Facing another hockey season with no food concession has pushed local regional directors to reverse an earlier decision to keep the facility open to all caterers.
At the Aug. 7 Creston Valley services committee meeting, a unanimous vote directed Creston and District Community Complex staff to advertise inviting proposals that could see all food services in the building provided by one operator.
“We handcuffed the staff when we directed them to only accept proposals to operate the concession, and that hasn’t worked,” said Regional District of Central Kootenay Area C director Larry Binks, who chairs the committee.
“I have been told by people in the food business that they would be interested in bidding for all food services, including catering events held in the Creston Room, but that the concession alone isn’t worth it,” said Coun. Jerry Schmalz, who represented the Town of Creston at the meeting in the absence of a vacationing Mayor Ron Toyota.
Area B alternate director Penny A.P. Anderson subbed for the absent John Kettle, and Area A director Garry Jackman was not in attendance.
The food services issue came to the forefront again after there were no responses to advertisements to run the concession. After a six-month trial, A Break in Time Caffé gave notice that in would not continue to operate the concession. An illness in the family has made it impossible for them continue the service, complex manager Randy Fediuk reported.
“They did a great job,” said Joe Chirico, RDCKs general manager of community services. “I think the food quality was above and beyond — probably the best of any concession in the Kootenays.”
Before A Break in Time took over the concession, it was sitting unused, with no other vendor taking an interest in its operation. The Creston Valley Thunder Cats junior hockey team sold pop and chips during its games and other arena events.
After extensive renovations to the community complex were complete, directors considered the possibility of having a single operator providing food services throughout the building, but turned it down.
“To be fair, I think the directors wanted to recognize the history of groups that have traditionally used the Creston Room and provided their own caterer, or even did their own cooking,” Chirico said.
“What we have been doing isn’t working,” Binks said. “We need to let the staff do their job and find a way to provide food services throughout the building. If there is flack from the public, we’ll just have to take it.”
•Signe Miller reported that progress has been made in getting support to install an electronic message board on Canyon Street to promote community complex events. Several user groups have provided letters of support and Toyota has been working with Kal Tire to get approval to install a sign on its property. No funding is in place to purchase the sign at this time.
•Amanda Cannon, manager of New Life Furniture Centre and Recycling, reported that the facility now accepts more than 1,000 items for recycling. She is working on a proposal that would see volunteers provide recycling information to users of the landfill.
•Alanna Garrett, emergency co-ordinator for Creston and Area A, B and C, reported on the response to the aviation fuel spill at Lemon Creek.
•Town manager Lou Varela and Jesse Willicome reported on youth activities. Varela said the Town of Creston has received a $15,000 Columbia Basin Trust grant to create a report by BC Healthy Communities about how to provide youth services in the Creston Valley. She requested that area directors fund an estimated $4,000 shortfall to complete the report. Binks committed $1,500 from Area C.
•Anderson volunteered to work with community complex staff to see if groups or individuals are interested in funding and creating displays to acknowledge the activities and history in the community complex.
•An additional full-time position was approved for the maintenance department of the community complex to help with the additional responsibilities of the expanded facilities, fitness equipment and Rotacrest Hall.