Bill Manners

Community Activist

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Thanks for helping with NOvote2017 - WE WON

The original NOVOTE2017 was formed on November 14, 2016 by myself and Kevin Saunders. We intended to fight City Hall in their attempts to build an Event Centre. We held many discussions and formulated a plan before volunteers approached the two of us to become part of the core group in January 2017.

The core group agreed that we would not have past, present or future politicians involved - except our financial agent. One person, who had already announced their intent to run in the next municipal election was asked not to be a part of the core group. We did have some mentors who helped us but wanted to remain in the background.

NOVOTE2017 was not meant for making personal attacks on councilors, but rather on the choices they were making.

NOVOTE2017 became a society and was registered with Elections BC. It had a timeline that came to end on March 11, which it did successfully.

After March 11, all that remained was to get our finances in order. It was determined back in November that any leftover monies were to be equally divided to Loaves and Fishes, The Child Development Centre and the 7-10 Club.

Since the end of the campaign, some members of the core group have decided to continue together to further their political agenda. I do not have any association with their new group. I would like them to stop using the NOVOTE2017 name and website (which is registered under my name), other than mentioning it as a past affiliation.

The only registered directors of the NOVOTE2017 Society are Bill Manners (chair), Don Bonner (spokesperson), and Blake McGuffie (financial officer). Once the financial matters are dealt with and the books signed off, the Society will have completed it's purpose.

Thanks to all for your hard work and support. There were many who worked hard to achieve the society's goal. I hate naming names in case I forgot someone but off the top, we had Don Bonner, John Dacombe, Sydney Robertson and Rebecca Chan, Allan Davidson and his wife Jennifer, Wanda Thompson and Gary Weikum and Fredrik Collin who did excellent work as speakers and were involved greatly with the public.

The many volunteers did a fabulous job and are appreciated more than words can say. To all, a huge THANK YOU.


Bill Manners

Behind the Scenes

A lot has been said about how great the WHL will be for Nanaimo. Outside of playoffs, they use about 40 days a year. What happens with the other 325 days (or nights)?
The Western Hockey League (WHL), originally referred to as the Western Canada Hockey League, was formed in 1966. They have grown from 7 teams to 22 since then with teams coming, teams leaving, name changes and a variety of locations.
Western Hockey League franchise for sale for 5 years now, but no buyer!
The Kootenay Ice started in 1998 with the WHL having grown from a Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League team. Since then their season attendance has gone from a low of 1528, in their second year, up to a high of 3600 and they remained over 3000 for their first 10 years, however since then they dropped through the 2,000 range and this year are about 1670 per game. Attendance records.
What’s next for the Kootenay Ice?
The Chynoweth family bought out Rob and Scott Niedermayer earlier in 2016 and they now own 100% of the Kootenay Ice. The Chynoweth family with a long standing history with the Hockey with Edward (1941-2008) being a long time president of the WHL and is considered one of the most influential men in the history of junior hockey in Canada. His son Jeff is the owner of the Kootenay Ice.
It isn’t a secret that the Chynoweths have been trying to sell the Ice. In fact, earlier this year, Jeff Chynoweth told Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Townsman: “Nothing has changed in that my family wants to get out of ownership of the hockey club and have since 2011. Unfortunately, nothing has come to fruition to make that happen.
Earlier in 2016, in February, Jeff Chynoweth stated that “ my family cannot continue to run the hockey club with the numbers we are drawing right now.” In June 2016, the WHL commissioner said that the franchise needs to get over 3,000 seat sales in order to remain financially viable. With a to date record this year of 1672 per game that is not going to happen. The team is currently in last place with a 6-22-0-7 record.
IT sounds like the Chynoweth family wants the team to remain in Cranbrook and had hoped that the Niedermayers were going to buy it and keep it there. On April 28, 2016, it was reported that: “ The WHL, of course, would love to have a team in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, where it would have an immediate rivalry with the Victoria Royals. However, Nanaimo doesn’t have an arena that meets WHL standards and there isn’t one in the works.
Meanwhile in the British Columbia Hockey League. Wenatchee Wild owner David White is believed to have paid $1.2 million in expansion fees to the BCHL and, from all indications, is quite happy to be in the BCHL. “ ~ The Coaches Site
If that was the cost of an BCHL franchise, what would be the cost of a Nanaimo franchise or what would be the purchase cost for the Kootenay Ice?
Reports are that the Chilliwack team moved to Victoria in 2011 for a deal worth between $6 and 8 Million. In 2006, the Edmonton Oil Kings cost their owner $4 Million.
Does Nanaimo want to get involved in the WHL? Is there an owner lined up? What will be the cost of the team and expected costs to run the team? What would happen to the Nanaimo Clippers? So many questions!
Current Team Ownership in the WHL
• Kamloops Blazers: Tom Gaglardi (remember Flying Phil - his father Hotel ownership - Sandman Hotels), Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, Mark Recchi, Darryl Sydor
• Kelowna Rockets: Bruce Hamilton • Prince George Cougars: Ray Fortier (Industrialist), John Pateman (Insurance & Real Estate) Greg Pocock (Pulp Mill Hydro Servicing), Ernest Ouellet (Manufacturing, Liquor sales), Dan Hamhuis and Eric Brewer
• Vancouver Giants: Ron Toigo (White Spot Restaurants plus extensive property ownership), Sultan Thiara (Accountant and co-owner of property with R. Toigo), Michael Buble (Singer, song writer, actor and record producer) , Lewis Buble (Financial and Insurance Groups), and Bruce Allen (entertainment manager of many top recording artists including Michael Buble)
• Victoria Royals: Dave Dakers and Graham Lee (Construction contractors for extremely large industrial properties)
• Calgary Hitmen: Calgary Flames NHL team
• Edmonton Oil Kings: Edmonton Oilers NHL team
• Kootenay Ice: Chynoweth family
• Lethbridge Hurricanes: Community Owned - struggling to raise attendance and/or funds. • Medicine Hat Tigers: Brothers Darrell and Brent Maser (lumber & ranching) Lease issues
• Red Deer Rebels: Sutter Family (need I say more)
• Brandon Wheat Kings: Kelly McCrimmon
• Moose Jaw Warriors: Anthony Marquart (land baron)
• Prince Albert Raiders: Community Ownership (private funding for line of credit)
• Regina Pats: Anthony Marquart (land baron and real estate), Todd Lumbard (funeral business), Gavin Semple (Manufacturing, industrial equipment & investment funds) , Shaun Semple ( Manufacturing industrial equipment and investment funds) and Jason Drummond (Investment funds and real estate and lending)
• Saskatoon Blades: Colin Priestner (automotive company - 30 dealerships)
• Swift Current Broncos: Community Ownership managed by Board •
Everett Silvertips: Bill Yuill (Communications, Real Estate and Transportation)
• Portland Winterhawks: Bill Gallacher (Athabasca Oil Corp)
• Seattle Thunderbirds: Russ Farwell (former Nordiques coach - remember Lindros)
• Spokane Chiefs: Bobby Brett & family (sport franchises) and Community Ownership
• Tri-City Americans: Dennis Loman (accountant), Stu Barnes, Olaf Kolzig, Bob Tory
(past NHL players have no marked affiliation with their names)

* Ownership information is often hidden or difficult to find
and is not considered to be completely up to date*


How much are the long term costs?

We have no idea how much money this is going to cost us long term. The proposal initially (stage 1) stated that PREDICTED projected operating results will be:
• would operate for the first 2 years with a required subsidy in the range of approximately $150,000/year
we “ predicted “ that by the 3rd year of operations, this facility would come close to breaking even and would be based on both gross income and expenses of approximately $2.9m
• would host around 114 events in year 1 increasing to 126 events in year 3; with 39 of those being WHL home games
• naming rights and suite revenues would be included in operational revenue • included in this estimate would be a life cycle allowance of over $100,000 per year for repairs and future replacement needs
• an average of a $3 per ticket facility charge that would go towards operational expenses •
this estimate did not include debt service, interest expense, property taxes and insurance.

Then Stafford Sports,
brought in for Stage 2, new PREDICTED Projected operating results:
• would operate in year 1 and 2 needing a small city subsidy of less than $50,000/yr • projected in year 3 to show a better than a breakeven number in net profit. The EC would gross over $3m
• would continue to show a profit in the remaining years of a 10 year projected business plan
• would host 114 events in year 1; 127 events in year 2; and 128 events in year 3 • naming rights and suite rentals premium seating would be included in operational revenue • included in these projected numbers is a substantial life cycle allowance for annual repairs and replacement
• an average of a $2 per ticket facility charge would go towards operational expenses • 17 -20 Full time management and staff positions, exclusive of tenant staff and 175 part time positions with a part time labour pool of close to 300 people.
However, it is interesting that the EXISTING Arenas in Nanaimo lose money each year for a variety of expenses: (they never make a profit)
2014-2020 Budget from 5 year operating plan overview
Wage & Benefits are not even covered by Revenues Generate without all the other expenditures included. NOTE: Cost per capita (for each person in Nanaimo increases each year) BUT, this new Event Centre is magically going to make money? Does that make sense to anybody?
Operating expenses for existing Arena operations.
Anytime we hear of a price tag for this (anticipated $86 million) we have to remember that the price excludes:
Parking that is in addition to the 100 spaces on-site in the Service Area • Legal and Accounting
• Costs for municipal staff
• Building permits and service hook-up fees, etc.
• Financing •
Costs for services, roads and other infrastructure that aren’t on the site
• Demolition

New fund created for Event Centre?

I do not know if anyone caught what happened last Monday December 19th during the marathon City Council series of meetings.
Yes, most of us are aware of the Nanaimo Event Centre moving onto Stage 3. What nobody seems to be talking about is that they slipped in a way to pay for it.
The City of Nanaimo has created a new reserve to pay for strategic capital projects and repayment of any debt that may be used for these projects. The Strategic Infrastructure Reserve Fund is designed to proactively address reserving funds for long term strategic priorities.
‘’Nanaimo politicians plan that the reserve fund go into future strategic infrastructure projects, such as the proposed sports and entertainment centre or a new public works building. The new reserve and a strategy to build it would see dollars shuffled into the new pot from general revenue, the same account tax dollars go into, and would mean a 3.3-per cent tax hike spread out over five years for residents.” ~ Tamara Cunningham, Nanaimo News Bulletin (paraphrased)
On top of the 3.3% tax hike, there is also a $700,000 annually cut to RCMP services.
Any change in the casino revenues redirection, would place in jeopardy various local programs, some of which are required to address the negative social impacts associated with gambling and result in significant property tax increases for local taxpayers.
Key Points:
  • The City has prudently established a number of reserve funds that provide funding for infrastructure renewal and for new and upgraded infrastructure required due to growth.
  • The strategic infrastructure reserve fund will provide a sustainable funding strategy for implementing City priorities.
  • Annual contributions to the new reserve will be $3 million starting in 2020.
It is proposed the reserve will be funded by redirecting specific annual revenues from general revenues. These include casino revenues of $2.4 million and Fortis revenues of $525,000
Casino Revenue In November 1999, the City of Nanaimo began to receive revenue from a casino operation. The City receives 10% of the net earnings from casino operations. Casino revenues are variable and have declined during the past years, from $3.0M received in 2008 to $2.3M received in 2012, then a modest recovery in 2013 to $2.5M. The projected revenues for 2014 are $2.3M. ~ DRAFT City of Nanaimo Financial Plan January 9, 2015
Since 1999, Nanaimo has received $45,049,092.09 from Casino sharing.
We should recall the better Casino days where the City stipulated that any amount over $3.15 million would go to he Housing Legacy Fund. Recently the majority of Casino funds went to pay the Conference Centre debt.
How does the new Event Centre fit into this? Our Council just created a $3 million dollar fund to pay for it, by manipulating our tax revenue and making a new slush fund.
THE MOTION That Council: 1. adopt the creation of a new Strategic Infrastructure Reserve; Passed 8-1 Councillor Diane Brennan opposed.
2(a) approve the transition of annual casino revenues from general revenues to the new Strategic Infrastructure Reserve. This transition will be fully implemented in 2020 Passed 7-2 Councillors Diane Brennan and Ian Thorpe opposed.
2(b) approve the transition of annual Fortis revenues from general revenues to the new Strategic Infrastructure Reserve. This transition will be fully implemented in 2017. Passed 5-4 Mayor Bill McKay and Councillors Diane Brennan, Wendy Pratt and Ian Thorpe opposed. (pictured)

Can WE afford an additional $125 Million debt for the City of Nanaimo?




On December 19th City Council voted unanimously:

That Council direct Staff to prepare for an approval of electors process regarding the financing of the planning and construction of the Events Centre and provide Council with a plan and date options.

This is a NO campaign. We cannot afford the addition to our taxes this project would entail. To add that on top of the already high costs of the Conference Centre and the Port Theatre and the new Water Treatment Plant, it is beyond what we can afford. The timing is not right.

The PROPOSAL was put together from the SAME COMPANY that will get the CONTRACT to build this Centre if the vote is yes. They are salesmen trying to get a $100 Million job. Slick with so much information that does not make sense.

The Save On Foods Centre in Victoria has shown they are unable to host the number of events that they say Nanaimo’s Event Centre will get.

The MAP shown above is extremely misleading. Are we expecting that the good people in Port Alice, Fair Harbour, Lake Cowichan, Ahousaht or Nootka Island will come to Nanaimo for a hockey game?

PS: Watch out for a 100% plus increase in utility bills from the City in 2017.





The City of Nanaimo over the last few years has been fighting expenses. Our Council has been diligent in passing zero (or as close as they can) budgets year after year in order that the taxpayer does not have to pay more.

Meanwhile we are seeing our rates for services increase and they haven’t stopped that with the latest announcement that we are going to see a increase of over 100% of our total services costs next year.

Our core services review came out with many cost cutting recommendations, some of which have already been followed through with. The City of Nanaimo is not finished yet. They aim to cut another couple million dollars in the next few 5 or 6 months.

Now they have this new plan for an Event Centre, a fancy ice rink which is going to bring not only WHL hockey to Nanaimo, but also Disney on Ice (shows) along with Concerts such as the Elton John one coming to Victoria next year. Of course, we might not get Elton John as this Event Centre would never be built in time, if it is built at all.


Last night (Dec 19, 2016) our City Council voted to have a referendum in regards to this Event Centre. This item was selected to be voted on singularly out of the 11 in total Council resolve as follows:

11. That Council direct Staff to prepare for an approval of electors process regarding the financing of the planning and construction of the Events Centre and provide Council with a plan and date options. Passed by all members of Council.

Then Council voted on the other 10 recommendations with little discussion which passed by a vote of 8 to 1.

Council resolves as follows:

1. That Council direct Staff to review site location considerations identified in the Events Centre Phase 2 report and provide a recommendation to Council.

2. That Council direct Staff to enter into negotiations with the Western Hockey League and Western Hockey League Team leading to a memorandum of understanding between the City of Nanaimo, the Western Hockey League and Western Hockey League Team in contemplation of location of a Western Hockey League Team in the City of Nanaimo beginning with the 2017-2018 Western Hockey League season.

3. That Council directs Staff to proceed as outlined in the Events Centre timeline.

4. That Council direct Staff to expand and continue with public engagement initiatives regarding the Events Centre project.

5. That Council direct Staff to secure the services of a legal advisor with experience in similar projects or infrastructure planning, construction, management and operation.

6. That Council direct Staff to secure the services of a financial advisor with experience in similar projects or infrastructure planning, construction, management and operation.

7. That Council directs Staff to secure the services of a project manager with experience in similar projects or infrastructure planning, construction, management and operation.

8. That Council directs Staff to secure the services of a professional Events Centre management firm with experience in running the operations of an Events Centre.

9. That Council directs Staff to engage the services of a professional architect firm with experience in similar project or infrastructure, planning, construction, management and operation of an Events Centre.

10. That Council direct Staff to develop and recommend a project procurement and financing framework for planning, construction, and operating the Events Centre .

One item that came up during the meeting was private money. When asked about private money going into this project, the answer was the ‘naming rights’. Yes, our Council believes that the ‘naming rights’ for this Event Centre will be part of the private money. They must have forgotten about the ‘pouring rights’. What are those two things? “ Naming Rights “ and “ Pouring Rights “.

Naming Rights is the sale of a name of the arena, like the Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Some company is expected to pay (according to income statement) $140,000 a year to get their name in lights and mentioned every time the building is spoken of. I wonder if they have thought of Tilray Place or perhaps Harris Place.

Pouring Rights is the sale of the right to serve beverages. Perhaps Coke or Pepsi or another beverage company would like to pay $20,000 a year for the right to sell beverages. Or are they talking about Labatts Beer or another brand to sell beer in the beer section of the Event Centre.

How about Luxury Seating such as Club Seats $160,000 a year or Suites $347,700 a year or Loge Boxes at $97,500 a year?

Maybe they are thinking of adding Advertising and Popcorn and Hot dog sales as Private funding for the Event Centre as well.


During a Council meeting on Monday December 19, 2016 Nanaimo Council voted:

That Council direct Staff to prepare for an approval of electors process regarding the financing of the planning and construction of the Events Centre and provide Council with a plan and date options.

Passed by all members of Council.

Cost could be well in excess of $125 Million Dollars for an Event Centre.

NOW is not the right time!


For many years we had small ARENAS in our communities.

Arenas often had other services attached to them such as curling rinks or pools or additional hockey rinks so larger events could be held.

We then started building RECREATION CENTRES, such as Beban Park here in Nanaimo.  complete with:
swimming pool,
ice rink
soccer fields
baseball pitches,
more ice surfaces,  
9 hold golf course
livestock barns
and lawn bowling.

Then we started hearing the term MULTIPLEX, and that  was a name for a place to have hockey games and concerts.

NOW, we have Event Centres.
They are huge places that have room for:
WHL hockey
Music Concerts
Disney Ice Shows
Harlem Globetrotters
Monster Trucks
Horse Shows
Walking Circles
and many more.

In other words, an ARENA built to hold events just like they used to only BIGGER.

This is not the RIGHT TIME.