To the Editor,
Re: Operators question city’s hotel report, Sept. 22.
It has now gotten to the point where some are wondering if fraud is being committed on taxpayers of Nanaimo by the quasi-government folk our money is so easily handed to.
Established local hoteliers have appeared before city council to testify they have not been turning away droves of conventioneers because a big, flashy, new hotel has not been built next to the cobwebbed $72-million convention centre. Some apparent abracadabra figures given by the Vancouver Island Conference Centre – which we already bail out with subsidies as well as paying for maintenance, management fees and debt payback – helped a study allege the convention centre generated almost 15,000 hotel room stays last year. But, foul, say the hoteliers, stating only about 4,000 stays were generated. Waiters at a restaurant are fired for being $20 out – never mind such a huge discrepancy.
Just a few years ago, the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, which grabs $1.375 million of taxpayer loot from us per year, came out with a laughable study claiming arts and culture employ more people in Nanaimo than the transportation and manufacturing industry. To sway the outcome wanted, included in the study were people working in print, radio, TV, movie theatres, web designers, etc. But even with the add-ons, Statistics Canada figures were still far, far off from NEDC-presented numbers.
Enough is enough. Are such self-contrived outcomes – to procure our tax money – criminal?
Slash every taxpayer nickel going to the NEDC, the VICC and other arms-length outfits that council and taxpayers are not allowed to scrutinize with thousands of magnifying glasses. We cannot afford any more imaginative and made-up studies whose outcomes are tinkered to make organizations look good, to keep their jobs and to keep the public money trough flowing – studies that are even paid for with our very own tax money.