Future of Lac du Bonnet arena uncertain over funding dispute
Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019 8:32AM CST
Residents of Lac du Bonnet are worried over the future of the community’s arena after the municipality unveiled its financial plan.
Just over half the cost of operating the arena is shared between the town and the rural municipality, but the ratio is set to change.
The arena costs roughly $100,000 a year to operate. Last year the R.M. of Lac du Bonnet contributed $37,000, but its 2019 budgets allocates $10,400.
People like Bruce Brincheski, a long-time Lac du Bonnet resident, are worried about the arena because, he said, it’s the heart of the community.
"I had a key, and we used to come here and play hockey before school in the mornings. It's everything, right,” he said.
Tracy Neurenberg is a volunteer arena treasurer and said in order to operate, the arena would have to get that outstanding $27,000 in other ways.
"We don't know how we'd operate,” she said. “We likely would have to raise ice fees, which makes the arena less accessible to the public."
Jackie Hampshire said she’s worried about what will happen to the community if the arena doesn’t get the funding it needs.
"I don't know where we're going to get the money to keep it viable. We have a lot of kids in town that use this place. And I don't know, it just doesn't seem fair."
Loren Schinkel, the reeve, said the decision was made to be fair to taxpayers in the R.M.
"If it's a capital infrastructure, that's the responsibility of the town to look after."
Schinkel said the 1982 arena funding agreement between the town and the R.M. of Lac du Bonnet only calls for the R.M. to pay $6,000.
He said the council then adjusted for inflation to arrive at the new figure.
"There's certainly nothing nefarious here, other than going by the agreement that's in place."
- With files from CTV’s Jon Hendricks