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Sting and city negotiating new agreement

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 15:44 -- Angela Crich
hockey arena

The Sarnia Sting is not happy with the relationship with its landlord, the City of Sarnia. Gord Curry, Sarnia Sting CFO and Bill Abercrombie, president appeared before Sarnia Council last month with a list of concerns prior to the June 30 expiry of their five-year agreement with the city.

The Sarnia Sting lease the Progressive Auto Sales Arena (PASA) from the city. The Sting have been in the city for 25 years.

Curry and Abercrombie had a long list of concerns. Rob Harwood, the city’s parks and recreation director, has weekly meetings with the Sting and was shocked by many of the concerns.

The Sting want control of the suite leases and rentals. Currently, only 19 of the 30 suites are leased.

“We think we can generate more. The city can’t negotiate the way we can with the suites,” says Curry.

The city made $305,000 on suite sales last year, Harwood said.

The Sting are also concerned with the maintenance in the building. Curry says the roof is leaking, the HVAC system does not work, the box office is small and inadequate and the women’s dressing room “is in a closet” with no showers.

The city has invested more than $1 million into the PASA for things like lighting, railings, electrical, fire pumps and refrigeration systems.

 “We don’t have the money to do everything we would like to do. We take every opportunity to stretch a nickel into a dime,” says Harwood. “There is no question there are a lot of capital needs in that building. There are so many needs in all of our facilities.”

Harwood says the air conditioning will be repaired this year.

Curry also argued that the city is not maintaining the facility during events. There have been issues with a lack of toilet paper, overflowing garbage, no soap and locked restrooms.

 “All of this has led to a lack of trust between the parties involved,” says Curry.

Harwood says the city has maintenance staff in attendance at every game and had never heard about the problems with the washrooms.

Mayor Mike Bradley was concerned that the communication appears to have broken down between the city and the Sting.

“There should be a way to resolve these issues so they do not build,” says Bradley.

“We obviously want to work well with the Sting. I honestly thought we were,” says Harwood.

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