Town to consider offering a break on SPC rent for local sports clubs

Napanee's Strathcona Paper Centre Goodyear ice pad, usually bustling with activity this time of year, is empty due to the provincial lockdown. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Adam Prudhomme

Four Greater Napanee youth sports clubs could be getting a break on their rent at the Strathcona Paper Centre.

Greater Napanee voted to direct town staff to put together a report on the rent being paid by the Napanee Raiders, Napanee Crunch, Napanee and District Minor Hockey and the Napanee District Skating Club. In a typical year the town brings in just under $9,000 in rent from five tenants at the SPC, but in the wake of COVID-19 closures, council is considering a reduction in their annual rents.

The motion was made following a request by the Napanee Raiders, who use one of the dressing rooms for equipment storage. Though the local Junior C hockey team was able to play a handful of exhibition games in November and December, they haven’t had any gate revenue since March of 2020. The club also cited a lack of an ability to fundraise during the lockdown as a major strain on their finances.

“The activities are completely stopped,” said deputy mayor Max Kaiser. “So it seems fair to at least recognize that for the dressing rooms that are not being used. There’s no costs incurred as far as cleaning or anything like that.”

Council also acknowledged that the rooms can’t be used for anything else during COVID-19 lockdowns, so they won’t lose any additional revenue should they allow the youth teams to stay there rent-free.

One of the five tenants is councillor Terry Richardson, who said he would have no issue paying the full rent while supporting a reduction for the other four organizations.

“These are all kids groups and even the Napanee Raiders, they run at such a fine line of profit, if they break even, they’ve had a good season,” said Richardson.
Although the Raiders were the only organization to approach council with the request, mayor Marg Isbester said it would be fair to include all the clubs.

“I know only one has come to us with the request, but they’re all sort of the same, with the exception of councillor Richardson as he has said he doesn’t want to be included in that bunch,” said Isbester.
Greater Napanee facility manager Chris Brown and finance minister and treasure Paul Dowbar will come back with a report to council, at which point a decision on the matter is expected.

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