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Its all fun and games especially when the public subsidizes the profit. The costs of P3 recreation centre deals continue to rise in towns and cities across Canada, and communities are paying the price. In December, the corporation running Corner Brooks civic centre, the Canada Games Centre, came to city council with outstretched hands.

The plea for cash cited lower-than-expected revenues and higher maintenance and operational costs. City council renegotiated a two-year-old deal with Vestar Facility Management a deal that had initially capped city costs at $500,000 per year to hand over an extra $165,000. Local business interests were quick to defend the deal, saying it costs money to make money. If only private interests would be as quick to support adequate funding for publicly owned and operated services. Apparently, rising costs are only justifiable when the interests are corporate.

The handout is further justification for the CUPE members who struck for 13 weeks in 2000 to stop the Canada Games Centre contracting out scheme. Privatized managements cost overruns strengthen the case for public operation of the facility.

Another P3 arena scheme continues to unravel in Guelph, Ontario where city council is bailing out Nustadia. The city has been covering loan payments since last May, when the corporation set up to run the arena announced it wasnt making enough to pay the bills. The citys hoping to get the money back after five years, and has borrowed $4 million to pay off the loan. The city is further on the hook it guaranteed Nustadias loan to build the arena, and forked over another $10.5 million in capital costs. Nustadia is also a key player in a Moncton P3 arena.

With stories like this emerging, Sault Ste. Marie city council would be well advised to reconsider their recent decision to enter into an arena P3.