Re: City moves ahead, The Record, July 18.
Is our director of finance Gary Holowatiuk serious? In his reply to the borrowing of $59 million, without the majority consent of the public, he makes several statements that I find both incredulous and enlightening.
First, "We don't have to borrow anything if we don't want to." So why do it?
I think there are a lot of people in this city also capable of borrowing vast sums of money and increasing their debt load because interest rates are so low. So why don't they?
Because, given the many economic factors, it is prudent at this time not to. Perhaps Holowatiuk might contact his counterparts in Stockton and San Bernardino, California and ask them why they now regret borrowing huge sums of money that resulted in their filing for bankruptcy.
Second, Holowatiuk says that the city has undertaken alternate approval processes in the past for the police building (still paying for this one), Moody Park outdoor pool (still paying for this, too), Westminster Pier Park (absurd that they pat themselves on the back for being over budget) and the Centre for Community Achievement (never even heard of this one).
Because it has been done in the past doesn't mean it was right then, and it doesn't make it right now, Mr. Holowatiuk.
Negative approval may be legal, but it is certainly not honourable. Combining this process with the fact you are conducting it in the middle of summer holidays, and the entire process becomes shameful. Last, and I think the most insightful quote in his explanation, is the apparent admission that they all know this project will lose money, and they are planning for that eventuality.
His statement, "When the office tower is sold, we will repay the short-term loan debt to the extend possible and convert the balance to long-term debt -" clearly says that the business plan (if they have one) they have created anticipates the building will be a financial loss to the city.
On this very statement alone, mayor and council should vote this bylaw down and take it to the people. Where is the empirical data to support his pie-in-the-sky forecast that this venture will create $50 million in revenue over 50 years?
If this were true, the city would indeed have had developers lined up to build the tower as the mayor led us to believe. Let the people decide - sign the opposition form before Aug. 7 at newwestcity.ca or 239 Sixth St.
Paul Thompson, New Westminster