Renting a recreation facility in Wellesley Township will cost another three per cent this year, following a price hike approved this week by councillors.
Township staff researched rental rates in surrounding communities and determined the increase was adequate and best represented the current demands. Rental rates are adjusted by township council every year.
“The increase is pretty consistent with the surrounding municipalities in the area for the past four years,” Brad Voisin, director of facilities told council July 9. “We are trying to stay competitive within the smaller communities and we are trying to stay consistent.”
Wellesley is surrounded by numerous multi-pad facilities in Kitchener, Waterloo, Wilmot and Woolwich, which have all increased ice rental opportunities in the area by adding the pads.
“We are going a little higher because we have Woolwich and Wilmot with new facilities and their rental rates are substantially higher,” said Voisin. “In comparing rental rates with neighbouring municipalities we are comparable and competitive.”
Council was told that the users of the Wellesley facilities were satisfied and dedicated to using Wellesley amenities and appreciated the reasonable rental rates compared to the larger centres.
The recreation department operates and maintains two community arenas, four community centres, seven softball diamonds, four soccer pitches, six playgrounds, one splash pad and a multi-use concrete pad.
Facility rental rates are the key source of income for the township’s recreation department. The increase in rates is adjusted yearly to reflect inflation, user group demand, maintenance requirements and area competition.
Along with the increase in rates, council approved the hiring of a new full-time facility operator for the recreation department at the hourly rate of $22.41 for an annual take of $46,612.80, plus an additional 24 per cent in benefits.
The hire will increase the number of full-time facility operators to four in the township, eliminating the need for some part-time employees.
The full time wage would be off set by a reduction of part-time wages of $32,531.20 which will result in $14,081.60 to be absorbed in the overall recreation budget for 2013.
“We have been looking at this for a long time and the issue has been getting full-time staff in the facilities when they are being rented and it has been a difficult proposition,” said Will McLaughlin executive director of operations. “The goal is to have one full-timer at the facility to represent the township when it is running. We looked at it and realized that we need seven full-timers; right now we have three full-time employees. Rather than say we need seven we will be looking to have a recreation master plan created to look at all our facilities and the staff that is required to run them. This new hire is a step in the right direction.”
With the additional facility operator the two arenas in the township will have full-time employees working through the winter shifts. In the summer months many of the part-time wages will be eliminated. The new hire will be trained in health and safety, evacuation and emergency procedures. Funding for the new hire was approved in the 2012 operating budget funded from the capital salary reserve fund.