© Nancy Kelly
The Coldbrook Lions could have rent-free use of the Valley Drive-In property in Cambridge in the future.
The wheels are in motion to make the Coldbrook Lions Club’s use of the Valley Drive-In property rent-free in the future. It still needs council’s final approval, but the committee of the whole is recommending that the chief administrator renegotiate the lease for the Valley Drive-In property with the Coldbrook Lions Club.
Warden Diana Brothers, who brought the matter to the June 17 committee of the whole session, said the Coldbrook Lions play a huge role in the community. For example, she said, the club provided almost $10,000 in the past year to help residents in need keep their heating oil tanks filled and to provide people with eye glasses, as well as supporting many other worthwhile causes., including Camp Brigadoon, the Valley Regional Hospital Foundation and the hearing impaired.
Brothers said the Lions currently pay $7,500 a year in rent to the Waterville Airport Cooperative Limited for the drive-in theatre property, as well as $3,400 in property taxes. As part of the lease renegotiation, the Lions would be invited to apply for a property tax exemption as a charitable organization. Brothers said she would like to see the lease renegotiated so the charitable group could have use of the municipally owned land rent-free.
“That would fill a whole lot of tanks and buy a whole lot of glasses,” Brothers said.
She told council the Lions would also like correspondence from the municipality stating that the property won’t be considered for a potential expansion of the nearby Michelin tire plant in the future.
Area Coun. Bob Best said he hoped council would vote in favour of the motion, as this would mean more than $10,000 going back into the community.
Chief administrative officer Tom MacEwan said this matter has been discussed with the Waterville Airport Cooperative Limited and it would be unlikely that there would be any change this year. Council has voted to close the Waterville airport as of Sept. 30.
Coun. Pauline Raven pointed out that the subject land parcel is larger than the approximately 10 acres used for the drive-in. She said she’d prefer to see a shorter-term lease negotiated with the Coldbrook Lions, at least for the interim, “with so many balls in the air.”
Coun. Jim Winsor moved an amendment to renegotiate the lease with the Lions Club for $1, to take affect after the Waterville Airport Cooperative Limited leaves the airport property. However, there was no seconder for the amendment. The main motion to direct MacEwan to renegotiate the lease with the Coldbrook Lions carried.