PARRSBORO – The Parrsboro Lions Club is seeking assistance from the town to help it operate the Lions Arena this winter.
In a letter to town council read aloud by CAO Ray Hickey at its Sept. 25 session, Lions club treasurer Brian Brewer described a dramatic decrease in revenue for the club in
recent years that has prompted to seek extra help to operate the busy recreation facility.
“Our main fundraiser, TV Bingo, has suffered a revenue decline in the past four years of nearly 50 per cent,” said Brewer, in the letter. “Last year, it was necessary to use emergency funding to cover rink operating costs and repairs to the rink’s sprinkler system. These costs amounted to nearly $24,000. Obviously, losses of this magnitude cannot continue for long.”
The Lions club is exploring ways to increase its fundraising and cut its operating costs, according to Brewer, who said any assistance from the town would be appreciated.
“I will not take any of your time listing the services we provide to Parrsboro and area, because I’m sure council is very aware of those services,” he said.
The Lions Arena is a hub of recreational activity for Parrsboro, particularly during the winter months, when it plays host to activities such as hockey, figure skating and public skating.
Mayor Lois Smith said she had prompted Brewer to write the letter after he had approached her in conversation.
“We know what it costs other municipalities (to run rinks), sometimes $70-80,000,” she said. “We do write off a substantial amount of taxes (for the Lions) and we are doing snowplowing. If we can do any more, we’ll look at it.”
The request did not seem to take council by surprise.
“I’m surprised we hadn’t got that sooner, even a couple years ago,” said Coun. David Harrison, referring to a decline in minor hockey registration. “This year there’s no Bantam team… but I think they’re going to take a day of curling though, which would be great.”
The Lions plan to turn on the ice plant this year on Oct. 15, and be operating by the end of the month, according to King Lion Jerry Boutilier. Any help from the town would be appreciated, he said.
“We’re going to look at different things and see what we can do about Bingo, and try to get costs down,” he said. “The rink’s a big cost, and registration with minor hockey is down all the time. We’re looking at trying to see what curling will do.”
Hickey suggested a meeting between council and the Lions executive would be a good idea to discuss details, and different ways the town could help – “financial and non-financial.”