I am writing in response to your article, “City examining options to boost SOEC revenues”. While Coun. Mike Pearce and the members of the city’s South Okanagan Events Centre advisory board should be commended for their efforts, I suspect that rearranging the items on the buffet tables in the bar, as Pearce suggests, is probably not going to solve the problem. Nor will a short-term infusion of capital for naming rights solve the systemic and structural deficits which continue to arise as a direct result of the 35-year management contract which the former mayor and council signed with the facility’s current management company, Global Spectrum.
It’s a bad contract and it should be renegotiated. If Global Spectrum is not willing to renegotiate, the city should bite the bullet and buy them out of the current contract. Whether the cost is $10 million over multiple years of operating losses as seems likely under the current contract, or a one time buy-out at $10 million — or whatever the actual figure is — is the only way I can see to put an end to the current malaise at the events centre. A malaise which is the root cause of so many of the city’s current financial woes.
City council’s continuing micromanagement of the affairs of a highly capable private company like Global Spectrum, who I suspect are more anxious than anyone to start turning a profit, and who also have the contacts, knowledge and expertise to do so without the city’s helpful suggestions, will be about as effective as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Free enterprisers like Pearce and many of the other current city council members should be the first to agree that the city should not be spending public funds to underwrite the annual operating losses of a privately owned entertainment conglomerate like Global Spectrum. The first step in solving a problem is to admit you have one. Creative and intelligent people at both the city and Global Spectrum should be able to renegotiate a bad contract with the application of some mutual good faith and good will.