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ST. ANDREW’S – Council rejects reconsidering takeover in 7-2 vote

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An attempt to reconsider the City’s takeover of management of St. Andrew’s on the Square was defeated by a 7-2 vote at a closed-door meeting, in-camera council minutes show.

Minutes of the meeting, held Nov. 5, were released Friday (Nov. 22 2019) on the Kamloops Discussion Nexus Facebook page.

Coun. Denis Walsh made a motion in which he said the finance committee, which he chairs, and the council as a whole committed an oversight in not requiring a detailed financial report on the decision to terminate a decades-old contract with the Kamloops Heritage Society to manage and operate the heritage building.

The decision has created a public backlash demanding that the Heritage Society’s contract be reinstated.

Walsh points out that the society has generated substantial yearly bookings and has carried out substantial regular maintenance. He asked for a five-year operational and financial report on the impact of the takeover.

He and Coun. Arjun Singh were the only councillors who voted in favour of the motion, while Mayor Ken Christian and councillors Dale Bass, Dieter Dudy, Sadie Hunter, Mike O’Reilly and Kathy Sinclair voted against it.

ArmchairMayor.ca has also obtained a copy of a Nov. 14 email from City culture manager Barb Berger to the society’s board of directors in which she states the City will release information about the situation by the end of this month, and hopes to make “any booking transition as seamless as possible.”

Berger’s email came after an earlier email to the society from Coun. Dudy that said “the reconsideration ship has sailed.”

The excerpt from the minutes of Walsh’s failed motion is below:

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10 Comments on ST. ANDREW’S – Council rejects reconsidering takeover in 7-2 vote

  1. Please note that only two leases were not renewed from the attachments and that KHS
    is one of the only lease holders that did not get a grant. We have not had one for 2 years. We did not ask for one as financially we have been able to cover our costs with $ to spare. KHS covers the building utilities and general cleaning maintenance in the church. The city was to cover the costs of exterior maintenance and repair. We have had a lease with the city for 21
    years.
    These costs will now become city taxpayer costs. The council has no idea what they will be
    as they did not pass councillor Walsh’s motion.
    **** 🌟Please sign the petition at St. Andrews on the Square website thank you. Sheila Park KHS Board-member.

  2. Trudy Mintgomery // November 23, 2019 at 8:09 PM // Reply

    Thank you to Councillors Denis Walsh and Arjun Singh for thinking outside the presented box of administration. I wish the nays for the motion would make their reasoning known. Councillor Dudy stated it was reported to council it was too late to revisit this decision. If that is true, is it a regulation or a policy. It sounds like a crazy idea to not be able to relook at a past decision. I can see a special process being needed to reopen a passed motion of a certain time frame but this was very recent. You’re all only human and the facts were never presented. It’s wisdom needed here.

  3. One question that has never been answered is why does the city think it can run St. Andrews On the Square better than the Kamloops Heritage Society? I have asked this question many times and have never got an answer. Maybe they don’t have one.

    • The Mayor and the administration before him have wanted to get rid of the Kamloops Heritage Commission for some time, a delegation from the commission went before council to ask to be left alone and continue their work as they have for 40 years. A vote was taken and much to the Mayors displeasure council voted to let the commission continue as is. For some reason the Heritage Commission was disbanded anyways, I have asked how this could be possible after a vote was taken in council and have never been given an answer. So I believe we need better leadership in this city that is not scared to give a straight honest answer.

      • Sheila Park // November 25, 2019 at 9:11 AM //

        Jeff
        Thank you for your comments re the Heritage Commission. Please note that the city’s “committee” structure is to be under review. I think in the new year. So please give your input on the new structure then – Encounter Group to 3 member council committee to council.

        The Kamloops Heritage Commission and the Kamloops Heritage Society (KHS) are two different groups. KHS is not a city committee. We are a separate society under the BC Societies Act. We do not just oversee the management of St. Andrews on the Square.
        Sheila Park KHS Board member

  4. Mel Formanski // November 23, 2019 at 4:44 PM // Reply

    Kudos to Denis Walsh and Arjun Singh for standing up for the Kamloops Heritage Society. The decision was made with inaccurate information and with a bias on the part of a city administrator. No plan was made for “what comes next”. There is no budget for the takeover nor is there a transition plan to ensure folks who have rented the site in advance as well as our long term users will be accommodated by the city. The heritage society bears 98% of the cost to run the building, Now the taxpayers will be on the hook for 100% of the costs. The society runs it for less than $65.000 per year including all costs. With less bookings there will be less income to cover operational costs.

  5. So what besides assuaging administrators’ directive did council based their decision on? Isn’t this decision another example of the breach of fiduciary duties of council towards the community they are supposed to represent?

  6. When there is no reasonable explanation, it is often helpful to know there is a reason for everything.

    Once you know this, it is easier to find out why. Sometimes the relationships between the participants is not easy to reveal, but it is always there. Often sad.

    Respectfully Submitted, R. Marcus Lowe

  7. Congratulations to the 7 of you for your lack respect, you are now owned by the real power in town, administration.

  8. Humans are fallible.
    Four years could seem like a long time.

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