Ice rates in Chatham-Kent have been frozen at lower rates for a few more years.
Back in August 2019, to help combat consistently declining arena usage in Chatham-Kent, council approved an Arena Business Plan.
The Arena Business Plan included dropping rates for prime ice time from $204 to $173 plus HST and non-prime and minor hourly ice rental rates from $163 to $152 for a two-year trial period starting in September 2019.
The decision to have a trial for reduced ice rental times was to address concerns from all ice user groups the previous ice rates were too high. The hope was reducing ice rates to competitive levels with neighbouring municipalities might stop ice users from leaving the municipality’s facilities for another, thus increasing local registration.
However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, added restrictions led to arenas being closed for a majority of the time period.
This translated to councillor Joe Faas putting forward a successful motion to extend the reduced ice rates into the 2022-23 season.
According to Faas, he wanted to make sure the idea was given a fair chance. He said there was expressed concern that because of COVID-19 restrictions, the municipality might not have gotten an accurate look at if lower ice rates translated to more arena usage.
“Registration to a lot of these groups has declined, I guess for several reasons,” said Faas. “What they want to do is make it affordable for everyone as much as possible. So by having a reduced rate, for the remaining two years, it might give it a fair assessment as to whether the rates are creating or maintaining the registration,” said Faas.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News