The village’s recreation department has been dealing with a significant increase in its budget since the Lakeside Multiplex opened in 2014. 

Lakeside Multiplex under scrutiny

Village will conduct an organizational review to reduce costs

After a recommendation from councillor Kelly Holliday, Burns Lake council passed a motion to conduct an organizational review of the Lakeside Multiplex, Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena and Burns Lake Curling Rink.

According to councillor Holliday, the organizational review will be intended to reduce some of the costs associated with the local recreation facilities. The review will be conducted as part of the village’s recreation master plan, which is currently being developed.

“Before we dive into our recreation master plan, we should look at possibilities of reducing some of the expenses at the Multiplex,” said councillor Holliday. “There may be some over service there.”

The village’s recreation department has been dealing with a significant increase in its budget since the Lakeside Multiplex opened in 2014. Memberships sold for the Lakeside Multiplex declined last year – from 812 sold in 2015 to 791 in 2016. Squash court use has also been declining.

Recreation wages went over budget in 2016 – while the budgeted amount was $154,656, the actual amount spent was $167,000.

Councillor Susan Schienbein recently asked council to adopt a budget policy in which any increase to wage budgets would have to be approved by council.

“If I did that [go over budget] in my job, where I have to manage some budget, I’d be in trouble,” said Schienbein. “There are certain accounts that couldn’t go over budget because there could be some issues there.”

Arena wages are expected to decrease by almost $60,000 this year due to the installation of a Freon plant.

Earlier this year, councillor Michael Riis-Christianson also urged council to reduce the department’s budget.

“I don’t believe that we can do business as usual this year,” said Riis-Christianson. “Some areas of recreation are just not sustainable.”

Village staff will now prepare a report to council detailing how the organizational review will be conducted, as well as its costs and how the village will pay for it.