Community centre skate sharpener slapped with nearly $5K in city fees
Published Friday, August 11, 2017 4:43PM CST
Last Updated Friday, August 11, 2017 5:56PM CST
Don Swirsky played hockey all his life.
It was a natural fit eight years ago when he bought The Dakota Skate Care Centre inside the Dakota Community Centre in St. Vital.
"Number one I'm around hockey, number two I like the customers, number three I'm my own boss," Swirsky said.
But recently the owner of the skate sharpening business has had to sharpen up his math skills.
The community centre raised his rent by $2,800 a year -- a 40 per cent hike. The centre said in the eight years that Swirsky's been there, he's never had an increase and only paid 10 months of the year.
"I had a hard time accepting it, but I had come to grips with it,” Swirsky said.
Little did he know that was just the tip of the iceberg.
His lease is up at the end of August. Instead of the community centre finalizing the deal, as was past practice, Swirsky now has to deal directly with the city, which means that fees put in place in 2015 now apply to him.
That includes a $500 annual administrative fee, $4,400 plus GST for a lease renewal fee and property taxes for the first time.
For someone charging $7 to sharpen skates, Swirsky said the fees are unfair.
"It's a big hit. It's hard to swallow,” Swirsky said.
Coun. Janice Lukes (South Winnipeg – St.Norbert) is disappointed the city didn't give Swirsky more notice about the fees.
However, Lukes said the community centre is expanding and getting busier. She said Swirsky is running a profitable business, prone to fees like any other private enterprise.
"The city is looking to make revenue. The city is looking to make money. We have bills to pay, we've got a lot of things to do,” Lukes said.
Meanwhile, the city said the fees are used to cover costs, to manage leases and prepare the legal documents for new leases and renewals.