For immediate release
June 18, 20010

Press Release

Convention Centre Would Increase NS Tax Burden

HALIFAX, NS – A new convention centre in downtown Halifax would be a heavy net financial burden on Nova Scotia taxpayers, says the Coalition to Save the View. This conclusion is based on a close reading of four consultants’ reports on the project.

“Any discussion needs to start with the estimated cost of $144 million to build the centre,” said Beverly Miller, MA, MBA, who examined the reports on behalf of the Coalition. “In addition, using the provincial government’s borrowing costs of 6.22%, it would cost almost $9 million a year just to service a loan for the construction of the centre.”

“In contrast, the Gardner Pinfold report estimates that the proposed new convention centre would generate only $2,680,214 in annual provincial tax revenue, even when all delegate spending in the province and generous spin offs are included,” added Allan Robertson, M.Sc., P.Eng., FCMC. “The Deloitte report estimates the provincial tax revenue as $2,016,000, which is $664,214 less than Gardner Pinfold.”

“Further, the most recent annual report of the existing convention centre states that it has generated $29 million in provincial tax revenues in the past ten years, for an average of $2,900,000 a year,” Robertson continued. “If a new centre is constructed, the present centre would be closed, and its revenue stream would have to be replaced by new revenue before any gains could accrue. The Province would have little or no new revenue, but a substantially increased debt.”

Economist Andrew Harvey, Ph.D., noted that “the proposed benefits of the new centre reported by Gardner Pinfold include total anticipated convention and conference benefits in an uncertain market. The report fails to note that most of the benefits are already generated by the existing WTCC.”

“Incremental benefits would be far less and many could potentially be achieved in a far less costly manner. A cost-benefit study taking into account full incremental costs and benefits is required for responsible decision making,” stated Harvey.

“It is clear from these reports that there are serious problems with the project,” concluded Miller. “There is simply no business case that could be used to justify spending public money on this convention centre. The costs would be several times greater than any possible incremental benefits.”

The Coalition is also concerned that the reports did not consider the negative effects the towers attached to the proposed P3 convention centre would have on the Citadel and the downtown. The towers would be exempt from the HRMbyDesign rules applied on the other blocks downtown. Any public funding for the P3 convention centre would allow the height of the towers to double from 7 and 9 to 14 and 18 storeys, effectively privatizing the view from Citadel Hill.

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-Contact: Beverly Miller: 429-9540
-Contact: Allan Robertson: (c) 222-6730

-For information on Save the View visit: <http://www.savetheview.ca/>www.savetheview.ca
-Multimedia resources including high-resolution images: <http://www.savetheview.ca/multimedia.html>http://www.savetheview.ca/multimedia.html
-Facebook page: Help Save the View >From Citadel Hill

Save the View is a coalition of * Coalition to End Poverty for Nova Scotia * Council of Canadians-Inverness Chapter * Council of Canadians-Mahone Bay Chapter * Ecology Action Centre * Facebook Group-Save the View from Citadel Hill * Friends of the Halifax Common * Nova Scotia Heritage Trust * Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group * Peninsula South Neighbourhood Association * Sierra Club of Canada-Atlantic Chapter *