BOCC comes under scrutiny
BOCC comes under scrutiny
Cody Storm Cooper
Reconstruction of the BOCC cost the town more than $5.4 million. Town staff proposed closing the facility during the summer and shortening the ice season to save money. Council directed staff to look at ways to keep the centre open.
PARRY SOUND - Use of the newly-renovated Bobby Orr Community Centre (BOCC) came under scrutiny at a special council meeting earlier this week.
Council looked at shortening the ice season as well as closing the facility during the non-ice months (from May through to August) to save money.
This was one of several items on the town's 2013 Budget Tracker that outlines potential new revenue streams and cost-reduction opportunities that was up for discussion.
"It is becoming increasingly difficult to staff the arena in the summer months for events, because as per the collective agreement, those staff go out to parks (and recreation department)," said town director of economic development and leisure services Lynn Middaugh. "It has been very problematic."
The BOCC was renovated in 2010 and originally budgeted at $3.3 million, with provincial and federal funding. The winning bid brought it up to more than $4 million. The final bill on the project totaled more than $5.4 million.
"It doesn't seem to be that long ago that there was an awful lot of money put into that Bobby Orr Community Centre so that it could be used year round," said Coun. Bonnie Keith. "I don't think we should be looking at closing. We need to look at changing how staff are doing things and if that means that we have to re-examine the parks (and recreation department) then so be it. I think we need to be more inventive. I certainly don't think the solution is closing it down between May and August."
Peter Brown, town director of public works said staff can work a maximum of 60 hours a week as per the collective agreement.
"Council should be made aware that pretty well every event that we do is subsidized fairly heavily by the Town of Parry Sound, because the cost that is charged for rental, does not cover the cost of staffing that we have to put in place," Brown said. "As well, the collective agreement is fairly specific on the number of hours staff can work, so we have to be cognizant of that. Sixty hours a week is a lot of hours for one staff to work.”
“We only have four staff members on staff...there’s a lot of other factors than throwing somebody in there for 60 hours. There’s a lot of juggling that we have to perform with such a small amount of staff,” said Brown.
Mens added, any time staff work over 40 hours gives them double-time-and-a-half
“I agree with Councillor Keith,” said Coun. Dan McCauley. “We put millions and millions and millions of dollars into this facility a couple years back. To turn around and close the doors on it, what are we telling the community?”
Keith requested staff examine how the facility can be creatively staffed so it can remain open, year round. Council agreed; a report will return to council at the end of October.
McCauley said the town also needs to find creative ways to sell its off-season ice time, instead of taking the ice out earlier than April.
“Just because the kids are done minor hockey and their season is done, doesn’t mean they don’t want to get back on the ice. It’s finding creative ways to keep the kids in that arena until the last day possible that the ice has to be removed,” said McCauley. “As long as you can schedule it and sell that ice and break even and maybe even make a little money somewhere, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Coun. Dave Williams requested staff look into reduced rates for the shoulder season. Council agreed; a report will return to council in October.