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Council rejects deal to sell developer NTRC naming rights, but it's still for sale

Posted January 10, 2017

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 tender."

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 committee structure.

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."

"We have 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."

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri
Dr. Cam

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