Council OKs Elevation Place staffing
Canmore council has moved toward the unveiling of Elevation Place by approving the hiring of nine employees to accommodate opening day staffing needs.
In a presentation to council at its regular meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 16), the Town’s manager of recreation services, Chris Hay, provided a description of all the required job descriptions and positions needed to successfully open the facility to the public.
“It’s imperative to start the recruitment process fairly quickly,” Hay said, adding it will take six to eight weeks to hire and train the employees for opening day, which is tentative for some time in January. The official grand opening is now being planned for Feb. 2.
According to a report presented to council, the 2012 operating budget includes sufficient funds to hire the nine employees. Administration had been asked to provide a staffing needs analysis before approval could be granted.
The positions outlined by Hay include an aquatics head lifeguard and two part-time lifeguards and instructors, a part-time climbing instructor, a customer experience supervisor, two facility maintenance technicians and two facility operators.
A list of additional positions to ensure the success of Elevation Place was also provided to council and it was noted administration would seek approval of those positions during next year’s budget approval process.
Speaking to the motion to approve the set of employees, Mayor John Borrowman indicated this report to council was exactly what he was looking for upon making the motion last year.
“This time last year, we were asked to approve nine employees,” Borrowman said. “This presentation shows me the nine are necessary for the facility. This report meets my intent.”
During the debate session, Councillor Hans Helder said he had some “big reservations” about the hiring process and the lack of information provided regarding the cost of additional employees once programming within the facility commences in the new year.
Helder also proposed a motion to postpone the decision to hire the staff until the next regular meeting so administration could detail full costs of operations in terms of staffing costs and the revenue projections that are related to the operation of the facility going forward.
Coun. Gordie Miskow said he wouldn’t support Helder’s motion as the Town is already “under the gun” to open the facility.
“People are excited and they’re worried,” Miskow said. “You never forget your opening. If it opens and it is a flop, people will be pointing fingers,” he said. He added that it was in the best interest of the community, staff and council to not support the motion.
Echoing Borrowman, Coun. Jim Ridley said council did not ask administration for a full business plan and therefore he couldn’t support Helder’s motion.
Coun. Vi Sandford said “we have to go into this place with guns blazing” and wouldn’t support the amending motion, nor would Coun. Joanna McCallum, who stressed the importance of hiring the nine operational employees if “we want to open the door.”
Addressing his motion, Helder said the numbers presented to council are not similar to the proforma numbers from 2010 and he will be looking for much more detail when additional hiring is discussed in next year’s budget.
The amending motion was defeated in a 6 – 1 vote with Helder the only member in favour.
Following the vote, Ridley made a motion for administration to present a business plan and operating budget to be brought before council by Dec. 1.
“It’s a good time to start looking at this for future instances,” Ridley said regarding his motion.
Chief Administrative Officer Lisa de Soto indicated that administration has been working on a business plan for a number of months and it’s just a matter of packaging it and delivering it to council.
In a 4 – 3 vote, Ridley’s motion was passed with the support of Sandford, McCallum and Coun. Sean Krausert.
The original motion to approve the nine employees was also carried with a 6 – 1 vote. Helder was the only member to not vote in favour.
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