At the October 7, 2013 Nanaimo City Council meeting there was a presentation made by the president of the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association regarding the renovations to the Nanaimo Centre Stage Theatre at 25 Victoria Road. Here is some background information about the building at 25 Victoria Road in Nanaimo: it was built approximately 120 years ago as a church. Later it housed various nightclubs before being converted back to a church. The City of Nanaimo purchased it in 2008.
January 2008: City of Nanaimo hired Herold Engineering to assess the condition of the building. Their report stated that the building couldn’t withstand current seismic requirements.
May 2008: City of Nanaimo purchased the building at 25 Victoria Road for $500,000. After renovations it was converted for use as a theatre and in November 2008, Nanaimo Centre Stage was officially opened.
December 2011 – January 2012: City of Nanaimo hired RJC Engineers for a report on the building envelope. The estimated cost to repair the building envelope was $922,000. (This estimate did not include hazardous material removal or seismic upgrades to current standards.)
RJC Engineers highly recommended a hazardous materials and seismic review. This was not done.
After the City purchased the building, basic maintenance repairs such as fixing pealing paint, cracks in stucco, basic caulking around windows and gutters repairs were not done, according to engineers’ reports.
March 2013: Nanaimo City Council voted to spend $160,000 to replace siding on the end of the building facing Nicol Street, and to repair some loose brick on the same side.
October 7, 2013: Nanaimo City Council was to vote on approving an additional $34,700 as a contingency for these repairs, bringing the total cost to $194,700 to replace siding and loose brickwork. A motion was passed to get more information from staff before approving the additional cost.
To date, no seismic or hazardous waste study has been completed. It is highly likely that this building will require a multi-million dollar infusion of taxpayers’ money.
A comparison was made to the old city annex building which cost taxpayers millions of dollars to renovate. At the time, council decided the additional cost of completing seismic upgrades was too expensive so the old annex building at 238 Franklyn Street was sold for a dollar despite being assessed at $3.4 million.
Will the building at 25 Victoria Road in Nanaimo get sold for a dollar after millions are spent fixing it up? Will the cost of seismic upgrades be used as a red herring again so the building will have to be “given away”? Who will be the beneficiary?