City council has seen it. The board of directors has seen it. No one seems to know when the people who paid for it, Parksville taxpayers, will get their chance.
A report prepared by KPMG of Victoria looking at the management of the Parksville Community and Conference Centre (PCCC) cost taxpayers more than $36,000. City council chose KPMG to produce the report in April, with an expected due date in June.
“I’m not surprised at what the report contains,” Coun. Kirk Oates said this week. “There’s nothing in there that I didn’t believe to be true going in.”
Oates said he was not comfortable discussing the report in any more detail before it had been released publicly. Neither Oates nor city officials could say when that would happen.
The PCCC is a municipally-owned facility which has been operated by the Parksville Community Centre Society through an operating agreement since 2003. The PCCC receives about $260,000/year in taxpayer subsidies.
The facility’s operations — management, marketing, revenue, expenses — became a point of discussion for city council late last year when society representatives asked for approval of a 2016 budget that showed more than 57 per cent of its annual revenues come from a taxpayer subsidy.
Council eventually approved the budget. A week after presenting the budget to council in mid-Decemeber, society president Kirk Walper resigned.
Both Oates and Walper said in December of last year there needs to be a better understanding by everyone, some clarity, regarding the centre’s mandate. When he appeared before council in December, Walper spoke about the differences between a community centre model and a conference centre model, suggesting more focus on the latter to generate more revenue would squeeze non-profit community groups out of the centre.
“Maybe this ($250,000 annually) is the cost of doing business and we have to just suck it up,” Oates said at the time.
In an interview a day after submitting his resignation letter, Walper said he was “frustrated with how a couple of things were handled.” He also said he resigned because the president’s position was demanding more time than he was able to commit. He also defended the centre’s operations.
“I don’t think there’s a big problem in what’s happening at the centre,” said Walper. “I think it’s operating very efficiently. I don’t know that there’s much more business out there to pick up. If its duty is to be a community centre, I think it does a good job at that.”
“If there are changes to happen here, I’m not the one to spearhead it.”
When it choose KPMG to do the report in April of this year, the city said the scope of the business analysis will include:
• Exploring the current financial revenues sources for the PCCC.
• Assessing whether the current mix of user groups provides opportunities to maximize revenues and serve community interests.
• Completing a feasibility study and cost benefit analysis for various options to enhance service levels and expand clients/user groups, including opportunities for partnerships with local and regional convention facility operators.
• Preparing a marketing and branding assessment and recommendations for enhancing future growth and development of the PCCC. This may include recommendations for a new name.
• Investigating grant opportunities which may provide funding to assist with the implementation of a new marketing/branding strategy.
• Conducting operational assessment to provide recommendations on an appropriate staffing model, policies and procedures, purchasing.
“The consultant will be expected to assess whether taxpayers are receiving good value for money from the PCCC,” said a news release from the city.
At its July 21 annual general meeting, the following people were installed as directors of the Parksville Community Centre Society: president Irene Holland, vice-president Tom Roy, secretary Jim Hoffman, treasurer Cliff Green and director-at-large Sue Hodges. PCCC executive director Margaret Spruit said in an e-mail Tuesday the society is always looking for new board members. The board meets the third Thursday of every month. For more information, or for a board-member application, e-mail or call Spruit (firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-248-6234.