Craig suggests turning Tiverton Arena into indoor soccer field
By Liz Dadson
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Kincardine councillor Kenneth Craig has suggested the municipality close the Tiverton Arena as an ice surface, and turn it into an indoor soccer facility.
In committee-of-the-whole Wednesday night (May 7), council was unsure how to proceed with the problem that Kincardine Minor Hockey is renting ice time in Ripley instead of Tiverton because the rate is cheaper.
In her report, recreation director Karen Kieffer said staff is recommending a one-per-cent increase in ice fees for the 2014-15 season. This would be for both the Davidson Centre in Kincardine and Tiverton Sports Centre.
Kieffer said staff will continue to investigate policies used in other municipalities, such as incentives to fill up open ice at discounted rates within a certain time period, youth shinny hockey, consolidation of websites, reviewing ice policies, etc.
She said a survey was done, gathering information from 19 communities, and the average ice time rate was $121.38/hour for minor sports.
Right now, early morning ice (6:30-8:30 a.m.), Monday to Friday is $53.50/hour; with the proposed one-per-cent increase, it would be $54.30/hour.
Non-prime ice (8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Monday to Friday, would increase to $79.43/hour from $78.25/hour.
Prime time ice (4 p.m. to 12 a.m. and all day Saturday and Sunday), would increase to $130.68/hour from $128.75/hour for adults; to $119.26/hour from $117.50/hour for youth; to $147.43/game from $145.25/game for Junior C; to $130.68/practice from $128.75/practice for Junior C; Kincardine minor sports for Davidson Centre, to $117.73/hour from $115.99/hour; and for the Tiverton Arena, to $110.63/hour from $109/hour; minor sports off-ice training, to $14.72 from $14.50; and school rate, to $37.55/hour from $37/hour.
Kieffer said that staff has gathered information from the previous two years which shows an operating loss for the Tiverton Arena of $64,405 for 2012, and $74,244 for 2013. The Davidson Centre Arena lost $50,731 in 2012, and $90,324 in 2013.
"The majority of the increases in the operating losses for both arenas can be attributed to decreased rental income," said Kieffer, "coupled with increases in energy and building maintenance."
She added that any other issues, such as adjusting the ice cancellation policy, having a consolidated website that could potentially link all websites together, and having a rate that would allow any open ice to be used by a group at a reduced rate, will be a work in progress.
The treasurer's comment was to proceed with the one-per-cent increase for Kincardine's ice rates.
Rob Bishop of Kincardine Minor Hockey, told council that Kincardine is looking at amalgamation with Ripley and Lucknow which would mean decreased ice usage in all centres.
He said Ripley has cheaper ice rates which means there are about five to six hours per week that Kincardine Minor Hockey is not booking in Tiverton, but rather in Ripley.
"The Kincardine ice time will get booked regardless," said Bishop, "so a one-per-cent increase isn't going to affect it. But if you want a viable arena in Tiverton, you need to reduce the rental rates. And we can cancel ice time at no charge in Ripley."
Dan Norman, representing Tiverton Minor Sports, said Kincardine must reduce the Tiverton ice rates to match Ripley, in order to compel people to use the ice surface in Tiverton.
"You might get families out to use it," he said. "Right now, they won't because it's too expensive. I'd suggest that if prime time ice is not booked, offer it for $80/hour. If you reduce the rates, you'll increase the usage and increase the revenue. Try lowering the rate for a year and see what happens."
He suggested investing the money from the sale of Bruce Telecom and using the interest from that investment to pay for ice time at the Tiverton Arena. "Our children are important to our community; we should spend the money on them."
Bishop said that five years ago when the new gymnasium was built onto the Davidson Centre, there was no ice time available in Kincardine. Now, there is a lot of ice time available, he said.
"As a hockey player, I want to see both Kincardine and Tiverton arenas succeed," he said. "But there aren't a lot of kids left playing hockey in Tiverton and if there are no hocke players there, you won't have any ice usage."
Craig noted that the ice rates in Kincardine and Tiverton are not equal, but it costs the same to run an ice surface in Tiverton as it does in Kincardine.
"The demographics are against us," said councillor Jacqueline Faubert. "We're looking at ice surfaces surviving, not succeeding."
"I'm willing to try lowering the rates in Tiverton for a year and see how the revenue compares," said deputy mayor Anne Eadie.
Mayor Larry Kraemer suggested leaving the rates as they are, and providing an extra hour or two of ice time instead. For example, minor hockey could rent five hours at the cost of four, which would be an incentive for people to use more ice time.
"I think a one-year trial of reducing the rates in Tiverton, is not too much to ask," said Norman.
Craig said he is not particularly interested in working on a plan so that two rinks survive.
"At the risk of being the sole voice, I would suggest the option of closing the Tiverton Arena to ice and turn it into a year-round soccer facility," he said. "That would decrease expenses and increase usage."
"That's pretty cruel," argued councillor Randy Roppel. "We have an option and we have the responsibility to address it - not close the damned building and play soccer."
Eadie suggested leaving the rental rate as is for the Davidson Centre in Kincardine, and reducing the rate in Tiverton for a year. However, she said council needs more information on rates before it can proceed with this option.
Kraemer suggested allowing the one-per-cent increase for Kincardine, and allow free ice time for user groups rather than altering the fee structure.
"Last-minute ice rentals might not save the facilities," said councillor Maureen Couture. "The pool never makes money. I like Anne (Eadie)'s idea to reduce the Tiverton rates for a year, but we shouldn't increase Kincardine's then."
As council struggled with the logistics, such as prime versus non-prime rental rates, and children versus adults, and what the rates are in Ripley, it was agreed to defer the issue for a week until staff can gather that information.
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014