A Freedom of Information document is shedding some light on the deal between the City of Belleville and the Ottawa Senators, for the relocation of their American Hockey League affiliate to Quinte.
A source, who has asked not to be named, quotes several details from documents which were released Wednesday. The Freedom of Information request was made last fall, to release what tax dollars were spent on the acquisition.
The close to 100 pages, breaks down the deal between the municipality and the owners of the Belleville Senators.
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The source tells Quinte News that the municipality loaned $6.5 million US (roughly $8.5 million Canadian) to the owners of the Belleville Senators. The source adds that half the money will only need to be repaid if the team leaves Belleville. The other half is to be paid back by 2025, at 1.5% interest.
The City of Belleville has also approved $20 million for renovations to the Yardmen arena, which are expected to be complete by November 1st.
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Councillor Mitch Panciuk on the loan.
Councillor Panciuk (who voted in favour of the deal) feels it was poorly negotiated from the city’s perspective.
Panciuk adds that he never wanted to keep the deal secret from taxpayers. He went one step further, stating he believes it was illegal to do what they did.
Councillor Paul Carr says he is happy to see the details out there.
Councillor Kelly McCaw was the only councillor who voted against the deal. She tells Quinte News it was no where near the deal with the first interested party.
McCaw tells Quinte News in the original negotiations, the City of Belleville would have had a stake in the team and a lower loan to be handed out.
That deal was never agreed upon, but a source to Quinte News says it did have support from all members of council.
Councillor Jack Miller says he is happy the numbers have been released. He says at the end of the day, council voted 8-1 in favour of the deal. He says the $6.5 million is a loan, the money is not given away.
He adds there will be an economic impact of $5 – $10 million annually.
Quinte News has reached out to Mayor Christopher, and Councillors Thompson, Boyce, Denyes, and Graham for comment