At the July 22, 2013 Nanaimo Council meeting, all the councillors voted in favour of proceeding with the proposed new Nanaimo conference centre hotel, to be built by the Chinese youth travel company, SSS Manhao International Tourism Group.
What is this Nanaimo conference centre project going to end up as — a hotel, condo or time-share? At this meeting Ron Bolin, a veteran city hall watcher, raised important points:
Bolin: It is very likely to me that this is going to be a condo-hotel any owner is entitled to two weeks a year in use.
Ruttan: It’s almost like a time-share.
Bolin: How many owners might there be of any one of those condos and would they each get two weeks?
Swabey:..we will report back to council and we will go through the process of going through the documents and negotiating them.
The following were questions from Nanaimo Councillors about the proposed new $50 million hotel/condo/time-share at 100 Gordon Street:
Bestwick: How many parking stalls exist?
Swabey: …308 parking spaces, 255 for the hotel, 25 available to retail centre
Bestwick:..this is not a strata unit building?
Swabey: …no it is, it allows the seller to use the rooms and when they are not used they will be available to conference centre guests.
Swabey: …under the condition precedents there is a 90-day window and they could approach the City to stratify the units, so they would make the conditions on how it is to be stratified and what the permits would be and what that looks like….once it is stratified how long the future owners can use the property per year and how the units are allocated back to the hotel pool .. strata subdivision is covered …
Bestwick: …that is where I am confused, I understand that to mean strata in the sense of hotel rooms …
Ruttan: I haven’t seen an absolute guarantee or assurance that all or a block will be available for rental purposes? I want to make sure that….
Swabey: I understand your point, the agreement talks about a block of rooms in general terms, that would be something that is part of the development covenant, we would look at that later on how that works out.
Pattje: The increase in height from 17 to 20 stories, how did that come about? Is it in the height limit?
Swabey: They are anticipating that council will move forward with the project. There was no discussion with staff on the height, it just arrived and now we are dealing with more rooms. It is within the overall height limit.
Pattje: …development covenant—is the height in it? Will they lock themselves into it? …I am not clear where the subdivision is between strata units and the hotel. How does that work?
Swabey: An example would be the Old House in Courtney, where each unit has 4 owners yet the unit is entered into a central pool for the hotel so when you book you get someone’s room that is available.
Pattje: I understand that portion, but how does the city control and ensure that that happens and nothing else?
Swabey: I don’t actually have an answer to that.
Ruttan: Do we have control if they want to put all the units on the market as condos?
Swabey: We do have control, we would have a covenant. This is very complicated.
Johnstone: How many parking spaces will they need?
Swabey: They are unsure of what they will need as far as parking spaces.
Ruttan: …the casino parking would come to an end…
Greves: …hopefully this turns out be the agreement that we want (laughing).
McKay: It costs us 40K to build each parking stall and the casino is paying full price at $95 a month per stall. Let’s not cut off the casino just yet.
Kipp: …I’m concerned about the 10 year tax exemption [they’re getting].
What will this project end up being? Will it be a condo time-share? Will it be only available to people coming from China? What about people from other countries?
Is this part of China’s plan for hegemony of the Pacific? As Sun Tzu said in his classic essay, The Art of War, “To win one hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”