Directors frustrated as GMDC deficit rises

  • Jul. 21, 2004 11:00 a.m.

Greater Massett Development Corp. directors described themselves as “frustrated” at last week’s annual general meeting, after revealing that the corporation spent $500,000 more in 2003 than it brought in.
The deficit was partly due to events beyond the directors’ control, such as lower returns on the corporation’s investments. But it’s a disquieting trend, because the previous year’s deficit was $400,000 and directors were hoping that this year’s would be less, not more.
If the trend continues, manager Jo-Ann Brown warned at the July 15 meeting, the GMDC’s money will run out in 10 to 12 years, leaving it unable to operate the Massett Rec Centre.
Directors said they will be much more aggressive this year in an effort to avoid this scenario. They are looking at various ways of raising revenue, including an increase in rec centre fees, and are also considering closing the centre on Sundays to save money.
Old Massett director John Disney said the rec centre was built around 1972 and was not constructed to last more than 20 years. It has now been standing for 32 years. Its air handling units operate at zero percent efficiency, meaning that much of the heat simply escapes from the building – resulting in huge heating bills. GMDC is trying to get funding to replace the units, Ms Brown said, which could reduce heating costs by 35 to 40 percent.
“Of course (the rec centre) is the jewel of the corporation but it’s starting to be a millstone around our neck,” Mr. Disney said. “We’re trying to keep it going but it’s costing us an arm and a leg.”
Directors revealed that they are starting to think seriously about building a new rec centre but Mr. Disney said they will proceed carefully. It’s relatively easy to raise money to build a new centre, he said, and extremely difficult to raise enough money to keep it going.
Meanwhile, recreation manager Willis Parnell’s report showed that the centre is being used by more people than ever – more than 46,000 visits were made in 2003. The rec centre employs 15 people and offered several programs throughout the year including swim lessons, aquafit, advanced lifesaving courses, and aerobics.
And Ms Brown, the manager, said the financial picture is looking a bit brighter for 2004, with investment returns recovering. GMDC also this month sold the former Rainbow Daycare building for $109,500.
“That’s very good news,” she said.
GMDC is controlled by the villages of Masset and Old Massett, with each appointing four directors to the eight-member board. It owns all the former military facilities in Masset, and its biggest function is running the recreation centre. Directors this year are the same as last year: May Russ, Leo Gagnon, John Disney and Ron Brown Jr. for Old Massett, and Trevor Jarvis, Shaun Mushynsky, Janet Brown and Ed Woode for Masset.