The $14,000 Debate on Lost Ice Time Rental Cancellation Fee for The Benson Centre – January 11, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – Message to Cornwall Ontario City Council.   You’ve spent $35M plus on the new Benson centre.   Let’s make sure people pay their fair share to use it and let’s make sure that everyone gets equal access to this monster.

Cornwall City Council argued last night about user fee cancellation policy.   Essentially the city lost about $14,000 on ice time that was cancelled and couldn’t be rented out.

Already we have the entire city of Cornwall paying a huge amount of money  for the construction of the Benson Centre, and yes, while the Federal and Provincial governments kicked in two thirds of the initial budget, Cornwallites will get to pay 100% of the upkeep and maintenance of the facility.

Women’s hockey supporters argue that they don’t get enough prime time ice usage and that there’s an “old boy” caste system when it comes to allotting ice time in Cornwall.

I spoke with Christine Lefebvre about ice time and she suggested that with the extra rink at the Benson centre there probably will be more opportunities available.

Now to ice time.   Here’s the thing.   There should be no cancellation of Prime Time ice time.  I agree with councilor Rivette.   We have this great big expensive new building.  Let’s start with fresh policy from day one and protect the tax payer as much as possible.


Then we’ve got councilor Glen Grant, he of the $700 office chairs, who not happy being the leading crusader for the Benson Centre now wants to let people off the hook for cancelling Ice time.

Ten days and ten percent service fee is his solution.

So let’s keep it simple.   Prime time and the city knows when prime time is; should have a zero cancellation policy.

This would shake things up a bit and probably allow more diverse groups to have space.    Then have a scale for cancelling less prime space.    It’s not rocket science, and you probably don’t need a consultant to figure this one out as the city has some very talented people already working for them.

Is it me or is it a bit bizarre watching council debate a $14K per year issue over a $35+ Million dollar facility that probably will cost nearly a million dollars per year to run?


And while we’re on the subject of The Benson Centre two more questions.     When issuing a tender, if only one offer is tendered, the city should perhaps not be forced to accept it?   Brown Fine Food of Kingston got the contract, apparently for ten years to have vending machines in the new facility.

The fee you ask?   How much will Cornwall be getting for these exclusive rights?   $500 per month.   That amount may rise from year to year if the total sales exceed an amount per year.   The key word there being…..may.

Final thought on this subject.    Councilor David Murphy weighed in and voted on issues pertaining the Benson Centre.   Councilor Murphy, a fine man,  works for the Benson organization.     Yes, Benson’s just are there via the naming rights of the facility and kudos to them for doing so and writing that cheque every year; but should an employee of theirs, albeit in their capacity as city councilor, be voting on anything to do with their name sake facility?

We’ll let you decide what you think of that.  Please vote in our poll.

Should Cornwall Ontario Councilor David Murphy, an employee of the Benson Group, vote on any issue pertaining to The Benson Centre?

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  1. I believe it is a conflict of interest for a municipal city council member to vote in any way for an organization that they are part of to begin with, and David Murphy should remove himself from any vote that has to do with the Benson Center.. Not that it makes much of a difference here in Cornwall because council will do what they want, and if they don’t have it written in any way that they can get away with it, they will only vote that in as well, and shaft the taxpayer, like they are trying to do with the cancelled user fees. The simple way to handle this, as I have seen many times before, get a deposit, and have specific terms about cancellation, such as hospital or dentist appointments do. If you don’t give enough advanced notice for cancellation, then deposit forfeited. Its that simple. Just as if you don’t give 24-48 hrs advanced notice before cancelling a dental appointment, you still get charged a cancellation fee. As for prime time ice time, all funds that were required for it, should be forfeited if not used. Use it or lose it.

    What is also super sad, is giving away the vending for 500 bucks a month… what are they thinking? I would imagine that in any other city, including Kingston, this would not be the same.. that contract is worth way more per month, that is ridiculously low of a charge..

  2. I wonder if anyone on City Council has family working for Brown Fine Food?

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