Event centre is a gamble

Rather than city taxpayers gambling on the proposal being a profitable venture, let investors start an equity company and sell shares.

Re: Proposed events centre won’t look pretty on waterfront, Letters, Feb. 2.

Rather than city taxpayers gambling on the proposal being a viable, profitable venture, let investors start an equity company and sell shares to those who desire and are pushing the proposal. If it is such a profitable venture, let them take the risk and maybe make the huge return.

The city property proposed in the vote could be assessed and used as equity in the scheme. So if it succeeds, ratepayers could still be involved, but to a much lesser extent.

Jim SwansonNanaimo


Re: Hometown Hockey a hit with fans, Feb. 28.

The network TV broadcast from Maffeo Sutton Park sent proud shivers up and down my spine. I love Nanaimo, and the Hometown Hockey program showcased our gorgeous city and waterfront which hasn’t been promoted with such energy since the Bathtub race got us round-the-globe coverage in the ’60s and ’70s.

To see the smiling faces of kids and adults on the zipline, those playing ball hockey on our new floating barge, skating on the outdoor rink or seeking autographs – it doesn’t get any better. I’m in favour of spending tax money when it will support all of our community, bring pride and belonging – not when my cash is continuously shovelled to a few, now kicking-and-screaming, fearing their funding may be cut and brought into check.

Will a new arena cost money? Yes. But look what it can bring. We are the only city in Canada our size not to have a good-sized multiplex for concerts, monster truck shows, the Harlem Globetrotters, many other things and yes, upper-tier hockey. Now sprinkle in the marine museum, maybe a new fast-ferry/bus/rail transportation hub, some waterfront restaurants and pubs, parkland, trails, an aboriginal and coal museum, housing. Voila – a gathering place like we all enjoyed for Hometown Hockey. I’m voting yes.

Kevan ShawNanaimo


Re: Multiplex supporter claims bullying, March 2.

Last week the chamber of commerce presented an independent forum and debate on the event centre referendum. The intent was to deliver information by inviting the yes and no sides to a healthy, classic debate. Plans were proceeding – until the day of the event. The day before that we received no indication of any safety concerns in our discussions with project supporters.

We went ahead with the event and three community members stepped forward at the last minute to present the yes side and did a very good job. The evening went forward as planned, nobody’s safety was threatened.

While each side was free to change their mind about attending, we didn’t feel it was very fair to the community to do this at the last minute. And we didn’t feel it was very fair to the chamber to also allege that we didn’t have a security plan, that we were supportive of one side over the other, and that we weren’t timely in sharing details of the event with the yes side. These allegations simply aren’t true. Thanks to the volunteers who participated in this effort to openly discuss this very important issue and to help remind everyone how vital it is to get out the vote on March 11.

Kim Smythepresident and CEOGreater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce


Re: Multiplex math being debated, Opinion, Feb. 23.

The net operating budget for the Nanaimo events centre proposed by the consultants in the business plan report is ‘pie in the sky’ theory and will require a miracle. The business plan includes comparing Nanaimo with much larger cities including San Antonio, Hartford, Des Moines, Oshawa, Ont. and London, Ont.

Compare that with the real world in B.C. Event centres in Penticton, Prince George, Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Kamloops have annual operating deficits.

Ernst and Young completed a review of the Nanaimo event centre business plan. They rated 10 conclusions in that report as medium-risk and one as high-risk. City council and senior city staff’s job is to represent Nanaimo residents, not just the personal desires of one councillor. They should do it or resign. This is not a viable proposal as presented.

Brent MeunierNanaimo

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