The City of Penticton has issued a request for proposals for private management and operation of the Penticton Community Centre, city CAO Annette Antoniak announced Friday.
The request, according to Antoniak, asks bidders to submit pricing proposal information for a five-year contract starting June 1 for all recreation department services at the PCC.
Antoniak said the proposals must provide Penticton “residents high-quality recreational facilities and services with fiscally prudent cost implications.”
The deadline for proposals is Feb. 22.
If awarded, a private contract to manage and operate the PCC would mean the elimination of 14 full-time and 13 part-time CUPE union positions with the city.
The workers were laid off by the city last March when the centre shut down for $23.3-million worth of expansions and upgrades which is currently underway, although some where given temporary positions within the city.
According to Mayor Dan Ashton, CUPE leaders turned down a city offer in August that would have guaranteed all the PCC workers jobs back with the same salaries and seniority they had before the facility shut down.
In exchange for the new contract, Ashton said, the only concessions he would have asked for in return was that new employees not start at the same pay level as those who have been working at the pool for years, sometimes decades, and that those new employees would top out at a lower salary.
However, CUPE local president Patti Finch said she turned down the offer because she said the union could not make such concessions outside of official bargaining negotiations.
Those negotiations began in December.
Ashton said issuing the request for proposals will not only give the city an idea of how much it will cost to manage and operate the PCC privately, but will also provide the city with options should negotiations with CUPE fail.
“City council continues to investigate options to reduce the significant financial challenges we are facing while still providing our residents with premier services and facilities,” he said. “It’s imperative to seek constructive solutions to the undeniable tough times we are facing economically and all opportunities must be explored for the continued operation of the new community centre.”