User fees waved, ice rental rates lowered for organized minor sports

BARRY’S BAY – The township of Madawaska Valley has decided to lower ice rental rates and eliminate non-residential user fees for organized minor sports at the Paul J. Yakabuski Community Centre.

Chair of the heritage, parks and recreation committee Carl Bromwich called an emergency meeting on February 21 to discuss the rental rates at the local facility.

“The reason we are here today is that the future of minor hockey hinges on this meeting,” Bromwich began. “And the future of the PJY community centre eventually will hinge on this meeting. So it’s very important we get this right.”

Treasurer Marc Leclerc and President Bill Green from the Barry’s Bay and Area Minor Hockey Association were invited to take part in the discussion.

The issues of ice rental rates and user fees have been on the table for years. But most recently, minor hockey told council that the current ice rate – which is the highest in Renfrew County at $156.67 per hour – was driving the organization into the red.

Committee discussed the issue at length during the February 5 heritage, parks and recreation meeting. However, after not coming to a consensus, the decision was deferred to the special meeting on February 21.

Sylvie Yantha was first to comment, explaining to the minor hockey representatives that he wants more cooperation out of the neighbouring townships.

“Neighbouring municipalities that have a municipality in the area with an indoor arena, most of them have an agreement with their neighbours, that they put some support towards the upkeep of the arena because it’s the benefit of everybody,” Yantha said.

He added Madawaska Valley Township ratepayers would have to foot the bill when the arena needs to be replaced.

“Do you think it’s fair that taxpayers in the municipality should be the only ones supporting the arena? Absolutely not.” Yantha said. “If the whole area uses it, the whole area should support it.”

Paul Nopper, the township’s recreation and community development coordinator said he had approached Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards Township for minor hockey support but that council was not interested.

Get your February 26, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read this full story.