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Arena concession operator signs four-year lease with the city

Monthly rental for the concession facility is $500 and 50 per cent of net profits will go toward costs fo constructing a new pool in Thompson.
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Thompson City Hall

A four-year lease to operate the Thompson Regional Community Centre concession was approved by city council at their Jan. 23 meeting.

Gold Trail Lodge (2003) Ltd. will pay $500 per month to lease the space it the rec centre lobby as of Feb. 1 and will operate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week with extended hours during hockey games and special events. Evening hours will be added to the daytime hours once the operator has the concession up and running, according to a memo from recreation director Sonya Wiseman.

Other terms of the lease include the concession being closed from the second week of July until the third week of August with the exception of special events, which the city must provide six weeks’ advance notice of. 

Fifty per cent of Gold Trail Lodge’s net profits from operating the concession will be donated towards the construction of a new aquatic facility in Thompson.

A resolution to approve the lease passed in a 6-2 vote, with Coun. Earl Colbourne declaring a conflict of interest and excusing himself from council chambers for the debate and vote because he has a financial stake in the company that was awarded the lease.

One of those who voted against the resolution was Coun. Duncan Wong, who had questions about whether his fellow councillor was in a conflict of interest position.

“Did Coun. Colbourne ever declare this as part of his investment because this company is registered 20 years ago?” asked Wong, referring to documents councillors file with City Hall disclosing their assets and business holdings. “I don’t know how we can say that is not a conflict in my opinion. With a good conscience, I can not support this.”

City manager Anthony McInnis said those documents are not examined by city administration but are available for other councillors or members of the public to view by appointment. Following approval of the agreement, Colbourne has to file a new form disclosing this deal as one of his assets and business interests, the city manager said.

Other councillors, with the exception of the Coun. Chiew Chong, who voted against the resolution, were supportive of the lease agreement.

“We need that concession in there,” said Coun. Joyce McIvor.

Coun. Louis Fitzpatrick said he was satisfied that, by excluding himself from the vote and declaring a conflict of interest, Colbourne had ensured that the deal was above board to the satisfaction of city administration and provincial government municipal relations officials.

“I think the city manager has done his due diligence and got a legal opinion and personally I don’t feel there’s a conflict,” he said. 

One councillor questioned if there was a way to get out of the deal if the city felt it wasn’t receiving enough revenue from Gold Trail Lodge toward a new pool.

“Is there at any point that we can revisit the lease agreement if we’re not satisfied with what those net profits are and the contributions that are being made towards a new aquatic facility?” asked Coun. Sandra Oberdorfer.

The operator will have to provide regular reports detailing the revenue being generated, McInnis said, and the lease does include a termination clause.

Apart from the question about whether there was any way to ensure reasonable contributions were being made towards building a new pool, Oberdorfer said she was happy with the agreement.

“I think it’s great that there is an organization or individual that’s looking for a creative way to support the aquatic facility,” she said. “I think that we do need that concession open and it’s a great opportunity for a partnership.”

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