North Hastings Community Centre

North Hastings Community Centre
Posted on 02/26/2024
Media Release - North Hastings Community Centre





North Hastings Community Centre (Arena)



The Town of Bancroft has completed its first full calendar year of operations of the North Hastings Community Center and would like to provide residents with interim information in advance of a more detailed report to be released by late spring. While there are significant financial challenges related to operation of the ice surface, it is the Town’s desire and sincere hope that the ice surface will not be forced to shut down in the future. To achieve this goal, we will seek fair and equitable participation from all surrounding municipalities who benefit from this regional facility.


The Lifestyle Enrichment and Fitness (LEAF) Centre is a separate and sustainable entity from the NHCC Arena and has its own separate budget. Water, sewer, and utility costs associated with the fitness centre are expenses to the LEAF Centre and credited back to the arena. They have no impact on the arena’s financial position. The Town received grant funding for the renovations, for implementation of accessible features, and to establish the fitness centre. The arena does not incur any expenses associated with the LEAF fitness centre.


Though the NHCC has always been a Town-owned building, it was operated by an Arena Commission for over 50 years. Bancroft was one of four municipalities with seats on the Commission who managed the facility. Although Arena Commissions were once common place, ours was one of the last in the province as commissions realized that they could no longer manage and sustain the obligations and financial responsibilities that come with these very complex aging buildings. Our Commission did a wonderful job of keeping the lights on for over five decades and we thank them for their dedicated service. However, it is important to note that the Commission had been struggling for many years with escalating costs and had accumulated annual deficits for several consecutive years prior to dissolution of the Commission.


Addressing Capital Maintenance and Repair Costs


In addition to accumulating annual deficits, the Commission did not have funds for required maintenance of the facility. This included, most notably, the significant repairs required to the roof structure which potentially jeopardized the physical integrity of the building if left uncorrected. 


The Commission had representation from four townships, each of whom paid a 'per seat' annual amount to be part of the Commission, based on their use of the facility. The Commission went to these townships and asked for additional contributions of $10,000 from each of them for roof repairs. Some requests were denied. This left the Commission without a plan to fix the roof or address any other capital expenditures that may have been needed in the facility. As the NHCC is a Town-owned building, the Town is responsible for all annual reporting for the building to the Province. The Town must also account for the building (from an asset management perspective) in its budgets, ensure it complies with the AODA requirements, Asset Retirement Obligations, meets all health and safety and WSIB standards for staff inside the building, etc.  


Assuming NHCC Operations


Prior to the dissolution the Town asked the Commission to provide financial plans to meet the capital needs of the building. Unfortunately, they were unable to and instead voted unanimously to return operation of the arena to the Town. All four of the municipalities with seats on the Commission subsequently passed a By-Law to dissolve the Commission and return operations to the Town. This By-Law can be found in the minutes of all the local councils who participated in the Commission model. This was the final step required to legally dissolve the Commission.


The financial position and physical condition of the NHCC was more dire than anticipated after the Town took over on November 1, 2022. The Town agreed to finish the operating year and honour all Commission contracts and agreements, even with continued losses, and began reviewing finances and contracts. The Town also chose to forgo price increases and instead continued ice rental fees at the commission rates to ensure that we remained competitive.


Financial Support


Prior to the start of the new arena season in 2023, the Town approached the other Municipalities who previously participated in the Commission to request their ongoing financial support of the NHCC and invited them to cooperatively develop a new operating model. Subsequently, Carlow/Mayo Township agreed to participate, while Faraday Township and the Municipality of Hastings Highlands both declined. As a result, the Town has had to find new revenue to offset losses.


A largely symbolic non-resident user fee program was instituted which required all users to pay an annual fee to use the facility. Users who live in the Town of Bancroft or Carlow/Mayo Township have their fee refunded upon request as they already contribute directly to the operation of the facility. Data obtained so far indicates that only about 35% of the NHCC users are from Bancroft and Carlow/Mayo, yet they are covering the entire net costs of arena operations. User fees help to offset these expenses to taxpayers, but it is still not sufficient.


Many other arenas across the province, have also instituted user fees. Some municipalities have implemented regional use agreements to be able to continue running their arenas. Some have partnered – closing one arena then taking on shared use of another nearby to maximize efficiency and reduce cost. Unfortunately, some arenas have closed due to unsustainable costs. The Town of Bancroft has no desire to close the NHCC but recognizes that it is unsustainable for the Town to continue to carry the vast majority of the operating costs into the future.


Moving Forward


The Town received a grant to complete a full arena facility assessment in the Fall of 2023 to help us understand the long-term capital costs required to maintain the building. The Town continues to work hard to identify other opportunities to generate revenue and expand the uses for the building during the off season to maximize the efficiencies and reduce the net expenses for the NHCC. We would prefer to do this important work with our neighbouring municipalities to create a new operating structure which will ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHCC.



To reiterate, the Town of Bancroft Council wishes for the NHCC to remain open and has no desire to close it. Council continues to bring community awareness to the financial costs associated with the arena as we work toward securing support from all those involved with this regional facility that supports all residents in North Hastings, not just the Town of Bancroft. Operational data is being compiled and we hope to issue a detailed report in late spring once user data and analysis of the first full year of operations are completed. The Town will be requesting renewed and joint support of the NHCC at that time.  



For additional inquiries please contact:


Jennifer Peplinski, Acting Clerk

Town of Bancroft


via email only to:

[email protected]