City council has given Mosaic Place another financial infusion, this time for $275,000, while it extended the deadline for when the venue must repay its loan for food and beverage services.
Council voted 4-1 during its Oct. 12 regular meeting to provide the entertainment venue with additional funding for the remainder of 2021. It also gave building operator Spectra Venue Management Services until June 2022 to repay the $150,000 for food and beverage services that council authorized in August.
Acting Mayor Dawn Luhning was opposed. Coun. Jamey Logan did not vote because of a financial conflict of interest.
According to Spectra’s cash flow chart, Mosaic Place had $170,857 in cash at the start of September. That jumped to $330,952.12 when all cash receipts were included for the month.
However, once all cash had been paid out by Sept. 30, the venue faced a deficit of $26,738.
By the end of December, Spectra expects Mosaic Place to have a cash deficit of $267,323. The operations organization also expects to have paid out $1.41 million by the end of 2021.
Spectra plans to use the extra money to address cash flow issues, such as paying employees and covering regular expenses.
Aside from recreation venue revenues, the remainder of the City of Moose Jaw’s 2021 budget is on track, city manager Jim Puffalt told council.
“The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are particularly difficult for recreational facilities/event centres, and Mosaic Place is no different,” he added. “Fortunately, this line of business has reopened in Canada, and the operational changes that have been made will ensure maximum revenues are generated from the facility.”
Spectra Venue Management Services
After eight months of minimal activities, Mosaic Place is firing up again with events, including WHL and AAA hockey games, curling, and scheduling of meetings, general manager Ryan MacIvor said.
“It is exciting to see the venue vibrating with activity,” he remarked.
MacIvor reviewed how the pandemic had affected Mosaic Place and the steps Spectra had taken. This included cancelling hockey and curling in early 2021, laying off 63 per cent of staff, dealing with the Ticket Rocket fallout, managing a building with a pre-pandemic budget, and continuing maintenance with a skeleton staff.
The live events business model is based upon people attending events in-person to drive revenues, and since that couldn’t happen, Mosaic Place missed out on over $441,000 in revenues, MacIvor said. Spectra took steps that saved over $419,000 in operating expenses, such as layoffs and deferred maintenance.
That latter number jumps to $494,000 because Mosaic Place hosted winter ice instead of one of the other municipal arenas.
The municipality — through Spectra — now controls all aspects of the business at Mosaic Place rather than contracting out certain pieces, such as ticket sales or food and beverage, he continued. This will enhance customer service, product quality and provide more revenue streams.
“The 2022 budget will not require the level of subsidization over the past two years that was required due to COVID-19,” said MacIvor.
MacIvor pointed out that other event venues across Canada have seen budget increases to offset lost revenue during the pandemic. For example, Oshawa provided its event venue with over $1 million, Abbotsford increased its subsidy by $580,000, Okanagan added another $600,000, while Evraz Place in Regina had its line of credit increased and received an extra $300,000 in operating funding.
Mosaic Place’s 2021 budget and subsidy were $864,307, excluding funding for the equipment reserve. MacIvor noted that the venue had generated over $49,000 through food and beverage sales, while it only needed $100,000 of the $150,000 advance.
“Again, we are optimistic and excited that the remainder of 2021 and 2022 will be positive, and the events and activities will be as close to normal as possible,” he added.
The Express will have another story featuring comments from city council on this issue.
The next regular council meeting is Monday, Oct. 25.