Reducing ice rental fees paid by the Alberni Valley Bulldogs to the city has claimed its first victim.
Long-time Parks and Recreation programmer Ron Paulson has been let go from his position at the Alberni Valley Multiplex. His last day is June 27.
“I never saw this coming; it caught us off guard. My family and I are still in shock,” Paulson said. “Things change and change is difficult but I have to move on now.”
A letter to Paulson from the city noted that “forces beyond our control” forced management to reduce programs and services in the Parks, Recreation and Heritage department.
“We inform you that your position as a regular part-time recreation programmer at the Multiplex has been eliminated,” the letter noted.
On June 23, city council voted to finalize an agreement with the Bulldogs that would see their ice rental fees chopped in half for the next two years.
The move is connected to the situation with the Bullodgs. “But we were looking at making organization changes before the Bulldogs requested a reduction,” he said. “I did say to council that we would be making changes at the facility.”
No other staff were let go, Kenny said.
The Multiplex may be the same building but the environment it operates is changing, he added.
The Bulldogs don’t sell our regularly anymore; there are fewer groups using the facility; and new liquor laws will soon impact the facility.
“There’ll still be programs at the facility but we needed to re-allocate our resources.”
New sports facilities supervisor Steve Bilodeau will assume management of the Multiplex along with the Bob Dailey Stadium, Glenwood Centre and the sports fields.
Paulson’s last project is to help with the ADSS Class of 2014 graduation ceremonies on Friday.
After that, he’ll leave his office for the last time, turn in his keys, walk out of the Multiplex and into an uncertain future.
“I’m going to miss watching the little kids in their skating programs and working with the staff,” he said. “It’s those moments that you understand why you do what you do.”
Paulson said he’s concerned about what will happen to programs he oversaw like men’s and women’s recreational hockey as well as with kids learning to skate. “Those were near and dear to me. I don’t know what they’re going to do though.”
A native of Edmonton, Alta, Paulson first came to Port Alberni as a member of a men’s hockey team from Prince George in 1974.
He fell in love with the Valley after arriving and met a local girl named Beth whom he would marry. Paulson stayed in his newly adopted home playing hockey for the former Labatts Blues.
Paulson helped with the Tall Ships festival as well as with the 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Paulson said he’s going to take time driving to a family occasion in Alberta this summer to reflect on the experience and take stock of himself.
“This is still sinking in and I’m not sure what I’m going to do but I’ll land on my feet. I’m a survivor,” he said.