A private company is moving into Meadow Park Sports Centre to man the concession booth.
Good Time and Health Snacks Ltd. received approval from council on Monday night and may begin operating the food and beverage stand as early as this Saturday Feb. 9.
The move from public to private operation came because rising wages were causing municipal recreation staff to cut back on their hours of operation.
The municipality began looking for a private business to administer the stand this fall. Health Snack was the only company that submitted a proposal.
Councillor Ralph Forsyth said this move coincides with some of the discussions at the public budget dialogue on Jan. 29.
“In our budget discussions, people said there are ways you could engage the private sector to offset some costs,” said Forsyth.
“I think this is a step in that direction.”
Health Snacks ran a similar concession stand at an Ontario arena over the last five years and has experience with hotels, restaurants, and bars.
Some new menu items that will be introduced include fruit smoothies and fresh squeezed juices, milk, fresh grilled paninis, fresh baked pizzas, salads, chili and soup, fresh pitas, and breakfast sandwiches.
Health Snacks said they also want to collect recyclable containers and bins and donate proceeds to local youth user groups.
The booth will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday, with more hours expected during special events or hockey league playoff times.
New information booth will provide better weather
The municipality is installing a new $35,000 Village Host Information Kiosk in the Village Stroll.
The portable kiosk will replace the current information booth, which does not provide all-year weather protection.
“The existing kiosk is a small one and does not adequately keep the weather out,” said municipal planner Melissa Laidlaw.
Money for the booth will come out of the municipality’s revenue sharing program, the recently acquired four per cent hotel tax from the province, which can be used as part of village enhancement services.
The new kiosk will be built with durable materials, including wood, steel and glass, and would sport a slightly back sloping roof to adequately drain rain and snow. It will also be able to hold up to two people.
According to Laidlaw, there are no current plans for a computer in the stall.
“There is not one proposed, but the designer indicated that there is the potential for a computer terminal,” said Laidlaw.
Councillor Tim Wake commented that having information personnel who do not rely on a computer for information leads to a more personal visitor experience.
“Village hosts are so knowledgeable. Just giving them the answer and not consulting a computer is so nice,” he said.
Laundro-bar considered as a solution to the local laundry
Imagine a Laundromat combined with a bar. It would be a place where singles could meet, do their laundry, and play pool all at the same time.
Such a facility could become a reality, with at least one councillor declaring he would approve this type of business during Monday night’s council meeting.
Councillor Eckhard Zeidler said this business design could be a great solution to deal with the public laundry problem.
“I will support a licensing application of a bar combined with a Laundromat,” he said, adding that such Laundromats are already seen across Europe.
Monday night’s discussion was sparked by a letter from a member of the public complaining about the lack of public laundry services in Whistler.
While councillors recognized the inconvenience of not having a public spot to do laundry in Whistler, municipal hall cannot directly install this resource. However, councillors can approve applications for public laundry businesses
“This is a bit like the gas issue,” explained Councillor Tim Wake.
“We can control where gas stations do not go, but if nobody wants to put a gas station in town, then there is not a whole lot we can do about it. At the same time, we should be doing everything we can to facilitate this.”
The possibility of a Laundromat/bar is an idea that is already being explored by some business people in town, according to Councillor Ralph Forsyth.
“The word on the street from young entrepreneurs in town is
that there might be a move to do that,” he said.