An Ontario facility development and management company will undertake an operations review and take over interim management of the financially challenged Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre (LCLC).
The Town of Bridgewater (TOB) and the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) agreed at their respective council meetings on July 8 and 9 to hire the company.
An estimated $45,000 surplus in the Lunenburg County Mult-Purpose Centre Corporation (LCMPCC) board's 2018-2019 budget will go toward hiring Nustadia Recreation of Hamilton until March, 2020.
That decision was based on a maximum cost of $190,000 plus HST, and was contingent on both municipalities agreeing to draw on the surplus to help pay for it.
The decision follows one made by the LCMPCC board on June 20, in which it accepted Nustadia's bid for the LCLC review and management contract.
MODL Mayor Carolyn Bolivar-Getson told LighthouseNOW Nustadia will be looking at where efficiencies may be had and determining the best management style for the LCLC, which is in Bridgewater.
"These are experts in the industry. They are running multi-unit ice pads in Halifax and Dartmouth, and all over the country," she commented.
Nustadia's website indicates the company has developed and operated 15 recreational facilities across Canada, including the BMO Centre in Halifax, Dartmouth's 4-Pad Centre and the Membertou Sports and Wellness Centre in Cape Breton.
Although the company is based in Ontario, the mayor suggested they would have to put their people on the ground in Bridgewater to carry out the job.
In 2018, MODL and TOB agreed at a joint in-camera meeting October 3 to take over the management of the LCLC and integrate their three recreation services.
The recreation centre's board of directors and members of TOB's and MODL's councils have often been at logger heads regarding the amount of taxpayers' money the centre has received, and continues to ask for, and how it is being spent.
In 2017 the board admitted it was straining to repay $3.6-million in loans the two municipalities provided as part of the initial agreement to cover cost overruns as well as funding and grant shortfalls from construction of the centre.
Arguing that the loans inhibited the centre's ability to move forward, the board wanted the municipalities to write them off.
"We're at a place now that we feel we need to know if there are efficiencies that need to be had, and what management style works best for our facility," she says.
Bolivar-Getson isn't ruling out the possibility of having Nustadia take over the management of the LCLC indefinitely.
"It may come to that," she says.
However, the mayor wants to see the results of their study before she comments any further than that.