Editorial: Multiplex debate must be robust

The city has put a multiplex project at front of mind in Nanaimo. We need to think about it and talk about it.

The City of Nanaimo is imagining ‘game on’ at a new multiplex, and will find out if people want to play and if taxpayers want to pay.

The first phase of an events centre study was presented this week. It was a quick turnaround after councillors agreed upon their strategic priorities at the beginning of the summer. Evidently a multiplex was at the top of the list.

The artist’s renderings are attractive and the project has obvious appeal. It offers huge entertainment value, new opportunities and aligns with many of what we think are Nanaimo’s goals surrounding tourism and hospitality and downtown revitalization.

But seeing Phase 1 of the study without the other phases and having so many questions unanswered has limited value. Maybe we like the idea of a ‘luxury’ multiplex with the highest tier of amenities. Maybe we prefer one suggested site to another. But what are we really comparing here? We haven’t been presented with information or proposals or options about who’s footing the bill. The comparison that matters is spending $62-83 million on a multiplex, shouldering some of the cost, or not spending another dime.

We could argue that it’s a backward process to be talking about the bells and whistles before the dollars that drive everything. We trust there will be those sorts of conversations and we hope it’s fact-based discussion that doesn’t mask the challenges and failings at other event centres in mid-size communities. We understand, though, that politicians, having expressed their priorities, want to align other people’s visions with their own. This is a part of a sales pitch. If we have to ask the price, we can’t afford it.

The city has successfully put a multiplex project at front of mind in Nanaimo. We need to think about it and talk about it, because so much of our city’s direction depends on getting it built, and how, or not getting it built, and why not. That’s the comparison; that’s the debate that has already started. It’s game on.

Just Posted

Nanoose Bay Art in the Garden celebrates 10th year

Photos from the two-day show which featured 100 artists, more than ever before

Complex with more than 200 apartments pitched for Nanaimo’s south end

Construction planned for next spring on Junction Avenue in Chase River

Historian recalls Nanaimo’s drunken disorder back in 1890

Imagine the seamen’s surprise when they found themselves inside a brewery, writes columnist

South end heritage celebrated with Miners’ Picnic

27th annual event was held Saturday at Deverill Square Park

Timbermen beat league’s first-place team

Nanaimo’s senior A lacrosse team handles Maple Ridge Burrards 11-6

South end heritage celebrated with Miners’ Picnic

27th annual event was held Saturday at Deverill Square Park

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Making sturdier vehicles would cut down on ICBC claims

Cars now have painted, weak, composite valances that fly apart in any crash, says letter writer

Nanaimo council approves re-zoning for B.C. Cannabis Stores

One store coming to Country Club Centre, another to Mary Ellen Drive

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

How the Vancouver Island flag flew under the radar for over a century

A B.C. history buff created the flag in the ’80s, 100 years after it was ordered

Most Read