Letter: How much do we really owe the Oval?

Dear Editor,

Re: “City staff in Rio to sell the ROX,” News, Aug. 10.

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The Richmond News deserves a gold medal for revealing the continuing financial debacle at our “Oweful” (Oval) under the “care and management” of our mayor and chief administration officer.

Richmond taxpayers owe the Richmond News and staff a great deal of credit for enlightening the public in this affair.

The public should know, the combined assessed values of 130, 160 and 2005 – 6111 River Road (part of Oval property) totals $4,532,000 for non-city businesses and attracts property tax.

The assessed value of the Oval portion (city) totals $232,461,000.

On this assessed value, the Oval in 2015 attracted revenues of: Games Operating Trust: $2,465,029; federal/provincial tax source: $2,464,029; Richmond taxpayers: $3,814,700; members/admissions/programs: $7,643,069; and other: $2,223,421. 

Expenses included salaries and benefits of $7,867,871 (exceeds total revenue from members, admissions and programs); utilities $1,009,384 (up from $900,555 in 2014), general and administration $802,134 (up from $546,804 in 2014) and marketing $672,993 (up from $197,708 in 2014).

 The Oval has no mortgage payment. The Oval is exempt of Richmond property tax. The Oval pays no income tax. Richmond provided the Oval with $3,814,700 total benefits in 2015. 

The Oval has declared a $2.3 million surplus for 2015 and $2.7 million for 2014 on this $232,461,000 property while provided with full property tax exemptions and no mortgage payments. 

I am less than impressed. 

Where would the Oval be without the property tax relief, city grants, federal/provincial and trust grants. Do the non-city tenants at the Oval location pay rent to the City of Richmond or to the Oval?

 In 2014, the Oval reported 22 per cent of users were not Richmond residents.

From the Aug. 10 news report, I understand, several City of Richmond staff have taken a sponsored junket to Rio de Janeiro and Oval staff have refused to disclose the staff numbers and costs.

Mayor Brodie, please direct the chief adminstration officer to publish those numbers in addition to the annual cost to federal, provincial and municipal taxpayers, for all benefits, grants and tax relief provided to the Oval. 

Please report all taxpayer costs associated with the Oval Olympic Museum from project concept to completion in this newspaper. 

In addition, please provide the number of visitors to the Oval Olympic Museum and total revenues generated from this sector. 

For comparison, please provide the same details for the BC Sports Hall of Fame Olympic Museum in this paper.

Heaven forbid, we cannot sell this white elephant to a non-resident because of the extra 15 per cent property purchase tax in place. 

Just wondering how the owners/operators of private fitness and sports venues in Richmond feel, knowing they are heavily subsidizing their competition over at the Oweful.

Pass the valium, please.

Ken McLennan   

Richmond

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