The City has taken on an unacceptable level of risk committing to $200 million+ cost when it doesn’t have the financial capacity to cushion the impact of unforeseen events. Furthermore, it can’t count on the District to share operating costs in the long-term since the agreement allows the District to walk away from the deal with one year’s notice.
The City intends to pay for the project with sales of density timed to match the cash requirements of the project. The staging of the project has been organized to minimize the developer’s risk of a declining housing market. In other cases where the City has paid for a new public facility with density, the facility is built first and the developer builds the housing afterwards.
The City’s borrowing capacity is capped by the MFA at $90 million. It doesn’t have the ability to bridge a spike in the housing market or a major cost overrun so it has developed contingency plans to immediately cut out public amenities or sell more density to cover any cost overruns or revenue shortfalls.
When the facility was originally built in 1966, ownership, operating costs were divided 50/50 with the District. The usership then and now is roughly divided 50/50 between the City and District. Removing amenities or adding more density will affect North Vancouver residents in the District just as much as in the City.
The City would rather put the community at risk of getting an inferior recreation centre, or more density than it expected than collaborate with the District to rebuild an asset that is just as important to District citizens as citizens of the City.
On October 20th, your vote for Guy Heywood for Mayor will be a vote for common sense at City Hall.