After consistently failing to find suitable management for the Byron Regional Sport and Cultural Complex (BRSCC), Byron Shire Council decided last week to manage the facility directly.
An external report considered at last Thursday’s council meeting proposed the direct-management model and the recommendation was unanimously supported by councillors.
General manager Ken Gainger said the review of the facility and the current state of the market has determined that this is the best approach.
The report was commissioned following the decision not to progress negotiations with the PCYC to manage the multipurpose facility.
Mr Gainger said the direct-management model would ‘enable Council to keep control of the facility while maximising community use’.
He added that ‘new management initiatives would be introduced to reduce the current operating costs’.
‘In their report, the recreation consultants highlighted that there are currently limited companies in the market place offering the required services to manage and operate the BRSCC. Plus, management companies are expecting increased management fees for their services and knowledge.
‘Going down this path at this point in time is unlikely to achieve a result that would suit our community’s needs,’ he said.
Mr Gainger said it would allow greater flexibility in hiring decisions ‘with potentially a more beneficial financial and social return to Council’.
‘For example, the multipurpose facility has a superb commercial kitchen. If we retain a direct management model, Council will pursue leasing the space to a catering company that would be granted catering rights for events at the building.
‘We are also about to announce that a major sporting code is about to be based from the complex. It will be a great boost for the sport and the health and wellbeing of our region,’ he said.
The proposed new management model will also see the outdoor fields and the complex being managed under the same business unit. A new advisory committee comprising user groups and community representatives will be established and report regularly to management and Council.
‘Like any new business, there is a period of time while the business grows its product and services. The BRSCC is a tremendous asset to the region and Council will be aiming for the best economic and social outcome for ratepayers and residents.
‘The aim is still to achieve a cost-neutral facility. However, like many other services, such as libraries, pools and community buildings, this may not always be achievable or the best community result.
‘It’s a fine balance between keeping community facilities affordable for community use and managing a responsible budget,’ Mr Gainger said.