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EDITORIAL: New down at the centre

Some things that come up in the local news are guaranteed to captivate attention. One of those is the Pictou County Wellness Centre – and newshounds taking notice will inevitably include fans and those who since its beginnings have entrenched themselves as critics.

Suffice to say, the financial outlook often tops peoples concerns.

The growing pains of the facility – and pains are typically anticipated – include the marketing and promotional aspects. Weve seen the turning of a page in that regard, with the Wellness Centre board having for a couple of years tried the services of a specialist in recreation management, Nustadia.

With the end of that partnership, the board running the Wellness Centre expects to see yearly savings of $100,000, certainly a good step in the direction of financial relief.

The updated model of running the centre will see a new team of management staff taking on those core responsibilities of branding, marketing and the booking and promotion of events.

Its become apparent that attraction is a challenge, something we might expect in any area of modest population. But the choice of events will inevitably make the difference in taking more steps toward improving financial stability of the centre.

As pointed out by Brian White, past-secretary for the Pictou County Wellness Centre board, some events in 2016 lost money.

Thats certainly food for thought about what revenues can be hoped for from various attractions. For example, musical taste being the intangible thing that it is, its pretty tricky to stage an act that will make money. A lot of factors come into play to draw people both from the area and from outside the area to make it worthwhile for a venue that size.

An event cited as a success by the Wellness Centre board chair, Trenton Mayor Shannon MacInnis, was last years home show, which also featured a display of recreational vehicles in the adjoining arena space. It attracted thousands of people during the weekend, and featured many businesses both local and regional in home building and upgrades. That show proved both a great showcase of what these outlets have to offer and a service to homeowners looking to improve upon their biggest investment.

It was a good illustration of what the facility can do in the role of hosting events.

Another change people will have noted, more so in semantics, is discontinuing use of the term deficit in discussing the yearly financial picture, in favour of municipal contribution.

Those among the avowed critics might dismiss that as PR tactics. On the other hand, the board makes a good point in offering this change. People get hung up on the D word and any negative connotations it carries.

But such a facility rarely makes a profit, as many have noted, just like many non-commercial community attractions, events and services that receive support from the surrounding municipalities. It offers a wealth of activities to the public promoting, as the name implies, wellness.

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