Was it broken?

Terrace city council too quiet about buying land and chamber of commerce building

THERE’S something vaguely disquieting about the City of Terrace’s purchase of the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce’s log building on Hwy16 and the land upon which it sits.

For approximately 30 years, the chamber paid an annual rent of $1 a year to the province which owned the land. This came to the end when the province, after several false starts, put the land up for sale. That suited the chamber until it discovered the land would first be offered to the city, an offer the city gladly took up.

The city then increased the chamber’s rent to a level the chamber could not afford, ultimately resulting in the chamber selling its building to the city and moving to new quarters.

In the end, this may not be such a bad idea. The chamber is freed of maintenance of a building and responsibilities of being a landlord – the Kermode Tourism Society rents space in the building.

But the land and building purchases have added nearly $270,000 to the city’s debt load, not an insignificant amount for a municipality which struggles to fill potholes every year.

More importantly, all this was done without the city disclosing its plan to taxpayers. With all six city councillors and the mayor in favour of this project, it’s odd that none took the time to explain what was going on and why it was a good idea.

Was something here so broken that it needed to be fixed? A good question for an election year.