After a summer of delays, the Whitehorse Curling Club has new a lease with the city.
Whitehorse City Council approved the new agreement unanimously Monday night. Voting on the lease had been deferred in June and August.
Under the new one-year deal, the club will pay $35,000 to rent space from the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre.
While this is a $5,000 increase from last year, the lease is still good news for the organization, said Mark Evans, the club’s president.
The club’s board of directors reviewed the lease before it went to council. Club officials and city staff did not meet in person until late August, and that made negotiations difficult, he said.
The decision comes just weeks before curling begins.
“There was real doubt that we would have a curling season,” said Evans. The season begins on Oct. 1 and registration is scheduled for Sept. 22, 23, 26 and 29.
Previously, the city had wanted the club to sign a 10-year deal that would expire at the end of July 2022. During that time, the club’s rent would increase by 113 per cent from $30,000 in the first year to $63,929 in the final year.
Signing a long-term deal would not be in the club’s best interests, said Evans. There is no way to forecast what curling or the economy will be like in 10 years. A five-year lease would have been more reasonable for the club, he said.
The one-year term will allow the club to develop new fundraising efforts. With long-standing revenue sources like bingo and liquor sales declining, last year it ran a deficit of $12,000.
The negotiations really came down to how much they could afford to pay.
“You can’t argue with the numbers,” he said.
The club has 320 members at the most, Evans said. The terms of the proposed 10-year lease were based on a formula that sets the rent on how much space a group uses.
The curling club uses 66 per cent of the recreation centre. The city wants to recoup costs on facilities it rents out to other organizations.
The curling club’s lease also allows it free use of the Grey Mountain room for 40 hours throughout the year. This was part of the previous agreement, and was something the club wanted to see continue, said Evans.
There are also some non-monetary issues the club needs to work out with the city, like making sure snow is removed so it can access the storage shed behind the recreation centre.
City council also unanimously approved a new 10-year lease for the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club Monday night. It uses 18 per cent of the centre. Over the next decade, ski club rent will increase by less than $10,000, from $27,790 in the first year to $36,260 in the last.
The ski club has many more members than the curling club, said Evans.
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