User groups are prepared to pay extra if it means more ice time at the Art Hauser Centre.
In the ongoing discussion about extending the arena season at the Art Hauser Centre for the next three years, city council is considering increasing the user group rental rate for the extra weeks the rink would be open.
The current rental rate for user groups is $161 per hour. The rate would increase to $207 per hour to recover 100 per cent of the cost to keep the ice in the rink for the extra days.
“We know it’s premium ice time so I’m sure we’d be prepared to pay a premium price knowing it’s sort of a special extension,” said A&W Bears general manager Bruce Vance.
Vance noted that he was informed of the possibility of an increased rental rate on Friday via email and the board hadn’t yet discussed the issue.
“Once we talk about it, I’m sure people would be happy to have our spring camp at the Art Hauser Centre even though we’d have to pay a bit more money,” he said.
The Art Hauser arena season can be extended depending on the Raiders’ progress in the WHL playoffs, which allows user groups to claim the extra ice time for events such as spring camps.
The arena season was extended at Art Hauser this year because the First Nation Winter Games and the AAA Midget Regional Championships were hosted at the Art Hauser Centre and the Dave G. Steuart Arena.
As the weather gets progressively warmer during the month of April, the costs would increase the longer the arena season is open.
“It obviously costs more to run the ice plant more at that time of year and I understand that,” said Mintos general manager Don Fauchoux. “But overall, it’s still a better value for us using ice at our own rink than travelling any distance to go and rent elsewhere.”
In previous years, user groups, including the A&W Bears have used the Northern Regional Recreational Centre in Buckland. The Buckland arena season runs from September to the third week of April each year.
The Buckland arena’s rental rate is $135 per hour for youth groups and $150 per hour for adult groups.
Northern Regional Recreational Centre arena manager Leo Arcand added that if the Art Hauser ice season is extended, the Buckland arena board will discuss shortening their own season to the end of March.
In comparison to Moose Jaw, the Mosaic Place arena season lasts from August through the third week of April. The three-year-old building can seat a maximum of 4,465 people for hockey games.
The rental rate for minor organizations is $108 per hour during the arena season. But for user group special events, the rental rate is $214 per hour.
By keeping the ice in the rink for an additional 19 days in 2015, the costs incurred would be $11,700. For an additional 17 days in 2016, the cost would be $10,500 and for an additional 17 days in 2017, the cost would also be $10,500.
The current 2014-2015 Art Hauser operating arena season is from Aug. 6 to March 31.
Out of the two proposed options for extending the arena season, council is looking at the first option recommended by the administration -- to keep the arena open until April 19 in 2005, April 17 in 2016 and April 17 in 2017.
City council will be discussing the issue again at the next meeting in August.