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HMATA declines ice floor covering request for Huntsville’s Don Lough arena
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HMATA declines ice floor covering request for Huntsville’s Don Lough arena

Posted: 2024-05-30 13:18:13 By: thebay

Huntsville General Committee was advised that the Huntsville Municipal Accommodation Tax Association (HMATA) declined the request for ice floor covering for Huntsville’s Don Lough arena, in the May 29, 2024, meeting.

Manager of Facility Operations, Sales and Customer Service, Greg Pilling, told the Committee that HMATA declined because they didn’t see a return for the money requested.

According to Pilling’s report, the costs associated with the flooring are as follows:

  • $195,000 to $270,000 for multi-use flooring that will enable events such as trade shows, concerts, and robotics.
  • $32,400 for the storage carts ($2,700/cart for 12).
  • Up to $300,000 for a lacrosse carpet that would go on top of the multi-use floor cover.
  • $1,100 for a forklift to set up and remove the floor cover for each event.
  • $2,000 per event for 6 staff to set up and remove the flooring for each event.

The report also indicates, “Any new capital must also include the amount to include in future budgets for replacement.”

It adds, “Based on the estimated cost $227,400 (at the time of this report) that an estimate useful life of 50 years, the amount to be included in the 2025 capital budget for annual replacement would be $4,548.”

HMATA suggested that the Committee pursue a capital grant as a better option for funding, provided there is enough use to justify it.

In his report, Pilling recommended that Committee do not move forward and “determines the purchase of event floor coverings and carts for the Don Lough arena are not warranted at this time.” He added that if Committee does go ahead with the purchase that the funds be taken from the Municipal Accommodation Tax reserve (MAT).

He added, “Future operating budgets would include staff time for the set-up, tear down, and storage of the equipment, as well as forklift fees for rentals and other associated costs.”

He continues, “It is expected that fees would be passed on to the customer for each event,” which would be included in fees and charges.

Committee expressed disappointment about HMATA declining to fund the flooring and agreed about the potential for opportunities for future year-round events at the arena upon purchasing it.

Councillor, Bob Stone, said, “I hope this idea isn’t lost… I still believe there is opportunity and I still think we should keep pushing in some way.”

Councillor, Dione Schumacher, indicated that the arena attracts a large number of people.

Mayor, Nancy Alcock, expressed enthusiasm about the 900 participants gymnastics attracted, however, upon inquiry she learned that these numbers are pending having the funds and a facility. She added that this also has an impact to other facilities in Muskoka overall, such as hotels getting filled up.

She added, “It’s one event but it’s one fantastic event with some incredible metrics.”

Committee agreed to include and consider the flooring and cart costs in the 2025 draft budget.

Staff will also investigate grant opportunities alongside HMATA for contributions towards the costs for the event flooring and carts.