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Creative financing to see hockey academy fund classroom area in Langford complex

City Centre Park project will help save threatened Belmont hockey program: mayor
In exchange for Performance Plus Hockey funding part of the new mezzanine area at City Centre Park, the city has crafted a 15-year contract for the hockey academy to manage the project. (Black Press Media file photo)

Langford council gave the go-ahead to enter into a long-term contract with Performance Plus Hockey, paving the way for construction of the first phase of a new mezzanine at City Centre Park.

The space would include classrooms for the contractor’s Belmont secondary hockey academy students, who have traditionally been bused to Royal Bay for classes, but may have been shut out this year due to capacity issues at the Colwood school.

The city had initially planned to pay for the two-storey project and budgeted $500,000 for its construction in the 2022 parks department capital budget. Then the city got a revised quote for the costs from Verity Construction, which set the price tag at $960,000 for the full project.

When the cost rose beyond the initial budgeted amount, the city decided against fronting the costs for the improvements. Performance Plus has indicated it will cover the $400,000 cost to build the first level of the project.

“We’re trying to save a program,” Mayor Stew Young said at the Aug. 15 council meeting. “It’s much better to have somebody else in the private sector put that money up in our building. Our security is that the improvements they’re doing are to a city building.”

The second floor of the project, or phase two, would be part of future discussions.

Young called the new mezzanine project a win-win for the city and students, who will both get an improved space, while students will be able to stay in the hockey academy programs.

In exchange for Performance Plus Hockey fronting the costs for phase one, the city is entering into a 15-year contract with the company to manage the space, separate from the current contract between the two parties for management of all of City Centre Park, which expires in September 2025.

Under the plan, the city will forego revenue from the new space until the academy makes its money back. For any remaining time on the 15-year term, the municipality will receive 10 per cent of rental revenues – the rooms will be available for public use – and 60 per cent of long-term lease revenue. After the 15 years is up management of the mezzanine area will be incorporated into the main City Centre Park contract.

There was some confusion among councillors about what the project entailed, with Coun. Denise Blackwell saying she couldn’t vote for the project without more information and Coun. Lillian Szpak suggesting council send the report back to staff for further details.

Young argued the project is under a “time crunch” with the school year set to start and the next council meeting not scheduled until Sept. 6. Postponing would result in kids missing out on recreation opportunities, he said.

Ultimately the motion passed, with Coun. Blackwell and Szpak voting against.

READ MORE: $125-million collaborative post-secondary campus coming to Langford


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