LMC catering exclusivity declined by council
A proposal from HT Catering and Meats looking to become the sole in-house caterer for the Lacombe Memorial Centre (LMC) has been declined by city council.
Owners and operators Henk and Tamara Bos spoke to council during the regular meeting on Monday, suggesting a single caterer within the building would be more efficient, both in terms of generating revenue and reducing contamination.
“By becoming the in-house caterer, we can accomplish, not only for ourselves but also for the city, a greater revenue on a great building,” said Henk Bos. “We would do all the catering in the LMC – then there is no health issues, no other people in the kitchen. There’s no contamination. It’s just cleaner.”
Under their proposal, they would have exclusive rights for any function that needs catering within the building, from weddings to galas and community dinners, similar to other major event centres in the region such as Red Deer’s Westerner Park, which only allows Red Deer Catering to cater within the building.
However, such a proposal would force various community events, such as the Lacombe Community Christmas Dinner and the Knights of Columbus’ Turkey Supper to hand over cooking responsibilities to HT Catering. Other local businesses and groups would not be permitted to use the kitchen or bring in foods from external sources.
Coun. Cora Hoekstra expressed some concern for those groups.
“I know what it costs to put on the Community Christmas Dinner. If I had to pay per plate for that dinner we wouldn’t be able to do it,” Hoekstra said. “I think some community groups would be concerned about the proposal and tied into this proposal, there might be groups that will no longer use the building and that would be concerning to me.”
The Bos’ said they’d love to talk and hear ideas from groups on how to help them put on dinners and events, such as helping sponsor them, but insisted that a sole caterer for the LMC was the best route for the city to go.
“It’s not really that we want to (be exclusive). We think it’s the best way that it works to create the best income for the LMC and ourselves,” said Tamara Bos.
As well, the risk of contamination with food coming from various sources and all used within the one kitchen in the building is an issue.
Community Services Director Brenda Vaughan says they’ve spent a lot of time trying to manage the dual usage of the kitchen between HT Catering and Meats, who currently run AnnaMaria’s Cafe, and other groups.
“We have inserted locks and grates to keep people’s food separate, but when community groups come in they are using that cooler and that freezer,” she said. “We’ve looked at different infrastructure things...The room itself is not conducive to building an additional area.”
The proposal has been brought before previous councils and was discussed in camera at Monday’s meeting. According to highlights released by the City of Lacombe on Tuesday, a motion was made out of camera to decline the proposal, as well as a request for renovation by HT Catering and Meats.
Utility rates are still expected to rise in Lacombe, thanks to the regional wastewater project.
Council gave second reading to the Utility Rate Bylaw on Monday, which, once approved, will see rate for wastewater set at $20 – an increase of $0.68 per customer per month – as well as a consumption rate increase to $2.15 per cubic metre of effluent.
While water rates will remain the same, multi residential will see an increase of $1.03 to $17.27 per unit per month for solid waste. Commercial rates will increase to $109.89 per month per customer per bin.
Combined utility bill increases for an average household are expected to be around $18.01 per month.
Line of credit
First reading was given to an annual bylaw authorizing the establishment of a $3,500,000 line of credit for the city. First reading was also given to the 2018 supplementary assessment bylaw to levy the annual supplementary property assessment tax.
The next council meeting will be on Jan. 22 at 5 p.m. in council chambers.