With some uncertainty in the mix, the City of Parksville renewed the operating agreement for the Shelly Road Centre with the Bard to Broadway Theatre Society.
Bard to Broadway (B2B) took over the five year operating agreement in 2008 after the devolution of the Parksville Kinsmen Club that had run it since 2002.
For the last three years B2B has taken care of the promotion, booking, administration, operation, light repairs and maintenance of the the small community hall near the Englishman River, with a $5,000 annual subsidy from the city, which owns the building.
The agreement has been advantageous for both groups, according to the report to council from city staff, with the volunteer-run B2B able to operate it for much cheaper than city union employees would be able to.
It adds that staff is not aware of any other groups wanting to run it, so going to a public process to look for other groups doesn’t appear worthwhile.
But, while appearing ready to rubber stamp another five year agreement with B2B, Councillor Carrie Powell-Davidson said she thought the Parksville Community and Conference Centre (PCCC) Society was considering taking over the hall and asked that the item be delayed to get more information.
Chief administrative officer Fred Manson said there is an escape clause with 90 days written warning from either party and that it would be better to give B2B the security of the agreement now and they can change it in the future if needed.
Manson later told The News that the PCCC Society, which runs the city owned facility independently, has bigger, more expensive rooms than the Shelly Road hall and are considering it as another option for their customers.
But he pointed out that the PCCC Society is always struggling to keep costs down and they wouldn’t likely be able to run the Shelly Centre for as little as B2B does.
In the end, council passed the motion to renew, with Powell-Davidson voting against.