Maple Ridge council is weighing two options for operating the Albion Community Centre which opens its doors in 2021.
A staff report for Tuesday’s, Feb. 25 council meeting says that the city can operate the facility itself or that it can invite agencies to put forward proposals for running the centre.
Council earlier in 2018, had asked staff to do a request for expressions of interest for operating the facility. However, council also asked staff during this year’s business planning to research how the city could operate the centre itself, before deciding whether to issue an request for outside proposals.
The report said that if the city operates the centre, it will make it easier for people to register for using other facilities. A city operated model also would be open seven days a week, and provide low-barrier wellness and fitness classes and programming for day camps, as well as first-aid courses, babysitting courses and parent/child activities., said the report, It could also offer rental space for non-profit groups and arts and sports groups.
“Council may choose to operate this new facility directly, which staff believe would provide a higher level of control of the facility maintenance and the services provided,” said the report.
A city-run facility could cost about $653,000 to operate each year.
“A city-operated model would provide citizens with seamless service delivery between the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre and Albion Community Centre,” the report continued.
Alternatively, it could contract out the operation of the centre although the community’s desired services identified in an earlier consultation, “should be strongly considered.”
The Canadian Union of Public Employees has been campaigning for municipal operation of the facility and claiming the city has not followed proper bidding procedures, citing internal e-mails.
However, Mayor Mike Morden said that was all done by the previous council and seemed to consist of preliminary discussions only.