Mooretown hockey balks at 14 per cent ice hike increase

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Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

The price to rent a rink in St. Clair will be going up this season.

And the reason is simple according to township officials. “Our costs have significantly gone up, and our revenues have significantly gone down,” says Director of Community Services Kendall Lindsay.

COVID-19 closures ate up $145,000 in arena revenues last year. Expenses rose $137,404.

Much of this was insurance costs, which rose more than 30 per cent over the last two years.

Even before the pandemic hit, the arena operated at a deficit losing $282,145 in 2019.
To try and reclaim some costs the Mooretown Sports Complex plans to increase ice rental this year from $130 an hour to $148 an hour.

Mooretown Minor Hockey, one of the biggest users of the ice, is hoping that the rental increase can be phased in. Geoff Dale, a coach with the organization, presented council with an alternate plan this week.

“If the ice rental rates go up, we need to look at increases from our members,” says Dale. The association calculated an extra $27,500 would be needed from its membership, or about $78.50 per person.

“That’s a drastic increase using our average membership of $570,” says Dale. He instead proposed a gradual three year increase of five per cent a year, where rentals would cost $136.50 this year, $143.33 next year, and $150.49 the following season.

Dale says this would “take some of the sticker shock off a single year increase.”
Under the three year plan total revenue from the minor hockey association would be around $20,000 less than the $148 per year proposal. Lindsay felt this may not be enough to address arena costs.

“Our concerns are revenues have stayed the same for 10 years basically,” says Lindsay. “The alarming side of things are the expenditures, we just keep going up.” Expenses are rising around 4.5 per cent a year.

Arena revenue in 2009 was $463,278, rising only to $467,892 in 2019. Expenditures meanwhile have risen from $509,847 to $750,037 in that same 10 year period.
Lindsay predicts, based on the 4.5 per cent growth, expenses will jump to $945,915 by 2024.

Lindsay pointed out that even with an increase to $148, Mooretown ice rentals would still be less than nearby rinks. Point Edward charges $200 per hour, Walpole Island $160, and Wallaceburg $152.

The decision was adjourned until council’s next meeting March 16 to give Lindsay time to prepare a full report on how Mooretown Minor Hockey’s proposal would affect arena finances.

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