Town cooks up ideas to solve kitchen dilemma

Elected officials and staff with the Town of Davidson are trying to find a solution to an unhappy volunteer core and dissatisfied customer base at the Communiplex kitchen and lounge.

In an attempt to solve this problem the town has been trying to hire a kitchen/lounge manager for the rink, but as yet no one has come forward and applied for the position. A posting for the full-time job ended Sept. 20, but town officials still hold out hope that it will be filled before the rink opens for the skating season around the middle of October.

Trevor Ouellette, recreation director for the town, said he wants a kitchen/lounge manager hired as soon as possible, with the first hockey game to be played at the rink on Oct. 26 as the drop point. He said the recreation board met last Wednesday with a group of kitchen and lounge volunteers to try and come up with ideas on how to run the restaurant differently this winter in case no one does come forward by this time.

“As a town we know that the system in place would probably need to change, not that it was broken, it’s just ‘is this the best way to operate’,” said Ouellette. We’re “listening to volunteer feedback (about) what we can do.”

Several volunteers have raised numerous concerns with how the rink kitchen and lounge is run and also what is expected of them. They cite a lack of organization, an unrealistic expectation on the volunteers, an unfair system where many volunteers on the call list refuse to work their shifts and having the volunteers responsible for the cooking of food as ongoing problems at the rink.

Another concern for some volunteers is the town has begun to rent the rink out to teams from Saskatoon and Regina for their tournaments, but Davidson volunteers are still asked to run the kitchen and lounge on these days even though their kids aren’t involved in the play. They say helping out the rink is a priority for them, so they come out and work those shifts as well, but feel they shouldn’t have to on those days and it might be a good idea to just lease out the kitchen and lounge to a business and let them take it over if these events are going to become more commonplace.

Jason Shaw, a Davidson councillor and recreation board member, said the town can’t find anyone who wants to lease or rent the kitchen and lounge or a kitchen/lounge manager because of the unstable rink schedule and the big commitment involved with being tied to the restaurant from October to April. He said another problem is they would have to raise fees if they were to lease it out, which could stop some kids from playing hockey.

Fees “are going up for everybody and we’re going to try and keep them moving up a little bit, but that’s the dilemma,” said Shaw. “You don’t want to have them too high. That is the trade off with keeping fees low, (it’s) people volunteering in the kitchen. If you go to Regina or Saskatoon you pay quite a bit more, but they’re not doing any volunteer hours.

“The fees for the rink are only part of what it cost you to have a kid play hockey now. With the younger age group they play in a Moose Jaw league (and) people are driving in there, so you don’t want to price it too high that kids aren’t playing hockey.”

To read more please see the Sept. 30 print edition of The Davidson Leader.