By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Three months after bringing a revised fee schedule to Council for approval, the Morinville Community Cultural Centre was given the green light on their 2013 rate structure. The new rates are the first change since the facility opened its doors in June of 2011 and include significant changes to the rates used in 2012.
In late November Council directed the cultural centre to form an ad hoc committee to review the new rates. The group met Dec. 6 and the new rates were the result of those discussions.
All-inclusive package added
The main change to the fee structure is the addition of an all-inclusive package to accommodate weddings, galas, fundraisers and corporate banquets. The package will cost $900 for non-profit organizations, $1,400 for residents and $1,750 for corporate rentals. The package price includes the Main Hall, bar, foyer, the commercial kitchen and illuminated stairway, the latter a popular feature for wedding photos. Other items included in the package are china, cutlery, linens and an audio / video package as well as set up, tear down and security.
Morinville’s Director of Community Services said consultation from the community was sought by way of the ad hoc committee and that many discussions were had on what pricing should be. “It’s a very sensitive issue in our community and we are well aware with that,” Dawson said. “The range that they [ad hoc committee] talked about was between $1,350 and $1,500 for an all-inclusive package.” Dawson said she believes there will be no negative feedback with renters on the new pricing structure.
One of the motivating factors behind the all-inclusive package was the cost of linens. Under the previous $1,000 rental package, linens were included. The inclusion of linens and other elements added to the hard costs and put a sizeable dent in wedding and banquet rental revenues.
Dawson said those who do not wish the full package could pick and choose the components they require for the event; however, she and her staff feel the all-inclusive package provides a one-stop shopping experience that takes care of many event needs under one umbrella. “We are really assuming that package will market itself,” she said, adding it was an excellent deal compared to what is being offered at facilities in neighbouring communities.
Deputy Mayor Nicole Boutestein, who sat on the ad hoc committee, praised the work in establishing the new fees. “I think you have hit the nail on the head,” Boutestein said, adding her own comparative study showed Morinville was about $600 less than other facilities.
Morinville’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Debbie Oyarzun praised cultural centre staff for the work on the fee structure and for the gloss marketing package the facility had put together for the all-inclusive package. “We have now a great marketing tool that we can go out with,” Oyarzun said, adding she appreciated Council pushing back when the fees were first presented because it resulted in the right concept.
Rental period changes
Other changes will affect the amount of time renters will have to use the facility when not taking the all-inclusive package. Previous day rates gave renters the facility from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. in certain instances, a total of 18 hours. Those taking the package will still have the facility from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. if needed; however, those renting portions of the facility will have a 12-hour block within those hours to work with.
The 18-hours available to those taking the new package allows for hall decorating time the day of the event, but decorating time will not be included in the general rental if it is done the day prior. Renters will now have the option of booking the hall for four hours the night before the event at a cost of $500 or for 12 hours the day before at the standard day rate of $1,000. Those who feel like taking a gamble can book additional decorating time the week prior to the event at half price if the facility is not rented.
Those not taking advantage of the all-inclusive package will be responsible for some additional charges. Linen and security will now be the renter’s responsibility, and those using the facility will now pay for the use of the commercial kitchen above and beyond the Main Hall rental. Kitchen rental day rates will now be $200 for non-profit use, $300 for resident use, and $400 for corporate use.
Revenues a concern
Councillor David Pattison said he was pleased with the package but was concerned with what it means to the centre’s bottom line. “What does this fee schedule do for us in what you would project for 2013 revenues and how it would compare with 2012 losses,” Pattison asked. “With any business venture we have an expectation of what the profitability would be.”
Oyarzun said in 2012 the average residential event’s hard costs resulted in a $300 to $400 loss per rental in some cases. The increase in package pricing will put the rental business into the black. “We are going from $300 to $400 loss per event to $50 to $100 revenue,” Oyarzun said.
The new prices take effect immediately; however, those who have already booked their event will pay the 2012 rates previously agreed to.