With the new fitness centre open, council wants to know how much it’s actually being used.
Following a budget presentation by the director of culture and recreation last Wednesday night, Coun. Gilbert Wall requested that during next year’s budget process, a line be added to the document to show the number of memberships sold and the number of drop-in admissions.
“The reason I’m bringing this up is because one of the drivers for the development of this activity centre was community health and wellness, and it would be nice to know that if we spent $5.5 million on community health and wellness that we actually got a jump in usership.”
Yvonne McNabb, director of culture and recreation for the Town of Jasper, committed to making those numbers available so council can compare the usership from 2010 through 2012.
“I think particularly for this new facility, that would be a prudent thing to do,” said Wall.
McNabb noted that the first month of operation, which began Nov. 4, saw a surge in memberships and drop-ins.
“The revenue brought in for November last year has just about doubled already for this November, so we’re up about $13,000 for November, which is terrific – absolutely terrific.”
In the proposed budget for 2012, culture and recreation is recommending 10-per-cent fee increases to most of its memberships and admissions, including the combined pass, activity pass – formally the activity centre pass – and drop-in fees. The remainder of fees will be increased by four per cent.
On top of the fee increases, culture and recreation has a list of wants and needs that, if approved, will increase the department’s budget by nearly $100,000. Included in that is $5,000 to cover utilities for the new fitness centre.
Culture and recreation is also asking for $51,612 to put toward recapitalization. McNabb said the reason the department is requesting the funds is because of the loss of provincial grants the municipality would normally receive.
Third on the department’s wish list is $28,000 to cover the operation and maintenance costs of the new public washrooms on Connaught Drive. Of that amount, $25,000 would be for salaries, $2,000 for supplies and $1,000 for maintenance, said McNabb.
The washrooms will be cleaned once a day in the winter and twice a day in the summer. The salaries for the custodial work is based on an average three-hour work day.
The fourth item on the list is $5,000 to go toward the establishment of a Yukigassen event to coincide with Jasper in January.
Yukigassen is a competitive snowball fight, with a set of rules and regulations.
McNabb said Tourism Jasper is willing to run the event in 2012, but hopes the municipality will take it over in following years. The $5,000 would cover the cost of a snowball making machine, the forms, training for referees and other items necessary for the event.
“So there is $5,000 in there for the set-up,” said McNabb. “This would not be an actual function that the municipality would put on until 2013, but we have to get everything in place prior to that.”
The final requests made by McNabb were for $3,500 to rewire the compressor room at the activity centre and $3,000 for service on the compressor itself.
All of the requests add up to a budget increase of $96,329.
“The compressors and the utilities and the wiring definitely need to happen,” McNabb said. “The recap is definitely up to council. … And then the Yukigassen is also optional.”
Council held its final public budget meeting last night. The draft operating budget will be voted on in the new year. The overall budget proposes a 4.1-per-cent municipal tax increase.