City pumps another $113,000 into Games centre

The figure is in  —  the city will pay $113,000 to buy Peak Fitness’ share of the exercise equipment at the Canada Games Centre.

The figure is in  —  the city will pay $113,000 to buy Peak Fitness’ share of the exercise equipment at the Canada Games Centre.

The idea was to get private companies involved in the new facility’s programming, rather than compete against them in the same market.

But after a year of leasing equipment — including treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair-climbers, stationary bikes, rowing machines and free weights — to the centre, Peak sold its gear to the city in a closed-door meeting last week.

“It wasn’t obviously working for Peak, so I feel fine about the city taking it over,” said city councillor Jan Stick.

The city would not release the equipment’s price tag last Wednesday when it announced the sale.

To buy the equipment, the city will use money from a $230,000 fund it set aside to build a stairway between the Canada Games Centre and the Mt. McIntyre trails.

The stairway project was cancelled in July because it would not have been accessible to the disabled community.

But city councillor Doug Graham says the city should have gone ahead with the project anyway.

“For me, to take the money out of that account and use it to pay off the equipment was simply bad,” said Graham.

“People are going up and down that hill come hell or high water, and somebody’s going to break their leg,” he said.

Although the best choice would have been to build an overpass between the two buildings the money wasn’t available, so the stairs were a good first step towards making the journey between the two facilities safer, said Graham.

 “I still think we should have gone ahead with the staircase and gone ahead with the disabled access as soon as we could get it done.”

The purchase price includes the equipment, maintenance and a three-year warranty on all pieces, said city manager Dennis Shewfelt.

Under the former agreement, the city leased 36 pieces, or about 80 per cent of the equipment in the centre’s second-floor wellness centre, from Peak.

Instead of direct payment, Peak agreed to take a cut of the centre’s monthly pass sales.

But when those sales didn’t meet projections, Peak found its share to be less than expected.

“We didn’t get anywhere close to what those projections were and that’s why we were in the hole,” said councillor Doug Graham.

“It became pretty obvious early in the process that there was no way Peak was going to survive as an operator up there.”

As for the extra $113,000 cost for a centre already $773,000 behind in cost overruns and revenue shortfalls, Graham says it’s money the city must pony up.

“The funding is there, it has to be, we have to pay for that equipment,” he said.

The city may try to get another private operator on board after the election, but in the short-term the city will take the reins and responsibility for the equipment.