Kelowna Rotary Centre for the Arts (Photo contributed)

Kelowna Rotary Centre for the Arts (Photo contributed)

Financial sustainability recommendations for Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts

Twelve recommendations result from independent review

An independent Value For Money review of Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts (RCA) makes several recommendations for the long-term financial sustainability of the organization.

The RCA is operated by Kelowna Visual and Performing Arts Centre Society (KVPACS) and is provided with an annual operating grant by the city. However, KVPACS is expected to perform the majority of operational maintenance. MNP conducted the review and came back with twelve recommendations, including financial acumen and performance as well as identifying and improving revenue streams.

“The RCA board and staff welcomed the opportunity to participate in this review, to learn and grow as an organization, and are committed to making the recommended changes to improve efficiencies,” said Christine McWillis, Cultural Services Manager, City of Kelowna.

McWillis stated the RCA has provided a response and action plan for implementation. The plan includes increasing their lease rates, which are currently at approximately 75 per cent of current market value, developing a strategy over the next three years to reduce liquidity risk and outsourcing operation of the Bistro by this spring.

“The RCA will be increasing its lease rates over the next five-year period to achieve closer to market values and increase operating revenue, said McWillis. “The RCA will improve the financial knowledge and adjust processes that allow frontline and programming staff to be more accountable to the budgeting process, and will adjust its financial reporting process to reflect financial results for each operational area.”

McWillis added the RCA will look for further core funding opportunities, through organizations such as the BC Arts Council and the Canada Council. As well, city staff have reviewed and will recommend inclusion of annual adjustments in line with the Consumer Price Index during the upcoming renewal of the lease and operating agreement with RCA.

Councillors also weighed in with their thoughts.

“From my perspective, it was a little peculiar and maybe it’s a little disheartening, that these checks and balances aren’t in place, especially when you have a not-for-profit or situation with a staff member, that’s kind of the board’s job to provide oversight and guidance,” said Councillor Brad Seiben. “So to me, I found it odd there’s a bunch of gaps here.”

McWillis said the report is not that different to what most not-for-profit organizations in the community and the rest of Canada would be experiencing.

“We didn’t find anything that was hugely worrisome from the perspective of not-for-profit management,” added McWillis. “Certainly, there are areas that they could improve and provide efficiency for, but at least from my perspective, there is nothing that made us (the City) worry about our relationship with them.”

Councillor Luke Stack said he was encouraged the RCA had a positive cash flow in ten out of the last twelve months.

“That’s boding well, particularly in this difficult last couple of years,” he said. “It’s just been a disaster for the arts as far as revenue-generating. I do understand the built-in challenge of wanting to keep artists’ rental space very economical, but on the other hand, have a responsible budget so that you can actually operate the building properly.”

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