County arenas facing significant financial shortfalls because of ice rentals lost to the RECC

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

TRURO - Two Colchester County arenas are facing financial shortfalls totaling nearly $75,000 this year because of ice time lost to the new civic centre.

Randy Webb, manager of the West Colchester United Arena in Debert, is projecting a financial deficit this year of $52,600 because of ice rental time lost to the new Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

"The opening of the new arena certainly has affected the Debert arena, there's no doubt about that," Colchester County Coun. Doug MacInnes said during Thursday night's meeting.

"The West Colchester United Arena is facing a $52,000 deficit, approximately, for the first time in 40 years or so," he said.

The Don Henderson Memorial Sportsplex in Brookfield is also expecting to lose a minimum of $22,000 this year because of ice time lost to the Rath Eastlink Community Centre (RECC).

The projected losses come despite assurances made by county and Truro officials during the planning stages for the RECC that outside arenas would not be affected by a new rink because the demand for ice time was so high.

Arena managers disputed that information at the time and now, MacInness said, "I guess they are being proven right."

"What they tell me is back in the day, when talks were first held about the rec centre, that they were assured this wouldn't happen," he said.

Coun. Tom Taggart agreed.

"When I supported the civic centre we were clearly told it would not have an affect on the outside rinks," he said.

Randy Webb, manager for the Debert arena, said 12 hours per week of ice time normally booked by Truro minor hockey has been lost to the RECC, plus another three hours per week traditionally booked by other teams. Given the lost rental time, plus related canteen sales, Webb is projecting a financial loss this winter of $52,600.

"I've been here 30 years and I've never had to present a deficit before. We were always able to balance our budget," he said. "We'll have to get it turned around because it can't continue very long at that rate."

Webb said he is looking at cutting rink expenses, although "that is kind of hard to do."

Fundraising activities are another option that will be explored to generate more revenue, he said.

In Brookfield, interim sportsplex manager Al Fielding said he also will be exploring his options, including advertising available ice times and looking at the possibility of starting an over-50 hockey league. But Fielding also said he does not blame anyone for trying to find ice time closer to where they live.

One possibility discussed by council for helping to alleviate the financial shortfalls is for the municipality to purchase any available ice time at the outside arenas.

"I'm not suggesting for a minute that we walk in there and pay the bill, but we have to do something," Taggart said.

Deputy Mayor Bill Masters said that could mean developing "accessibility programs" and purchasing ice time at the rinks that are facing financial difficulties.

"Maybe that's what we got to do," he said.

But Masters said rink managers should also be mindful of the fact that the municipality in recent years has taken on the responsibility of paying the capital expenses and insurance costs at the municipality's three community arenas in Debert, Brookfield and Tatamagouche.

In Debert, that shifting of financial responsibility has resulted in annual average savings of about $50,000 per year.

Masters also suggested that the affected rinks may have to look at more ways to generate revenue through the summer months.

And Mayor Bob Taylor said the situation could be partially resolved once more people realize that ice time is available.

"I think it will be short term because a lot of people gave up on ice time because they could never get it," he said.

Ice rentals at neither the North Shore Recreation Centre in Tatamagouche nor Deuville's Rink in Salmon River have been adversely affected by the RECC.

Twitter: @tdnharry



Organizations: Rath Eastlink Community Centre, North Shore Recreation Centre

Geographic location: Debert, Brookfield, Tatamagouche Salmon River

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • cat tracks
    October 23, 2013 - 16:38

    the old rinks r not big enough to now serve all the people and now with the new sports arenas everything is under one roof .clean and modern so nice to go to a hockey game and be warm and the canteen where u can sit and have lunch or supper .there;s something for all ages instead of one ice surface and nothing else

  • oh my
    October 23, 2013 - 12:15

    the same thing that happened to new Glasgow when they opened the wellness centre they also kept all the old sixty year old rinks open I would like to know what the mayors and the councils were thinking eight ice rinks in little pictou county

  • Rink Managers Now Have To Do Their Jobs
    October 21, 2013 - 09:10

    For years and years you would call up these rinks and be tols we have no ice time to rent. They sell Truro Minor Hockey the worst times there were and smile doing it. My view now is have your managers do their job and find people and events to make a go of it. The days are over where you can sit on your chair and watch the ice rental money come in with having to work for it.

  • Homer Simpson
    October 19, 2013 - 17:56

    Complaints over unavailable ice time in Halifax was masked by parents who wanted prime time slots. Transparency was the issue with parental groups that did not want to get up early in the morning such as many of us older generations did in minor hockey organizations in years past. As well, parent groups especially, those who had children in rep ( elite) hockey groups, wanted prime weekend times for ice during the occasional weekend home tournaments and grumbled about adult leagues getting that ice time. The guaranteed use of a prime time slot from October to adult leagues are guaranteed & consistent revenues which keeps the arena in the black, not red. The question that I ponder with: Is the RECC hourly ice time rate higher than other arenas? If so, why would one want to increase the cost of ice time for minor hockey and overall increase fees to enroll into minor hockey. I could be wrong however, recently media is reporting decreasing numbers of children in minor hockey. I am not stressing any point just presenting the facts for those who read to make opinion on.

  • Anne Smyth
    October 19, 2013 - 13:17

    As a resident and tax payer in the county I have to say I am tired of paying and paying and paying. I am paying for the RECC on my property taxes and will be for decades. I called and asked if would show seperately on my tax bill as does my garbage removal, fire dept, and street lights but no it wouldn't. Makes me think that for some reason that amount needs to be kept guarded. I am middle income and have neither the time or resources to benefit from it. So now you are thinking of supporting the rinks that are losing because of the RECC?? Give my poor wallet a break. It is common sense that if hockey teams are using ice time at the RECC now....they must have been using it somewhere else previously. Why is it when decisions are made that are not thought through it ends up costing the taxpayers more money? Yes it would be sad to see these rinks close but maybe a plan should have been in place before any ground was broken for the RECC.

  • g smith
    October 19, 2013 - 03:21

    Of course the smaller arena's are going to have a difficult time! What did you think was going to happen when the "big guy" moved in ?! That the smaller rinks were not going to be impacted because of what you was told? REALITY CHECK! What happened when the Sobey's was built on Prince and Walker Streets? The smaller stores like Ryan's IGA went out of business, a few years ago Co-op did the same thing. Why? Because its members went to the bigger grocery stores as it was more convenient . Same thing with Weatherby's Hardware and Walkers they couldn't compete with the bigger guy. But yet here we have our Councillors acting so surprised, yet we have had all this warning "The farther back you look, the farther forward you will see." - Winston Churchill

    • kevin
      October 21, 2013 - 13:10

      that is so true !

    • Me
      October 25, 2013 - 17:02

      Actually, Ryan's IGA went out of business before the Prince Street Sobey's was built.