The waters surrounding the future of the Maurice Young Millennium Place remain muddy, with the Whistler Interfaith Society (WIS) refusing to agree to the latest lease and terms of transfer proposed by the municipality.
On Sunday, Sept. 21, the WIS membership voted unanimously against the proposed legislation needed to transfer ownership of the building from the interfaith society to the municipality.
WIS informed the Resort Municipality of Whistler that they would only continue discussions if they were guaranteed long-term use of the building. Among many things, WIS is concerned that that proposed lease is only for a five-year term, compared to their current 99-year lease, of which they still have 91.5 years left.
“I think we made it very clear to them (the RMOW) that it has to be a very long term commitment, and five years in the overall scheme of things is just a blink in time for faith communities,” said Peter Shrimpton, WIS president.
WIS’s vote, however, puts a question mark on the future of the interfaith and multi-purpose Millennium Place facility.
The RMOW has guaranteed the $3.2 million loan for the building with the North Shore Credit Union (NSCU). To date, NSCU has not been paid back any principal, and this year the credit union informed the RMOW that they do not want to wait any longer to be paid back and will be considering their options.
To bridge financing, the municipality planned to borrow money from the Municipality Finance Authority (MFA) on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at a similar interest rate to the current NSCU loan. In order to borrow the funds, though, the RMOW and WIS needed to agree to the title transfer terms on Sept. 22, which did not happen.
Now, it’s not clear what the municipality’s next steps will be. The MFA does not meet for another six months.
In a statement sent to Pique Newsmagazine on Wednesday, Sept. 24, spokesperson Michele Comeau Thomson wrote: “Given the decision by the Whistler Interfaith Society regarding MY Place, the Resort Municipality of Whistler will be continuing discussions but is not in a position to comment publicly at this time.”
Councillor Tim Wake, who sits on the Millennium Place Society Board, added he is very concerned about the consequences WIS’s vote could have.
“I am very disappointed to hear of the interfaith society’s decision,” said Wake. “I don’t understand what their solution is here.”
Meanwhile, the NSCU said this week that the credit union will not pursue foreclosure, although it is a legal option.