Airdrie City Council will be looking at improving the rental process for the Town and Country Centre. Although on Tuesday, The Community and Corporate Services Standing Committee was meant to hear an update on the issue, it was ultimately decided the discussion would be moved to council.

"An in-person focus group with repeat rental clients was held on April 29 to collect feedback and experiences to help inform changes and improvements to our booking process. A questionnaire was sent out to any invitees who were not able to attend," city documents explained.

An agenda report submitted to the committee outlined several points which have become concerns for those hoping to rent the space. Among them was confusion around the fees.

"Confusion around the fees and charges for the Town & Country Centre has been identified by facility users and by Council during the Council session reviewing the fees and charges bylaw. Fees and charges for facility rentals at the Town and Country Centre will be further reviewed based on the feedback received and will be simplified and aligned to support the online booking solution," the report stated.

Other issues that confused residents, included the recent changes to the application of the Fire Code to rental events at the Town and Country Centre, which 'have created challenges and concerns for clients and highlighted areas of improvement needed in the rental process.'Several steps will be undertaken to help improve the process, including the development of common floor plans which have been reviewed by an architect to confirm compliance, as well as, 'commonly used floor plans that maximize the use of the facility have been selected and sent to a drafting company to be drawn to scale.'

"The initial work has been completed and the to-scale drawings have been reviewed and sent back for final revisions.  An Architecture firm has been engaged and provided with the Town and Country Centre construction drawings to begin their code review," city documents explained. "Floor plans will be sent to the Architect as soon as the final revisions have been completed for review of code compliance and determination of occupancy based on each floor plan."

There will also be what is being dubbed as an 'online information clean-up'.

"Communications has completed work on simplifying the language used on the website to make it clear from the customer's perspective. Communications have created a ‘DEV’ page where they are providing a new layout with easy navigation options for clients to make bookings, check availability, and view and select floor plans."

Another step to be taken is to clarify and make the booking process more consistent, including clearly defined processes and standard operating procedures [that are] being developed to ensure consistency in processing rentals and removing discretion in decision-making in the administration of the rental experience.

"This includes the communication of clear timelines of when rental requests can be submitted and how prioritization is applied to rental requests."

The online booking portion will be included as part of city administration's Centralized Booking Plan, which was also discussed at the committee meeting.

"The online booking process will eliminate the current booking request form; enable customers to view and select rooms, type of event, pre-event set-up, and total booking price for the rental; gather necessary information about the event from the customer as they create the booking request. Customers will be able to pay online for their rental upon finalizing the rental contract."

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