Houle will not support Nanaimo event centre getting Gabriola funding

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, March 7 2017

Howard Houle, Regional Director for Electoral Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, DeCourcy) says he does not believe Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) dollars should be put towards the event centre being proposed by the City of Nanaimo.

City residents will be voting in a referendum this coming week to approve (or not approve) City Council’s plan to borrow up to $80 million to build an event centre (including a Western Hockey League arena) adjacent to Port Place Mall and the Gabriola ferry terminal.

Whichever way city voters go on the event centre, Houle said, “I’m not willing [for Area B] to contribute.

“If they want to build the event centre, they should go ahead as long as they fund it themselves. We don’t get to vote on it.”

Houle said there has been some talk about expanding the Southern Recreation Agreement (SRA) to include the event centre if it goes ahead.

This is the agreement where Electoral Areas A, B and C residents contribute to the operation of recreational facilities (such as the swimming pools and Nanaimo Ice Centre) within the City based on yearly usage.

As city voters have not given the go-ahead for the centre, Houle said there has not been any formal movement to see the SRA expanded, but that is one route that the city, as a member of the RDN, could look to for dollars towards the centre.