Board asked to revisit rental fee increase

Cory Hurley
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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.”

Organizations: Pepsi Centre, Pepsi Centre.That, Entertainment board Humber Valley Speed Skating Club

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK

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Recent comments

  • Beer Leauge Hockey Player
    August 30, 2013 - 13:15

    Simple idea here...fix the door that stays open in the lower entrance half the winter while the heat is literally pouring out into the parking lot. I suspect that could save a great deal in heating costs. Another may be to drop the temp in the big rink a couple of degrees and improve ice while saving money.

  • fan
    August 30, 2013 - 10:38

    I think the management staff of the pepsi centre are out to lunch iguesss soon we will have to move our minor hockey to deer lake our senior hockey is gone whats next I think the people running the pepsi centre is doing a poor job.

  • greg childs
    August 30, 2013 - 08:44

    I take serious offense to that final comment regarding the current level of engagement. During the 5 years I was involved in the management of the Pepsi Centre we had an annual meeting with our user groups to discuss rental rates, costs, ice time assignments, major events, etc. We also had an open door policy which made ourselves available to all user groups and members of the public. As a result we had a great relationship with all our user groups. We also were engaged with our staff, probably the most important piece of this puzzle, as that gave the staff a sense of ownership in the facility. The staff are a great source of information for changes that may help control costs and/or improve services.