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Current 20-year BMC lease between city, Barrie Colts expires May 31, 2014 0

Inside the Barrie Molson Centre. (Examiner Files)

Inside the Barrie Molson Centre. (Examiner Files)

City council is on-side with a new lease agreement for Barrie Molson Centre with the Colts.

Mayor Jeff Lehman says there’s an agreement in principle, that council gave final approval to Monday, which satisfies the Feb. 15 deadline for a new deal.

“The detailed agreement now needs to be drawn up. These are fairly involved agreements and documents, and negotiations are continuing,” he said.

“The new agreement will be brought to council in public session, but we anticipate this may take several more months to draft the details of the user agreement.”

The current 20-year BMC lease between the city and Barrie Colts expires May 31, 2014.

“The existing agreement still has more than one year left, however, we would anticipate the new lease agreement will likely come to council before any renovations begin at the BMC, even if Barrie is successful in its bid for the Memorial Cup,” Lehman said.

During this year’s operating budget/capital plan discussions, council agreed to spend $590,000 improving the BMC’s dressing rooms — if the Colts’ 2014 Cup bid is successful, and if the city could work out a new lease, of no less than five years, with the Ontario Hockey League club.

Council also approved negotiating a capital recovery fee — representing at least half of the BMC capital costs — as part of the lease agreement or the Memorial Cup bid, such as adding a fee to ticket prices.

The new lease agreement had to be presented to council no later than Friday.

Carla Ladd, the city’s chief administrative officer, has said the new BMC user-model includes the Colts assuming additional expenses associated with their games, improved revenues through increased marketing by the city and Colts, and continuing community use of the BMC ice.

City officials have said they’re seeking a new 10-year lease, with an option for another 10 years.

The Colts and city officials have been negotiating a new deal for nearly three years, but this issue came to a head recently.

The Colts won’t have an answer on their 2014 Memorial Cup bid until just before the 2013 Cup, which takes place May 17-26, in Saskatoon, Sask.

The current lease’s annual value to the city is $245,000, which includes advertising, 10% of the gate or ticket revenue, revenue from food and beverages, club seats and private boxes.

The BMC’s net operating costs for 2012 are approximately $157,000 according to the city’s preliminary year-end numbers. The BMC net operating costs for 2013 will likely be $194,000.

The $590,000 BMC project would include dressing room additions — the costs coming from design, construction, contingencies, permits, project management and information technology.

Council has already supported, in principle, a bid by the Barrie Colts Junior Hockey Club to host the Memorial Cup, the annual Canadian Hockey League (CHL) championship.

It asks city staff to prepare a facility use agreement for the 2014 Cup, and that any financial support — beyond use of the BMC — be considered by council at that time.

Council’s support for the Colts’ bid would likely include not only the BMC, but the Southshore Centre for banquets and social events, and other city arenas for team practices during the tournament.

The Colts have submitted formal Memorial Cup bids before, most recently in 2002; Guelph was chosen that year. The Colts passed on hosting the 2008 Memorial Cup, which went to Kitchener.

The Memorial Cup was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association, in March 1919, to honour Canadians troops who died during the First World War. Awarded annually, it involves champions from the Western, Quebec and Ontario Major Junior ‘A’ leagues, plus the host.

bob.bruton@sunmedia.ca


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