Fraser rec district to take over management of the Foundry theater, bowling alley
The Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District (FVMRD) will officially take over management of the Foundry movie theater and bowling alley later this month following months of discussions and a decision by the board to approve a lease agreement.
At a special meeting of the FVMRD Board of Directors on Thursday evening, board members approved a four year lease agreement to manage the Foundry by a three to two vote. The FVMRD will take over management on Feb. 11.
“We’re excited,” said Scott Ledin, director for parks, recreation and golf for the FVMRD. “There’s been a lot of work that has gone into getting to this point.”
Vice President of the board David McKnight said he felt the Foundry would be a good addition to the rec district because it fits within the recreation wheelhouse and it could be an alternate source of funding. An estimated budget showed around $122,000 in revenue for this year minus the month of January.
“This is a great way to help the community and the rec district to improve their services and their facilities for future generations,” McKnight said.
Both board members who voted against the lease agreement, Al White and Kelley Glancey, said they just felt the potential risk was not worth the potential reward.
“I can’t in good conscious go forward with this concept,” White said. “I think it is a great private entity and should continue to be a private entity.”
However, Ledin said he believes that the FVMRD will benefit from managing the Foundry and if he thought it would cost the district money, he would not support the agreement.
Under the lease agreement, the FVMRD is responsible for operating costs, maintenance and certain repairs. It sets the rent at $25,000 a month and includes an option to extend, as well as the ability to buy within the first three and a half years.
Mark Unicume, an owner of the Foundry, said he trusts the rec district staff to run the operation successfully and believes they are the right fit for the job. Board member Rainie Murdoch agreed.
“I was definitely on the fence,” Murdoch said. “But, I have seen how much effort (the rec district staff) has put into this and how much you want this and you guys are very smart, you’ve done well with what we have and I want to give you guys a chance.”
Ledin said the FVMRD has already convened a task force to help manage the transition and the next steps would be to learn all of the operations. He also said the rec district hopes to inherit the existing staff at the Foundry.
Currently, Ledin doesn’t expect the rec district to make any changes to the business model of the Foundry.
“We need to learn a lot from the existing operator so our plan is to do a lot of observing over the course of the next month or months to understand how they’re currently operating before we need to determine whether or not changes need to be made,” Ledin said.
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