CORNWALL, Ontario – A pocket-sized city council rubber-stamped the latest ownership change involving the Cornwall River Kings – but not without some questions concerning the status of the team and even the arena in which it plays.
Councillors and Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy had to give assent to the change because the River Kings rent space to play at the Cornwall Civic Complex.
The specifics of the deal are not changing, including fees and the like, just the name on the agreement.
Cornwall recreation manager Christine Lefebvre told council the team does not owe the city any money, and like the Cornwall Colts the rental agreement it has with the city expires in April.
“We’re going to sit down with both ownership groups and bring back to council a report with different options,” she said at a special council meeting Friday morning.
Coun. Mark MacDonald suggested the complex itself will one day soon be in need of refurbishment because fans are getting upset.
“The number one complaint is the arena itself, you cannot sit in those seats,” he said. “The overall thing needs to be looked at. We as landlords don’t have a real good facility there.
“The facility itself needs a facelift and we should be looking at that more in broader terms.”
MacDonald also suggested the city should be as fair as possible to all tenants at the complex.
“We don’t want the teams fighting,” he said. “We as landlords and community leaders want to provide places where we encourage participation in the community and not discourage it. And right now that is not happening.”
Critics have suggested the Colts, which signed an agreementin good faith, has an unfair advantage when it comes to lucrative in-house advertising rights at the complex.
Steven Moreau recently took over the reigns of the River Kings, following the failed Brock Frost/Darren Madden switch.
Council had a difficult time finding sufficient numbers for the last-minute meeting, but barely had enough people to have a quorum.
The deal needed council’s approval before the team could play its home game Saturday night versus Rievere-du-Loup (7:30 p.m.).