Oshawa putting 20-year arena sharing agreement with Ontario Tech University on ice

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Published February 23, 2024 at 1:43 pm

A twenty-year ice sharing agreement between the City of Oshawa and Ontario Tech University at the Campus Ice Centre will end this summer, leaving the school in complete control of the facility and its capital cost needs.

The City provided $8 million in funding toward the design and construction of the north-end facility in 2004 in exchange for “rights of use and benefits” for a 20-year term. But with demand for ice falling and nine ice pads at city-owned arenas (plus access to two pads at the Tribute Centre), that ‘use and benefits’ is no longer required.

It was a very different time for arena users in Oshawa in 2004. North Oshawa Arena had closed; the Legends Centre was still two years away and hockey parents in particular were scrambling to find ice time for their kids.

Fast forward to 2024 and Legends (now Delpark Homes Centre) and its four ice pads have more than filled the void, especially with hockey registration declining – the 66-year-old NASC hockey league ceased operations last year in part to declining enrollment – and the twin pads at Campus Ice Centre and no longer needed.

“The demand for ice is dropping,” noted Oshawa Councillor John Gray, who chairs the city’s Community and Operations Committee, which made the recommendation to Council not to renew. “It was a great stop-gap measure in its day.”

The funding and ice-sharing agreement with the university, which also has the City handling the bookings for the arena, expires August 31.

Arena use has been in decline in Oshawa since before the pandemic so the City’s decision won’t come as a major surprise to university officials – “they have a general gist of where we were going,” Gray noted – but it was a capital request from 2022 that had been deferred that prompted the City to officially clarify their position six months in advance of the deadline.

The university asked for $875,000 for heating and cooling line repairs to one of the ice pads in November 2022, a request that was put off by Council until a new agreement was in place and not included in the 2023 budget.

Financial support for the repairs was also not included in the just approved 2024 budget as it was determined Oshawa “no longer requires the use of the ice pads.”

“The City of Oshawa currently has a surplus of ice,” Parks and Recreation staff said in its report to Council, noting that ice use has “steadily decreased” since 2017, while hockey program registration has fallen year over year since the 2018-19 season.

The motion to not renew the agreement is expected to be approved at Monday’s Oshawa Council meeting.

Campus Ice Centre

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