Friday, December 05, 2014

VICC - 2004 Feasibility Study

No feasibility study done since 2004

Yes, you read that right, the city of Nanaimo brain trust has been throwing tax dollars at the convention centre and hotel developers based on a study that was done in 2004, which was based on one done in 2001.

What is a feasibility study? According to that fount of knowledge, wikipedia, a feasibility study is an evaluation and analysis of the potential of a proposed project which is based on extensive investigation and research to support the process of decision making. The studies aim to objectively and rationally uncover the strengths and weaknesses of an existing business or proposed venture. In its simplest terms, the two criteria to judge feasibility are cost required and value to be attained.

A feasibility study evaluates the project's potential for success, therefore, perceived objectivity is an important factor in the credibility of the study for potential investors and lending institutions. It must therefore be conducted with an objective, unbiased approach to provide information upon which decisions can be based.

Looking back

The following article appeared on this blog in August 2009:

$865,000.00 Loss For The Year

The local daily is reporting that losses at the VICC have climbed to $865,000 from the estimated $500,000.00.

Contributing to the loss is the cancellation of a four day convention by the BC Teacher's Federation. The Federation apparently cancelled their convention as they were unable to acquire the number of hotel rooms they wanted.

The VICC manager blames the current economy for the dwindling numbers of people attending conferences and the lack of hotel space as a major hindrance for booking larger conventions.

Editor's Note: It might be an idea if the City Council and staff develop a plan 'B' for this centre and some kind of a timeline for how long the taxpayers will be asked to continue funding this questionable business venture.

The following appeared on Dec. 31, 2012:

VICC & Downtown Nanaimo

The VICC is expecting the best year since they opened six years ago with the highest number of delegate days expected next year. So why, you may ask are they asking to increase their annual subsidy by over 25%? They are looking for another $234,000 next year, on top of a subsidy which is already likely over $1,000,000.00. Funny, this never came to light last year, when their contract was renewed for another five years. Just another example of the shrewd business acumen of the brain trust at city hall.

Don't ask Mr. Howat or anyone else at city hall to explain this to you, as I doubt they understand how the VICC contract really works any better than members of council. Clearly this agreement was written by the operators of the conference centre, and our city staff just asked where to sign!

What kind of 'managers' go ten years without a new feasibility study??

When you consider that the company Atlific is being paid about $1,000,000 per year to manage and promote the conference centre, and that this operation is being overseen by highly qualified, experienced and well paid city staff; you have to wonder why the city taxpayer is being asked to pony up another $25,000 to do what should be considered normal operating protocol.

I can't imagine any business in the 'real' world basing their operations plans on a study that is over ten years old! Who at the city hall is responsible for this file? I know that recently it has been inherited by Ms Samborski but we have years of operating when this file was the responsibility of Mr. Hickey and Mr. Howat I believe. What do they have to say for themselves? Basing recommendations to spend $3 - $4 million tax dollars each year, and give away hotel tax exemptions based on a ten year old study!!

Really!! Who is responsible?
City managers? City Council? Conference Centre Contractor?
All of the above?

What of the management company Atliifc, headed by Ms. Tacon? That company gets about $1million per year to manage and promote the conference centre. Why have they not been responsible for producing credible feasibility studies all along??


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