Opening of leisure facilities on bank holidays would cost in excess of 100,000 a year

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Opening of leisure facilities on bank holidays would cost in excess of 100,000 a year thumbnail

THE additional cost of opening leisure facilities across the district on bank holidays would stand in excess of 100,000 per year local councillors have been told with Riversdale Leisure Centre alone costing over 30,000.
There is no provision in the current budget to extend the current arrangements, Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) has said.
Last month SDLP councillor, Shauna Cusack, requested that senior officials review the matter following complaints from members of the public over the divergence in the closure of some facilities across the city and district on public holidays.
A report presented to members at last Thursday's meeting of the Health and Communities committee outlined the current arrangements for bank and public holiday opening of council leisure facilities and the potential financial and Human Resource impact of extending these.
It outlined that opening the city's two main centre's; Templemore and Foyle Arena would cost around 80,000 whilst putting Riversdale into the mix would incur an additional spend of around 30,000.
The nine facilities across the council area currently operate on legacy council arrangements.
The opening and closing of these facilities on bank and public holidays varies by location and details for each of the council's lesiure venues were presented to councillors.
"Employees that work at leisure facilities on a bank or public holiday are entitled to double time and a day in lieu as outlined in the National Joint Council for Local Government Services - National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service.
"In terms of usage of leisure facilities on a bank or public holiday, statistics show that there is 50 per cent less usage on a bank holiday and a resultant reduction in income," the report stated.
The meeting was told that implementing additional opening hours on bank holidays would have a "significant financial impact" and further increase the already heavily subsidised leisure service.
In terms of staffing costs, the average cost to open a tier 1 site (Templemore, Foyle Arena or Riversdale) costs in excess of 10,000. A tier 2 site (Brooke Park, Melvin Sports Complex or Derg Valley Leisure Centre) will cost in excess of 2,800.
"It is estimated that to open both Templemore and Foyle Arena on all bank holidays outside of the key closures such as Christmas Day etc will costs in excess of an estimated additional 80,000 per year. If Riversdale Leisure Centre was included this cost would be in excess of 110,000 per year.
"Given this substantial cost and that no budget provision has been made as part of 2018/19 rates estimates, it is recommended that this should be considered as part of upcoming rates estimates discussions for 2019/20 along with other pressures and aspirations and when potential further Central Government funding cuts are better know.
"There are HR implications in terms of staff welfare and their ability to take time off around bank holiday periods and other factors such as childcare availability," councillors were told.
Any changes to the current working practices in relation to bank holidays will require "significant staff and union consultation", the meeting also heard.
"The full range of potential impacts cannot be determined fully until this process completes," the report added.
It was subseuently recommended that members note the potential financial and staffing impact that additional opening hours on public and bank holidays may have and refer the review of opening hours for to the Leisure and Sports Services working group for consideration.
Strabane independent councillor, Patsy Kelly, said he would be in favour of a pilot scheme to see if it would be worthwhile opening the centres on public holidays.
"It's a lot of money but we need to look at the usage statistics from public bank holidays to see if it's justified and presents value for money. Not everyone goes away for bank holidays and if the demand is there for lesiure centres to be opened then I think we have to try to be accomodating where we can.
"If users want the facilities oepn on more holidays, it might be an idea to have a pilot scheme over a one year period. That way statistics will show if the footfall is there and whether in the long-run if it's cost effective or not," he said.


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