Trustees debate Serauxmen Stadium options

NANAIMO – School district looks for revenue from Serauxmen Stadium.

The debate over how Nanaimo school district can derive some form of revenue from Serauxmen Stadium has been put off until the fall.

Early last month, Jamie Brennan, school board chairman, put forward a motion asking staff to negotiate a rental or lease agreement for use of the stadium after staff proposed raising rental rates to help balance next year’s budget.

The district was facing a $4.7-million shortfall and trustees have since approved a 2013-14 budget that includes a five-per cent rental rate increase as well as other cuts.

While the original deadline for negotiating an agreement regarding Serauxmen Stadium was July 1, trustees decided at a board meeting two weeks ago that it was too much to ask staff to have this work completed in this time frame. Instead trustees asked staff to bring a report to the board by Sept. 30 that includes the prospects for leasing or selling the property. The matter has also been referred to the next joint board/city council meeting for discussion.

Donna Reimer, school district spokeswoman, said the district is currently “holding over” the terms of an expired 25-year lease agreement with Nanaimo Minor Baseball Association and the agreement comes with minimal cost to the association – she believes it is either $1 per year or $1 for the 25 years.

Brennan said trustees have decided to raise rental rates for its fields and facilities, yet the district is not receiving revenue from Nanaimo Minor Baseball for use of the stadium.

“If you own a house, would you rent it out for free?” he said. “We’ve got a hugely expensive piece of real estate that we’re giving away basically.”