It’s been a lengthy fight but Belleville resident Gary Davidson says it was worth it.
He wasn’t happy about the lack information surrounding the deal between the municipality and the Belleville Senators.
Many of those details are now public because Davidson got them through a freedom of information request.
Darryn Davis has more ….
Gary davidson says it’s been a nine month battle to get the information he’s been looking for about an N-H-L farm team moving to town. Including the fact that Belleville loaned the team roughly 8 million Canadian dollars.
And now through the freedom of information act Davidson was able to review the agreement between the city and the A-H-L Belleville Senators.
He says he’s not surprised some portions of the contract were redacted in the first copy of the document he received last year.
He only recently received full disclosure.
” Realistically is having the Ottawa Senators farm team good for Belleville absolutely but they paid a very dear price and I don’t think they really wanted that information to come out.”
Councillor Mike Graham was part of the team that negotiated the deal with the Senators and says there was no attempt to keep the specifics of the deal hidden from the public, it was a question of timing.
“We couldn’t release it until the time was correct and the time is correct so it’s been released now and i told you there’s other people involved there’s third parties, second parties, third parties involved in it.”
During the eight year agreement the senators get 3 years rent free along with revenue from naming rights, advertising and proceeds from concessions at the Yardmen arena.
“Even if it’s a non hockey event this was a little bit surprising to me that they can control at their option all the concessions, the alcohol sales, the food sales even the ticketing.”
And when it comes to that big loan?
half is at an interest rate of 1.5 per cent – while the other half only has to be paid back if the senators leave, are sold or change ownership.
“I don’t think we should be loaning out that much money, of taxpayers money to a private entity.’
“If we are going to do that to you know enhance our city that’s fine but let’s be secure in knowing that we’re going to be able to recoup this money.”
“That is a longer term investment obviously but again guaranteed and will be repaid at some point or another.”
“Fluhrer says in the overall scope from the city’s perspective the benefits to the municipality outweigh any of the financial considerations that have been given to the AHL team.”
“The direct impact is 8 million a year but the indirect spin offs which mean hotel rooms and all the other pieces that come from that will equate to 15 to 20 million dollar injection of cash into our community.”
Only time will tell if reality meets projections and expectations.
Darryn Davis CKWS news Belleville.