Whether the doors of MY Millennium Place will stay open for
performances, drop in daycare and spiritual services is still up in the air.
Discussions continue daily between the five parties linked to
the facility’s future, yet the road to a solution is full of twists and turns.
As of Wednesday, Whistler Interfaith Society (WIS) was waiting
to receive the municipality’s revamped transfer agreement.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler, meanwhile, continues to
look for a way to finance MY Place’s $3.2 million loan, if they get ownership
of the building. The avenue they were hoping to borrow the money from —
the Municipal Finance Authority — does not meet for five months.
To add to the riddle, the facility’s operators, the Millennium
Place Society, learned last week that they co-signed the loan with the North
Shore Credit Union. That information was lost over the years as board members changed.
The society board’s chair, Sue Adams, has temporarily stepped
aside due to a conflict of interest. Adams is also chair of NSCU’s board of
directors. David Kirk will serve as chair of the Millennium Place Society in
And Councillor Tim Wake and WIS president Peter Shrimpton have
planned to meet on Thursday, Nov. 6, to discuss the situation.
“I think everyone has the right intention,” said Dennis
Marriott, general manager of MY Place.
“There is something that we are missing between the Interfaith
Society and the municipality. I just do not know what that disconnect is. I
honestly do not understand it.”
All these advances come one week after NSCU called the loan in
for MY Place. At that time, Doug Smith, vice president of operations for the credit
union, said that while foreclosure is an option, it is not a desirable one.
“Foreclosure is not a mutually beneficial solution, and it is
probably something NSCU would do if we had to, but that is not the end goal,”
The municipality, the guarantor of the loan, had planned to
borrow the $3.2 million during the MFA’s September meeting. WIS, however,
rejected their proposed transfer agreement. Among many things, WIS was
concerned that the proposed lease was only for a five-year term, compared to
their current 99-year lease.
Lisa Landry, general manager of economic viability for the
municipality, said the only change to the updated transfer agreement proposal
is that WIS would be allowed to use MY Place during the Olympics.
She added that the lease length has not changed.
“Ninety-nine years is going to be longer than that building is
standing,” said Landry.
The Community Charter also does not allow liability agreements
over five years without getting the approval of the public.
Shrimpton did not want to comment until he has reviewed the
MY Place opened in 2001, but owners WIS were not able to raise
enough funds to cover construction costs, and the RMOW stepped in to guarantee
a loan. In 2007, a plan to transfer ownership of the building from WIS to the
RMOW, which has been paying the interest charges on the loan, was
Marriot added that he does not think the Millennium Place
Society’s co-signing of the loan changes the situation.
“The lease is very clear that all the liability for the payment
is within the Millennium Place Society,” said Marriott.
“We are still on the hook to make the payments.”
MY Place is a big asset to the community, hosting secondary school performances, council meetings and arts council performances, among other things. In 2007, it was valued at $10 million.