Arena and Heat dip into Abbotsford’s public funds for nearly $4M in 2012

Entertainment centre and hockey team continue with deficits, 
but AESC reduces loss compared to 2011

The city of Abbotsford paid $1.89 million to the Heat in the 2012 calendar year

The city of Abbotsford paid $1.89 million to the Heat in the 2012 calendar year

The total deficit for the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) and the Abbotsford Heat amounted to $3.86 million in 2012.

The recreation facility operated at a $1.97 million deficit in 2012 – about $100,000 more than the city predicted – while the city also paid nearly $2 million to the Abbotsford Heat in that year, according to the city’s consolidated financial statements which were discussed in an audit and finance committee meeting last week.

A supply-fee agreement between the Abbotsford Heat and the city has guaranteed the American Hockey League (AHL) team a break-even revenue of $5.7 million in each year of their 10-year contract. Any shortfall is covered by the city, which is guaranteed on the hockey club’s fiscal season.

The financial reports state the Heat cost the city $1.89 million in the 2012 calendar year, which would include portions of two different hockey seasons – the end of the 2011/12 season and the beginning of the 2012/13 season last fall.

The final cost for the supply-fee agreement of the 2012/13 hockey season will be calculated this summer, after the hockey team’s season and fiscal year ends.

The deficit for the Heat was $450,000 in 2009/10, $1.37 million in 2010/11 and $1.76 million in 2011/12.

Salman Azam, director of finance for the city, said the city does not have an estimate for what it will pay the team for the 2012/13 season, but last year’s number would give an idea of what to expect.

The financial statements show that while the AESC facility operated at a loss of nearly $2 million last year, the number is less than in previous years. The facility lost $2.2 million in 2011, and close to $3 million in 2010.

The facility achieved a revenue of $2.7 million dollars, but cost $4.7 million in operations, as well as $2.5 million to pay on long-term debt.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman was out of town on Monday and unavailable for comment.