Taxpayers can’t afford theatre expansion

I see the City of Nanaimo has voted to blow some $4.6 million on an expansion of the Port Theatre.

To the Editor,

Re: Councillors support $12-million Port Theatre expansion, Sept. 11.

I see the City of Nanaimo has voted to blow some $4.6 million on an expansion of the Port Theatre. And those millions are just the up-front cost; who knows what it’ll cost us in the long run when it needs fixing, a new piano, or can’t support itself and needs a handout. The current Port Theatre still can’t fill its seats and had to request a substantial increase to its taxpayer-funded subsidy that it needs every year in order to operate.

I sincerely hope an online vote, that was no doubt stacked by supporters of the project, was not the only investigation council and city staff conducted in order to justify the expenditure. An online vote is by no means representative and can be easily rigged.

We have tax hikes year after year, and more than enough small performance venues available to the city’s artists and visiting performers.

How can anyone see this expansion as a good idea in this fiscal climate? I’m one of the city’s artists, and I’d rather see a stable tax rate, or god forbid lower taxes, than have yet another venue which I can’t fill or rent.

Brendan MillbankNanaimo