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Soccer association reduces pledge to Multiplex, feels tenancy not valued

The Moose Jaw Soccer Association has reduced its pledge to the Multiplex to roughly $6,500 a year from $30,000 a year

The Moose Jaw Soccer Association (MJSA) is still committed to financially supporting the Multiplex, even though its executive believes the municipality does not value its pledge or tenancy. 

At a regular city council on Feb. 25, a councillor asked administration about the status of the donations received for the Downtown Facility and Field House (DFFH), or Multiplex, particularly from the soccer association. 

City administration provided a response to council on April 22, saying the soccer association’s original pledge was $30,000 annually for 25 years for a total of $750,000. Furthermore, after five years of pledges, the soccer association had provided $164,050. 

A letter from the soccer organization was presented at the May 27 executive committee meeting, in which the group explained that it was changing how much it was pledging and the reason for that. 

Administration noted in its report to council that based on current registration numbers, the MJSA is expected to contribute about $6,500 annually under the updated pledge, while charging $25 per player. 

Council approved a recommendation to receive and file the report; there was no discussion about it. 

Letter from Moose Jaw Soccer Association 

Kari L. Hennenfent, secretary for the soccer board, wrote a letter to council outlining the organization’s concerns. 

Her main points were that rental fees have tripled since MJSA became a tenant; it is the only minor sports group to join the centre; it pays the municipality $25 per player even though KidSport and Jumpstart don’t cover that fee; that a contingency fund for turf replacement be created; and that other minor youth sports groups that use the building be urged to join.   

“The pledge was set up in good faith based on the following incentives during the first talks with the organizers of the multiplex,” she said. 

Some of those incentives would have included the MJSA collecting 10 per cent of fees when other soccer groups scheduled the building for use; the collection of 7.65 per cent of revenues from advertising on the walls and indoor boards; and a proposed rate of $30 per quarter pitch. 

“None of these incentives exist today,” Hennenfent added. “We always seem to be conceding to the bottom line for YaraCentre even though we have been prime tenant from Day 1.”

Not only did the MJSA continue to pay $30,000 a year when it did not even collect this from its membership, but rental fees have tripled since it became a tenant, she continued. 

The organization has accommodated several requests from building management, including rate increases, loss of space, loss of prime-time turf rental to other programming, no compensation for the use of its nets during drop-ins and rentals, and being priced out by the centre’s own programming. 

“Many of these things we have addressed in meetings, but they always seem to be brushed aside,” said Hennenfent. “All of this does not make us less committed to honouring our pledge promise. However, it does leave us lacking in faith that our pledge and tenancy is valued.”

The MJSA may have to reduce its pledge or even cease its indoor program if it continues to bear the financial burden, she added. It looks forward to working with the municipality to make the partnership stronger. 

The next executive committee meeting is June 10. 

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