THE Watershed is set to record its first ever operating surplus in 2011 – of a single per cent – but the future looks bright with the facility set to hold its first international event in 2012.
The national Taekwando championships are set to be held in the Watershed in the coming year and the facility is already in negotiations with NUI Maynooth to host the Inter-varsity swimming and life-saving championships again this year.
The prospect of large crowds at these events will help the Watershed to maintain its turnover. Through a number of measures the municipal leisure centre has managed to maintain a stable membership level of 1,200 members.
The key to making the facility profitable has been cutting in costs.
The total costs at the facility has been reduced by 13% and chief executive of the Watershed, Dermot Gaynor, paid tribute to his staff for helping to reduce their costs by 15.5%.
A huge boost in revenues for the Watershed has been in the retail area. The Watershed took over the stocking and management of the vending machines on the premises from Coca-Cola. This move has resulted in a 92% increase in retail for the Watershed which is estimated to be worth €30,000 to €35,000.
Mr Gaynor said that around 400,000 people had used the Watershed in the last year. He said it was impossible to tell precisely how many people use it, as not all pass through the main foyer.
Not everything in the report to Kilkenny Borough Council was good news. Mr Gaynor informed the council that within two years the running track would require resurfacing.
Mr Gaynor explained that while the surface of the track appears perfect the Tarmac underneath it was damaged by the severe winters in recent years.
He estimated that the cost of repairing the track would be €500,000.
Cllr John Coonan (FF) said he was convinced that the success of the facility was due to the fact that it was a multi-purpose centre both indoor and outdoor.
Cllr Joe Reidy (FF) asked Mr Gaynor whether the outstanding issues with the sub-contractors had ever been resolved.
Mr Gaynor said that his legal team were hopeful that the insurers would see sense and that a day out in the High Court could be avoided.