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Bingo Association asks Town for help

Bingo in Bonnyville may have found a new home. However the new location comes with a price tag. Bonnyville Bingo Association presented an update to Bonnyville Town Council on Tuesday. The association stated that moving would require $140,000 in renovation costs to the new location. Due to the large cost in renovations, Bingo has asked the Town to be a guarantor on a loan application.

Mayor for the Town of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski, says it is not unusual for a municipality to act as a guarantor to a non-profit; however it could be a long process.

“For the Town to be a guarantor, it’s not something we make a motion and away we go. It’s quite a drawn out process and it will take about two months,” stated the mayor. 

More information required

The Town requested of the association to get the information from the banks on what is required of the Town and council will look at whether or not it would consider being a guarantor for Bonnyville Bingo Association.

There’s not a direct benefit to the town, but there’s an absolute indirect for all the groups and service groups that rely on bingo,” the mayor pointed out that many sports & non-profit organizations rely on bingo revenue to help alleviate costs. 

“As the town there is a risk as a guarantor, these are some of the things that would be discussed at the last council meeting,” Mayor Sobolewski said the matter would be discussed more in length once the association brings back what exactly will be required of the Town from the bank. 

Bingo relocation process

Bingo is required to move out of the Agriplex at the Centennial Centre (C2) by May 1st, confirmed Sobolewski. “The C2 will probably award their tender on the first of May. So the Agriplex, while in theory you could have both operations going, it’s going to be deemed a construction zone. There’s a lot of rules and liability that will take into effect.”

As an active construction zone, it will not be permitted to have the public on the premises.

The Town will remain active in the relocation

The mayor stated that the Town has been assisting the association during the transition to find a new home. The Town will continue to help and the mayor had some suggestions to help Bingo continue in the interim. “In the new buildings you need washrooms, can you undertake with porta-potties? In other words, can you make due with what you’ve got till all these other things start to fall in place because they are so far behind where they needed to be, and that was something we cautioned the previous delegation in october was we wanted to avoid this situation and here we are.”

“There’s a lot of external factors that come into play and there’s not a thing we’re going to be able to do about it,” explained Sobolewski. “We suggested [the association] needs to work with AGLC. They need to work with the C2. The C2 was able to grant a little more time. But the fact of the matter is when it comes to an active construction zone that’s working with contractor so it doesn’t compromise their liabilities, so there’s a lot of things at play now. We wanted to avoid, unfortunately here we are.”