At a public meeting of council on Nov. 16, Village of Burns Lake council members and staff met to discuss revenue projections for the multi-use facility expansion, arena biomass system extension information, and the multi-use facility expansion budget.
The budget for the facility expansion is not set in stone as further funding opportunities are available beyond what is already committed by various levels of government and other funding agencies.
Council is trying to find a balance between providing services at the facility that are extensive enough to generate a positive cash flow without breaking the budget, while at the same time not impeding the growth of local private business.
Mayor Luke Strimbold summed up the dilemma, “Is community health an opportunity for business or for the municipality to pursue?”
Specifically, council debated the issue of wether or not the proposed weight room in the facility would harm the two other fitness facilities in Burns Lake. The fitness business in Burns Lake has not had a strong track record, with two businesses having started and then shuttered the windows for lack of a user base.
Councillor Susan Schienbein excused herself from the discussion because she is a gym owner.
Councillor John Illes described the weight room as being a ‘pillar’ of the facility. “Without the weight room, could we break even?” he said.
Logan Wilson, Recreation Director for the Village of Burns Lake, said that he believed the new facilities would encourage a broader cross-section of the community to get active and develop the kind of lifestyle that creates demand for more fitness facilities and groups.
“The arena facility will build capacity and interest for other unique facilities locally,” he said.
Councillor Quinten Beach recognized the problem faced in developing the arena facilities, but he also pointed out that anything the village does could adversely affect some other business’s cash flow. “The village can’t help but compete on some level,” he said.
Cash flow will be an issue for the new facility with projected expenses listed at $199,626, including $58,626 in first year contingency and capital reserve investment.
Wilson had prepared a projected revenue statement based on numbers that he gathered from other communities similar in size and demographic to Burns Lake. According to the draft statement of expense and revenue, the facility should be able to meets its operating costs as well as develop a capital reserve.
Council will meet again on Nov. 27 to discuss the arena expansion plans again in more detail.