Sunday, 26 February 2012

Pay to play?

How much profit should a playground make?

Yes, I agree, it’s a daft question.

What about if it’s a playground for adults? 

How much profit should that make?

Yes, I’m talking about our Guernsey Leisure Centre which regularly turns in a loss despite having, at times, one of the busiest car parks in the Island.

How can something so popular not make a profit?

Because, of course, it is not a business but a public amenity. It is there for the benefit of the people of Guernsey.

Now I speak as one who decries this Island’s obsession with sport and the over the top attention sport gets from the media. But even I can see the benefits of lots of people of all ages staying healthy and staying out of our hospitals.

The centre is also regularly used by theatre groups and concert artists. So it’s not just for sports fans. The centre fulfils community needs. It improves our quality of life.

But if we can’t make a profit on it, why don’t we just privatise it, take our money and run?

Now why would any sane business person want to buy something if they couldn’t make a profit from it?

Could we sell off Beau Sejour?

I’m certain that we could.

I am equally certain that someone else could, and would, make a profit from it. Jobs would be cut and prices raised. And for who’s benefit?

Why privatise something just to benefit some anonymous company and it’s shareholders?

Privatisation is the wrong answer to a question which shouldn’t be asked in the first place.

Let’s leave C&L to run the centre as efficiently as they can and accept that getting profit from a playground is just asking the wrong question.

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