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Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre suffers biggest deficit in 5 years

For the fourth straight year, Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre’s numbers are in the red.

But that decline, which includes a 2012 deficit of $38,056, doesn’t tell the whole story, according to Bob Stedham.

Stedham, a consultant with Active Living Enterprises: The company responsible for the operation of the facility, reminded West Kelowna council of the company’s history running JBMAC since 1997.

“In 1997, Active Living Enterprises took over the operation of the aquatic centre. We saved the regional district in excess of $250,000 in the first year of operation,” said Stedham.

“We created surpluses for 10 of the next 12 years…we probably saved the taxpayer in excess of $1 million over that period of time.”

He said JBMAC is currently being impacted by tough economic times.

“There’s only so much discretionary dollar that’s out there that the public has to spend. And we know that we’ve had some significant impacts over the years because of that.”

The current operational agreement between the district and ALE was renewed Jan. 1, 2012 and runs until 2016.

The agreement outlines that if there is a revenue surplus at the end of any given year, it shall be retained by the DWK—ALE may apply to share in 50 per cent of the surplus through a process where a council decision is final. If JBMAC endures a deficit, the money lost is the responsibility of the district.

Stedham said the addition of various Westside workout facilities and other recreational venues have also made it tough for JBMAC to keep its customer base.

He added more users would likely come if improvements and features were added to the facility.

Several council members thanked Stedham for his hard work and acknowledged the money ALE saved the regional district in the early years.

District staff has suggested council reallocate some of the CPI increase for 2013 to the advertising budget to increase marketing efforts this year and move capital requests for equipment from the 2015 capital budget to the 2013 budget so the facility can purchase three new pieces of exercise equipment.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

 

 

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