New Ice Allocation Policy Strives to Balance User Interests and Budget Concerns

The new policy has been developed to manage the township’s ice venue and facilities to ensure fair and equitable distribution of ice times among all interested user groups and provide a framework supporting the best business model for the municipality.  One of the objectives is to maximize ice rental opportunities in this new facility that represents a “crown jewel” in the area and take advantage of a looming ice shortage next season.

This month, user groups will receive their ice request packages that include new rates and policies which will form the basis of their ice use for the next season.  Priority for ice allocation starts with township programs and services, followed by Millbrook and District Minor Hockey and the Millbrook Figure Skating Club, then regular and tournament prime time users, then School board users.  Other factors including maximizing rental opportunities for tournaments and special events, historical scheduling of existing users groups and new users that assumed responsibility for regular cancelled ice slots will figure in the decisions.

Ice requests are consolidated into ice rental contracts for each user groups and discussed in an allocation meeting prior to being finalized in a firm contract by the middle of July.  The township has the sole authority over any ice transfer and sublet arrangements made after the contracts are finalized, should groups discover they are unable to use some contracted ice slots.

Despite the energy efficiency of the new facility, Council was dismayed when presented with a forecast of its operating cost earlier this year that reflected costs that significantly exceed those of the old building because of the size of the new community centre.  Following an analysis of rates charged by neighbouring communities for ice time and projected operating expenses for the new facility; Council set the Minor sport rental rate at $135 per hour, representing a significant subsidy over the prime time rate of $175 per hour for all other bookings.

The new facility is already drawing interest from new user groups.  The Atom Liftlock Tournament has already booked ice slots for their event next January, and other groups including a sledge hockey team have also approached the township.

When the contracts for existing user groups are finalized at the end of July, remaining ice slots will become available to other interested parties with local user groups requests receiving priority for these opportunities.    KG


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