Curling club pleading for tax rebate

The Fort Frances Curling Club is requesting the town rebate the club’s taxes for this year, saying the organization is struggling under its current financial burden.
“We have had some relief from taxes in the past, but simply can’t see how we can continue to operate and pay taxes in excess of $25,000 annually,” club president Bill Gushulak wrote in a letter submitted to council as part of the agenda for Monday night’s regular meeting.
“We respectfully request that you rebate 100 percent of our taxes in order that we can continue to provide our community with a first-class recreational facility at no cost to the taxpayer.
“We would like to have this arrangement permanent, so that it is not necessary to revisit it each year,” he added.
Gushulak noted the curling club is in rough financial shape. It still owes well over $100,000 on the building’s mortgage, and yet the curling dues here already are the highest in the district.
“Our reserve funds are all depleted, and our building is showing its age and badly needs improvements,” he said.
Gushulak noted while the entire recreation budget for the town, including the arena and pool complex, is subsidized, another non-profit recreational facility—the curling club—pays its own heat, hydro, sewer and water, garbage pickup, maintenance, and taxes.
“In other words, we subsidize the rest of the community recreation budget,” he remarked.
Gushulak noted the curling club has 550 regular members, as well as caters to numerous part-time curlers annually.
In addition to the regular men’s and women’s leagues, the local club also is used by seniors, high school and elementary school students, and Special Olympians.
Since they have no club of their own, curlers from International Falls have a league here, too, not to mention the numerous bonspiels throughout the winter that draw people from out of town.
The Fort Frances Curling Cub also has offered use of its facility to the Fort Frances Fire Department for an municipal emergency shelter should the need arise.
Monday night’s council meeting is scheduled to start at 6:05 p.m. at the Civic Centre. The committee of the whole will meet first at 5:30 p.m., which will be in-camera until 5:45 p.m.
Other business at Monday night’s council meeting will include:
•a request from the Joy of Life Fellowship Church, on behalf of David’s Deli, for exemption of the use of “bag tags” for garbage from the soup kitchen (this on the grounds David’s Deli is a non-profit community service);
•a request from local resident Walter Horban for reimbursement of landfill charges regarding disposal of old rink boards from the St. Michael’s School playground site;
•a bylaw to authorize an agreement with Lakeland Personnel for the provision of school crossing guards;
•a bylaw to approve a Municipal Response Agreement with Ontario, as represented by the Ministry of Natural Resources, with respect to human/black bear conflict agreement;
•a bylaw to approve a contract with Bay City Contractors Inc. of Thunder Bay for construction work on King’s Highway (this contract was awarded through the public tender process earlier this month);
•a bylaw to authorize the entering into of certain lease agreements at the Fort Frances Municipal Airport;
•a bylaw to authorize agreements to lease photocopiers at the Fort Frances Museum, Fort Frances Children’s Complex, and Memorial Sports Centre;
•a fee-for-service request for $7,500 from the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce;
•a request from the Recycling Council of Ontario to proclaim the week of Oct. 18-24, 2004 as “Waste Reduction Week in Canada”;
•a request from the Arthritis Society and the local Arthritis Bluebird Support Club to proclaim September as “Arthritis Month” in the Town of Fort Frances; and
•a report on mayor, council, administration, and Economic Development Advisory Committee expenses for the period ending July 31, 2004.