There’s an upside and also a downside to more people using the West Fraser Aquatic Centre in Williams Lake.
Seeing much more usage since $14.1 million dollars in renovations were completed, operating costs have gone up by at least $200,000.
Director of Community Services, Geoff Paynton says they’re almost ten months into the new facility and are beginning to get a new understanding of what it is actually going to take to operate it.
“Since the opening of the facility, obviously our usage numbers and the number of people coming through the door have increased dramatically with the new pool. To date, over in comparison in other years, we’re up over 60 percent in terms of revenues that we’re bringing in on the poolside, and great and positive feedback,” Paynton said.
“The part that goes along with that is the more people you have the more staff that you need to look after those people. For example, when a person comes to the front desk we need more front desk people, the more people that use the pool the more that it needs to be cleaned and things need to be cleaned up.”
Paynton adds with more than doubling the volume area of the pool, more lifeguards are needed, and that there are additional expenses including electricity, and heating and treating of the water.
“That all costs more money than that used to. We’re predicting a net increase to operating an annual basis in the $200,000 to $225,000 range at this current time,” he said.
“We haven’t even completed a full year with the new pool. Based on our best estimates we’re pretty confident that it’s going to stay in that neighborhood barring some unforeseen circumstances.”
The Central Cariboo Joint Committee agreed this week that the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Centre’s budget is increased by at least $235,000 per year.
A 2013 Feasibility Study had predicted only a $50,000 increase in operating expenses per year.