Monday, October 28, 2013

25 Victoria Road Not Worth $1.5 Million

Screen grab from Nanaimo Daily News local 'Arts Boss' Ms. Camilla Tang
"Arts Boss" says Ratepayers Concerns "Outlandish"

On the front page of the Daily News on Friday Oct. 25, Ms Tang is quoted as saying claims by the Nanaimo Ratepayers that costs for the old building at 25 Victoria Rd. will balloon are "outlandish".

In my role as the president of the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association, I have now made two presentations to city council expressing concern that the old building at 25 Victoria Rd. is simply not worth 1.5 million tax dollars. An opinion clearly not shared by the arts boss. Then again it is tax dollars we are talking about spending on a building with an assessed value of less than $300,000.

These 'outlandish' costs Ms Tang refers to come straight from engineers reports that the city of Nanaimo have paid to have prepared. Those reports point to at least $925,000.00 in repairs to the building's exterior and do nothing to address any seismic upgrades or hazardous material abatement the building may require in the future. To that cost you can add at least another $600,000 the city taxpayer has spent to buy this building and cost of ongoing repairs since the purchase. One such repair was for water damage one winter, when a frozen pipe burst because the building was not being adequately heated.

As for the notion that costs will balloon, we already have an example of that since a March decision to spend $160,000 has already ballooned into $194,700.

Council's Poor Decision

Last March Councilors Brennan, Greves, Johnstone, Pattje, Anderson and Mayor Ruttan voted for the most costly remedy for a claimed public safety issue. Stucco cladding on the Nicol Street side of this building is said to present a life safety issue, should it fall off and injure someone. Rather than accepting the $20,000 option to simply deal with the loose stucco, the above councillors opted to spend $160,000 to completely replace the siding and some brick veneer.

It would seem, that this council is unwilling to come right out and say they support pouring another 925,000 tax dollars into a $300,000 building, but that would be the only logical reason for spending $160,000 to solve a $20,000 problem. That $160,000 solution has already ballooned into nearly $200,000 and we haven't even started.

This is a perfect example of why special interest groups in the city of Nanaimo seem to be able to get city councilors to spend YOUR money on THEIR pet projects while all the time claiming to be wanting to hold the line on tax increases.

Some Councillors Don't Read Reports?

Councillor Brennan challenged my claims of the cost of $1.5 million being the cost for identified repairs to this building. Councillor Brennan seems to not have read the engineers report that staff provided last Dec. which was the source of my numbers.

Clearly the local Arts Boss doesn't read those reports either, then again it is only tax dollars we are talking about.


1 comment:

  1. SELL the old crumbling building and scrape whatever tax money we can get back from the rubble. Tang said she would not fundraise, guess that's beneath some folk who just want tax money handed to them. Tang cannot or will not say how many artists continually rehearse or perform in the building = it must be a small number so it would not warrant pumping any money into.


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