Sunday, December 05, 2010

When Millennium Came To Mayberry

When Millennium Visited Mayberry
Any resemblance to people living or dead or a convention centre in a Vancouver Island city are purely coincidental.

What follows is a suggested story line for a short movie, or perhaps a television sit com.

The setting would be a pleasant  seaside community on a Pacific Island off the west coast of Canada. The locals are happy going about their stress free lives and things are going along pretty smoothly.One day the locals are introduced to some fast talking, slick fellows who come from far, far away. They seem wealthy beyond belief. The locals seem unaware of an old saying that BS baffles brains and did not know that the fellows from afar saw them as plums just ripe for the picking. In fact the man who introduces the strangers to the locals is awarded a finders fee in court as he clearly plays a part in what is a most profitable venture for the nice fellows from out of town.

Maybe the well dressed, well spoken fellows from afar could convince the locals they really need a building to catch the tail end of a dying business. They convince the locals that there is no need for competitive quotes and further convince them to give them $3,000,000 to ramrod this $52 million project which will replace the $12 million project they failed to build earlier, because the slick fellow from a small island village got the best of them on that deal. It seems to escape the locals, that the nice fellows from far away have nothing to loose in this little transaction, and in fact all to gain. However, just for the sake of appearances and to show they are not just small town bumpkins they insist the out of town fellows put up a portion of the money paid to them by the locals, as a guarantee they will in fact build a hotel adjacent the convention centre. They seem to miss the fact that they are putting up the guarantee money themselves!

As time passes, and even though no hotel is built, the locals decide it is really not nice to withhold the guarantee money, and give it back to the fellows from out of town. The locals have no reason to distrust the out of town fellows as they were assured on many occasions to simply 'trust us'.

After the locals are well and fully down the garden path, the nice fellows from afar decide they can milk this cow for a few million more and up the price to complete to $72 million. Apparently the locals had lived pretty isolated lives as they clearly had never heard of this story before. The locals are so thrilled with that prospect that they agree to throw in more land just to sweeten the deal for the nice out of town guys. After all, local hospitality knows no bounds. Just to show their good intentions the locals tear down their recently re-roofed arena to make way for the two highrises the out of towners want to build. Visions of huge profits and gigantic real estate commissions dance in the head of local officials. They happily agree to take care of all soil remediation costs so the out of towners will be encouraged to stay in town so the locals may continue to pay them to not build a hotel downtown next to the newly finished convention centre.

In addition, the locals decided to rent a parking lot for $50,000 a year to accommodate all the workers that would need to park close by to build the towers where the once useful arena stood. Not wishing to encumber themselves with any potential revenue streams the locals decided it would be best to sell off the commercial properties associated with their shiny new convention centre to some other nice out of town fellows, for less than it cost to build. The locals generosity simply has no end!

The nice out of town fellows seeing the opportunity to perhaps enjoy some more local hospitality convince the locals to give them several more opportunities to keep their end of the bargain by building a hotel downtown. To demonstrate their good intentions they agree to give the city $100,000 of the city's money back from the $3,000,000 if by chance they should fail to build the long promised hotel. The locals once again wishing to be hospitable agree to another extension of time and true to form the out of towners did not build a hotel which the locals are convinced will ensure the success of their shiny new building which they miraculously managed to build without even getting competitive prices. It is amazing what you can do when you simply suspend all distrust of nice people in business.

Since the locals now have a bright shiny, state of the art convention building (unlike Victoria or Vancouver), which does not seem to be attracting the hoped for business, they do manage to rent out some space by taking business away from other venues in their city. They even go so far as to pay $100,000 a year to rent space in the building they are paying over $1,000,000  a year to some other nice out of town fellows to run for them. In addition they no longer collect business taxes which this property could have produced.

Now that the problem of rowdy, drunken crowds in the downtown area are a thing of the past the locals have decided it is a good idea to make use of this nice state of the art convention centre as the venue for a modern day gladiators event at which they will sell alcohol. They feel that mixing alcohol with the atmosphere associated with a modern day gladiator fight should add to the calm and charm of downtown Nanaimo.

This is shortly after spending another $20,000 to update a report about the feasibility of building a hotel downtown which they desperately think will make a success of their shiny new building. They have rejected the notion that they should develop a business plan to even see if the convention centre itself is viable. It would seem that unbeknown to themselves and the rest of the townsfolk, that during an early meeting with the nice fellows from far away, members of council and senior city staff were all given a very special flavoured kool-aid to drink, the effects of which can still be seen today.

This could become a never ending story, but I think it is sufficiently laid out that a Stephen Spielberg or maybe Stephen King type could turn the basic plot into either a rip roaring sit com or a first rate horror story.

As a sequel perhaps the sleepy little seaside town could be visited in 20 years or so to discover the locals are now visiting the local water well daily to fill their buckets and once again are using outhouses for sanitation, as it seems the nice fellows from far away pretty much left the cupboard bare.

In the years leading up to the effects of this financial fiasco becoming known, those responsible had cleverly set aside a nice tidy nest egg which provided them with sufficient money they collected from the townsfolk so they could get out of town, as to stay would have meant certain hanging. But that could be a whole different story.



  1. Bravo!

    And did you mention that the townsfolk have had to pay Atlific, (the company that manages the conference centre), a fee for the privilege of holding City Council meetings in the Shaw Auditorium component of the Centre?
    - Janet

  2. Yes, as a matter of fact the reference was:

    "They even go so far as to pay $100,000 a year to rent space in the building they are paying over $1,000,000 a year to some other nice out of town fellows to run for them. "


Your comment will appear after moderation before publishing,

Thank you for your comments.Any comment that could be considered slanderous or includes unacceptable language will be removed.

Thank you for participating and making your opinions known.