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Former Hillcrest Sports Centre a busy place under new managers

'Golden Ticket Sports has made significant investments into the facility since taking over, greatly enhancing what the facility can offer'
Golden Ticket Sports Centre 2
An upgraded exterior of the Golden Ticket Sports Centre. Tanner Brightman is co-owner of Golden Ticket Sports Inc., along with business partner Chris King. Their company now operates the former Hillcrest Sports Centre, which has now been renamed to Golden Ticket Sports Centre. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

The Golden Ticket Sports Centre — formerly Hillcrest Sports Centre — has been busy since opening under new management, with hundreds of youths and adults participating in programs since July.

City hall and Golden Ticket Sports Inc. signed a five-year lease agreement on June 1 to operate the former Hillcrest Sports Centre building. The agreement allows the municipality to maximize community access to the sports venue while providing much-needed indoor gym space.

“Golden Ticket Sports has made significant investments into the facility since taking over, greatly enhancing what the facility can offer,” Derek Blais, director of parks and rec, said during the Dec. 6 regular council meeting. 

Some investments include exterior and interior painting, recarpeting a classroom, updating the gym floor and adding rubber surfacing, installing basketball and volleyball equipment, adding a classroom, adding turf, upgrading the washroom and showers, replacing lights and adding glass protectors at court level to keep spectators safe.

Meanwhile, 212 youths have participated in camps and programs between July 20 and Nov. 21, Blais continued. Furthermore, the venue has allotted about 25 hours per week for drop-in basketball and volleyball activities, with 70 monthly members between the ages of 12 and 45 using the venue during those periods. 

Moreover, the sports business has signed long-term leases with the tennis club, Sowden Flanagan Baseball Academy, Holy Trinity Catholic School Division and Gottselig Athletic Performance. It has also signed rental agreements with Moose Jaw Adult Volleyball League, Sask. Stealth Volleyball and Queen City Canadian Junior Basketball League. 

Golden Ticket Sports is still waiting for Pickleball Moose Jaw to confirm times for its members, including guaranteed time outside of regular drop-in occasions. 

“Discussions with Pickleball Moose Jaw are still ongoing … hopefully, there can be some movement that way,” said Coun. Heather Eby. “This (update about the venue) is good. I’m glad we’re at this stage, and it’s a good move we made a year ago (to have Golden Ticket Sports manage the building).”

The lease agreement says that Golden Ticket Sports must provide the municipality with an annual contribution of five per cent of gross annual revenues up to $25,000, with that funding put into a capital reserve for future building upgrades, Blais said.

By July 31 — the end of Golden Ticket Sports’ fiscal year — the company had contributed revenues of $29,852.92, with $1,492.65 applied to this year’s reserve. 

Meanwhile, the parks and recreation department completed $60,000 worth of remediation projects to ensure the building remains structurally and mechanically sound, he continued. Emergency repairs were required to the roof and HVAC/electrical systems, costing $11,200 from the department’s operating budget.

A recent inspection indicated there are major concerns with the building’s boiler. The department plans to replace the boiler with savings from this year’s capital projects. This will avoid emergency costs over the winter while resulting in savings in the 2023 capital budget.

“It’s on its last legs. It could go at any time,” said Blais, who noted that replacement of the machine could occur within the next month. 

During the next five years, the parks and rec department plans to replace the roof in three phases from 2022 to 2024; complete exterior grading and landscaping upgrades next year; complete HVAC updates in 2023; update air handling units, dehumidifiers and air conditioning in 2026; and upgrades lights to LEDs in 2025. 

The next regular council meeting is Monday, Dec. 13.