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Fitness centre generating revenue

Rejecting proposals from outside firms to run the fitness centre at the Woolwich Memorial Centre, the township will continue to operate the facility itself for the time being. Previously losing money, the centre appears to be turning the corner.

The township has been running the centre since March, when the previous service provider opted to leave. Administrators subsequently issued a request for proposals to operate the facility, but on a different model – the original agreement saw Personal Best Health and Performance Inc. being paid $11,000 a month to run the facility since the opening of the Woolwich Memorial Centre in September 2009. Revenues failed to match expenses, and the
centre lost $34,000 last year, adding to a variety of financial woes at the WMC.

But the three proposals the township received all proved unsatisfactory, director of recreation and facilities Larry Devitt reported to council this week.

All failed to guarantee a revenue stream. Some good ideas were offered up, but all had unrealistic membership numbers, with a fair bit of work falling back on the township, he explained of the recommendation to turn down the proposals.

Since taking over the facility and eliminating the $11,000 monthly fees, the township has seen net revenue of more than $10,000, getting close to the $14,000 budgeted for all of 2011.

The township expected to save about $3,600 a month following the departure of Personal Best.

Devitt noted memberships are at their highest levels – 329 – since the WMC opened. If the trend continues, the coffers will be in good shape – “that’s the critical number,” he said of memberships.

Coun. Mark Bauman, pointing out the stronger-than-expected net revenues, asked Devitt how running the fitness centre internally would compare to a straight rental agreement for the space.

Based on the current rate of $6 per square foot charged to other user groups, the 1,100-sq.-ft. facility would bring in $6,600, but then there would have to be provision for some $80,000 in equipment, said Devitt.

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