The City has voted to forgive the Grande Prairie Storm’s debt from last season. Taking into account what’s owing for the use of Revolution Place and the Coca Cola Centre between November 1st, 2015 and August 31st of this year, it works out to be just under $90,000. Mayor Bill Given says they feel the Storm have a strong business plan going forward.
“That highlighted the fact that they had significantly cut expenses and are looking at significant new opportunities to raise new revenue, so I think that concern and question that council had around future sustainability was demonstrated that the Storm had taken that into account and were making significant efforts.”
The hockey club revealed in January that they were roughly $100,000 dollars in debt and needed another $100,000 to get through the rest of the season. A #SaveOurStorm campaign was launched and a group of investors stepped in to save the team. Business manager Dennis Rix says he doesn’t see this forgiveness as a bailout.
“I’d say it’s an investment for the City. Revolution Place is a big venue and I would say throughout downtown no one brings more people into that area than a Storm game any given night; that’s 32 events throughout the season and even at our worse we’re bringing in 1,000 a night.”
Mayor Given echoes that sentiment, arguing that Revolution Place doesn’t want to lose its major tenant as it ends up being more than just rent. He says their presence also leads to food and beverage sales, and adds that this isn’t the first time they’ve helped an organization out.
“That’s something that we’ve done in the very, very recent past for the SPCA; we helped them cover some of their utility bills before they even came to council. It’s something that we’ve done in the long ago past for the curling rink and it’s something council will again consider for another community organization this week, but we absolutely have to take each one of these as an individual case.”