The Town of Castor will offer a building formerly used by the “Golden Circle” seniors organization to the Castor and District FCSS (Family and Community Support Services). The decision came after a discussion and vote at the Nov. 8 regular meeting of council.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee brought the issue of the Golden Circle's exit from the similarly-named building back to council’s attention after it was discussed several weeks ago. At a previous meeting council heard the Golden Circle group, which has a membership age requirement of 40 years or older, was going into a hiatus and returning the building they occupy, which is town property, back to the municipality with the group possibly picking up again in the future.
Councillors previously discussed a proposal from Castor and District FCSS to, in effect, move into the building and possibly managing it.
Robblee noted he met with some of the tenants of the Golden Circle building located at 5103 51st Street the same day as the council meeting to discuss the FCSS proposal, specifically the Elks Club. He reported the Elks rent part of the building and still conduct bingo events there along with paying $80 a month rent. Robblee reported the Elks told him they did not have a problem with the FCSS proposal. However the Elks pointed out the bingo nights are not huge money-makers and are more of a “break even” activity.
As the discussion moved to some of the other tenants in the Golden Circle building, it was mentioned some of the rental rates were lower than what the Elks were paying.
Mayor Richard Elhard made a note of it. “Some of the rent seemed fairly nominal,” said Elhard.
Robblee reminded councillors FCSS currently resides in the town office and pays $700 a month rent. The CAO mentioned that if FCSS did take over the Golden Circle building, the extra space would be appreciated by town staff, and the space could possibly become a GIS office.
Councillors briefly discussed the option of leaving the space vacant, to which the CAO responded the town would continue to incur costs for the building, such as insurance, while it generated less income.
Coun. Kevin McDougall stated he would like to see FCSS pay $750 rent for the Golden Circle space. Robblee responded that number would still mean the building would run at a deficit. Robblee also mentioned at this time that the Golden Circle group had hinted they may return to provide services again sometime in the future, but councillors seemed to agree that if the FCSS proposal was approved, the Golden Circle group’s return to the building would likely not be possible.
Coun. Brenda Wismer, who is a member of the Castor and District FCSS board, stated FCSS and the Golden Circle offer similar services. Wismer also added that FCSS currently pays $700 a month rent in the town office, “...and that’s a stretch.”
Councillors eventually passed a resolution to offer Castor and District FCSS the Golden Circle’s space for $700 a month rent with the stipulation that FCSS manages the building, FCSS is responsible for janitorial work and all rent revenue from the Golden Circle building’s other tenants comes to the town.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review