Anyone who uses North Battleford’s Aquatic Centre and Field House at night may need to rearrange their schedules as Leisure Services announced it will be looking at reducing hours and programming at last night’s budget meeting.
The decision was made as a change in philosophy on providing programs for Leisure Services, according to city manager Jim Puffalt.
“Rather than being open a set amount of time regardless of the clients coming in, what they were able to do was look at what hours clients came in and match hours of operation to the clients,” Puffalt said. “So they found times when there are a low number of clients and they were able to reduce those hours.”
Suggestions include closing the Field House a half hour earlier in the summer months and an hour earlier in winter, spring and fall. The facility could also be closed on non-statutory holidays because it doesn’t get very busy during those times. The city manager said permanent full-time workers won’t be affected, but said part-time staff could be affected quite a bit. These changes could save the city almost $7,000.
The Aquatic Centre could also see a reduction in services and hours of operation. Suggested changes would be less fitness classes offered year round and the facility could also be closed on non-statutory holidays, as well as statutory holidays. The centre was open for this year for Family Day, Labour Day and Remembrance Day. These changes could save over $24,000.
Both the Aquatic Centre and Field House will have a complete three week maintenance shutdown during the summer for cleaning and repairs. They will be closed at the same time to optimize staff resources and Puffalt said there is no specific date written in stone yet, but the city is looking at the last two weeks of August and the first week in September. The city estimates it will save roughly $27,500 with this shutdown.
North Battleford has also been collecting data on where clientele is coming from to use the facilities. The study showed 42 percent of memberships to the Field House and Aquatic Centre belonged to people living outside of North Battleford and 50 per cent of those people were from outside of the Battlefords.
There was talk from the city over the summer of potentially approaching other municipalities with this data and asking for them to help fund operations. Now that the city has collected the data though, Puffalt said administration and council has yet to decide the best course of action.
These are all proposed changes and have not been agreed on yet. Council hopes to finalize and approve the budget at next Monday's council meeting.
On Twitter @realgreghiggins
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