City right to stay out of theatre box office

The city should sell Nanaimo Centre Stage and return the not-so-well-spent investment dollars back to taxpayers.

To the Editor,

Re: Management group pulls out of Centre Stage, April 1.

Before city council cheerleads giving another cultural group free tax money and all the revenue it can reap from that 120-year-old crumbling city building – owned by all the rest of us – the city should sell Nanaimo Centre Stage and return the not-so-well-spent investment dollars back to taxpayers.

Centre for the Arts Nanaimo steamrolled council to buy the old church for the group in 2008 for $460,000, with $100,000 coming from the downtown business improvement association. It was a horrible deal at the time, pushed through quickly without much oversight. The repair costs since, and into the future, will likely be monstrous – some say in the $1-million range. And that will be courtesy of you and me and our increasing taxes that will be required.

Council was overly generous offering the centre another three-year lease and $11,000 a year. Remember, Centre for the Arts has had a hands-out mentality since Day 1, refusing to do hardly any fundraising until the last moment. And when it came to repairs, the group has repeatedly told council it’s a city building, therefore the city’s responsibility. Council long ago should have pulled the plug on anybody with such a demeanour of entitlement.

Just because council recently passed a six-year cultural plan does not mean the city and its taxpayers need to shell out more money and extended leases just because a group threatens to walk. Thankfully, this time, the city did not give in to blackmail.

Kevan ShawNanaimo