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Acquisition Project of the La Pêche Sports Complex
July 18, 2018

RELEASE

La Pêche Recreational Solidarity Cooperative accepts Municipality’s offer to purchase La Pêche Sports Complex

La Pêche, July 13, 2018 . The Municipality is thrilled to announce that its purchase offer on the La Pêche Sports Complex has been accepted. The Council passed the bylaw authorizing it to borrow $1,987,957 at its July 9 meeting. The register will be open on Wednesday, July 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the municipal office (1 route Principale Ouest) for any eligible voters to sign if they want to hold a referendum on the acquisition. Public notice of the register has been posted on the municipal website, and register results will be announced at the start of the next Municipal Council meeting on August 6 at 7:30 p.m.

The Sports Complex was in danger of having to close after the Municipality was forced to cut off funding to the Coop. The Council however recognized the Sports Complex as a La Pêche legacy integral to the community’s dynamism and quality of life. For the Municipality, losing it was not an option. The Sports Complex had to be saved and revitalized.

Background

The idea of a new recreational facility in La Pêche was first floated in the early 2000s, and a survey was conducted to find out what people would prefer. The complex was actually second choice, behind a swimming pool, which had to be dropped due to cost considerations. The La Pêche Sports Complex opened in July 2006 and was immediately embraced by the local community. It brought new energy to daily life and provided recreational and athletic opportunities for all, particularly the children of La Pêche and Collines-de-l’Outaouais. It became a hub for people’s social lives.

The 2004 agreement between the Municipality and Coopérative de solidarité en loisirs de La Pêche (the Recreational Solidarity Coop) provided for an annual grant from the Municipality to the Coop to pay off construction debt, redeem shares, and cover operating costs. But the advent of Bill 122 changed all that. The main purpose of the bill was to recognize municipalities as the local government and provide them with the greater autonomy and expanded powers they needed in fulfilling that role. But it also prohibited local municipalities from granting assistance to any solidarity cooperative that offered rebates or paid interest to holders of preferred shares of any kind, unless the money went to a municipality, Union des municipalités du Québec, or Fédération québécoise des municipalités locales et régionales (FQM). The Municipality could no longer fund the Coop.

Next steps in the acquisition process

What happens with the proposed acquisition depends on the register results.

  • If there are 818 or more confirmed signatories, the public will be considered in favour of a referendum. Either a referendum is held and the side with the most votes prevails, or the Council withdraws the proposal, possibly amending it and submitting it again for public approval.
  • Fewer than 818 signatories: The voters are presumed to have agreed with the loan bylaw, which is then sent to Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire for approval before the purchase goes forward.
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Source:

Director General’s Office
Municipality of La Pêche

For further information:

Sylvie Loubier
Assistant General Manager and Assistant Secretary-Treasurer
819-456-2161, extension 2260


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LA PÊCHE SPORTS COMPLEX TIMELINE

The 2000s
La Pêche Development Corporation floats the idea of a recreational facility. A survey is conducted to examine public needs. The story of the La Pêche Sports Complex is up and running.

2003
La Pêche Recreational Solidarity Cooperative is founded to manage the project and receives

  • Provincial and federal government funding
  • Financial contributions from individuals in the form of shares (used to purchase equipment without the Municipality needing to borrow)
  • Proceeds from a new tax (recreation tax)

2004 
The Municipality and the Coop sign an agreement under which the Coop receives an annual $250,000 grant, funded by the recreation tax.

2006
The La Pêche Sports Complex officially opens.

January 2018
Bill 122 takes effect, prohibiting municipalities from funding solidarity coops that pay rebates or interest on preferred shares of any kind, unless the payments go to a municipality, UMQ (Québec’s union of municipalities), or FQM (Québec’s federation of local and regional municipalities).

  • Municipal funding for the Sports Complex is cut off.
  • The Coop struggles to continue without its funding.

March 2018
Resolution 18-123 is passed, ordering a study of the situation.

June 4, 2018
Resolution 18-290 is passed, assigning the Director General’s Office to negotiate a purchase offer with La Pêche Recreational Solidarity Cooperative.

  • The property assessment roll puts the value of the Sports Complex at $3,706,758 (land and building. The land already belongs to the Municipality).

June 12, 2018
A special council meeting is held on Motion 18-297 to pass a loan bylaw to allow the Municipality to purchase the La Pêche Sports Complex.

June 15, 2018
An offer is made to purchase the Sports Complex from the Coop for $1,987,957.

  • The amount is based on the Coop’s outstanding debt.
  • This will allow citizen investors to recover the capital they invested in good faith.
  • Repayment of the loan over 10 years at current interest rates will require payments of $220,000/year, or $30,000/year less than the Municipality’s previous grant of $250,000/year (before Bill 122).

June 20, 2018
La Pêche Recreational Solidarity Cooperative accepts the Municipality’s offer.

  • The offer is conditional on approval of the loan bylaw.

July 9, 2018
The loan bylaw is passed at the municipal council meeting.

  • It still has to be approved twice: first by municipal voters and then by the provincial government (MAMOT).

July 18, 2018
A public consultation will be held via register among eligible voters.

  • Voters can indicate that they want the bylaw put to a referendum by signing the register.
  • Not signing indicates their approval of the bylaw.

August 6, 2018
Register results will be announced.