Letter: Misuse of taxpayers funds

Do you see a disturbing trend Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer?

To the editor:

The amendments to the Municipal Act made in 1998 to allow private/public partnerships have allowed the City of Kelowna to go too far with respect to Tourism Kelowna.

238 Queensway: BC assessment value: $7.49 million. City council has agreed to lease that property for $50 for the next 29 years. Also, the city council has given the leasee up to 10 per cent of their operating budget in the form of grants to run the business. Then, after the 29th year, the city gets to pay to clean up the site and possibly remove the old building.

What’s the pay back? Ambiguous at best, no real schedule to be consolidated, just a promise, a whisper, that a building on the lake is good for Kelowna. The purpose of the centre is to help get tourists to come to our beautiful city? #TouristsAreAlreadyHere. Oh, the centre will have washrooms you say; what a novel solution for the person who cannot hold it after going to the $800,000 loo 200 meters to the south, or the public washrooms 50 meters to the north under the bear sculpture.

Which homeowner, business, financial advisor, or anyone with any financial intelligence would enter into such an arrangement? If it was your property and money, would you? The mayor and council obviously have very limited financial insight and financial education, and should not be allowed to enter into any more agreements if this is the type of result the taxpayer can expect.

Whatever happened to fair market value? Who cares if Tourism Kelowna wants to put up a brick and mortar? Let them, but not with public money or public lands. Let Tourism Kelowna compete in the marketplace like every other business and pay fair market value for goods and services like the rest of us. I would be angered if I owned a business in Kelowna and could not get the same deal from the city.

The City of Kelowna has recently purchased two lots totalling 2.9 acres at 4020 Lakeshore for $12 million. Check out the assessment value. This property will become a public beach (a better use of public funds, in my opinion). That said, the street frontage would quite likely include some type of private/public partnership. This partnership is needed to raise the funds to develop and maintain the public portion of the land. Hmm, interesting. Ever wonder what business will get a 29 year lease for $50?

Do you see a disturbing trend Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer?

All this appears to be a misuse of public funds and must be stopped. Is there no concern for the taxpayer’s money? Is there any understanding of fair market value? Is the Kelowna city council misusing public funds? It’s time to send this crew back to school for some Economics 101.

Roberto Basso, Kelowna

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