Monday, January 30, 2023

ENMAX Centre governance, school busses part of city-wide review

There could be changes to how the ENMAX Centre is run and operated if Lethbridge City Council adopts some recommendations in phase one of a city-wide operational review.

The report was presented to Councillors earlier this week by City Manager Bram Strain. The 335 pages and the KPMG recommendations can be viewed here: Phase One City of Lethbridge Operational Review

Strain says one of those changes could include people paying for parking at the arena. “When you look at the WHL as a league, most arenas charge for parking nowadays. They all have different ownership models. Ours is owned by the City. That presents some challenges. Essentially, what the reports says is it’s time to look at doing things differently at the ENMAX.”

Strain says another part of the KPMG report talks about the overall governance of the ENMAX Centre, looking at the arena more as a business rather than a City department.

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“Essentially what we need to do is get it (ENMAX Centre) off tax support,” says Strain. “That needs to be a financially, economically, independent unit. So whether that happens through a sale, operational model, or internal governance structure, we need to make sure it’s a viable entity moving forward for the City.”

Another item as part of phase one of the operational review looked at school bussing. Strain says KPMG found that Lethbridge is the only municipality in North America which provides bussing for school divisions. “So if you read the report, KPMG suggested we get out of that business. That should be something that goes back to the school divisions to decide how they would like to deliver that.”

The lengthy and in-depth report, which was presented Council’s Community Issues Committee, will now go before a regular meeting of City Council Monday, November 25th.

If all the recommendations were adopted by Council, it could save the City between $8.5 and $10 million a year.

Strain says phase two of the city-wide review will begin next week and that will look at $200 million dollars of City operations, which takes into account things like infrastructure and the day-to-day runnings of the City.

The City Manager says this first phase review has been positive, confirming a few things. He says Lethbridge provides a high level of service, but that also comes at a cost.

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