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Big wage hike for arena crews

Part-time employees at the Wellesley and St. Clements arenas will see a big boost in their wages this year, with township council this week approving a 31-per-cent hike.

The hourly wage for part-time facility attendants will increase to $15 from $11.42, a jump of $3.58 per hour.

The increase includes a 1.5-per-cent cost of living increase for 2010, and will be retroactive to Jan. 1. The cost to the township will be an extra $11,000 per year between the two arenas.

Recreation director Brad Voisin said the increase was needed because of high staff turnover at the arenas.

“The last few years, we’ve had a lot of turnover,” he said. He estimated he’s been losing about five people per year.

There are about 15 part-time employees between the two arenas. Some of those are students, some are retirees, but most have other jobs, Voisin said.

Part-time employees operate the arenas in the evenings and weekends while the ice is in place. They’re responsible for opening and closing the buildings, minor repairs, cleaning, snow removal, security and resurfacing the ice.

Voisin said new employees need hands-on training in driving the ice resurfacer and taking readings from the refrigeration room as well as WHMIS and general safety training.

“The amount of training that goes into it, it’s a setback when I lose one.”

To come up with the figure for the increase, Voisin compared wages for part time employees across the South Western Ontario Recreation Facilities Association. Wellesley is the most southerly member of the association, which stretches as far north as Owen Sound.  The $15 per hour figure puts Wellesley in the middle of the pack, Voisin said.

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