Gateway Arena Property Tax Appeal Fails

The Gateway Ice Centre at Fruitland Road and the South Service Road in Stoney Creek was unsuccessful in appealing their property tax evaluation.

Constructed in early 2012, the private arena operates year-round with three ice pads.

610 South Service Road Inc appealed the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s valuation of the property, classification as a commercial use, and MPAC’s determination that the rink is a “Regional Facility.”

The case is one of the more complex rulings by Ontario’s Assessment Review Board.

The ruling is 127 paragraphs.

Issue 1: What is the correct land value for the Subject Property?

The underlying land is assessed as industrial, at dispute, how MPAC came to its assessed land value of $420,000 per acre for a total value of $2,398,000.

The Board upheld MPAC’s calculation.

Issue 2: What is the correct cost value of the Sports Complex?

MPAC states they have three classifications for sports arenas: Professional, Regional, and Neighbourhood.

MPAC’s expert “testified that a Professional Facility has equipment that allows for the concrete surface to be used, for example, for a basketball game, and then quickly converted to an ice rink.  A Regional Facility does not have the same level of sophisticated equipment as a Professional Facility.  It refers to a modern facility that provides ice surfaces year-round.  For costing purposes, MPAC’s Expert’s uncontradicted evidence is that more costly ice rink components are required to maintain ice surfaces in the warmer months.  The Neighbourhood Facility refers to a facility which only provides ice rinks during the cooler winter season.”

MPAC classifies The Gateway as a Regional facility.

The Gateway’s owners argued they should be classified as a Neighbourhood facility.

The Board ruled it is a Regional facility, writing The Gateway failed to produce “any probative evidence to establish that the Sports Complex should be rated as a Neighbourhood Facility.”

Issue 3:  What is the correct property classification of the Subject Property

This is a bit more complex of an issue.

The owners of the property attempted to argue that as the complex was built to provide services to two non-profit hockey organizations the complex should be classified as a “non-profit recreation sports club.”

The Board ruled that because a beneficial trust for the Non-Profit Organizations has not been created, the legal ownership remains with the 610 South Service Road Inc corporation.

“On the evidence, the Board accepts that the Appellant has established the first certainty of intention to create a trust, and the third certainty as to the objects of the trust, namely, to create a beneficial trust for the Non-Profit Organizations.

Therefore, the property remains in the commercial property class.

The Board cautions that it has further concerns regarding the plans for the Trust.

“In order to qualify for the Sports Club Exception, the property owner must be a non-profit recreational sports club” and there are existing for-profit operations on the site.

“Therefore, in this Decision, the Board can only raise the question whether the Non-Profit Organizations could only satisfy the Sport Club Exception criteria in respect of the areas of the Sports Complex that are not occupied by commercial business operations.”


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Published: January 17, 2023
Last edited: January 17, 2023
Author: Joey Coleman
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