Too much can go wrong with multiplex

With council’s desire to see a Nanaimo multiplex, we are in danger of making the same mistakes that were made with the convention centre.

To the Editor,

Re: Polling gauges multiplex support, Dec. 6.

With council’s desire to see a Nanaimo multiplex, we are in danger of making the same mistakes that were made when the convention centre was approved, namely, not resolving the difficult questions before going ahead with a very expensive project.

In the case of the convention centre, these included: What if we don’t get a hotel? What if we don’t get the number of convention days predicted? In the case of the multiplex they are: What if a WHL team isn’t successful? What is Plan B for an anchor tenant? Are there enough events to support three downtown venues (Port Theatre, conference centre, multiplex)? What is the worst-case scenario?

If the private sector isn’t prepared to build a multiplex, does it make economic sense to do so?

The Abbotsford Centre is a good example of what can go wrong. Abbotsford’s failed AHL hockey team left the city with over $12 million in losses, no multiplex anchor tenant, and an operating deficit exceeding $1 million annually. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation stated, the building “is a prime example of why municipalities in Canada should not be funding arenas of this size.”

Let’s learn from past mistakes. Nanaimo taxpayers deserve that from council.

Allan DavidsonNanaimo


To the Editor,

Re: Residents respond to multiplex idea, Nov. 29.

In addition to my input to the surveyor, I would like council to know that I am not in favour of the city contributing anything to this event centre, either dollars or land. The only way I would support an event centre in any capacity is if the proponent paid for it. I base my opinion on previous decisions by council that have cost citizens lots of dollars – and then have continued to cost lots of dollars because the dreams of largesse for Nanaimo city have failed to materialize.

Since this study has been paid for out of taxes, I assume that the final draft will be available to anyone requesting same. I look forward to receiving a copy.

Barbara HourstonNanaimo


To the Editor,

Re: Polling gauges multiplex support, Dec. 6.

A proposed event centre can only be considered a good idea if it can be proved to be financially successful – this cannot be assured no matter how many people would wish it to be so.

While it may be possible to attract a professional sports team initially, these organizations are profit-oriented and consequently have little or no loyalty to the cities that host them. In consequence, it would be foolhardy to base any future hopes for ongoing success on the belief that any professional sports team would not leave Nanaimo in the lurch should a better opportunity present itself.

While an event centre might enhance the stature of our city in some ways, it is at least as risky a proposition as the Port Theatre or the boondoggle that became the conference centre. If the event centre is to become a reality, let it be at the behest (and financial responsibility) of a hard-headed business consortium rather than the rose-coloured vision of city council, and definitely not with any kind of financial support from the city and their long-suffering taxpayers.

Garry BradfordNanaimo

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