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COMMENTARY · 11th October 2011
Merv Ritchie
After purchasing the Co-op site, losing tens of thousands in tax revenue after a million purchasing it, after spending another $300,000 demolishing the site, now the Mayor wants to sell it.

Vision has been something missing from the majority of Terrace City Council and just prior to an election, just after the Council donated another $300,000 to their ‘White Elephant’ it is clearly not appropriate to sell it.

Driving past the site now, as the building comes down, imagination runs wide. The sun shines brightly from the south and the darkness of Greig Avenue disappears.

Listing the property for sale should wait for the new Council. A new slate may actually have a vision for Terrace rather than a wholesale sale after the demolition money was invested.

The entire site could be developed into a pleasant downtown water park such as was done in Kelowna with the assistance of service clubs.
Follow this link to see how attractive, inexpensive and welcoming such a park could be.

In Terrace it could even be cheaper. The drainage is already in. The landscaping would be relatively inexpensive and the location, next to the Train Station, Hotel, end of Millenium trail etc etc is perfect.

The George Little Park is now being used to the maximum, facilities placed in all conceivable locations. And even more recently more concrete has been poured over the grass than George Little anticipated. George intended for the entire park he dedicated to be earthen. Now a Library, a exercise pad, a farmers market, an open air stage and a concrete skateboard facility.

The Co-op site is also the general location of the original George Little Mill site and would be an ideal place for a recreation spot. Might this make up for the lack of respect the City has shown for his desire to maintain green spaces in the center of Terrace?

Installing water pipes to spray water for the kids would be a fabulously inexpensive item with a huge return.

Another set of Washroom facilities could be installed (or planned for the future) and this might alleviate pressures on downtown business from the transient population.

To push to sell this spot now is exactly like the push to accept the new Casino 'Chances' right after the removal of the bylaw forbidding VLT's in Terrace. Councillor Brad Pollard argued, after he agreed to remove the restriction against VLT's, that now they could have a discussion on the issue of what type of gaming facility the Council wanted. Prior to the removal of the restriction against VLT's the council couldn't even host a discussion.

Leclerc changed her position after voting against the VLT restriction being removed, voting for the Chances application. She was wrong then; there should have been a discussion of what Terrace wanted to see for the future, not a rush to accept the first gaming application presented. It was even more offensive as it came on the same day at the same meeting within two minutes of each other. Pollard was correct, Leclerc was wrong.

Today, with the building removed, people will see the southern exposure, the beautiful open skies and dream of possibilities.

To simply sell it now after all the lost tax revenue, and now with the additional City investment for the demolition, is wronghead and without foresight. It may be more valuable as a City attraction asset than anything a potential developer might propose.

It is not the time to put it up for sale.

Someone, a new councillor, a new Mayor, just might have vision.
one bad summer
Comment by ali on 16th October 2011
Just because we had maybe 10 great days of sun, doesnt mean all our summers will be like the previouse one. The co-op has been FOR SALE for how many yrs, and never saw any hope of sale. It's all a tax write off, the city already paid for it, why spend any time trying to sell, donate to the parks. The skate park is in a dangerous place, move that park as well, do something for the community. Like the did with the park, located beside the Royal Bank, lets make Terrace Beautuful, and safe for our young people, get them off the DAME streets. Dont let one bad summer, hurt this city, beautiful Terrace, BC. put this city on the map, plan for the future not the pass.....
To: LF
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 14th October 2011
Agreed. It is commercial property and downtown. Find a buyer who will develop it with something that complements the downtown and pay property taxes. That is the only way to salvage something out of all this. There are other places better than downtown beside the tracks for things that people want to see in Terrace.
Develop it? Not the cities mandate
Comment by LF on 13th October 2011
The coop should not have been bought in the first place. Business property is taxed at an exorbitant rate as it is. To turn around and use that tax revenue to invest in any kind of business that will compete with private business was beyond the councils mandate and should not have happened.

Sell it and hope that the next owner will develop a business that pays tax revenue to recoup all that was lost on this colossal mistake.
Ferry Island Waterpark
Comment by M on 13th October 2011
I agree a waterpark would be great, but don't think the Co-op site would be appropriate. Perhaps Ferry Island would be a better place?
I like it
Comment by Jay on 12th October 2011
Merv is onto something here. Maybe it wont be exactly what Terrace decides to do but at least he took the time, did some research and came up with an affordable game plan. Having a waterpark or an icerink or anything in that area that would attract outdoor activities would be welcomed for sure, especially since it hooks onto the millenium trail. The icerink is a great idea since it would be used in the summer just as much as the winter with the waterpark being seasonal. Regardless, an eyesore is torn down and the opportunities to put something attractive there is in place. Keep the ideas coming.
More revenue needed less taxes
Comment by Ian on 12th October 2011
The coop property is too valueable to let go into a water park. Taxes are high in our area and we need to look at the limitted land available and turn it into a revenue generator.
A water park is not feesable based on the infrustructure costs and consistent maintenance required to maintain, add to that the inconsistent weather patterns here to really appreciate the value of such a park.
This land is prime for tourism and alike business.
My thinking is to tie into local first nation and local developers to create a buisness plan that would beinfit cultural acknowledgment and history here. While still focusing on revenue generation and job creation.
In the end I believe a think tank is needed to decide what is best for the co-op land to be used and to benifit all who live here. But i don't think selling it is the answer. This property is prime in location and size.
Why have any parks then?
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 12th October 2011
Seriously, with the attitudes of it just rains, why have any parks? Because it doesn't just rain. We had an exceptionally gloomy summer but in May we were getting the hot spots in the province. It does rain a lot, but when it doesn't people use outdoor spaces. We could have a community center there too for activities when it is raining.

Nothing said the city had to pay for the water park. There is funding for those things.

Nobody said it HAS to be a water park. I think the idea is there are many visions for that space that could work to bring community together. Strengthen our sustainability and maybe have a little bit of fun with it.

broaden your minds, open up your imagination... and see what you could envision there. There are some amazingly determined and hard working people in Terrace willing to see those dreams through.
Dream on
Comment by Diana Penner on 12th October 2011
Seems like there is agreement around both a source of revenue and a use for families and youth. Something that has been brought to council while the building was up was just that. A multi use facility incorporating recreation, convention, new business incubation, a hostile and a year round market where all proposed to the City within the old Coop walls in the past and should be revisited again. The site at that time was presented with a sidewalk restaurant, an outdoor rink and basketball hoops outdoors as well.
Still an option. Now we have a panoramic screen to paint the vision into. Like the rest of you I look forward to making something good come from this.
co-op water park and fea markets
Comment by ali on 11th October 2011
Great place for water park, not everyone can afford to go swimming at the pool, the community is hurting for things for the younger kids. we really would love take our kids to the water parks, been to kamloops, lloydministers ab, millet ab., drumheller ab. and it was fun for us parents, to play with them, never to old to have fun playing with our kids and grandkids.
Yawl know we're in Terrace right?
Comment by T on 11th October 2011
A water park in terrace where we have had ohhh....maybe 7-8 days of summer this year? I have never heard of anything so rediculous...oh wait! Maybe even more stupid is outdoor excercise equipment in a park that is known for problems with liotering and in a town where...oh just wait see if you can guess.....it rains when it is not frozen and icy. Who slips these decisions by the council is beyond me. What a wast of money. Sell the damn building and be done with it.
I disagree Maggie jo
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 11th October 2011
If we sell it... say for the 1.3 or even 1.6 million. That's 1 road repaving. We can sell pieces of it, we can have multiuse that brings in property taxes without selling it and create a completely sustainable benefit for this city.

Not everything in measured in the final dollar and cents. If it can have businesses on it that are sustaining the tax base while having housing, not for profit and recreational use it should b considered it CAN be all these things.

Some of us have big dreams, some of us are willing to work our hineys off FOR those big dreams. You can benefit from our big dreams and hard work, just give us a chance before all the nay-saying. Nobody is saying the city should be financially on the hook here... but they already are to some degree.
It's time.
Comment by Maggie Jo on 11th October 2011
It would be great if we were in a position to keep the Coop/Property, but we really do need the extra tax base in the City, and if that means selling it? Then...sa-niff...that's what we have to do.

It's time to move on and let the Coop & property go. At this point, we can't afford any further expenses to retain the property and turn it into a dreamland. Would'a been nice though.

In the interim...

Calling all bidders. Calling all bidders!
Outdoor rink
Comment by Lance Armstrong on 11th October 2011
Ive always wanted to see an outdoor rink in this city, something with a nice paved surface and decent boards. Something you could flood in the winter, and use for street hockey or lacross in the summer. Just a thought, anything fun for the kids would be cool.
Economic, resposible, sustainable development
Comment by Janice P. Robinson on 11th October 2011
Social housing, where the City of Terrace collects rent monies from the Province of B.C., et al.

And a nice park, too! Maybe an outdoor swimming pool. There was an outdoor swimming pool in Prince Rupert......rainforest central. The park and pool were packed on a nice day. I remember the smell of french fries, salt and vinegar. Oh! And the enticing, snaking aroma of onions frying.
Agreed Karen
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 11th October 2011
It can have many uses. It can have a water park, and a park, and some green space and a multiplex building for commercial, tourism and not for profits... it can have housing on top. It can be a million and 1 things... it doesn't have to be all or nothing. It doesn't only have to generate tax dollars, but it also doesn't have to generate none.

We could really use this to marvelous advantages and start looking forward and inviting in new ideas. Yay!
Do Both!
Comment by Karen on 11th October 2011
I love the water part idea but the co-op property would make a very large playground. Sub-divide a section off it for the park and list the rest for sale for enough to cover a large protion of what has been invested.

Selling such a large property as one parcel may entice a larger conglomerate but do we want another monstrosity in this location? Putting in a water park could make this part of town more attractive to investors.

Listing the property for sale in no way means not considering other uses for the land. If it does not sell the city could still consider a plan 'B'. They could also sell in numerous smaller parcels with a master plan inviting investors based on that plan.

I see the co-op land as a huge opportunity for the future of Terrace, not a white elephant that needs to be swept under the carpet or put to sleep.
Co-op site is valuable future revenue producer
Comment by bill braam on 11th October 2011
Let's not turn the Coop property into something that doesn't produce tax revenue. Terrace needs all the help it can get to be able to do much needed infrastructure repairs. The roads for one need a lot of work, Kalum hill needs some maintenance before it caves in again, the fire hall needs to be replaced before the next earthquake flattens in on top of all three firetrucks, etc. The list is very long and tax revenue is very skimpy. Thank You
Sun park really needed
Comment by bill braam on 11th October 2011
Having a water park is great where they have lots of sun, not here
I support Pernarowski
Comment by Nimrod on 11th October 2011
I think tearing down the co-op was the right thing to do. Current council inherited this white elephant from Talstra and his minions, who never publicly explained to anyone what the "Plan" for the coop was. By tearing it down and selling it, maybe the city can expand their tax base a bit and take some of the pressure off homeowners. As it was, nobody was going to buy that building, the city tried selling it for years! An empty lot beside a railway stands a far better chance of being developed into something nice.

And besides, a water park? Really? If you want to get soaked, just take your coat off and step outside 350 days of the year.

great idea!
Comment by J~ on 11th October 2011
I think the water park idea is GREAT!!