WESTVILLE ROAD —
Operating costs at the Pictou County Wellness Centre are coming down.
General manager David Hood outlined on Monday how figures from the November financial statements indicated the month was better than budgeted.
He said projections show the fiscal year-end deficit on the centre’s operations would be down more than $100,000 from the previous $860,000 figure to $750,000 in 2016-17.
Lower power rates are helping to drive the financial improvement as they trend downward, he said.
He was referring to a graph that formed part of a presentation by Mike Gillis of the consulting firm Maritech Commissioning Works, based in Moncton, that power rates have dropped by $125,000 in recent months to $725,000.
“The key is to get the power rates consistent,” he said.
Hood was responding to a question from Warden Robert Parker regarding the deficit and the ice time use at the Wellness Centre, which Hood said has improved slightly.
Some discussion ensued over the fact that the bulk of ice time is for minor hockey, as opposed to adult rentals.
Parker said enticing more adult hockey leagues to rent at the centre would only hurt the other community rinks where the leagues have been based.
“I don’t think that’s the answer,” he said.
The board deferred decision on whether to issue requests for proposals regarding a study to assess the merits of metering parts of the complex and reviewing the ice rental charges.
During his presentation, Gillis suggested thermal storage may be one way to reduce operating costs because the current ice plant system provides ample energy that could be stored with the right equipment.
Gillis said power rates remain high due to what is called demand charges that kick in under sustained high demand.