price Index.

Kindercare representative Matt Toonders said if the group can’t find additional space 45 to 60 children may have to be turned away in the fall.

The organization has not given up on funding another place to offer their programs within the facility. For instance, the gymnasium might be an option, he said.

Moving some of the programs outside the community centre to another location in town would not work, he said.

Toonders said a lawyer hired by Kindercare to review the agreements with the town confirmed their view that the additional room at the community centre had been part of earlier deals offered by the town and should not have been taken away.

“We feel somewhat vindicated with the answer given to us, at least, by our lawyer.”

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