An artist’s rendering of what an Ocean Discovery Centre could look like in Nanaimo. CHECKWITCH POIRON ARCHITECTS

Councillors recommend $65K spending to help proposed ocean centre in Nanaimo

Project was discussed during finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday

The group behind a proposed interactive marine ecology display centre is expected to receive money from the City of Nanaimo, despite claiming it wouldn’t need city tax dollars.

During a finance and audit committee meeting on Wednesday, Nanaimo councillors voted 4-3 to recommend providing the Nanaimo Deep Discovery Association with $65,000 to help pay for feasibility studies and other costs related to their proposed $50-million Ocean Discovery Centre. The group was hoping for $100,000 from the city.

In a letter to city councillors, NDDA states it needs $127,575 to pay for a market assessment, fundraising consultant, feasibility study, architectural services and a promotional documentary. The letter also explains that the studies are needed in order to ensure the discovery centre is “sustainable without revenue from municipal taxes.”

The request comes seven months after councillors voted unanimously to allocate roughly 8,000 square metres of land along Port Drive for the discovery centre. That decision was made after the NDDA told councillors it needed the land in order to secure funding from various levels of government.

The NDDA’s website shows that there would be no financial commitment required from the city.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Coun. Jerry Hong said he couldn’t support giving the NDDA money when council has already approved giving them a piece of land, calling it “ludicrous.”

“I won’t support this until they come back and tell us what they’ve got for funding,” he said.

RELATED: Ocean centre asking City of Nanaimo for $100,000 to cover coming costs

Hong also expressed concerns about how the NDDA wanted to spend the money, questioning the use of a fundraising consultant.

“Why do you need fundraising consultants when you don’t even have an actual business plan? How do you fundraise for something when you don’t even have a plan?” he asked. “So that seems to be a waste of money.”

Coun. Ian Thorpe said while he understands where Hong is coming from, he believes the Nanaimo Deep Discovery Association does need some seed money.

“I don’t have problem with a fundraising consultant for them, I think that is probably a wise move,” he said. “So I think, to me, matching funds is maybe a compromise between giving them money and doing nothing.

Coun. Bill Yoachim said he definitely supports the idea and called it a “positive” story. He said the city needs something positive right now and that sometimes a little bit of money is needed to make that happen.

“We’ve spent money on other things where I don’t think all the citizens have benefited, whereas this benefits all. This is a regional attraction,” he said. “I don’t want to be just another ‘no,’ Nanaimo-type mindset on this. You’ve got to spend some money to … get positive results.”

Councillors Hong, Fuller and Armstrong were opposed. Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay and Coun. Jim Kipp were absent. City councillors will vote on whether to accept the committee’s recommendation at a future council meeting.



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Search underway for missing Nanaimo man

Nanaimo Search and Rescue, RCMP conducting search for Cortney Latoski

Hundreds of Island leaders expected at next week’s summit in Nanaimo

State of the Island economic summit happens Oct. 23-24 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre

City of Nanaimo looking at closing two lanes of Front Street, adding bike lanes

City councillors to discuss $400,000 project at finance and audit committee meeting Oct. 16

Vancouver Island cancer patients get new ride to appointments

Qualicum Beach woman donates van to Freemasons’ transportation program

Nanaimo Fire Rescue reviewing potential sites for future fire stations

City’s growing population, infrastructure, traffic congestion prompting study

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Sentencing date set for Vancouver Island father convicted of killing his two daughters

Andrew Berry was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder last month

B.C. woman finds mysterious coin among Grandma’s collection

Grandmother died when she was very young and her past is not well known to her mother

Report of gunshots leads to discovery of deceased male in Campbell River

Police conduct investigation in the south end of Campbell River

Advanced polls saw 4.7 million Canadians cast their ballots in the 2019 federal election

That’s a 29 per cent increase from advance polling in 2015

Pot use admission at U.S. border snagging Canadian boomers, says lawyer

A waiver to enter the U.S. can cost $2,000 and isn’t a guarantee

Health concerns over vaping cast haze over Canadian cannabis market expansion

More than 1,000 people in the United States, and a handful in Canada, have developed a lung ailment

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Most Read