Dawson Creek city council agreed to re-allocate $350,000 that was budgeted towards a dry floor retrofit project in the Encana Events Centre towards the replacement of the time clock and video screen.
The clock had been malfunctioning during the women’s national team training camp.
“As the score clock and video display screen ages, it is no longer able to be repaired as parts are difficult to source, technical support is unavailable and the feed wiring and cabling is deteriorating and compromised,” writes Levi Jackson, Parks and Facilities Manager, in a report to council.
“Many of the bookings that are held at the EEC require the score clock and video screen for their event. With the number of committed, confirmed and future bookings that utilize the score clock and video display screen for score and time keeping, video and instant replay and advertising opportunities, this piece of infrastructure directly affects the ability of the EEC to book many of these major events that are hosted in Dawson Creek.”
The $350,000 had originally been approved during the 2017 budget process to go towards the purchase of a multi-use dry floor along with corresponding sporting equipment and netting, with the intention of moving the City’s drop-in sports programs into the Encana.
Staff note this was a strategy to reduce the number of dark days — unused. However, since then, they’ve noted with “an increasing number of events for 2018 and 2019, it became apparent that the scheduling of City programs utilizing this space would be more conflicting than first perceived.” With the development of an Event Tourism Model, the purchase of the floor was put off in case it “did not fit with the new intended use.”
Barry Reynard, General Manager of Community Services, notes the clock is important to be functioning properly for future events as part of the Team Canada partnership, especially with an event possibly coming sooner than expected.
“We weren’t expecting to get another event until two years down the road, but there will be discussion further of the acceleration with a potential event next Christmas,” he told council.
Staff say $350,000 should cover the costs of a base model clock.
“The intent is to have money left over at the end of the day,” says CAO Duncan Redfearn. “[Ryan MacIvor, General Manager at Spectra Venue Management] has guaranteed me the $350,000 would be enough to fund that, but we will look to offset that further.”
Councillor Blair Lekstrom raised concern with age of the current clock. “The lifespan of that clock seems a little short for me. Getting 10 years out of a $300-400,000 piece of equipment doesn’t make sense.”
Councillor Charlie Parslow says he “reluctantly” supported the motion because of the City’s commitments that depend on the clock, but that the City needs to look at the “paradigm” for the Events Centre.
“This council needs to have some serious long-term planning around the multiplex,” he explains. “It seems to me every year we’re putting in a half a million dollars to cover things that were left out in the original concept, because of lack of money.
“I recognize that we have certain commitments to honour. It pains me that with so many things at the multiplex, sure there may be economic spinoff activities, but it doesn’t help the corporation of the City of Dawson Creek’s bottom line one iota.”
Councillor Paul Gevatkoff was opposed to the motion, saying the $350,000 should be retained for next year’s budget process.