Director of community services Ian James is forecasting a $250,000 deficit for the Cariboo Memorial Complex by the end of March 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Director of community services Ian James is forecasting a $250,000 deficit for the Cariboo Memorial Complex by the end of March 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

City of Williams Lake, CRD look for savings in face of projected $250,000 rec complex deficit

There are four options to be discussed at Wednesday, March 10 special meeting

By the end of March 2021 the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex (CMRC) in Williams Lake will possibly face a $250,000 deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said director of community services Ian James.

Provincial health office order and restrictions are expected to remain in respect to gatherings, events and high-intense activity, he told the Tribune.

During a special meeting with the Central Cariboo Joint Committee made up of city councillors and Cariboo Regional District directors slated for Wednesday, March 10, James said he would be presenting four different options on how the deficit can be reduced.

The revenue loss from October to the present has been significant, in Williams Lake and for recreation facilities across the province, James said.

Automatically the recreation complex is budgeted to receive support from taxation, while the revenue brought in by user fees normally supplements the budget.

Read More: Williams Lake awards five hardship grants to local non-profits

“Now the expenses are above and beyond the subsidy that taxes bring and it’s up to us to identify how much the loss is and what are we going to do to reduce it, ” James said.

The four options being discussed at tonight’s (March 10) special meeting include:

1.) No change in operations

2.) Reduced facility operating morning hours Monday to Friday from March 29 to June 28, saving 90 hours per week of combined aquatics, front desk and facility-maintenance staff labour — new forecasted budget deficit would be approximately $125,000 overspent.

3.) Reduce facility maintenance hours to reflect the ice arena operational use from March 29 to June 28, saving 115 hours per week on facility maintenance staff labour — $155,000 overspent.

4.) Close the recreational complex on Sunday’s March 29 to June 28, saving approximately $32,000 on staff labour for a forecasted budget deficit of $195,000 overspent.

All three options that would require reduced hours would attempt to relocate staff to municipal services to take on outdoor student work.

With a responsibility to provide recreation opportunities to residents at a reasonable price because taxpayers are already contributing to the facility, the CMRC normally runs at a deficit, but makes up for it with user fees, he added.

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