Service changes as recreation services faces budget cuts

BCIT Recreation Services is doing away with the parts of the activity equipment rental program as the new fiscal year approaches.

Equipment rentals are offered at a discount rate (particularly when compared to commercial rates) to enable BCIT students and staff relief from school stress and an opportunity to experience BC, says Peter Odynsky, recreation services facility programmer.

The rental equipment program was not originally intended to be a revenue producer, but a service to students. Rates have always been too low to be reasonably profitable, and despite regular use by students and faculty, they produce little return.

“There are a number of services we offer right now that run at either a cost recovery or a slight loss,” said Odynsky. “We’ve always traditionally considered [them to be] services to students.”

Rental equipment is not the only service coming under review. Other programs, such as the climbing wall and outdoor clubs, are being assessed for cost-effectiveness.

With budget cuts looming, all institution-operated programs are expected to turn a profit or at least break even. As one of the major revenue contributors under the BCIT Student Services umbrella, they has been under increasing pressure to eliminate unprofitable programs and services.

The climbing wall alone would require a major monetary investment to be upgraded. Without more funding, the wall can support eight climbers at a time, well below the capacity required for profitable operation.

Despite these challenges, rec services is looking at contingency options. One chance to keep the programs alive is for the BCIT Student Association to take over, by forming sponsored clubs, taking responsibility for the equipment and the requirement for paid staff.

No decision has been made about what equipment will be removed from the rental services, but no changes will be made until after the current semester. Equipment removed from the rental services option will likely be sold at auction.

— Alex J. Hargott

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