Little progress on MY Place loan 

Updated transfer agreement drafted; RMOW and WIS representatives agree to meet

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 the interim.

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,” he said.

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 updated agreement.

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 announced.  

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.

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