Letters: Now is not the time to spend

Dear Editor,

Richmond News reporter Maria Rantanen reported an estimated $3.4 to $4 million revenue shortfall has affected the city monthly during the pandemic. Some of this loss has been offset by not hiring seasonal workers, laying off auxiliary staff and not filling vacancies. Gaming revenues from River Rock Casino total $2.71 million were received of an expected $14.5 million in 2020. 

 The community safety budget was reported to be almost $500,000 over budget resulting from lower business licence revenue, reduced parking revenue and community ambassador program costs. The loss of the Richmond Night Market was credited for a 60 per cent drop in business licences in the second quarter.

The Oval Corporation (Oval) had  a second quarter deficit of $483,000. City staff clarified finances are “trending in the right direction” and projections show the year should end with a surplus of $500,000.

Based on all past financial performance, please confirm the Oval will achieve the surplus without reliance on city taxpayers funding another annual contribution. The Oval has never paid fair market rent or property tax benefitting city taxpayers.

The continuing and unknown future economic impact costs of the pandemic on city taxpayers is alarming. Now is not the time for the city to undertake reconstruction costs ($19.44 million) for the Phoenix Seine Net Loft. Taxpayers are already on the hook for the Oval, Garden City Lands, Lulu Island Park and the Minoru Aquatic Centre.

Ken McLennan


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