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Council provides local dance school with relief by providing rent at-cost

June 4, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat under Ontario’s COVID-19 lockdown.

The Nicole Jacklin School of Dance recently put forward a request to the Town of New Tecumseth for financial relief at their leased dance studio on the second floor of 18 Queen Street N, in Tottenham.

Since the building is Town-owned, the dance school can’t apply for Federal funding, so Council voted 8-1 in favour of reducing their rent to the cost of expenses at a Committee of the Whole Meeting, last month.

“This is a tenant of ours…longstanding within the community. They’ve been with us for 20 years and now they’re not able to operate their business at all,” said Ward 3 Councillor Paul Foster. “They’re the type of business that they can’t go online, they can’t do deliveries for this.”

Originally, Councillor Foster put forward a motion to reduce the dance school’s rent to 25 per cent of its cost from March to August, but it was later modified to reduce rent costs down to the expenses paid by the municipality each month instead.

The approximate expenses associated with the location rented by the Nicole Jacklin School of Dance is roughly $700 a month when it’s operating, while they pay $1,400 each month under their current lease.

Ward 6 Councillor Stephanie MacLellan noted that since the building is closed, the cost of utilities should be significantly less than when it’s operational.

“Well, obviously they don’t need heat and you can turn the AC off and they don’t need any hydro,” she remarked. “They’re not actually using anything right now, so they shouldn’t have to cover expenses, really – they can’t be – there’s no way they can be costing us that much right now.”

Town Staff said providing financial relief in this way isn’t considered “bonusing” because the municipality still recovers the cost of running the building, while ensuring the space remains occupied.

Options were explored under the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program and many others, but none of them could assist the Nicole Jacklin School of Dance since they rent directly from the municipality.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter



         


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