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Council to pay off arena deficit with an anticipated surplus budget

Funding for the Antigonish Arena was a focus of discussion for Antigonish Town Council at their latest regular monthly public meeting.
Funding for the Antigonish Arena was a focus of discussion for Antigonish Town Council at their latest regular monthly public meeting. - SaltWire File Photo

The highlights of the most recent Antigonish town council meeting

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

Antigonish town council will be paying its half of an $160,000 deficit that has been accumulated running the Antigonish Arena.

Council voted to pay its share of accumulated deficit – an amount of $80,000.

The Municipality of the County of Antigonish will be paying the other half, as they are co-owners of the arena.

“We’re working with the arena management and working with the arena commission, to find ways to make the arena more sustainable,” Mayor Laurie Boucher said.

Possible strategies include reorganizing the structure of operations and looking at a number of matters, such as when the ice is in and out, and what other uses exist for the arena, besides skating, hockey and the Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition.

Councilor Diane Roberts showed her support for such an approach, saying, “I’d like to see in the future, that consideration be given to more usage of the arena.”

“I think you mentioned before that it can be used more, for some youth activities or something, because it doesn’t seem to be used a lot. It’s used for hockey, but nothing happens up there in the summer.”

Boucher noted with some optimism that the money spent paying off the part of the deficit the town is responsible for will be coming out of a budget that is expected to show a surplus.

“That debit is an accumulation over the past number of years, and it includes two years’ interest on a line of credit used for operations and a [Canada Revenue Agency] payment.”

Boucher noted that matters like deficits are an inevitability of maintaining recreational facilities, since, “there are no rec facilities I know of, across Canada, that can actually make money. It’s very difficult to break even.”

Boucher noted the best the town can do is to honour its due diligence, to try and keep deficits as low as possible, working with community groups to keep providing the service the community the arena provides.


New apartment building on Church

A new three-storey apartment complex will be offering more accommodations on Church Street.

At their March 18 meeting, council approved the development of an apartment complex on the property at 74 and 76 Church Street.
Craig MacDonald of 3399289 Nova Scotia Ltd will soon be building an apartment complex near the intersection of Church Street and St. Ninian’s Street.

A public hearing took place shortly before council’s March 18 meeting about the proposed building, in which the planning commission outlined some of the details of the building.

“It’s going to be quite the attractive building,” Boucher noted.

Boucher described how the building is designed to have architecture features that fit in with the heritage properties that can be found on Church Street, as well as the landscape of the street.

Boucher noted she was specifically pleased to see such a development proceed through council because of the stress of housing that is constantly present in university towns like Antigonish.

“We’re very fortunate there are a few new developments we’re looking at. We want people to know staff and council are committed to working with developers to make sure there are good developments within the town.”

Boucher alluded to five other similar developments in the works for Antigonish.

Information available at council’s March 18 meeting states that the apartment building will provide flexible affordable housing in the rental market while maintaining the quality of the residential environment on Church Street.

During the public hearing, Paul Dec with the Eastern District Planning Commission, described the building, the impact it would have on the neighbourhood and the measures taken to make sure it improves the streetscape with minimal disruption. He mentioned plans not to disturb local trees in constructing the building, and the plan to replace a dilapidated, uninhabited house on the street to accommodate the new building.

Two residents attended the public hearing before the March 18 council meeting and voiced no objections to the development.


Land divestiture

Council agreed to turn over land in an area where the former Old Wrights River used to run, to Kell’s Enterprises.

“For the cost of turning it over to them and the cost of release of the deed and everything, they will be able to have it,” Boucher said.

At council’s March 18 meeting, Lawrence explained that there are a number of parcels along the land where the river was rerouted.

“At the time there were discussions of what to do with the land. It wasn’t really anything of value,” Lawrence said. “Past precedence had been to make it available to property owners and they don’t have to pay any costs associated with it.”

According to information from the town, the costs of migrating the land to the provincial land registry, where it can be transferred to Kell’s, would include legal fees of $1,000 and a required $100 fee to the province.


“it’s an old river bed, and really of no use to the town,” Boucher said. “Kell’s asked if we could sign it over to them, and according to the Municipal Government Afct, we are able to do that, because the land is not usable.”

Boucher noted she’s uncertain what plans Kell’s has for the land. One stipulation of the agreement, after review by administration, public works, and the Eastern District Planning Commission and recreation is that Kell’s maintains waterways and drainage ways on the site.


Tax reduction

At their March 18 meeting, council approved a request from the owner of the former Antigonish Career Center to reduce property taxes for the empty lot at 195 Main Street and provide the owner a tax credit in their 2019 property taxes.

The rationale in the request from Probst and Partner, owner of the property, was that the building at 195 Main Street was demolished in August of 2018, after a motor vehicle collided with the building.
As a result of that demolition, the assessed value of the property dropped from $311,800 to $127,200 for what is now an empty lot.

Antigonish town council will be paying its half of an $160,000 deficit that has been accumulated running the Antigonish Arena.

Council voted to pay its share of accumulated deficit – an amount of $80,000.

The Municipality of the County of Antigonish will be paying the other half, as they are co-owners of the arena.

“We’re working with the arena management and working with the arena commission, to find ways to make the arena more sustainable,” Mayor Laurie Boucher said.

Possible strategies include reorganizing the structure of operations and looking at a number of matters, such as when the ice is in and out, and what other uses exist for the arena, besides skating, hockey and the Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition.
Councilor Diane Roberts showed her support for such an approach, saying, “I’d like to see in the future, that consideration be given to more usage of the arena.”

“I think you mentioned before that it can be used more, for some youth activities or something, because it doesn’t seem to be used a lot. It’s used for hockey, but nothing happens up there in the summer.”

Boucher noted with some optimism that the money spent paying off the part of the deficit the town is responsible for will be coming out of a budget that is expected to show a surplus.

“That debit is an accumulation over the past number of years, and it includes two years’ interest on a line of credit used for operations and a [Canada Revenue Agency] payment.”

Boucher noted that matters like deficits are an inevitability of maintaining recreational facilities, since, “there are no rec facilities I know of, across Canada, that can actually make money. It’s very difficult to break even.”

Boucher noted the best the town can do is to honour its due diligence, to try and keep deficits as low as possible, working with community groups to keep providing the service the community the arena provides.


New apartment building on Church

A new three-storey apartment complex will be offering more accommodations on Church Street.

At their March 18 meeting, council approved the development of an apartment complex on the property at 74 and 76 Church Street.
Craig MacDonald of 3399289 Nova Scotia Ltd will soon be building an apartment complex near the intersection of Church Street and St. Ninian’s Street.

A public hearing took place shortly before council’s March 18 meeting about the proposed building, in which the planning commission outlined some of the details of the building.

“It’s going to be quite the attractive building,” Boucher noted.

Boucher described how the building is designed to have architecture features that fit in with the heritage properties that can be found on Church Street, as well as the landscape of the street.

Boucher noted she was specifically pleased to see such a development proceed through council because of the stress of housing that is constantly present in university towns like Antigonish.

“We’re very fortunate there are a few new developments we’re looking at. We want people to know staff and council are committed to working with developers to make sure there are good developments within the town.”

Boucher alluded to five other similar developments in the works for Antigonish.

Information available at council’s March 18 meeting states that the apartment building will provide flexible affordable housing in the rental market while maintaining the quality of the residential environment on Church Street.

During the public hearing, Paul Dec with the Eastern District Planning Commission, described the building, the impact it would have on the neighbourhood and the measures taken to make sure it improves the streetscape with minimal disruption. He mentioned plans not to disturb local trees in constructing the building, and the plan to replace a dilapidated, uninhabited house on the street to accommodate the new building.
Two residents attended the public hearing before the March 18 council meeting and voiced no objections to the development.


Land divestiture

Council agreed to turn over land in an area where the former Old Wrights River used to run, to Kell’s Enterprises.

“For the cost of turning it over to them and the cost of release of the deed and everything, they will be able to have it,” Boucher said.

At council’s March 18 meeting, Lawrence explained that there are a number of parcels along the land where the river was rerouted.

“At the time there were discussions of what to do with the land. It wasn’t really anything of value,” Lawrence said. “Past precedence had been to make it available to property owners and they don’t have to pay any costs associated with it.”

According to information from the town, the costs of migrating the land to the provincial land registry, where it can be transferred to Kell’s, would include legal fees of $1,000 and a required $100 fee to the province.

"It’s an old river bed, and really of no use to the town,” Boucher said. “Kell’s asked if we could sign it over to them, and according to the Municipal Government Afct, we are able to do that, because the land is not usable.”

Boucher noted she’s uncertain what plans Kell’s has for the land. One stipulation of the agreement, after review by administration, public works, and the Eastern District Planning Commission and recreation is that Kell’s maintains waterways and drainage ways on the site.


Tax reduction

At their March 18 meeting, council approved a request from the owner of the former Antigonish Career Center to reduce property taxes for the empty lot at 195 Main Street and provide the owner a tax credit in their 2019 property taxes.

The rationale in the request from Probst and Partner, owner of the property, was that the building at 195 Main Street was demolished in August of 2018, after a motor vehicle collided with the building.
 

As a result of that demolition, the assessed value of the property dropped from $311,800 to $127,200 for what is now an empty lot.


Skate park

Council approved a contract with Newline Skateparks, indicating its intention to move forward with a plan to build the skatepark, using what money has been accumulated through donations and fundraising.

Lawrence recommended that council enter into a contract with Newline for $409,998.

According to information released by the town, it has not yet reached its complete fundraising goal for the park. In light of that, the park design will be adapted to the budget that the town is currently working with.

According to Steve Scannell, director of community development with the Town of Antigonish, the town has $210,000 pending in funding applications from the province, Scotia Bank, Arthur Gallagher and East Coast Credit Union.

Lawrence informed council that construction on the skate park is anticipated to begin in July.

Council approved a contract with Newline Skateparks, indicating its intention to move forward with a plan to build the skatepark, using what money has been accumulated through donations and fundraising.

Lawrence recommended that council enter into a contract with Newline for $409,998.

According to information released by the town, it has not yet reached its complete fundraising goal for the park. In light of that, the park design will be adapted to the budget that the town is currently working with.

According to Steve Scannell, director of community development with the Town of Antigonish, the town has $210,000 pending in funding applications from the province, Scotia Bank, Arthur Gallagher and East Coast Credit Union.

Lawrence informed council that construction on the skate park is anticipated to begin in July.

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