District of Houston council chambers and municipal office.

Cadets request lease agreement for Houston community hall

“On July 4, 2017 at the District of Houston council chambers, a request to lease the Houston community hall to the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corp #3020 from Sept. 1, 2017 until Aug. 31, 2020 for $800 plus applicable taxes was brought forward. In addition, a request that council approved a grant of assistance from the District of Houston to the cadets in the amount of $2525 per year for the duration of the lease.

According to the report, The Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corp #3020 have used the community hall for regular practice on Thursday evenings and use of one of the basement room as an office space for the past few years at the annual fee of $800.

“The lease covers the group’s usage for 133 hours in total for 2.5 hours each Thursday from September to May of each year. Weekend usage is charged at the applicable rate established by the bylaw,” stated the report.

Under the leisure services user rates and fees bylaws, non-profit user groups are required to pay a rate of $25 per hour in addition to a refundable damage deposit of $200 per use. The $800 the cadets pay now is a discount unauthorized by the bylaw so district staff is recommending that a grant of assistance be provided to cover the remaining portion of the fees as a review of the past lease agreements show that the community hall was leased to the cadets at an hourly rate of $10 per hour.

“This rate was in compliance with the bylaw in place at the time,” stated the report.

According to the report this remained so until the adoption of the leisure services user rates and fees bylaw in 2006.

“Following the adoption, the district continued to provide the lease at a $10 hourly fee, until 2014 when the lease rate was set at $800 per year plus applicable taxes,” stated the report.

District staff are not recommending an increase in the lease price at this time, the grant of assistance is required to recuperate the full cost.

“So the bylaw in 1999 was $10, and then it remained that way until the adoption in 2006, did it remain that way at $10?” asked counsellor Jonathan Van Barneveld.

“I believe the 2006 bylaw was $10, and that it wasn’t until 2009 that it was increased to $25,” said Gerald Pinchbeck, Corporate Service Officer for the District of Houston.

“So if a group was to rent the community hall, they would have to pay $25 an hour, but if they are signing a lease, is that a separate section in the bylaw?” asked counsellor Van Barneveld.

“The legal advice we received in relation to Four Seasons park was that a lease did not allow you to circumvent your bylaw, in order to do so you would have to establish that ability within your own fee in the bylaw,” said Pinchbeck.

“And so with the issues that came up with Four Seasons, and the airport, and the community hall now, is a fee structure still being looked at?” asked counsellor Van Barneveld.

“That is underway,” said Pinchbeck. “I am looking at bringing forward something in the fall of 2017, and we have having that go through the process right now with senior staff.”

“If this passes now, and the bylaw lease changes in six months, will there be a caveat in this lease that in some point in time the bylaw lease may change and be qualified for a lesser amount?” asked counsellor Rick Lundrigan.

“We can certainly insert that caveat in there,” said Pinchbeck. “Alternatively we can exercise a 30 day cancellation clause.”

Pinchbeck also clarified that the grant of assistance is to cover the difference of whatever the rate is. So if it changes in the future the amount of $2525 would change as well. As the rates in the bylaw are right now, the difference require is $2525 to cover the remaining costs.

Houston council approved the recommendation.

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