Get the Facts on Jack, News (St. Catharines CYO Hurricanes)

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Get the Facts on Jack
Submitted By A Concerned Taxpayer on Monday, February 17, 2014
Please have a look at the petition we have to save Jack & Rex. Keep the complex open for 1 year while a valid study can be done to determine the ice needs of the city.  Click the Petition to Save Jack & Rex and add your name to the list. 

On Monday January 27th, the City of St Catharines Budget Committee voted to close both Jack Gatecliff and Rex Stimers Arenas by June 30th 2014.  The Budget Committee cited that there is a surplus of ice available within the eight City administered ice surfaces, as well as the cost to run both ice facilities.  

Arenas like Jack Gatecliff and Rex Stimers are community facilities. The New Meridian Centre is often referred to as the "Spectator Facility". Some have suggested that it is a direct replacement for Jack Gatecliff/Rex Stimers.  This is incorrect; Jack and Rex are Community Facilities providing services for the Community. This not only includes ice rentals but also floor rentals for Lacrosse, Roller Derby and other activities.  The "Spectator Facility" is not designed for youth groups and has limited on-site parking. Can you picture yourself dropping off your 6 year son or daughter at the front door, leaving them while you drive up to the parking garage on Carlisle Street to pay $10, and then walking back down to the Spectator facility, only to repeat this process at the end of the game or practice?

These two arenas are used by over 3,000 Boys, Girls, Special Needs and Adult users who participate in our Minor Hockey Programs.  We are able to currently provide - Mite Learn to Skate, Special Needs League, House League, Select, Travel, Juvenile & Alumni programs during hours that aren’t prohibitive to our citizens.  The closure of the two arenas will be turning our backs on our youth users in this City and on leagues where membership is growing.

The loss of Jack Gatecliff and Rex Stimers will eliminate in excess of 3,200 hours of prime time ice from October through March of each hockey season. There is not enough prime time ice at privately run facilities within our City to replace this extensive loss of ice.  We are already struggling with the current eight City-administered arenas to schedule and reschedule games, practices, or add additional ice times for our programs.  The loss of two rinks will force all city users to eliminate programs we currently provide.  

Tournaments will no longer be able to operate, eliminating considerable ancillary income brought to our local restaurants, hotels, and retail outlets.

It was initially suggested that closing both Jack Gatecliff and Rex Stimers would save the City of St. Catharines taxpayers over one million dollars in 2014.  This misleading statement is beginning to come under scrutiny and an updated staff report currently indicates an actual operating savings in 2014 of $262,071.00 combined for these two arenas if they were to close on June 30th.  This in a $106,778,868.00 proposed 2014 operating budget represents only 0.245%.  

We are requesting that all arenas to stay open for the 2014/2015 season as originally promised by the City to allow for accurate understanding of the financial and community impact the closure of these community assets will have when the Niagara Ice Dogs are no longer a tenant of Jack Gatecliff Arena.


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