Saskatoon’s curling community is feeling the pinch from property taxes, and now they’re asking city council for some relief.
Curl Saskatoon is officially asking the city to either allow the Nutana, CN, Granite and Sutherland curling clubs to re-direct their property taxes towards facility upkeep, or provide a subsidy.
“Expenses have gone up so much and with the new drinking and driving laws, revenues from the bar aren’t quite the same,” Nutana Curling Club manager Kory Kohuch said.
Kohuch spoke for Curl Saskatoon Monday at a meeting of the city’s planning, development and community services committee.
He noted the buildings for all four clubs are around 50 years old and are starting to require expensive maintenance.
Meanwhile, property taxes have shot up. Kohuch said Saskatoon’s four non-profit clubs pay a total of about $130,000 in property taxes.
“What we’re asking … is to allow us to take that money and invest it into our curling clubs.”
Kohuch told the committee members that most Canadian cities either own or subsidize curling rinks. He noted that if Saskatoon’s non-profit clubs fold, the city would likely be facing significant expenses to either operate existing facilities or build new ones.
Speaking after delivering his presentation to the committee, Kohuch said he hoped the city would take the long view when it comes to Saskatoon’s curling clubs.
While he acknowledged city coffers might take a hit with a subsidy or a tax deferral, Kohuch noted the clubs generate just over $3 million a year in economic activity for the city via the tournaments they bring in.
Kohuch said Curl Saskatoon is currently bidding to host the Canadian Olympic curling trials in 2021. That tournament alone would be expected to bring in over $20 million in economic activity for Saskatoon businesses if the bid is successful.
Speaking after he delivered his presentation, Kohuch said he was glad to have gotten the process started, and said he expected to keep in regular contact with council and administration as the issue works its way through city hall.
“It’s out of our hands now other than just co-operating with them and trying to get them as much information as we can, and we’ll see where it goes from here,” he said.
—With files from Bryn Levy