Council gives curling club a break

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City council is giving the McIntyre Curling Club a break by dropping the annual rent increase by 1%.


The majority of council voted in favour of this change at Monday night’s meeting with only Coun. Todd Lever voting against.


Club president Eric Glaister came before council previously and asked the city to drop the increase in the lease agreement from 3% to 2%. That drop would mean a roughly $478 in savings in the first year for the curling club and about $980 the following year.


Glaister argued that if the city goes ahead with the proposed increase it could hurt the sustainability of the curling rink.


Although the 3% increase is standard for all lease agreements with the city in a five-year term, council approved the request.


Mark Jensen, director of development and community services, told council that the reason they standardized the increase was so there could be some consistency.


Lever said helping out the curling club is a worthy cause but the city has to be fair to everyone. Lever was skeptical that a 1% reduction would make or break the curling club. He criticized council for not being able to say no.


“Every time someone comes here, they ask for a break and we give them a break,” Lever said. “By engaging in these requests to reduce fees we are essentially negotiating leases with these not-for-profit groups, which I believe is the role of administration. We’re over stepping our bounds.”


Lever said council needs to be consistent and have a standard policy.


Coun. Steve Black, who supported the 1% drop, said he didn’t think it was a drastic change.


“I know we can say we’re going to have consistent increases across the board but we don’t have consistent rents,” he said. “If you look at what the boxing club pays versus what the gymnastic club pays, they all have different costs. Having consistent increases doesn’t mean everything is lined up. This is a group that is willing to work and improve the facility themselves.”


He added that council is still waiting on a report on that shows who is getting a discount or breaks in their rent.


Coun. Mike Doody praised the club for working hard to keep the facility up and running and added if not for their efforts the city wouldn’t even have the facility.


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