Holborn tennis facility and senior housing will not be done until 2014 

Once complete, the municipality could shoulder operation costs

While plans are in place for the municipality to take over 12 new tennis courts and a fitness facility by 2014, the question of who will run the future athletic centre is still up in the air.

Mayor Ken Melamed said the possibility of contracting the centre out to a private operator is being considered. However a business plan for the development by Holborn has not been finalized and the predicted operating costs have not been calculated.

“Generally, facilities like this don’t run at a profit,” he said.

“Our experience with municipality-operated recreational places like Meadow Park Sports Centre is that they are heavily subsidized. In this case, if there was a independent operator, there would have to be a case that there would be a profit.”

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) currently subsidizes around 30 per cent of the operating costs for Meadow Park Sports Centre. This rate has been consistent for the past 10 years.

If the municipality ran the tennis centre, the operating costs would be paid through the Parks and Recreation budget, and would have to be put into RMOW’s five-year financial plan.

“I should add that we had the benefit of input from the tennis community and a number of people who were advocating and supporting this facility who agreed that it would be beneficial to have it run by another agency other than the developer,” said Melamed.

John Konig, a committee member of the Whistler Valley Tennis Club, said that while the facility will cost money to run, the municipality does not have to pay capital costs on the project which is an advantage. He added there are several ways the tennis centre can generate revenue.

“I don’t know exactly how much it is going to cost to run it, a lot depends on how well it is built that is another issue of ours, the standard of finish that the developer builds to,” said Konig.

“There is a large restaurant space, and the restaurant will obviously be leased out to someone like Wild Wood, so that would bring in a constant flow of revenue. Other revenue ideas obviously include memberships… The new facility will have a good sized gymnasium component, which the municipality is quite confident will develop a lot of money.”

Council’s commitment to take on the tennis facility without a business plan came forward at the same meeting this week where councillors were uncomfortable with a proposal from the H.O.M.E. committee to provide 250 temporary beds, which also lacked a business plan.

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