Vending machines now allowed in local recreation facilities

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Council made the decision in order to fill a void that's been left by a lack of concession options at non-peak hours. The North Peace Arena does not have a continuous concession, as Patch Java has only proposed opening during major events, which leaves out smaller user groups and private rentals. Patch Java has also asked to reduce its weekday operating hours at the Leisure Pool, due to staffing issues.

In the Pomeroy Sport Centre, Booster Juice operates daily, but the lower concession operator has also requested a reduced operating schedule, and was only open three days in September. Ross deBoer, Director of Community Services, says the City is currently in discussions to resolve that situation. Lastly, the Kids Arena does not have any concession services.

Councillor Byron Stewart asked whether current concession providers have expressed any concern over bringing the vending machines in, but deBoer says as far as he knows, they have no objections.

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"Patch Java, the existing contractor, has put forward a proposal for the North Peace Arena and he has no issue with having vending machines."

Stewart eventually voted against allowing vending machines.

Provincial policy requires that there be no food or beverage choices that fall in the "Not Recommended" or "Choose Least" category of the Nutritional Guidelines. At least 50 per cent of the food included must be from the "Choose Most" category. That means for potato chips, for example, they must have less than five grams of fat and less than 150 milligrams of sodium per serving.

The City will next put out an RFP for vending machine services, at which time there will be an idea of how much revenue the City can make.

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