MBA Games team captain Nneka Otogbolu

MBA Games team captain Nneka Otogbolu

VIU team defends Nanaimo event centre proposal at national business games

NANAIMO – A Vancouver Island University 2017 MBA Games team preached the virtues of a new event centre.

A Vancouver Island University 2017 MBA Games team preached the virtues of a new event centre in Nanaimo.

The national Master of Business Administration Games took place in the Nanaimo area from Monday to Wednesday with academic, spirit and athletic events. Nneka Ocogbolu, a first-year MBA student at VIU, and her team presented on the Nanaimo-centric issue for the strategy-case portion.

Ocogbolu said her team had to review and prepare a referendum for Nanaimo city council for the centre. The issue the team faced was that there were already several event centres, so why would a new one be needed, said Ocogbolu.

“What we now did was to try and differentiate between all other event centres in Nanaimo and the reason why Nanaimo needs a bigger event centre and we had to put some form of uniqueness into it by correlating them with the First Nations community and telling them they could partner and make [it] a gathering place where First Nations culture can be taught and preserve their history,” Ocogbolu said.

Ocogbolu’s team also looked at funding and based on a community survey, determined there was an appetite, but residents didn’t want taxes affected.

“We are of the opinion that if you look at the economic benefits of this event centre, which means that every activity that is tied to tourism, like hotels, restaurants, downtown and all that, there’ll be an economic growth of the community.

“On the taxes part, yes we could ask the community to give some form of tax holiday to properties around that area, but not for long. Over a period of time, the taxes will have to be paid and will have to increase,” said Ocogbolu.

The VIU team suggested a joint partnership with private companies and the City of Nanaimo. The city didn’t necessarily have to give money, but it could be part of the joint venture in terms of getting land approval and waiving taxes, said Ocogbolu.

While it was her team’s job to take a pro-event centre stance, Ocogbolu said she is personally for it.

“I’m looking at the size and population of Nanaimo currently [and it] doesn’t have an event centre of this size in it. [Vancouver Island Conference Centre] the truth is it’s actually small,” said Ocogbolu.

She said the experience was exhausting, but great.

The 2017 MBA Games were the first held in B.C. and students from 19 Canadian universities took part.