This is in response to the editorial that appeared in the Whitehorse Star on June 22, To No End, a Scenario to Studiously Avoid.”
Let me first say that I am not out to get the curling club. Having been a curler in the past, and participated in club and bonspiel activities, as well as voting to grant money to promotional events, I do appreciate the value of such activities and the benefit they bring to the community. Eleven years of support for the Polar Games can attest to that.
The editorial was one-sided, ill-informed and poorly researched. It’s no wonder politicians are held in such low esteem.
City officials made no suggestion about presenting the curling club lease at that evening’s meeting. What they did do is address a legitimate issue previously discussed by council and based on a policy endorsed by council, after much discussion.
The figures presented in the editorial failed to explain that over the last five years, the curling club has been paying approximately 25 per cent of their operating costs, only arrived at when the city tried to address the previous financial troubles of the Mount McIntyre Centre.
Prior to this lease in 2006, the city had bailed out the centre twice with subsidies of $80,000 and $150,000. I wonder if this was “a scenario to studiously avoid?”
A couple of phone calls would have informed you our proposal for a lease increase to the curling club did not place them in a “preposterous predicament.” Simply asking why the club was turned down for a recreation grant, a decision made by a citizens’ advisory board, would have revealed that since 2007 the curling club has generated surpluses of $70,782 (2007), $82,519 (2008), $35,331(2009), and $47,786 (2010) for a net surplus of $232,579 by the end of 2010.
We are informed that they had a loss of $19,000 in 2011, but that still leaves a surplus of $213,579. Such a situation, I don’t believe, will put the club into bankruptcy or add to its fiscal miseries.
This is not a situation that “portrays the classic fruitlessness of attempting to apply accountants’ formulas to human issues without the benefits of flexibility, context and compassion.” This is, in fact, a situation that portrays the flexible approach we have taken over the years in dealing with the curlers, in the context of their present financial situation, based on a policy which is applied fairly to all.
Subsidies given to anyone in the community are paid for by taxpayers, and believe it or not, I scrutinize these with a great deal of sensitivity.
To suggest that we used city taxpayers’ dollars to help Mount Sima is incorrect to say the least. The money used was from the federal Building Canada Infrastructure Fund. The first $1.5 million was to help replace the chairlift, and the second $1.5 million was to support Mount Sima in its attempt to become solvent.
In voting in favour of these payments, I simply asked myself if I wanted to see the ski hill fail. The answer was no.
Thank you for giving credit on the impression that council may be open to modifying the curling club lease, but unless a credible explanation of the club’s healthy surplus is offered, this may not be the case.
Coun. Dave Stockdale