The city of Port Alberni is considering donating in-kind work to help the Alberni Valley Bulldogs complete their front office renovations.
The Bulldogs had received $80,000 from the Alberni Valley Community Forest to complete the renovations; that was $40,000 short of their original request of $120,000.
In a letter to city manager Ken Watson, Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society director Darren DeLuca asked for city assistance in finishing up three areas of the new front office: modifying the existing fireplace; creating an indoor transitional zone from the new ticket area to the main foyer and the finishing of the office interior.
According to a cash flow statement from the Bulldogs, $35,068 of the $78,000 building budget has already been spent.
According to Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society fundraising chair Bob Cole, having money left over is ideal for the Bulldogs.
“The more dollars we have left at the end the better for display features for our merchandise,” said Cole.
Coun. Denis Sauve questioned how much employee time the Bulldogs’ request would cost the city.
“I know we’ve helped out the Bulldogs organization in the past with the ice time and so forth,” said Sauve.
“You’re asking us to actually find man hours and come up with the money to finish this project.”
Cole said that the PAJHS didn’t have a quantified amount of hours or money they were asking the city to put forth for the project.
“We just wanted to work that out with city staff,” he said.
Bulldogs’ business manager Lucas Banton agreed.
“We want the city to partner with us so that we can finish up with a little bit of money left over,” Banton said Tuesday afternoon, adding that with the Bulldogs doing the front office renovations the city gets a brand new look for the AV Multiplex without doling out all of the construction costs.
“If the city took the project on themselves it could cost them $150,000,” Banton said.
“We’re getting a lot of great feedback that it’s balancing out the building and that it looks better.”
This way, Banton said, “there’s no cash that will exchange hands.”
This is not the first time that the Bulldogs have asked for city assistance.
According to city manager Ken Watson, the junior hockey team currently owes the city $55,178; that’s down from the $63,538 they owed at the end of July 2014.
Banton said that the organization has plans to pay back the remaining funds over the next two years.
The Bulldogs have also asked for a reduction in rent prior, Banton said, but added that rent adjustments are a standard business practice.
“That’s based on market conditions and in no way is a form of a subsidy. The city, based on the market and the ability for the Bulldogs to maintain their presence in the Valley, needed to have an adjustment to the rent,” he said.
“Which is the normal course of action for commerce. Rent negotiation is a normal course of business—it’s not seen in the private sector as a form of subsidization.”