Penticton city council was unanimous when they voted to give the curling club an interest-free loan, but not before two councillors cautioned about starting down a slippery slope.
The loan is an emergency measure to ensure the club’s ice plant is functioning for the World Curling Tour this fall, and the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
The $45,000 interest-free loan will cover the replacement of one refrigeration unit and a major rebuild of the second unit which is required to maintain the ice surface, and will be repaid over five years at the rate of $750 per month.
Coun. Campbell Watt was concerned the city was setting a precedent, asking how it will be handled when another club operating a facility leased from the city comes asking for help.
“I am hoping we don’t get into the business of lending money, which is ironic, since that is what I do,” said Watt, a mortgage broker. “I can’t imagine that any of our city facilities that we lease out aren’t about to come to us for an interest-free loan.”
Watt said the City of Penticton needs to establish a policy and guidelines to handle future requests.
“I am very cautious that we proceed, first of all knowing that this is a one off, but that we now put something in place that says this is what we do for our city facilities.”
Coun. Konanz agreed the city needs to make plans for future requests, stressing that the onus should be on groups leasing city facilities.
“We need to make sure in the future in the negotiations they are setting aside money to refurbish or the integrity of the building they are leasing,” said Konanz. “Otherwise, we are going to be doing this over and over again.”