Abbotsford City Hall has released the controversial letter from YMCA Vancouver president and CEO Stephen Butz to Mayor Bruce Banman in which Butz appears to take a very different position than that enunciated by Mayor Banman at the April 8 council meeting.
Banman told council and the public that due to Mark Taylor’s death, the YMCA had decided to indefinitely postpone the controversial $35 Million proposal for a fitness centre that requires a $17.5 Million gift from Abbotsford taxpayers as well as tax forgiveness in perpetuity in order to go ahead.
Banman made the comments immediately prior to the scheduled presentation by Fred Thiessen who is leading the community opposition to the project and then asked Thiessen if he really wanted to proceed in light of the news.
Thiessen rose and pointed out that, although Mark Taylor’s death was a tragedy he was somewhat taken aback by the Mayor’s remarks associating the two and leaving the impression that Taylor’s death had caused the YMCA to indefinitely postpone the project.
“‘Postpone indefinitely’ could mean it will be back in two weeks,” said Thiessen.
Thiessen asked Banman if the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and the YMCA was now null and void and Banman, after checking with staff, said he wasn’t prepared to go that far but there would likely be more news at the next council meeting.
He then suggested that the City of Abbotsford not talk publicly about the proposal again.
Below is the letter Stephen Butz actually sent to Mayor Banman.
The fact that the letter does not use the terminology used by Banman at the public meeting, during which he made it very clear that Butz’s letter would lead to an indefinite postponement of the project, is causing some in the community to ask why Banman described the situation the way he did.