Friday, November 21, 2014

$25,000 VICC Study Recommended

Staff Recommends Spending $25,000 
Market Feasibility Study Update For VICC

One item on the Nov. 24th City Council meeting that got my attention was a staff recommendation to put out an RFP to complete a partial update of the 2004 Market Feasibility Study for the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Yes, you read that right .............. spend $25,000 for a partial update of a ten year old study!!! Expletive ... deleted!!


Why consider spending 25 grand partially updating a ten year old study, when you can just look at the results since the VICC opened and draw some pretty basic conclusions of our own. Have five respected business people in our community evaluate the performance of the centre and follow their recommendations for the future of this tax-sucking vortex!

During the recent election campaign I suggested putting this building on the open market to see what the private sector thinks the building is worth, and what they would do with it. If the offered price would not get us out from under the outstanding debt, estimated at about $22 million, then we would have to approach divesting ourselves of this liability with some creativity, but it is clear the status quo is pure folly. An estimated five million tax dollars are being burned every year maintaining the status quo on this monumental blunder, poorly conceived and poorly administered by previous councils and administrations.


This building which was pitched to the public as costing $42 million (including a downtown hotel) cost taxpayers at least $72 million as a result of complete ineptness on the part of city staff of the day charged with overseeing this monumental project, which was clearly well beyond their ability to deliver.

Just a few examples of complete ineptness on the part of the city manager of the day to manage such a project:
  • project was taken to a public referendum with a $42 million price tag attached which was to include the convention centre and a new hotel, final project cost at least $72 million and did not include the hotel
  • project manager was paid $3 million to oversee the project including the construction of the hotel, was paid with no mechanism for performance guarantee
  • performance bond was returned even though project was not complete
Can you imagine a project manager in the private sector responsible for a $42 million project, coming in at $72 million and being allowed to keep their job? Then, can you imagine the same manager being given a $500,000 severance package when they wanted to leave the company?

There is a world of difference between the private and public sector, and consequence for performance is one of them.

BTW does anyone know what's up with a certain city management staffer who might have been connected to the Leadercast thingy that had some connection to this building and the management of same?



  1. Once election is over ,there should have a freeze on any new spending until the newly elected are sworn in.

  2. Submitted by Janet Irvine -
    And what about members of council? Aren’t they elected to make decisions? …. I was one of a group of citizens, who, after doing their homework, attempted to convince council that the City, (at the outset), should have been considering building a multiplex, (multi-purpose facility), and NOT a conference centre.

    Council members at time of the November 2004 Referendum on borrowing up to $30M to carry out the terms of the Partnering Agreement to construct a conference centre/museum and hotel concurrently were: Korpan, Brennan, Cantelon, Holdom, Krall, McNabb, Manhas, Sherry and Tyndall.

    2005 council elected: Korpan, Bestwick, Brennan, Cameron, Holdom, McNabb, Manhas, Sherry and Unger

    By the next election, (2008), the hotel component (the private part of the agreement), had not gotten off the ground ….. Council elected in 2008: Ruttan, Bestwick, Holdom, Johnstone, Kipp, McNabb, Pattje, Sherry and Unger.

  3. The referendum was 49% against and 51% for, or something equally egregious that City Council jumped on as a solid YES! They didn't even advertise the referendum or place signs indicating the voting place.


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