Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Downtown Hotel Extension Not Granted

Full House and full agenda

The June 15 city council meeting had a full agenda which resulted in a full gallery in the Shaw Auditorium with at least 200 visitors in attendance.

Some of the gallery were present to show their support for the Manhao request to extend the purchase option agreement for another year while many others were there in support of the report to proposed cultural funding programs.

The SSS Manhao Group was represented by their lawyer, Mr. Perry Ehrlich and Mr. Brent Oland representing their construction firm. Mr. Ehrilich gave a spirited presentation  in a effort to convince city council to extend the option to purchase agreement by one more year. Reasons were offered for why the company was not able to meet their construction timelines and why they were in need of the extension. During the presentation Mr. Ehrilich said the company was willing to forgo their right of first negotiation for the conference centre but indicated they would support it being passed on to the Casino company.

There were six members of the business commmunity who spoke in support of granting the extension with Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Smythe addressing council first. The belief that the hotel would have many positive benefits for tourism and the economy in general were heralded as reason enough to grant the extension.

After over three hours of spirited debate, council voted down the motion put forward by Councillor Brennan to grant the one year extension. A compromise was put forward by Councillor Hong which will see staff bring back a report on the impact of granting a six month extension which would also include the removal of the Right of First Negotiation for the conference centre and the committment to put $100,000 toward a park improvement in Pipers Park.

There were only two more pieces of council business dealt with before the clock struck eleven and a council motion to extend the meeting beyond 11:00 pm was defeated. At this point there were many items left on the agenda not the least of which was the Cultural Funding presentation which in addition to a presentation by staff also included 9 more delegates wishing to address the issue.

The unfinished business of council will be adjourned until the next council meeting which is scheduled to be a COW meeting but will be changed to a regular open council meeting to deal with the business not completed.


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