Creston Valley Thunder Cats take hit during renovations

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  • Sep. 16, 2011 12:00 p.m.

The cash-strapped Creston Valley Thunder Cats junior A hockey team has taken a financial beating because renovations to John Bucyk Arena have taken longer than anticipated.

“We know this is no one’s fault,” spokesperson Michael Moore told the local service committee meeting on Monday at the Creston and District Community Complex (CDCC). Community complex staff, along with Regional District of Central Kootenay directors Ron Toyota, John Kettle, Larry Binks and Garry Jackman, were presented with a report detailing the financial losses incurred.

“The setback of the arena renovations has had a significant impact,” Moore said in his report. “The direct financial impact to move training camp to Trail … was $7,705. In addition to this unexpected expense, there is a known $18,203 change in revenue or increase expenses. This amounts to $25,708 of expenses and revenue decrease.”

Removal of the old arena floor and ice-making pipes and installation of a entirely new heating and cooling system, floor, boards and glass was scheduled to be complete for the Thunder Cats training camp. But discovery of a stream running under the northeast corner of the building added to both the costs of renovations and time needed to complete them.

The Thunder Cats season was to open with a Tuesday night exhibition game while renovations to the bleacher area and concourse continue.

Moore said the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League team ended the 2010-2011 season with a $4,500 balance owing to CDCC. The volunteer board had to purchase a newer team bus and incurred upgrade expenses totalling $10,000.

“Unfortunately, due to the start of the (2010-2011) season at a deficit and unanticipated expenses around requiring the purchase of a new bus, the society was not able to keep up with the amount owed to the CDCC, finishing the season with $12,500 outstanding debt,” he said. “In August, an $8,000 payment was made by the society.

“CDCC staff indicated that the hockey club would not be able to go onto the ice without the past invoice being paid in full.”

Binks and Kettle have committed $2,000 and $4,000 respectively to help the team with its financial struggles, he said. This season, Moore said that CDCC will be paid immediately after each game from cash receipts, ensuring there will be no outstanding debt at the end of the season.

The hockey society requested that an arrangement be made to make payments on the outstanding balance, that it not be required to pay rent for an office within its training room and that proposed annual three per cent increases in future contracts be changed to reflect the actual hikes in the BC Consumer Price Index.

Following Moore’s presentation, Area C director Binks said he would propose a motion to forgive the $4,500 owed by the team for last season’s ice rental. RDCK chair Kettle said he would put the motion on the agenda for the next regional district meeting.

All directors expressed concern that, with concession facilities incomplete, the team stands to lose an additional $10,000 in direct revenue and could also suffer a decline in attendance in the absence of a snack bar for fans.

Area A director Jackman argued that the amount of money being discussed was small in comparison to the fact the community now has a community complex that he estimates to be worth more than $40 million.

“$5,000 might not be a lot of money in the big picture, but it is a lot to our user groups like the hockey team,” countered Binks. “We should try to find ways to help them out.”

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