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Pictou County Wellness Centre streamlining directorship of facility

The board of directors overseeing the management of the local Wellness Centre has openings for three new members.

Shannon MacInnis, mayor of the Town of Trenton and chair of the board of directors for the Pictou County Wellness Building Authority Inc., said when the current facility management team of Nustadia Recreation Inc. finishes in March so will a facility management review team, currently comprised of community members separate from the board of directors.

“Rather than coming up with another advisory board separate to our board of directors, we decided to add three members to our board. We are basically looking to streamline things,” he said.

The building authority announced in September that it would not be renewing Nustadia’s contract after March 2018. The base contract with Nustadia cost approximately $127,000 a year.

“Nustadia is a luxury we couldn’t afford,” said MacInnis.

The facility management review team was designed to assist in identifying and implementing improved revenue and operating efficiency opportunities. The committee is comprised of community volunteers who bring unique business or organizational experience and skills to assist in the committee’s work.

The municipalities of Trenton, Pictou, Stellarton, New Glasgow and the County of Pictou are the supporting members of the Pictou County Wellness Centre Building Authority and its board of directors.

MacInnis said after reviewing its operations and finances, the board of directors is confident its management staff that has been in place for about five years now, as well as the board, can continue to manager the centre effectively and work on reducing its annual operating deficit.

In the 2016-2017, the board authority announced that the centre’s deficit was $741,683, which was a 15 per cent reduction from the previous year.

The Pictou County Wellness Centre is a recreation centre that includes a 1,600-seat event arena, community arena, multi-purpose conference space plus a walking track. It also houses an aquatic centre, gymnasium, fitness centre and daycare that is currently being managed by the Pictou County YMCA.

“We put a drive on to lower the costs at the facility and we hope that continues for 2018,” MacInnis said, adding that the centre also hosted some new events this past year, but the key to their success is having people support them.

“People in Pictou County have asked for us to put events on in there, but in the past they haven’t supported it. Unless we have the support of the community there is no sense losing money,” he said.

MacInnis said he feels support for the centre was a bit stronger this year because it was made known that the building is here to stay.

“We had to get the message out there early and often about what is going on,” he said. “It has to be pushed a little further. The facility is not going anywhere so the public might as well support it. We are paying for it for the next 25 years so people need to change their mindset.”

MacInnis said he expects some members of the advisory board will apply for positions on the board of directors. An advertisement in The News states a specific set of skills in leadership, expertise and insights into optimizing performance of the Pictou County Wellness Centre are required from possible candidates.

Some of the skills the board of directors is asking for is experience in engineering education or operations with a strong financial background in marketing, promotional and customer engagement. Applicants should be passionate about their community, are independent of municipal government structures and have experience on governing boards. The boards are volunteers positions only.

The deadline for submitting a letter of interest to the board of directors is Jan. 18.

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