Council reduces costs for minor sports groups

March 25, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Following Council’s decision late last month to reduce ice rental rates for local minor sports groups so they can finish their seasons, they’ve been looking at how to support other minor sports groups who are also struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During their March 22 meeting, Council approved a reduction in rental rates of 37.5 per cent, which is equivalent to the amount provided to ice user groups.

The outdoor facility user groups receiving a reduction are minor soccer, baseball, and lacrosse for the spring/summer 2021 season as well as the Orangeville Otters swim team who run programming until June.

“One of the big issues for minor sports right across the board is their inability to generate revenue in the past number of months,” said Ray Osmond, Orangeville’s general manager of community services, regarding why the groups were in need of financial relief.

“That revenue is what sustains the sport from year to year, so it’s not just about taking in revenue to run the season. It’s about the funds to maintain your full program over the year after year.”

As well, in a normal year, Dufferin sports teams draw from players in the Peel region, however that’s no longer allowed due to COVID-19. They also would normally hold revenue generating tournaments, which can’t go forward this year.

The reduction in rental fee revenues for 2021 is projected to be nearly $35,000 for outdoor sports and $20,500 for the Orangeville Otters, according to Mr. Osmond.  He also noted that the revenue loss in 2020 due to facilities operating at 30 to 40 per cent capacity was in excess of $500,000 to $600,000.

Coun. Grant Peters, who supported the motion, said applying a reduction across the board in 2021 is the right move for Council to make, considering all of the challenges created by COVID-19.

“To me, this is a bit of a preventative measure for the summer sports, whereas the ice time was a bit reactive,” he noted. “We had entire sports miss seasons last year, undoubtedly there was some costs that they incurred throughout that process. Loss of tournaments and fluctuation of different zones says to me that, I think applying this across the board for a single season, it’s the best way to go.”

Coun. Taylor noted that the 37.5 per cent reduction, which mirrors what was provided to ice user groups, was the fairest route for Council to take.

“This town is constantly accused of favouring the hockey crowd and this [decision] actually says that, that’s not the case. We’ve done what’s fair and equitable and we’re recognizing these other organizations,” he said.

The Town of Orangeville is under the Wellington–Dufferin–Guelph Public Health region and moved to the Orange (restrict) level of the Province’s COVID-19 Framework on Monday (March 21), allowing for a maximum of 50 people indoors instead of the previously enforced 10, under Red (control).

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