It is a fact that most municipalities operate their recreation facilities at a loss. Arenas and aquatic centres are facilities most residents expect to have, yet they do not generate much income.
In Kimberley, says Mayor Don McCormick, the Marysville Arena is subsidized by the city by about $125,000 per year and the Civic Centre is close to $200,000.
“We spend a lot more over the revenue the arenas bring in,” he said. “Certain facilities will never make money, but they are amenities you need to have.”
But just up the highway in Canal Flats, the community is making money by hosting hockey tournaments for teams from Alberta.
At Wednesday’s brown bag lunch with the Mayor, the question was asked why Kimberley couldn’t do the same thing.
“It is certainly something we can pursue,” McCormick said. “In fact we are pursuing it. Canal Flats opened a lot of eyes. I talked to the Mayor and was told $60,000 was generated in these tournaments. That’s significant money. It could cut one of our deficits in half.”
Canal Flats turns away tournament requests, McCormick said so the market is there.
The City Manager of Parks and Recreation is working with Tourism Kimberley in putting packages together which would include accommodation along with ice time.
“We hope we can start marketing in late summer,” McCormick said.
McCormick said marketing doesn’t have to just be to Calgary teams. It could go as far as Edmonton because as long as it’s a day trip to get to Kimberley, teams will travel.