Monday, December 10, 2012

Conference Centre Costs $234,000 More In 2013

Budget Another $234,000 Subsidy For VICC

In spite of reporting the most number of delegate days since opening, and optimistic reports for future conventions it seems the conference centre is just the gift that keeps on giving.

One item highlighted in the Financial Plan presented by city Finance Director Brian Clemens itemizes an 'increased subsidy for VICC - ($234K)' as one reason for increases in the 2013 budget.

You would have been forgiven for thinking that the higher number of delegate days, may have resulted in the conference centre being more profitable and therefore might result in a reduced subsidy from city taxpayers. If that is what you think, you might want to ask Mr. Howat to explain to you just what kind of an operating agreement he negotiated for you when this contract was renewed with the current operators.

Frankly, I think the operators wrote it years ago, and Mr. Howat and Mr. Kenning just signed whatever was put in front of them, remember this is another one of those 'sole source' decisions made by the brain trust at city hall. Our shrewd business types at city hall, also gave the operators the option to renew for another 5 years which meant we still could not call for a tender to see if another operator would run the centre for less.

I sometimes wonder, if any of these fellows ever ran a lemonade stand as kids, or operated a paper route. I have my doubts.

If you want to know just what kind of a deal the operators have with the city, don't bother asking a city councillor as you will get that blank, doe in the headlights look. They can't figure it out either.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this story. A follow-up on the VICC's annual propaganda message would be appreciated. Those delegate days reported did not distinguish between resident and non-resident delegate days. It's the latter that matter in terms of greatly imagined spin-off business and it's the measure that counts for convention planners -- i.e., few NRDD's means a not very popular destination.

    Last time I checked, most of BC's over-built convention centre industry falls into the latter category, spin-doctor messages notwithstanding.

    Many of the resident delegate days, by the way, represent nothing more than business taken away from local hotels. So the subsidy taxpayers provide for the VICC deprives hoteliers of business that otherwise would have come to them.

    Rather than the gift that keeps on giving, then, the VICC is the bandit that keeps on taking. It's appropriate that it's located next door to another bandit that keeps on taking -- but at least in the latter case there's a measurable net public benefit (or so it is said).


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