Kimberley to take look at KCDS

Kimberley Community Development Society and the assets it manages, is getting a look

The City of Kimberley will be taking a hard look at the Kimberley Community Development Society, and its role in the city’s economic growth.

KCDS was established to fund and administer Kimberley economic development activities. The mandate of the society is: To plan, develop, activate, promote and operate community, recreational, historical and cultural attractions in the City of Kimberley.

The Society was involved in operating the Kimberley Ski Hill before it was sold to Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, building both Trickle Creek and Bootleg Gap Golf Courses and both the former Happy Hans Campground and the new Riverside Campground and mini putting course.

It currently manages the Kimberley Conference & Athlete Training Centre (KCATC); Cominco Gardens; Kimberley Riverside Campground and the Snack Hut building.

In a report to Council, Director of Economic Development, Kevin Wilson says that at this time the future of KCDS is uncertain, as is the future of some of the assets it manages.

“New tourism assets are not part of the City economic development agenda,” Wilson writes. “As well, it is not desirable for KCDS to be a caretaker and it needs to continually add  value. One vision for the evolution of KCDS is a self-sufficient organization that supports the foundations of community economic development and contributes non-tax municipal revenue through community enterprises that earn a return.”

KCDS has been tasked with completing a cost benefit analysis on municipal management of the Conference Centre by January 31, 2016.

The City’s contribution to the Conference Centre is scheduled to reduce by a further 10 per cent this year, and every year thereafter. The City is also asking KCDS to prepare a prospectus to market the sale of the Conference Centre by the end of June 2016.

Conference Centre revenues increased $16,500 or 17.5% over 2014. In 2015 the operating grant from the City was $29,000 or 19% less than in 2014, totaling $125,400. A salesperson to specifically market the Conference Centre has been retained as well.

It is now recognized that the idea of marketing the centre as a para-athletic training centre is not viable.

Wilson reported that The first five years of operation have been plagued by costly maintenance issues with the building’s heating and drainage systems. In addition to the operatinggrant, the City continues to make $150,000 annual payments on the $2 million construction loan.

It may be better, Wilson says, for the centre to be directly managed by the City or be sold to the private sector if a buyer could be found.

Riverside Campground is a success story. Campground occupancy continues to grow annually, averaging 82% in 2015, up from 35% in 2004 (131 sites total). Half the campground-operating surplus is returned to the City and half is retained in a campground capital fund. An average of $80,000 has been returned to the City annually over the past five years.

KCDS has also been asked to look at its other operations. By June 30, 2016, a cost-benefit analysis on municipal ownership of Cominco Gardens will be completed, and other revenue-generating activities will be explored. By January 31, 2016, KCDS will complete a cost-benefit analysis on municipal ownership of the Snack Hut building. KCDS will undertake Board development and review the KCDS Mandate.