City City of Prince George is standing firm when it comes to a request for loan forgiveness.

Last year, the BCNE requested Council forgive a $32,500 debt, and let it use the CN Centre Parking lot and office space rent-free.

The $45,000 loan was granted in 2010.

“The original term of agreement for the loan was five years,” explains Director of Finance Kris Dalio. “But they had the flexibility to defer payments, or even pay less than what was expected on any annual repayment as long as they paid back the loan in full.”

According to Councillor Brian Skakun, the group made two payments, and never paid off the loan, bringing us up to this point.

Councillor Terri McConnachie ardently supported the loan forgiveness, citing the event as a Prince George staple, and that the loan helped the group during a year of freak bumps in the road.

The loan helped the BCNE stay out of the red after it was slapped with a breach of contract lawsuit for $32,700, and a $20,000 loss in provincial gaming grants.

None of the Councillors were on board with slashing rental costs, and were mixed on the thought of free transportation.

What it really seemed to come down to was setting a precedent.

“They definitely do great work in the community, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we lent them a lot of money, there’s interest that needs to be paid back, and if that was to happen again, we wouldn’t forgive another loan to another organization,” says Skakun.

Many Councillors agreed there should be a long-term plan to keep the BCNE kicking through grants, but Dalio pointed out the Exhibition isn’t totally without help.

“We have three forms of financial assistance. Permissive tax exemption program, the grants program, and low-cost leasing. The Agricultural and historical association has a low-cost lease. They pay $1000 the whole year for their rent, and that’s it.”

This marks the second time the association has come before council asking that the loan be forgiven, after a delegation was turned down last June.