Groups protest Pepsi Centre fee increase
Groups that use the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook have started a petition against a fee increase to rent the rink.
The centre is losing money, so Western Sports and Entertainment, which runs the centre, is planning to increase the rental charge by 15 per cent.
But minor hockey and figure skating groups say families won't be able to afford the extra costs, and membership will drop.
Corrina Murrin, who runs the local figure skating group, has distributed copies of the petition to local businesses and restaurants.
She wants the public to know about the hike in rink fees.
"It's not just one child being affected. It's going to be the entire community," she said. "It makes it inaccessible to a lot of kids. It's a challenge to try and grow the clubs there now."
Murrin said she doesn't want the cost to fall on her figure skaters.
"How do we develop the club if we are going to be running into an increase in fees affecting what we can do for the skaters?"
Gary Bradshaw, the chair of Western Sports and Entertainment, said that people are not renting the boardrooms as much as they used to. The Corner Brook Royals have also moved on.
Bradshaw said the money to maintain the facility has to come from the skating groups.
"We're hoping to try and keep rate increases to [an] absolute minimum. We are not into making money here. We are into running a facility that's as widely available to all groups, and as fair cost as we can to everybody," he said.
"And were are trying not to financially penalize any one group, but the Western Sports and Entertainment as an entity has a responsibility to operate the facility on a balanced budget framework, but also trying to maximize public use. So [it's] kind of a balancing act for the board to get to that goal."
Balancing the centre's budget could mean charging walkers who use the indoor track, or adding parking meters to the lot.
The skating groups will present the petition to the board on Thursday.
The Pepsi Centre budget is expected to be finalized by Sept. 1, in time for hockey and skating memberships for the fall season.