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City mulls relief for sports businesses at the Rhodes

Icebreakers is trying to continue takeout operations through Skip the Dishes
John Rhodes Community Centre file photo. James Hopkin/SooToday

City Council will decide Monday whether to suspend leases for Sault Ste. Marie Gymnastics Club, John Rhodes Pro Shop and Superior Sports Training Inc.

All three businesses are located in the John Rhodes Community Centre, which has been closed since Boxing Day by a provincewide COVID lockdown.

A fourth business there, the popular Icebreakers Sports Bar and Grill, is trying to continue operations by offering takeout service through Skip the Dishes.

"If they determine that business cannot support, staff recommend that the lease agreement be suspended and payments pro-rated from the notification date of closure," says Brent Lamming, the city's director of community services.

If councillors agree, the three other affected leases will be suspended until at least Jan. 23.

If the lockdown is lifted on that date, lease agreements and corresponding billing will resume when the Rhodes re-opens to the public.

The Rhodes lessees were granted similar relief at the beginning of the pandemic.

Lamming says helping the businesses is the right thing to do because:

  • it demonstrates integrity, honesty, sincerity and fairness in carrying out the city's responsibilities
  • it demonstrates fiscal responsibility in managing municipal finances in a responsible and prudent manner

In other news, councillors will be asked Monday to approve a borrowing bylaw for up to $28.8 million in long-term debt needed to apply for Infrastructure Ontario financing for the twin-pad W. J. McMeeken Centre replacement project.

Monday's City Council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.