Portage College confirmed on July 14th that the Lac La Biche County has named the Portage College Board of Governors as a defendant in a Statement of Claim filed in the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. The motion to sue the College over the move of the hockey team to Cold Lake was confirmed on July 17th by County Council.
Dr. Trent Keough, President & CEO of Portage College said, "College administration could not justify the Board of Governors spending taxpayer dollars in a costly legal battle over who owns naming rights to a hockey team. The legal costs would be far more than the $100,000 on the table. Further, there is no known positive or beneficial end value given to all Portage students by contesting the Statement of Claim. Consequently, we cancelled our original decision on awarding team naming rights to the City of Cold Lake."
Lac La Biche County has agreed to enter into a legal contract defining its financial support and its community sponsorship of the Portage College's men's hockey team. The contract has to be signed within 5 days from July, 18th 2017, and it is to be set on the specific terms presented to Lac La Biche County Council by Portage College on January 30th, 2017. Lac La Biche County will discontinue its lawsuit on a "without costs" basis.
Randy Benson, Portage College Board of Governors Chair said, "I am pleased that Portage College and Lac La Biche County Council were able to come to an agreement quickly on the issue related to the proposed move of the Portage College Voyageurs to Cold Lake. I trust that Portage College and the community of Lac La Biche will mutually support one another as we move forward with the ever present challenges of post-secondary education in our region. Finally, my very best to the Voyageurs in the upcoming season."
Portage College will need to raise an additional $150,000 dollars annually to make the team financially self-sufficient. This will be a challenge while experiencing difficult economic times.
The College will work with students and staff to mitigate the financial losses incurred from housing leases in the City of Cold Lake.
Upon signing the official agreement with Lac La Biche County, Portage College will issue a separate media release on this partnership.