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Loss of 'gifts' to city

DEAR EDITOR: RE: How will council be remembered?, Letter to the Editor, The Record, Sept. 2.


RE: How will council be remembered?, Letter to the Editor, The Record, Sept. 2.

What caught my eye in Lila Wood's letter was her reference to the Gyro Health Building, a gift to the citizens of New Westminster that may be shamelessly re-gifted to developers by the current city regime without reference to the citizens to whom the gift was given.

Until the citizenry has had a chance to review Mrs. Wood's options, and others that may come forward, there should be a moratorium on such sales. Have they no regard for future generations? They are selling a gift that doesn't belong to them!

The city, in general, and the current regime in particular, has a history of an imperious attitude about the gifts given to its citizens and has cavalier-ly disposed of them for short term political expediency with regard to neither future generations nor public opinion/consultation.

Additional losses benefiting future generations, to be remembered come election time include the Nurses Lodge, CIBC, the Burr, the Massey Theatre, community space at Plaza 88 and the sale of city streets, just to name a few. And there was no public consultation, to my knowledge, on any of these sales - only a declaration of them being "surplus" by civil servants. Where has all the money gone from the sale of these buildings and who is directing that money? Certainly not the public.

For example, the Raymond Burr Performing Arts Society began to sell off its assets, but turned down an offer for the "Theatre Package", financed by donors, at the request of the city, so that The Burr could continue to be used as a community theatre.

In good faith, the then-president of the society, left the Theatre Package intact with the understanding that if the building ceased to be used as a community theatre the city would recompense the society in the amount of $14,000.

I am still trying to collect the money. The gift of the Theatre Package was, according to city officials, "disposed of" when the new owners "gutted" the theatre.

Not only did the city expropriate society property without notice, agreement or compensation, they reneged on the terms of the gift!

The answer to Mrs. Wood's question, as to what they will be remembered for, is: many concrete things, or at least things covered over by Mayor Concrete, his cement mixers and stonewall builders at city hall.

Let's hope that the candidates touted for high office in the upcoming civic election will do something more concrete by way of public consultation.

E.C. "Ted" Eddy, President, Raymond Burr Performing Arts Society