The Rossland Curling Society (RCS) was hoping for a five year extension of their lease of the city facility, but will have to settle for less.
The society provided the city with a report at the Sept. 20 council meeting requesting a five-year lease extension due to projects it wanted to complete, and a guarantee that they would be there for an extended period.
“The RCS has been faced with short-term lease agreements for the past 10 years which led to a reluctance to invest in capital projects,” read the report.
“In addition, the uncertainty of the arena’s future has been addressed with installation of the new efficient ice plant.”
The society proposed to complete upgrades to the facility, including painting and installing new carpet in the lounge, purchasing a new lounge cooler, install a de-humidifier, and design and launch a RCS website.
The estimated cost to the RCS would be about $25,000, with no expense to the city.
Coun. Janice Nightingale was in opposition to granting a lease to the curling club until more financial information was received.
Since the installation of the new ice chiller in 2020, costs to skating rink users have increased, while the lease afforded the curling rink will only increase based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
“I just find that the way their lease is organized isn’t very equitable for all the users and/or the tax base that we have,” said Nightingale.
“It’s a fixed priced exclusive lease for a city facility.
“They don’t pay utilities like other people who have fixed-price exclusive leases do.”
Nightingale crunched the numbers and suggested that curlers were getting a break based on their lease and hours used.
According to the councilor, curling club users pay about $43 per hour for the ice, whereas the adult rate for the skating side is roughly $156 per hour.
“I’d like to see us balancing equity and the user-fee structure at that complex so that we can maintain that facility and have it be sustainable and useable by the public for many more years.”
A representative from RCS attended the meeting and acknowledged that Coun. Nightingale had made some good points.
“However, she’s comparing, in my opinion, apples to oranges,” said the RCS rep.
“The arena side, the skating rink, is managed by the city, city employees, city everything.
“Whereas on the curling rink side it’s all done by members that don’t charge for their time.
“We pay for our own ice making and our own equipment.
“This isn’t funded by the city at all, so those costs are not taken into account by Ms. Nightingale’s statement.”
After more discussion, council voted to enter into an extension of the current Facility Use Agreement with the Rossland Curling Society for a period of one year, with the intent of extending it to a long-term agreement during negotiations next year based on clear operating cost data.