City formalizes Bulldogs fee reduction plan

The city has tweaked its new agreement with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, just weeks after voting to help the beleaguered hockey team

The city has tweaked its new agreement with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, just weeks after council voted to help out the beleaguered junior hockey team.

The new agreement reflects a 50 per cent reduction to the rent the team pays to the city.

The team currently pays $4,300 per month in rental costs and $1,000 per game for playoffs. The fee increases by two per cent every year.

In the 2014-2015 season, the team will pay the city $2,203 instead of $4,405. In the 2015-2016 season the team see a two per cent increase and will pay $2,247 instead of $4,493, Kenny said.

The rent will be paid monthly beginning in August.

All other terms of the amended agreement remain the same, Kenny said.

“The team hopes to pay down their debt (to the city) either this year or next,” he said.

Coun. Jack McLeman asked if taxpayers will be on the hook for the difference between the reduction and the original rate.

The city will compensate for the rent reduction with a subsequent decrease in service levels at the AV Multiplex. Reduced services will include staffing changes in the upper lounge during Bulldog game nights, Kenny said.

In May, councillors voted in favour of a 50 per cent reduction in team operating fees for the next two years.

The team owes the city a total of $63,500 in fixed and additional costs plus payments to the end of July.

The amount will remain on the city’s books as accounts receivable items.

In May, city staff told team officials that the community charter forbid them from giving the team a break on their $63,000 debt.

But in this instance giving them a break on ice rental fees is permissible. “We can’t reduce their debt; they have to pay it back,” Kenny said.

The non-profit group Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society bought the team in 2012 from the Okanagan Hockey School, The See Group of Companies and Dr. David Ness.

PAJHS owns 100 per cent of the shares of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, and is operated by a seven-person board of directors.

In other Bulldogs news, city staff announced that Catalyst Paper Corp. agreed to sponsor the Bulldogs hockey equipment again this season.

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