July 24th, 2024

Enmax Centre parking back on the table


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on June 3, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge city council on Tuesday will be asked to rescind its April decision to implement paid parking at the Enmax Centre.
An agenda item by councillor John Middleton-Hope, which is scheduled to be addressed in the official business section of the meeting, also calls for council to direct administration to report back to council through the Economic Standing Policy Committee on Sept. 28 with other viable options to generate revenue for the centre.
The motion by the first-term councillor says council has received numerous complaints from the public including businesses in the proximity of the arena “highlighting a lack of community engagement and communication prior to the decision being made to impose paid parking.”
The motion also states the costs of implementing the plan as well as ongoing enforcement and maintenance costs versus the potential for revenue generation may not have been fully explored.
The motion requires a two-thirds vote by council to be successful.
Council on April 26 voted to introduce paid parking starting Sept. 1 at the Enmax with Hurricanes season ticket holders being exempt. The fee will be $5. Starting Sept. 1, Lethbridge College students will also have to pay to park there.
A statement on the City’s website in May stated that paid parking is “a fair and equitable way to generate revenue from users (both local and visitors) and to reduce the Enmax Centre’s reliance on support from Lethbridge taxpayers.”
Hurricanes president and team governor Doug Paisley told media after the announcement the team wasn’t aware council would be voting on the matter, adding it was aware of the prospect since a KPMG fiscal and operational review came out in 2019.
Paisley told media the team is concerned about what fans will be willing to pay in the future to attend games.
“Within our lease, there is a piece that states if paid parking is ever implemented at the Enmax, that there will be a negotiation on how revenue will be shared because obviously with the majority of dates and being the anchor tenant in the Enmax Centre, clearly we’re going to be involved in that conversation and negotiation,” Paisley said in May.
The KPMG report stated annually the business unit of the Enmax Centre receives a tax-supported operating subsidy of between $1.7 – $1.8 million.
Taxpayers subsidized operations by almost $8 million from 2014-18, said the report.
“The Enmax Centre is not a core service and therefore the events it offers do not need to be subsidized by all taxpayers,” said the report.
In 2018 – two years before the pandemic hit – the centre staged 189 events over 212 event days representing an annualized utilization of 58 per cent, said the report. Those 189 events attracted 315,000 people and on average events used about 35 per cent of the centre’s 6,600 seats. The facility also has 24 luxury suites and 38 luxury lounge seats.
The report stated paid parking could generate $250,000 per year if $5 was charged per vehicle per event.
According to the report, 10 small and mid-market arenas with hockey teams were used to compare performance to the Enmax Centre with most of those being city-owned.
While the Enmax Centre generates the most revenue per capita and seat, said the report, it has the highest operating loss per seat which may partly be a function of how the facility reports its income.
The report stated the Enmax Centre doesn’t have a business-oriented strategy or business plan and “its financial performance is not evaluated as a business striking for profitability.”
It also states the arena doesn’t have a business or marketing strategy that “articulates priority market opportunities, long-term growth objectives and supporting initiatives,” adding “the business plan is not focused on growth and achieving profitability-oriented key performance indicators such as utilization, revenue per seat, controlling administrative and operating costs and service line profitability.”
The report said there is a risk increased competition from the redevelopment of Exhibition Park will limit growth or reduce the number of events the centre is able to offer. It states both the probability and impact of this risk as “high.”

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pursuit diver

Accountants, or beancounters as we used to call them have their place and do a great job in many areas, but when they look at some areas such as the Enmax, they do not take into account many variables that impact their estimates and do not save money.
For example, centralizing EMS dispatch was supposed to save $6 million per year, but it appears it has COST many times more turning the savings into higher costs and costing lives as well!
We must be careful when we look at these supposed savings. The parking kiosks are time consuming and often have gliches that can take more time to resolve, especially when using cards instead of cash, and there are many that will not use their credit cards, or don’t have one, debit cards can’t be used, so if a person forgot to bring change with them . . . another problem.
The people who operate these kiosks/pedestals that we have to pay for parking with assume everyone can just use their phone or credit card to pay.
Lethbridge has a high population of seniors, man of which do not have a smart phone, or know or want to download the app.
Many do not trust the apps as well, especially when you see major apps for places like Tim Hortons or a major international company called Clearview AI under investigation for major privacy breaches, where they track you with your phone or collect data on you, and sell it to law enforcement, corporations or insurance companies and other agencies such as Clearview AI has done.
It appears that in todays world no government computers, corporate computers, etc., are safe from hackers either.
I can’t imagine the line-ups when everyone is arriving at the Enmax and need to pay for their parking. You see line-ups downtime at the kiosks and they often fail when using credit cards, when there is a communication glich with the kiosks to main terminal.
COVID impacted revenues at the Enmax the last 2.5 years! We can do better at generating more revenue, otherwise, as a last resort, maybe it should be dumped, but I would hate to see that!

Fescue

Kind of reminds me of the conservative who was asked if they would support mental health services – no, he (always a he) says. Families should take care of their kin. How about community diversion of waste to the landfill. No, he says. Business should take care of that if it makes money. How about free parking at the Sportsplex. Oh, yes, he says. I use that service.