City considers COVID-19 relief request from the Barrie Colts

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Barrie’s general committee accepted a staff report this week recommending financial relief for the Barrie Colts dealing with the closure of the Sadlan Arena due to COVID-19. The report recommends that support entail:
• An extension in facility use, advertising and/or concession payment due dates for 60 days, for any payments due prior to June 30, 2020
• A reduction in the next monthly facility use payment amount of $4,000, representing the City’s savings associated with the staff time that was not required due to the final two regular season games of the 2019-2020 season being cancelled
• A commitment to revisit the matter of further potential relief for Horsepower Sports and nEntertainment Group Inc., 60 days after council consideration of this recommendation
The recommendation comes before council on Monday and is expected to pass. According to the report, the Colts approached the City on April 20 to enquire about the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program.
“The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program was developed to share the cost between small business tenants and landlords. Small business tenants and landlords would each be asked to pay 25 per cent of the tenant’s total rent (i.e., gross monthly rent payable under a lease agreement) and the provincial and federal government would cost share the remaining 50 per cent,” says the report, prepared by Rob Bell, manager of recreation and cultural facilities.
To be eligible for the program, the City needs to meet these conditions:
• Deemed a qualifying commercial property owner
• The forgivable nature of the financial assistance may be dependent on there being a mortgage on the property
• The tenant must also be an eligible small business tenant paying less than $50,000 in rent per month, and have temporarily ceased operation or have at least a 70 pert cent drop in pre-COVID revenue
Details of the program were still being sorted as the report was being written. It’s not clear, continues Bell, whether the City would qualify as assistance programs have not applied to municipalities.
“While Horsepower Sports and Entertainment Group Inc. has continued to utilize the office areas to administer team and league processes, the Barrie Colts were forced to cancel two of their games and end their regular season early due to COVID-19,” states the report.
“As a result, it is not clear whether Horsepower Sports and Entertainment Group Inc. would meet the eligibility criteria.”
The Colts have been busy in other endeavours, deploying the kitchen areas to prepare meals, which are then “generously distributed … to the Barrie Food Bank, Salvation Army, the Women and Children’s Shelter of Barrie, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), and the David Busby Centre.”
Staff prepares about 800 meals a day for these organizations.
The report also recommends the matter of further potential relief be revisited, 60 days after council consideration of this recommendation.
“This would allow the City additional time to review further details that may become available related to the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program, impact of COVID-19 in light of the various agreements with Horsepower Sports and Entertainment Group Inc. and the City’s own financial condition.”

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