Council rejects deal to sell developer NTRC naming rights,
but it's still for sale
Councillors last night turned down an offer of $1 million over 10 years
from the FLATO development group for naming rights of the New Tecumseth
Recreation Centre (NTRC).
FLATO, a Markham based residential developer currently in the process
of closing land purchases totalling 426 acres in Beeton for the purpose
of building subdivisions, negotiated the deal with mayor Rick Milne and
Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture Patrick D'Almada. Its terms
were made public with last night's committee of council agenda.
It called for 10 equal instalments of $100,000 in exchange for naming
the facility FLATO New Tecumseth Recreation Centre or FLATO NTRC.
Councillors did not oppose the idea of selling the naming rights, but
there was outward concern about how it came about.
"We certainly could utilize the million dollars to help operate our
facility," said Ward 3 councillor Paul Whiteside. "My personal opinion
on this, an open and transparent process has not taken place at this
time. I think everyone should have an equal opportunity, and until such
time as an open process takes place, with the committee in place, I
cannot support it."
Councillor Richard Norcross, whose Ward 6 Beeton ground zero for FLATO
proposals, added before seconding Mr. Whiteside's motion, "I also
have further concerns as there's at least one, maybe two possible open
applications before the Town that have to be taken into consideration
too and transparency and openness is paramount at this point."
Ward 8 councillor Chris Ross added, "I'd like to see it go to open
Ward 4 councillor Fran Sainsbury said when the committee is formed one
of its first goals should be to "sit and put something together for
council to decide how we're going to proceed. Are we going to send out
letters, have a public meeting? I understand these people (FLATO) are a
good company, and (FLATO president Shakir Rehmatullah who was in
attendance but did not speak) is a fine gentleman. So they can
apply. But also we have had development going on for a long time,
people have had the same opportunity to make that proposal to us, and
nothing has come of that."
The report to council notes that "The Mayor has reviewed the proposal
with Council's Revenue Generation Task Force, and there was general
support for the proposal, and recommended that this proposal be brought
forward for Council's consideration." But the committee has not been
established, and it wasn't made clear at this post what that entailed.
But councillors did direct the Clerk to come back with a proposed
Ward 1 councillor Marc Biss, whose recommendation it was in November
2015 to strike such a committee, suggested even though it hasn't been
established, has "obviously worked."
an industry leader who has come to our community and has indicated to
us he's willing to invest in our community," said councillor Biss.
"Certainly before this even came up, there was no one outside our
community who was willing to invest. And I thank the FLATO Group and I
thank everyone who is looking toward our community as a leader and is
world class. I know there are some people in the audience who don't
think this is a world class place to live, but I certainly do. And I
believe that FLATO and others, if they wish to come here, and they wish
to invest in our community, if they wish to invest and make our
community stronger, and help offset the cost of public infrastructure
and things that we do here, I think that should be commended and I will
support the transparent process so we can strike the revenue generation
task force and then cover all the different ways we can generate
incremental revenue on everything we do so that the taxpayer doesn't
have to pay for the cost everytime."