Letter: What are true costs of visitor centre?

The bottom line is the city is playing by its own rules. It does not want the public involved.

To the editor:

The city has failed to address public costs for this visitor centre project and has not reported them in a comprehensive and detailed manner.

My public cost estimates for the project total $12 million, which includes:

• $4 million estimate to replace downtown waterfront parkland for public uses over the next 29 years.

• $4.5 million hidden and unspecified within the city’s Kerry Park upgrade planning budget which will be paid from taxation.

• $0.5 million for sewer, water and electrical servicing the building site (actual city 2017 budget allocation) which will be paid from taxation.

• $1 million estimate for contaminated soil testing and removal, soil stability testing and protection of lake drinking water supply (city cost documents unavailable).  Planned works budget hidden within either parks or real estate division operating budgets under generic headings.

• $1 million estimate for design and rebuilding the seawall to support the building (city cost documents unavailable). Planned works budget hidden within either parks or real estate division operating budgets under generic headings.

• $1 million estimate to demolish, remove and replace the existing boat ramp elsewhere on the lake (city cost documents unavailable).   Planned works budget hidden within either parks or real estate division operating budgets under generic headings.

The bottom line is the city is playing by its own rules. It does not want the public involved. If it did, it would consolidate the public costs and present them for public review prior to the public hearing. They did not do this and the blame should fall squarely on Coun. Gail Given who dropped the ball by not requesting this information from either Tourism Kelowna or from city staff. Clearly, she failed to do her job as the taxpayers’ watchdog siting on the Tourism Kelowna Board.

I will stick to this estimate until the city proves otherwise. Until then, the media should scream to high heaven demanding a full and a complete public cost and benefit disclosure from the city for this project.

It is important to note the city has no justifiable public cost recovery plan for this project other than receiving a nominal 29-year lease payment, the amount of which was not presented in the staff report filed Jan. 19 for the regular meeting following the public hearing. It’s a heck of deal for Tourism Kelowna’s 320 private company members. Once again, taxpayers are forced to subsidize the private sector.

Richard Drinnan, Kelowna

Just Posted

Kelowna council defers decision on homeless development

BC Housing is revisiting original plan after concerns from local businesses

3% tax hike proposed in West Kelowna

Proposed provisional budget tax hike in line with recent annual increases in the city

Okanagan robbery suspect sought

RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in an… Continue reading

11-year-old water quality advisory lifted in Glenmore

Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District says Interior Health gave the green light to lift advisory

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Crook’s Corner

A slice of this week’s arts and entertainment happenings in the North Okanagan at a glance

Liberal Hogg wins South Surrey-White Rock byelection over Conservative Findlay

B.C. riding to be represented by non-conservative for first time in decades

Six-year-old boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Mother of sick Sooke boy asks government to help fund treatments

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Be ladder safe both at work and home

WorkSafeBC wants you to keep safe while hanging those Christmas lights this year

B.C. overdose deaths surpass 1,200

96 people died of illicit drug overdoses in October

A classic Christmas play with a Kelowna twist

Scrooge is transported to Kelowna in New Vintage Theatre’s new holiday play, opening Wednesday

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Feds agree to give provinces 75 per cent of pot tax revenues

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the agreement today

Most Read