Town approves its share of expenses
The Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (LCLC) will forge ahead, even though its first year of operation ran more of a deficit than originally anticipated.
Bridgewater town council approved the Lunenburg County Multi-Purpose Centre Corporation’s capital budget for the year 2015-16 on March 23, after a presentation from the LCLC general manager Kevin Benjamin.
In essence, the town approved its portion of the capital budget — $116,250 – an amount equal to that supposed to be provided by its partner in this project, the Municipality of Lunenburg.
This will go towards a list of items in the budget including a pool lift to increase accessibility, security cameras to increase safety and a fryer to increase the service level and decrease wait times for food at the canteen.
“It should be recognized that the capital expenditures that are taking place apparently would have taken place, or should have taken place, when the building was built, and we would have paid for it at that time,” said Deputy Mayor Bill McInnis. “They’re there now and they have to be done.”
It’s been almost a year since the facility became fully operational. The BMO Financial Group Aquatic Centre was the last component to be added, and it opened to the public in April 2014.
Currently, 39 people are employed on a full-and part-time basis. There are four staff in administration, four in operations, five custodial staff, five guest services staff, four maintenance services staff and 21 staff working in the aquatic centre.
The board of directors for the LCLC has established six points to drive the centre’s work over the next three years. These include increasing facility utilization year after year; keeping track of the financial performance of the facility and improving that year over year; ensuring municipal partners are getting good value for their investment in the facility; creating a business model that includes a broad base of activities attracting users beyond the traditional aquatic, ice rental and library clientele; thinking outside the box about what else can be done in this multi-purpose facility; and continuing fundraising efforts towards the capital project.
A breakdown by quarter reveals the number of participants to be 525 in spring 2014, 393 in summer 2014, 663 in fall 2014 and 483 in winter 2015.
“There’s always programs you offer that you might have to cancel because of lack of registrations, but 75 per cent success rate was pretty good for the first year,” said Mr. Benjamin.
As of March 13, there were 783 active members of the LCLC; 233 of these active members were from the town and 550 were from the municipality.
The corporation estimated the arena utilization number not including visits by spectators or fans, would be 81,590 visits for the year. The library has an estimated yearly utilization of 83,964, and the aquatic centre, the only area with a turnstile equipped with a counting device, has been used 63,630 times.
The facility will have its first concert on April 26.
“We’re anticipating that it will be sold out, so we’re very pleased,” said Mr. Benjamin of the concert, which will seat 1,448 people. Three or four more concerts are being organized. There will also be a dog show in early August, as well as two more Atlantic University Sport exhibition hockey games in September.
As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin