Editorial: Concession of convenience

Is there a reason that multiple concession operators have come and gone at Powell River Recreation Complex over recent years?

Once again, the city is seeking, or, according to director of parks, recreation and culture Ray Boogaards, in negotiations with potential operators to run the concession inside the hub of indoor recreational activity in Powell River.

The question is: Does the operation provide a business or individual with an opportunity to earn a profit? If not, the carousel of entrepreneurs trying to make a run at it will continue.

Perhaps previous operators have simply had enough and moved on for reasons other than financial, but the location and ebb and flow of traffic at the recreation complex over the course of a day, or as seasons change, results in a greater challenge than other food establishments face.

Area residents are not visiting the complex specifically to eat. They drop in for a workout or to swim, or to attend an event.

The average Powell River Kings hockey game takes two and a half to three hours to play. Minor hockey games are typically shorter than that and practices for most sports take up even less time.

So how long does the average visitor spend at the complex, and do they really need to eat/drink during that time?

If the concession was a moneymaker, people would be flocking for the opportunity to run it and multiple bids would be submitted. Is that the case? Maybe, but if so, why have the previous stints been so short?

Have visitors determined that eating at home is easier, more cost effective and less likely to result in missing some action while standing in line?

Larger events which organize their own catering diminish the need for a concession during those times. Tailgate parties prior to Kings’ games will satiate some fans, not to mention that the beer gardens will always be open.

As for the smaller events, meetings, practices, and the average middle of the day in the middle of the week, there is always the vending machines, which of course are always stocked with “healthy” snacks and drinks.

If the longest visit is fewer than three hours, no one is going to starve or die of thirst before leaving.

Tournaments are the exception, or families with multiple young athletes who spend more time than the average person at the facility. But even then, this is Powell River; most other eating/drinking establishments are within an eight-minute drive, as is home for most people. Pack a thermos or reusable water bottle and brown bag it.

The concession is about convenience; it is not a necessity. People can adapt and survive without it.

 
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