Stavely Elks take over management of three MD parks

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The Stavely Elks and Royal Purple have entered into an agreement with the Municipal District (MD) of Willow Creek for the lodge to take over operation of Willow Creek, Pine Coulee and Clear Lake parks from the MD.

At its March 24 meeting, the MD council authorized administration to execute an agreement to do just that.

A report to council stated the Stavely Elks have indicated they are prepared to move forward with an agreement to begin operating all three MD parks on April 1.

The Elks attended the Feb. 24 council meeting and provided a proposal discussed with council in closed session. As a result of this delegation, council directed administration to prepare a draft agreement between the MD and the Elks for sub-letting of the parks.

The parks have averaged an operational loss of $125,000, not including capital costs.

The Elks’ agreement includes a phased three-year implementation, which will require the MD to pay utility costs estimated at $15,000 per year, the use of certain equipment for the same period and assistance by the MD for certain operational matters, including installation of docks at Pine Coulee and Clear Lake, and cleanup help if the parks flood.

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As the park is being leased, the MD will continue to insure the buildings at the park and continue to maintain the bridge at Willow Creek Park.

The total annual costs to the MD for the first three years of the agreement are estimated to be $25,000. Following the three-year term, annual costs are estimated to decrease to $7,500 annually. The net operational cost savings from the first year are estimated to be $100,000.

It was noted recreation costs continue to escalate and the opportunity to privatize the parks to a local community organization could be an opportunity for the MD to focus on core services.

Coun. Ian Sundquist, an Elks member, explained members met the week before the March 24 council meeting and had what he described as a “lively meeting.”

“In the end, they accepted this proposal,” he said, adding they are thankful the MD is taking on the cost of utilities for the first three years.

Sundquist explained the lodge’s parks proposal committee was disbanded and replaced by a parks committee, which met to map the way forward.

“Everything is moving along swimmingly,” he said.

Coun. John Kroetsch expressed his appreciation to the Elks and Derrick Krizsan, the MD’s chief administrative officer, for all their efforts.

“It’ll really help us save a lot of money,” Kroetsch said.

Council then agreed to execute the agreement.

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