TRURO – “Exorbitant costs” at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre (RECC) has prompted the Centurions Swim Club to turn to Colchester County and Truro for funding to help host provincial swim events.
The Centurions have so far hosted one provincial event at the RECC and because of the success of that event and the positive impression the facility has left on provincial officials, the Truro swim club has been asked to consider hosting more provincial events there.
In correspondence to the county, however, the club said that instead of being able to use the event as a fundraising opportunity, as is generally the case, the rental and mandatory food service costs at the RECC limits that possibility.
“RECC is a great swimming facility that offers many more opportunities for hosting large-scale competitions,” club president Troy Payson said in his letter to council.
“Since moving to RECC, however, our expenses have increased while our opportunities to raise funds have decreased significantly. The RECC’s policies have eliminated our ability to supply our officials with snacks, drinks, lunches and required the use of their catering services at exorbitant costs. The RECC policies have also prohibited our club from doing what all other clubs are able to do: sell baked goods, drinks, snacks and lunches to our swimmers, their families and friends.”
The cost to the club for the RECC’s catering services during its last meet in February was almost $3,000, compared to other events where the club has been able to make between $500 and $700 through the sale of its own baked goods and lunch items.
The total cost to the club for the three-day event was more than $8,000.
“TCSC made absolutely no profit from this event,” Payson said, “… all proceeds went directly back to the RECC to pay for the catering.”
The club made a request to both the county and the town of $4,500 from each municipality for the three events, should it be successful in getting the nod to host the provincial swim meets.
Colchester council gave its approval for the funding during Thursday night’s council session, with a number of members defending the RECC fees.
“This is one reason why we have the facility the way it is,” Mayor Bob Taylor said, of the RECC’s design.
After recording a $737,000 deficit following its first year of operations and another $721,000 loss projected for this year, Taylor said the facility is expected to find ways to generate additional revenue.
“These are the rules they have there and they have to make the place pay,” he said, of the reason why the RECC does not allow users to bring in outside food.
Councillor Wade Parker, however, expressed some concern that every time a community group uses the facility, the county will receive another request for funding to help offset costs.
And because such swim meets estimate spinoff benefits of approximately $100,000 to the local economy, he questioned why more businesses are not approached for sponsorship.
“They should be helping out a bit,” Parker said.
Coun. Doug MacInnes agreed, given that revenue generated by the club last year showed a total of $500 in corporate sponsorship.
“It bothers me that they come here first,” he said, of the request to the county for funding, instead of approaching more businesses for support.