Councillors agree to one year trial run for concession
Posted July 8,
New Tecumseth council agreed last night to let its parks and recreation
department take on the task of operating concessions in Beeton and
Tottenham arenas, for at least a year to determine whether its an
economically viable opportunity which would also have the affect of
increasing the level of service to users.
The department has been running make-shift concessions since the Town
terminated the contract of the previous operator last April, and with
the hockey season looming, a decision was required as to whether
concessions should continue as in-house operations or offered out to
private operators via Request for Proposals.
Gord McInnes, a candidate for Ward 2, asked councillors to forego the
concessions, and instead put them back out to tender.
"I'm asking council to seriously consider not
extending the hospitality aspect of the Town's involvement in these
affairs," said Mr. McInnes during his deputation on the subject. "We've
got plenty of evidence that we're not the best people
on the job. You should make a decent profit off any food products, and
if in fact we can't make them off alcohol and other food in other
locations, how are we going to make it off hamburgers, hot dogs, and
cold chips and pop? I think this is a mistake."
Ward 3 councillor Paul Whiteside, who did vote in favour of the one
year trial, nonetheless expressed echoed the concerns related to the
revenue projections and profit margins highlighted in the report in
light of continued missed targets generated by the Hornet's Nest at the
The report to council prepared by Wendy Rowland, Senior Supervisor
Recreation and Community Services, shows Tottenham would operate 36
hours per week for 24 weeks, at an estimated cost of $26,500 and
generate $35,000 in sales; and 22 hours per week in Beeton, at a cost
of $17,000, one revenues of $28,000.
"When we did operate it ourselves, we were not making money, we were
not breaking even. And when I look at the Hornet's Nest information, we
were projecting a 19 per cent return on each dollar we sold," said Mr,
Whiteside. "I look at the financial considerations included here with
this report, it shows we're anticipating a 24 per cent profit margin
out of Tottenham, and a 39 per cent profit margin out of Beeton
Memorial Arena, and I don't really think that's realistic, based upon
our experience in particular in the New Tec rec centre in the Hornet's
Ms. Rowland said the numbers came from a comparable facility, "real
"It's not a business unit that we should be comparing as there's liquor
versus hot dogs and snacks, there is a substantial amount of overhead
and a higher inventory required to run The Nest," she said. "The snack
bars are totally different operations, and they're serving types of
products such as soft drinks, and popcorns, the profit margins are much
Ward 1 councillor Bob Marrs said he supported the idea, and "I think
it's very viable."
"Let it get going, if it's going well, then the new council won't have
to change it," said Mr. Marrs. "Until we do it, I'm not going to say it
can't be done because of that. I do 100 per cent agree the Hornet's
Nest is completely different."
Ms. Rowland explained that start-up costs would include cleaning up the
concession areas, and for at least the trial year, equipment can be
"It is to our advantage to be more involved, instead of sticking our
big toe in the water, let's get in and do it, and do it well," she
said. "There's a bit of a community service associated with these
spaces as well. We've learned over the last few months without that
service our community is not happy, so we're in a position of walking a
fine line between operating businesses in an aggressive manner and
offering a service to our community, I think that both our concession
areas, our vending, and the Hornet's Nest fall under those categories."