A pair of separate requests were sent back to administration for either more information or discussion with the affected parties.
At the May 1 meeting of Bashaw town council, letters from the Bashaw and Area Recreation Board (BARB) plus the pickleball club were discussed and ultimately determined that council couldn’t proceed on either request.
BARB asked the town for a lease on the tourist booth in collaboration with a number of other community organizations. A BARB member had indicated they would be at the meeting to answer any questions or concerns, but at the last minute was unable to attend.
The letter outlined BARB would take over the operation from the Bashaw Historical Society, which is no longer able to keep it open, and would bring groups like the Bashaw Public Library, Bashaw District Support Services and the Bashaw Art Club plus any others on board to utilize the facility for various programming and for visitors.
“We would like to secure the venue so that we can work with local community groups to create activities that would be appropriate for the facilities and increase the interest in our community,” said BARB chair Sarah Wray in the letter.
“BARB will continue to support historical evidence depicting the history of Bashaw and make available racking information for tourists.”
CAO Theresa Fuller told council BARB’s initial indication was for a five or 10 year lease, which caused concern for most of the councillors. Coun. Rosella Peterman was not at the meeting.
Coun. Lynn Schultz felt that was too long, noting a lease should be looked at every couple of years.
“I’d like to see every two years and renew it after then it would be up to the next council,” he said.
However, Coun. Rob McDonald felt that would place the next, and potentially all new, council in a tight spot by having to look at a lease with little to go on for information.
“I think they’d simply rubber stamp the renewal since the previous council approved it,” he stated. “I would listen to a possible three or four year lease.”
And before that could be resolved, the issue of what to do about the washrooms and rest of the area came up. Fuller noted the facilities have been vandalized a few times, including $12,000 in repairs last year, and that the town is looking into setting up security cameras to monitor the area. Currently, the washrooms are always open and maintained by public works.
“It would be nice to be able to keep them open,” said Mayor Penny Shantz, though she and council expressed concerns about potential troubles, plus keeping the area clean.
In the end, council asked administration to go back to BARB with a suggestion of a four year lease and for the group to help maintain the entire facility, including the washrooms. Fuller stated any draft agreement would come back to council for approval.
On the pickleball front, the request was to use the arena floor as the present space at the Bashaw Agricultural Society can’t accommodate more nets and players that want to play. The club was also looking to have the $30 per hour summer rental rate cut or eliminated in favour of a pay per use for the twice weekly times they play.
As it turned out, Schultz noted the ag society voted at its last meeting not to hand out rental discounts as it was getting out of hand and no one wanted to pay the full $30 per hour.
Fuller stated that minor baseball pays the arena rate to use the floor, prompting Schultz to push back.
“I just think we are going to run into trouble if we do this. It will come back and bite us,” he stated.
McDonald added the cost to the club for the time period they want at the arena rate would be about $2,000. At this point, Shantz wondered if BARB — who got the club started — might consider assisting and was curious if the club has even approached BARB.
Council felt this route should be pursued and directed administration to propose to the club that it talk to BARB about funding subsidies as well as notify them the arena rental rate will not be lowered.