Draft boosts writeoff for rink

ANTONELLA ARTUSO -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

TORONTO -- The Ontario government wrote off $171 million in unpaid loans and taxes last year, including $6.1 million of an Ottawa Senators loan.

Mike Arbour, spokesman for Finance Minister Greg Sorbara, said the former NDP government loaned the then-Corel Centre $26.8 million in 1994 for infrastructure improvements.

When the arena was sold in June 2003, the Tories forgave part of the loan. The Sens, in exchange, promised to stay in Ottawa.

The provincial government has since been writing off $2.1 million annually.

Major event

Arbour said the 2003 pact allowed for a larger write-off if the Corel Centre, now called Scotiabank Place, held a major event outside hockey season.

Arbour said that the additional $4 million was for holding the 2005 NHL draft in Ottawa.

The draft was actually moved to the Westin Hotel after the NHL lockout was settled. The 2008 draft is to be held at the arena.

The government also wrote off as "uncollectable" $46.9 million in retail sales tax, $46.7 million in corporate taxes, $9.7 million in employer health tax and $10.6 million from the Student Support Program.

A total of $208.5 million in taxes and loans was forgiven in 2004-05.


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