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

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

Burns Lake council not releasing rec. review

The review cost the village $12,000

Burns Lake council is not releasing the full report of the recreation department’s organizational review, which was completed last June.

The review, which cost the village $12,000, is intended to reduce some of the costs associated with the local recreation facilities.

Although council included a summary of the report in last week’s council meeting agenda, the full report is yet to be released.

Burns Lake Mayor Chris Beach did not respond if or when the full report will be released. Two weeks ago, acting mayor John Illes also did not respond to any questions about the review.

“I am concerned as to why the report hasn’t been released,” said Tania Cunningham, a group fitness instructor at the Lakeside Multiplex, last month. “We all have been anxiously waiting to read the report because we provided a lot of great ideas and positive feedback.”

Conducted by Acumen HR Solutions, the review includes interviews with Lakeside Multiplex staff, users and elected officials.

According to the report’s summary, the provision of recreation services in Burns Lake “cannot be sustained under the current financial model.” It also says that given the community feedback, closure or reduction of service are “not realistic options.”

“Overwhelming feedback from across the community has shown support for the facility and overwhelmingly the message was clear: recreation is considered important to the health and well-being of the community as a whole and is vital in attracting people to the area,” states the report’s summary. “However, while it is supported, the majority noted that effective provision of services and fiscal accountability is essential.”

The reports suggests areas for improvement through a number of recommendations, which include introducing fees for the campground, leasing portions of the facility to a private company, the “aggressive pursuit” of grant opportunities and “adequate budgeting to include realistic staffing provisions.”

The report adds that an increase in fees would not be sufficient and it would have a negative effect on users, many of whom believe the cost is already a potential barrier to participation.

The organizational review was suggested by councillor Kelly Holliday earlier this year.

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

Councillor Michael Riis-Christianson also urged council to reduce the department’s budget earlier this year.

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

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

Council was expected to release the full report after a closed meeting on July 26. Since then, Lakes District News has asked for the report repeatedly. Lakes District News has now filed a Freedom of Information Act request to access the full report.

Burns Lake

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