Millennium Place’s future in jeopardy 

Whistler Interfaith Society not happy with proposed lease; decision must be made by Sept. 22

Transferring ownership of Millennium Place to the municipality from the Whistler Interfaith Society (WIS) has become sticky, after the interfaith society said it is not comfortable with the new lease governing their use of the facility.

In order for the transfer to go ahead as planned, WIS and the RMOW need to reach a resolution no later than Sept. 22.

But in a letter addressed to the Resort Municipality of Whistler on Monday, Sept. 15, WIS outlined their concerns, including: costs to use the space, not being able to use the space from January 2010 to April 2010, and no guarantees to use the space on a weekly basis for worship.

The municipality plans to borrow money from the Municipal Finance Authority, which meets on Sept. 23, to pay off the $3.2 million debt to the North Shore Credit Union. After that date, the MFA will not meet for another six months.

The NSCU has told the municipality they will not wait any longer and will be considering their options, including foreclosure, if the debt is not repaid.

The WIS was informed of the deadline two weeks ago and quickly called a general meeting for Sunday, Sept. 21. Peter Shrimpton, president of the WIS, said 75 per cent of the voting membership will need to approve the new terms of the transfer at the meeting.

Shrimpton said WIS is concerned because the terms of the lease, which WIS received six weeks ago from the municipality, are “very different” from the existing lease between the WIS and the Millennium Place Society Board.

“The transfer had already been unanimously approved by (WIS) by special resolution almost 18 months ago, based on certain understandings as to the terms,” said Shrimpton.

“Despite many requests for an entire year now, nothing has been received from the RMOW to follow up. Six weeks ago, the documentation arrived with our first glimpse of the new lease. Not only is that lease very different from the existing lease, but also other terms and conditions associated with the lease have changed, some substantially.”

With four days to go until WIS’s general meeting, the RMOW and interfaith society are re-negotiating the lease terms. The lease will be between the municipality and the Millennium Place Society Board.

Council voted 6-1 to authorize several documents involved in the ownership transfer, including the lease, at their meeting on Sept. 15.

“Council was not comfortable with delaying action any longer, given the risk of foreclosure, and felt it had to go forward,” said Mayor Ken Melamed.

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