Regina's Highland, Tartan curling clubs receive tax exemption

Two Regina curling clubs that are struggling to stay prosperous into the future received some financial help from the city on Monday.

Clubs will be exempt from the municipal portion of property tax for 2017 and 2018

The Tartan Curling Club says it's running a deficit. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

Two Regina curling clubs that are struggling to stay prosperous into the future got some financial help from the city on Monday.

City council approved an exemption on the municipal portion of property tax for the Highland and Tartan Curling Clubs in 2017 and 2018 — a tax break worth a total of $56,414.

It's a continuation of an existing tax break, but it's also intended to be the last two years it will be in effect.

Before council voted in favour of the proposal, Mayor Michael Fougere said he expects to see that the clubs are not relying on the city into the future. However, he also highlighted the sport's importance in Regina.

"Curling is foundational to our society," he said. "It is really who we are in so many ways."

A partial exemption was granted for the 2015-16 calendar year, under the condition that a business plan be developed by the two clubs showing there was a strategy to achieve fiscal stability.

The city also provided $10,000 to be spent on the business plan, which was about 50 per cent of the total cost.

Brandi Clarke, president of Curl Regina and the Highland Curling Club, said the final report was completed in April.

Prior to Monday's council meeting, Regina's finance and administration committee recommended councillors approve a property tax exemption for another two years. 

In its report, the committee said its conclusion was as follows:

"The curling community in Regina has created a series of recommendations to sustain and grow the sport of curling in Regina. This community has also expressed a need for financial support from the City as the curling community transitions toward a sustainable business model. Administration has reviewed the work done to date by the curling community and determined that while a roadmap toward sustainability has been created, it will take some time for concrete benefits to materialize."

Clarke said the clubs, including the Caledonian Curling Club, have been working hard together to get things on track.

"All three clubs have been working diligently together to come up with strategies to bring in new members, lower expenses, and increase revenues," Clarke told city council.

"A few of the most recent and successful ideas have been summer rentals, fundraising dinners, and partnering with an entertainment company for live music events."

However, she said they continue to face deficits.

"Expenses keep rising, our membership remains status quo, and our facilities are aging and are in need of repair."

Find the finance and administration committee's full report here.