Report to Lease the McMeeken Arena Fails

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There was a motion to bring forward a report on the leasing of McMeeken Arena failed at city council tonight.

This has come after the Rankin Arena was leased to private interests.

Councilor Susan Myers said that this arena was paid for by public funds and should remain in public hands.

These were some of the concerns of the Sault Major Hockey Association:

“Private group had private interest and kept the best/prime ice for their own private interest displacing many long term user groups, affecting those user group in many significant ways.

Sault Major Hockey Association lost 24 hours of ice time at the Rankin arena that has affected our season tremendously; 7 teams have practiced weekly in Soo, Mi., 20 more teams have practice occassionally in Soo Mi., mostly during our worst ice shortage times, like during U17, World Curling, and other major events that forced us out of city arenas as well.

The Rankin Arena this season raised their rates under the private interest Leasor, and has become the most expensive ice in SSM.

Community access to the ice was limited or eliminated. Since the Leasor had booked in groups for every hour of ice for the season, (to maximize profits or eliminate losses); there has been many complaints from Batchewana First Nations groups that can’t get any ice within the Rankin Arena. Combine the fact that the leasor ran it fully booked, with a no cancellation policy to user groups that had the ice blocks, it didn’t allow for any ice to become available during the year for BFN birthday parties or Little NIHL teams organizations and usage… Ice was left sitting empty, but paid for because of the no return policy the leasor had. Yes, this might have increase rental monies, but at the expense of community access….

Sault Major had to decrease it’s league schedule because of the lose of ice at the rankin; each of our A & B divisions went from 35 games, down to only 30 game schedules.

Sault Major has not had enough ice to give nearly the number of practices to teams that they normally have; entire divisions didn’t get practice ice for January or February.

For Sault Major, have a private leasor running an arena instead of the BFN has been a detriment to the program we try to provide for the youth and families of out community.

Sault Major would prefer that the major users with the city, work together to find solutions to the profitability/losses of the Mcmeeken Arena; and not have it go to the highest bidder.”