Apparently the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence is a financial sinkhole
Hockey seems to be the topic of the day. First, the Vancouver Canucks get thumped by the Boston Bruins in game six of the Stanley Cup Finals last night. Then, early this afternoon, city council’s economic development committee put forward a request for Rob Ford to write a letter to the NHL commissioner expressing the city’s interest in a second NHL team (it seems the request was summarily shut down). And last but not least, news broke that the city is embroiled in a financial snafu concerning a four-pad ice hockey rink in Etobicoke.
We turn to the Toronto Sun for the latter story:
The latest boondoggle to hit the City Hall radar concerns the $43.4-million Lakeshore Lions Arena, better known as the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence.
The operators of the nearly two-year-old, four-pad complex on Kipling Ave. took on so much debt to build the centre, they are no longer able to cover their debt servicing costs and poised to default on their loans.
According to a report to the council executive committee, at last count city hall had given the Lakeshore Lions $35.5 million in capital loan guarantees, making for a total debt of $43.4 million for the entire project. So, basically, the city guaranteed a loan for a bunch of investors who, apparently, had a hard time keeping to a budget and now can’t meet the loan payments. And while the Toronto Sun puts the blame on the old David Miller regime, they also note that every councillor save for Mike Del Grande—including the now mayor—voted for this deal.
We can’t help but notice that the city is also in for an expensive, multi-storey four-pad ice rink slated for the Lower Donlands as part of Waterfront Toronto’s redevelopment of the area. This deal is even sketchier than the Etobicoke one, as the city doesn’t have the money for the full project. But, hey, at least the arena-funding mess in Toronto isn’t doing the same thing to council that the arena-funding mess in Quebec City is doing to the Parti Quebecois.
• City poised to take over arena’s $40 million debt [Toronto Star]
• Rink Stink [Toronto Sun]
• Toronto taxpayers on hook as Lakeshore arena runs out of cash [Globe and Mail]
(Images: Ice rink—Emily Walker; dollar sign—Adria Richards)