Published on August 29, 2013
Cara-Leigh Wyllie, president of Corner Brook Minor Hockey, addresses board members of Western Sports and Entertainment, including Colin Lynch, right, while Corrina Murrin, president of the Silver Blades Figure Skating Club listens on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013.
Published on August 29, 2013
Members of the Pepsi Centre board of directors and general manager Willie Smith met with representatives of user groups met on Thursday to discuss a 10 per cent rental increase that will begin in September.
CORNER BROOK — There is a desire to change the culture at the Pepsi Centre.
That was the primary message from Allan Kendall, chair of the Western Sports and Entertainment board and Willie Smith, general manager of the Pepsi Centre, to the concerned users group of the facility.
However, the group who Thursday presented the board with a petition opposing a 10 per cent rental-rate increase in September, also agree they are part of the solution to a better operation.
There were eight representatives of various user groups at a meeting at the Pepsi Centre with three board members and Smith. The petition had 857 signatures — 540 on paper copies and another 317 online.
Brian Woolfrey, representing recreational hockey, asked Kendall to revisit the rate hike at the board table. He suggested even a more moderate increase would be acceptable and manageable for the groups.
“There may be a middle road there that is not so bad for you and not so bad for us, and it doesn’t affect us the way we see that it will affect us in the future,” he said. “Maybe something like that would be a little more palatable than a 10 per cent increase.”
Kendall said the board sat for hours reviewing the budget, taking every aspect of it and asking questions on why the numbers are what they are. He said there is a real commitment to fiscal responsibility, and looking for ways to increase revenue and find cost-savings.
The users took the opportunity to again express their displeasure about maintenance and service they receive at the facility.
Sharon Karn, representing the Humber Valley Speed Skating Club, said it should also go back to the board to find a way to become more engaged with the city council and staff of Corner Brook. She said it is unacceptable for them to take a step back from the problems at the public facility.
The board members and Smith listened to those concerns, and expressed their desire to continue the public engagement that has transpired in recent weeks. Kendall said it is time to start focusing on looking ahead rather than what has happened in the past. He asked people to give the new board a chance.
“Our challenge is to bring in greater utilization of the facility and greater revenue sources in, so we can balance it all out,” the new board chair said.
“I don’t have a plan for that now.”
The board and staff are concentrating on establishing a new culture at the facility, and are looking to collaborate with the community on new ideas and building better partnerships.
“The most important thing you need when you change cultures is a high level of engagement,” Smith told the group. “Without a high level of engagement, it’s impossible to change a culture.
“What I have been seeing over the past period of time is an inordinately high level of engagement. Probably one that hasn’t been witnessed with respect to this facility since the (1999) Canada Games.”