Wednesday, March 2, 2005

The future of the JLC?

The city administrators are putting their two cents worth into the Fanshawe Pioneer Village issue. Too bad the price tag isn't two cents, cause that's all it worth, except we happen to live in London:

It will cost $1.7 million to close Fanshawe Pioneer Village, more than what the city has contributed to its operation over the last 10 years. And the city would be on the hook for the bulk of that cost, city administrators say in report to board of control today.

The controllers will receive the report and debate the future of the historical site, a re-created 19th-century farming village, considering four options outlined by city staff.

They range from providing $300,000 in funding for one year to closing it down.
Board of control receives the report but the final decision rests with council. Ok. And we thought this whole budget issue was basically settled too. Ahhh - London, the city of foggy minds.
In the report to board of control today, city finance manager Vic Cote says that if the village is closed, a facility to store artifacts would have to be built at a cost of $375,000.

And funding of $67,250 would have to provided annually to manage the collection.

The city would have to negotiate a cost-sharing agreement with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, which would likely take ownership of the village, located on authority land.

Half of the pioneer village's estimated 23,000 artifacts would be sold at auction, with the balance donated to local and regional museums.


The village estimates the economic impact of closing at $2.5 million, including $300,000 in lost tourism revenue, $395,000 in lost wages and $1.3 million in lost artifacts.
Lost tourism revenue? Lost wages? Lost artifacts? If the village crumbles, people will continue to spend their leisure dollars as before, which were clearly not directed to Fanshawe Village in the first place - the mere $300,000 will be redirected toward other amusements and hence back into the economy. As for lost wages, the people who find themselves out of job will hopefully find more meaningful and productive employment. And the lost? artifacts, well, sell what you can and donate the rest to the good will. There is the additional advantage of savings on storage costs and collection upkeep. Just imagine, we might have money left over for filling potholes.
A master plan says the village needs a capital injection of at least $3 million to upgrade and expand the operation and ensure its future.

In a report to board of control two weeks ago, Cote said despite some interest from local donors, it is not enough to sustain the village's operations.
Exactly - so bye bye Fanshawe Pioneer Village - so long and see you later.
Fanshawe Pioneer Village's future {drumroll if you please}

Options that board of control will consider today:

- Finance the pioneer village for one year, adding an extra $85,000, but facing the necessity of dealing with the same issue next year. The village's board has already rejected this option.

- A five-year, annual funding commitment of $300,000 to $350,000 to give the village board a better chance to find the required $3.5 million for capital improvements to increase attendance and revenues.

- Same as above, but with the city also providing $1 million in capital over five years, pushing other projects down the priority list, with no guarantee of success.

- Close the village at an estimated cost of $1.7 million, not including $375,000 needed for a storage facility for remaining artifacts and ongoing costs of $67,000 annually.
.Plan Five - Demolish the whole thing, artifacts and buildings alike. If these so called artifacts are so valuable auction them all off - every single one. At least the city might be able to recover some of the money wasted on the village. Bet we know which of the above options the village lobbyists are holding their breath for, and they have been even more aggressive since the discovery of a city 'surplus'.

If council doesn't give them a single cent more, I promise I will try to say something nice on the blog about each member of city council and if Fanshawe Pioneer Village closes, I will considering inviting Gord Hume over for dinner.

1 Comment:

MapMaster said...

You must be thinking of preparing a pretty big meal.