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October 28, 2017 1:33 am

PAC Dream Still Alive

Saturday, November 14, 2015 @ 9:07 AM

Prince George, B.C. – The dream of having performing arts centre in Prince George is alive and well.

Enthusiasm for the idea hasn’t dampened despite the fact the idea was shot down in a referendum in Kamloops last weekend.

53.7% of residents there voted no to borrowing up to $49 million to turn the former Kamloops Daily News building into an arts centre.

“I think that these are two very different scenarios,” says Marnie Hamagami, chair of the Prince George Performing Arts Centre Society. “For one thing the scope of the project they were proposing down in Kamloops is very different from what we’re talking about here.”

She says the price tag for the Kamloops project was in the $90 million range while the cost for building one here is estimated to be around $51 million.

“So we are a much smaller project number one. We are not talking about a tax levy at this point,” says Hamagami. “The other major difference I see is that Kamloops is just that much closer to Vancouver so it’s easier to have access to some of the performances that happen.”

A performing arts centre is something the city has expressed an interest in in the past.

In fact in November 2013, Prince George city council voted unanimously in favour of declaring such a project an unfunded priority capital project.

Additionally, a market survey conducted by the city in March, 2014, found there is positive market demand to support an entertainment, arts and culture centre.

88% of respondents indicated they attended at least one live performance or sporting event in the last 12 months.

In 2014, former chair Les Waldie said the capital cost of the facility was planned to be a shared model with federal, provincial and local government support along with private and philanthropic sources.

Either way, Hamagami says a performing arts centre is something the city really needs as a way to attract and retain professionals.

“One of the questions my husband and I were talking about before moving to town was what were the amenities? We were excited to see that Prince George had a WHL team,” she says.

“We were happy to see there was a professional theatre in town. So the performances we would like to see would be more readily available to us with the addition of a performing arts centre.”


This is a joke right!

LOL. I’ve attended a sporting event and a cultural event in the last 12 months. I will never support using tax dollars for a PAC. Build it yourself! On top of that, everyone on the PAC committee is over 65 and getting a break on their property taxes. You can start putting money away for this ridiculous project by giving the City your tax rebates!

Marnie, we, the taxpayers don’t have the money for your dream.
“88% of respondents indicated they attended at least one live performance or sporting event in the last 12 months” It’s called Soccer and Hockey.

Forget about this ridiculous project already. Maintain what you already have and just for one year have no increases in taxes/utilities. Is that too much to ask for?

Forget it. PG hates art and culture

$51 million would buy a lot of much-needed infrastructure upgrades.

Alas, the well-healed wouldn’t get their photo at the ribbon cutting, or their legacy name on the plaque of a new sewer line.

Ginters strong statement. You might be confusing people wanting fiscally responsible spending of out taxes with “hate”.

PAC Society dream = taxpayer nightmare. Just joking. I fully support the PAC if it is built up on the Hart in the middle of redneck country. And of course it would need to be painted white.

Agreed, unlisted. I have nothing against arts and culture and I support what I can when I can. I can’t afford my taxes going up to support a PAC. It will cost far more to maintain than it brings in revenue. I heard the younger arts crowd approached the PAC committee about getting involved and were rebuffed. That’s the nail in the coffin for Marnie and co.

Enough of this I want I want . The city is too far in debt for it’s population to even be thinking of something like this . Besides plenty of venues already that can can be utilized . Council needs to be getting the cities infrastructure in order not spending more money we don’t have on the next dream .

This is awesome news. Lets not stop with just a PAC we need 5 new schools as well. Would it be too much to suggest building the PAC across from the old vacated cop shop were all that hideous re-bar and concrete is becoming and eye sore. Wow, gotta love PG and all the creative people residing within it’s bubble.

We need a referendum of our own to put this to bed once and for all. I wonder exactly what Mrs. Hamagami thinks a levy is when the PAC proponents themselves projected that the city would have to subsidize the operation to the tune of at least $300,000 per year. That would be paid for through the property tax levy. And philanthropic sources? Giving money to build a performing arts centre wouldn’t qualify as charitable in fact it might actually contribute to more poverty in this town. I don’t know what these foolish people are on, but I want some.

Wow.. talk about beating a dead horse..

I have heard the cost of 51 million for many years… yet everything has gone up in price.. why not the cost of building this monstrosity? Realistically its more like 75 million by now.. with a yearly cost of 1 million for upkeep etc.

I just don’t get why people who are for the PAC just don’t get it.. its a luxury.. we cant afford it.. If you really need this type of entertainment then head to Vancouver.. that way you spend YOUR money on seeing what you want to see and you are not WASTING our tax dollars on something the majority of us don’t want..

And using “88% of respondents indicated they attended at least one live performance or sporting event in the last 12 months” this survey shows how desperate you are, using this is misleading.. it shows that this town likes to go to sporting events. We are a sports town.. It does show that people are already attending events.. so there is no need for a building that will sit empty most of the time.

Notice that Hamagami failed to mention Vanier Hall, or the Playhouse Theatre. Was this an oversight , or do they not like to mention that we have these facilities, and they are used for various out of town performances.???

Also any money they get from the Federal Government would come from the Gas Tax Fund, or Build Canada Fund. This money would normally go to infrastructure such as roads, sewer, drainage, etc; They have recently changed the criteria so that this money can be used for a Performing Arts Centre.

So if we use this money for a performing arts centre does this mean that we will have to borrow money for infrastructure?? That is the question.

Keep your eye on this one.

Obviously, if the money is used for a PAC it won’t be available for any other use! How about testing the appetite of the local tax paying citizens for a new arts venue by selling memberships in the Performing Arts Society for five or ten bucks or so, like they did with the effort to get the University?

Lacking a formal referendum (I doubt that there will ever be one) at least we could get an indication where the community stands on this thing?

Like I’ve said before .. they’ve been trying for 20 + years to get this built and they haven’t raised one penny of their own money to do it.

You would think in the past 20 years they could have raised at least a few dollars with some kind of raffle or even a bake sale.

Just proves to me how truly lazy these people really are.

City of PG would require electoral consent to build a PAC, per the Community Charter:

Elector Approval Requirements
Most long-term borrowing and other liabilities incurred by municipalities are subject to elector approval. The Community Charter provides specific exceptions to this general rule (e.g., liabilities under agreements that are less than five years – including all rights of renewal, or borrowing needed to comply with orders under the Environment Management Act). The Municipal Liabilities Regulation adds the following exceptions for obtaining elector approval:
Any liability incurred under an agreement (in accordance with Community Charter section 175) that is not either capital in nature or a loan guarantee. In other words, for liabilities under agreement, if the liability is not of the type that would be captured under the limitation, then elector approval for the liability is not required. This should resolve some of the previous problems with elector approval for such actions as acquiring rights of way on private property where the only liability of the local government relates to maintaining the land in its original condition.
Borrowing required to comply with Drinking Water Protection Act orders to provide water treatment facilities where the Inspector of Municipalities approves the liability.
Any liability if the servicing costs for all municipal liabilities is less than 20% of the municipality’s liability servicing limit (i.e., “approval free liability zone”).

Long story short, this will never pass. I haven’t seen a single comment in favour of the PAC on here yet.

Everyone should be pressing our Local Elected Officials to hold a Referendum where every Tax Payer in the City has a actual Vote on this matter before it ever passes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd reading before Council and Mayor if and when the PAC brings this idea back to City Hall.

And Not try to slip it by by using the Reverse Voting scheme were they try and get it passed by having the Voters Write in to voice their concerns.

I believe City council will do everything they can to get this through, even though the available preforming arts locations are not being fully used.

I suspect they will do an Alternate Approval Process, knowing if we are inconvenienced enough that people are basically lazy and will not cast a vote against it, thus it will be passed…

I will further say I think it will be in the downtown core where there is no place to park another 400 or so cars. ( I come up with that figure by presuming the 800 seat PAC, that has been suggested, has a full house and 2 people per car)

Since city hall hasn’t really listened to the people, but rather their political sponsors, I will be pleasantly surprised if they start now.

PAC concepts have failed in cities much larger than PG. PG has the third highest debt load in BC next only to Surrey and Vancouver; and the second highest per capita. What happens when interests rates go back up and PG has to really start servicing all this debt?

I would like to see the core city services funded before any other capital projects. Also I would like to see the Ospika connector completed with gas tax dollars before anything else.

One has to applaud the Kamloops council though for at least going to a proper referendum, rather than the skulduggery PG council route of using the alternate approval process that intimidates voters and makes a mockery of our democratic rights. Kudos to Kamloops on standing up for democracy.

Has anyone advocating a PAC investigated the idea of simply expanding the facilities we already have? Why not expand the Playhouse? It’s a great venue. Or even CN Centre?

I wonder if they could get that downtown notel/hotel for cheap?

In an ideal world, we’d have funds for infrastructure and new facilities. But when 4 Seasons is 30 years past its prime, our roads are a mess, snow removal threatens to bankrupt us every year and our underground infrastructure is in dire need of repair, a PAC is a luxury. I can’t see that it serves any purpose not already served by the facilities we have.

Mayor Hall, you got our votes because a lot of us were fed up with the former Mayor. Would you please bring the PAC up at the next council meeting and tell us where you stand on this issue.
You became Mayor because a lot of us respect you personally. Integrity in Public office goes a long way.
While you’re at it, how about a report from Public Works on what we can expect in cost of repairs to our existing, old infrastructure say, in the next ten years. Thankyou.

Considering how this council renamed FORT GEORGE PARK with a wam bang thank you with nary a kiss, watch them like a hawk.

Hey here’s a thought, considering the PAC can be renamed to something, say traditional. Now that would garner support. Do I need a sarc tag.

The City is not required to go to an Alternate Approval Process or a Referendum unless they borrow money for a period of time exceeding 5 years. If they borrowed for their portion of the PAC then this would kick in. They are fully aware of the pitfalls of going to a referendum. (It would be voted down, the same as it was in Kamloops) and if they go to the alternative approval process they could lose if approx. 5200 people signed the petition. (Much the same as the APP for the river road dike).

Soooo. They will not go down that road. Lets assume for the sake of argument that the figure of $51 Million is correct. (it will be much higher) If the amount was divided equally between the City, the Province, and the Feds, the City’s portion would be $17 million. So that is the amount of money they would have to come up with. The City of course would donate the land to the project. (We have already paid for the land).

So what happens if the City sells the Playhouse Theatre for 6/7 million and the borrows against the Gas Tax Fund for the balance ($10 Million). The city can borrow on future payments.

Walla. You have the funding in place for a PAC and have successfully did an end run on the taxpayers of Prince George. We could argue that the money borrowed against future payments of the Gas Tax Monies should be used for infrastructure, however others would argue that the PAC is in fact an infrastructure project.

That’s why I say keep your eye on this one.

Palopu if that did happen I believe the Majority of Tax Payers in Prince George would Remember and on the next Civic Election the Entire Council and Mayor would be looking for a New Gig. Lyn would follow Mz. Green as a One Time Mayor.

51 million to hang a painting or have a sing-along, uh no.

I think the headline says it all.. ” the PAC dream”. My dream of winning the lottery is alive every week..no chance of it ever happening.. But we can all dream.. They are free.

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