Council also approves $50,000 in 2014, 2015 and 2016 for Civic Centre which facility will use to market itself
© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee checks his notes as Roy Main, CAO for the City of Charlottetown, reads a motion to be voted on during the regular meeting of council Monday.
The City of Charlottetown is going to spend up to $200,000 to purchase equipment it will need to serve as the home of a pro basketball franchise.
The city is also allocating an additional $50,000 per year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to the Charlottetown Civic Centre for the purpose of marketing the facility.
City council passed the resolution 8-2 at Monday night’s regular monthly public meeting. Couns. Danny Redmond and Jason Coady did not support the move.
The city is spending the $200,000 after it was officially announced on Sunday that the Summerside Storm of the National Basketball League of Canada is moving to the Civic Centre for the 2013-14 season. Duncan Shaw, the team’s co-owner, said it was purely a business decision to ensure the future of the franchise.
The $200,000 will be used to purchase a basketball court surface and things like backboards, clocks and timers.
Mayor Clifford Lee said the city did not go after the Storm; it was the Storm that approached the city.
“This is not something the City of Charlottetown went after. We didn’t go to the Storm and take them from any other community in the province,’’ Lee said following council’s meeting.
The mayor said he was asked to attend a meeting four months ago with the owners of the Storm, Shaw and Darren MacKay, and John Abbott, chair of the Civic Centre in which the owners wanted to discuss a possible move. Then the drama unfolded with the Quebec league team (Charlottetown Islanders) and the Summerside Western Capitals and talks were put off. Talks began again about 10 days ago.
These are exciting times for the Civic Centre. The Guardian has also learned that the arena board is in talks with a major corporation for naming rights, meaning the complex might be getting a brand new name soon.
Lee said council decided it was worth the expenditure, even though it wasn’t budgeted for.
“We didn’t anticipate this opportunity would present itself in 2013. The money is not in the budget (but) it was too good an opportunity to pass up.’’
Lee said occasionally there are expenses that come up that weren’t expected and you deal with them.
“Quite frankly, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we had walked away from this and said ‘no, we don’t want to talk about a new business opportunity’.’’
Redmond said he’s been getting calls from residents in his ward since The Guardian first reported the move was coming last week. He said it’s hard to explain to residents why they didn’t get the sidewalks and curbs they asked for yet see the city spend money on a sports team.
For the record, public works informed Redmond he would get his sidewalks, just not right away.
Lee also stressed that the Storm has not asked for, nor will the city give it, an operating subsidy.
Lee said the $50,000 marketing agreement isn’t about the Storm.
“(Their) mandate is to go out and sell that building, market that building, get the building used as much as they can. Then you look to their budget and how much money do they have to market the building? They don’t have anything. This money, beginning next year, allows the Civic Centre staff to go out and attract events, attract opportunities for the building.’’
Lee said the Storm and Islanders major junior hockey team are already talking about working together to promote each other.
Wayne Long, events development officer with the city, says having the Storm allows the Civic Centre to be even more of a vibrant venue and makes it easier to market the city when it comes to event attraction.