Friday, December 17, 2010

Point on Point

Over the last couple of days the blog comments seem to focus on rapidly accumulating debt and largely due to stimulus programs via the federal and provincial governments. Some seem to subscribe to the "make hay while the sun shines" or "use it or lose it" theories.

I think there is a time to accrue debt in these circumstances and the bridge and infrastructure projects make sense. That to my mind is good debt. What doesn't make sense to me is the nice, but unnecessary projects. That to me is bad debt. My example today is the Mendel Art Gallery, soon to be the Art Gallery of Saskatchewan.

When the Mendel first approached Council for a renovation/expansion the ask was about $12 to $14 million. Council du jour was reluctant to green light the project. Some of today's Councillors expressed grave concern not just for the capital cost but because an expanded gallery would undoubtedly increase the operating costs. The federal and provincial governments were not jumping at the opportunity to put their one-third share into this project, which would have amounted to $4 to $5 million each.

Now the federal/provincial governments are offering a combined $26 million for the new gallery on River Landing which has a current price tag of $66 million (and climbing,) leaving the local taxpayer to foot a $40 million contribution.

It would seem in this instance the city would have been better off footing the original $12 to $14 million on their own and saying thanks but no thanks to the federal and provincial governments. And I do not hear those same Councillors expressing concern about operating costs for the new Taj Mahal.

After the fact, we will have to deal with the costs of renovating the old Mendel site and finding a tenant for the building. Those lining up for occupancy will no doubt be the organizations that rely on government funding to exist. The speculation is that the MVA will take it as their new home. The operating costs of the MVA are solely funded by tax dollars.

As a taxpayer I only ask for reasonableness to prevail.


  1. The only thing more foolish than a new art gallery is having the MVA take over the Mendel space. What do they need it for?

  2. The MVA is without a doubt the largest waste of tax payer money is Saskatoon! The city is forced to participate with the UofS and the province to fund the organization. You can bet if they move into the Mendel Building it will cost the citizens of Saskatoon plenty to sustain this white elephant. They continue to build trails and facilities then turn them over to the city to maintain at an addiional cost to Saskatoon tax payers that is in addition to the levy.

  3. The MVA will end up in the Mendel building, do you have any doubt that the bumbling incompetent mayor will be available to find another tenant or purchaser for the building. After a looooong search, no doubt the fat cat mayor will resign himself to the fact that the tax payer will pick up the tab once again for his ego and put in the MVA.

    Just bulldoze the Mendel and sell the land, although the suggestion of that will likely bring out Lenore to declare the Mendel a heritage building worth saving at any cost.

  4. Bulldoze the Mendel and the city should act as developer and build two huge condo towers there and use the profit to fund Atch's legacy building. Lets call them "Atch Towers"

  5. Check this out for an overview of the Mendel debacle:


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.