YMCA Cites Mark Taylor’s Death As Excuse To Postpone Abbotsford Proposal

By April 8, 2013Abbotsford News

By Mike Archer. Before Fred Thiessen could rise to give his much anticipated second appearance before Abbotsford Council, Mayor Bruce Banman read a letter into the record from Stephen Butz, president of the YMCA in Vancouver, saying that, due to Former Parks and Recreation Manager Mark Taylor’s untimely death at the bottom of a crevasse while skiing last month, the YMCA is indefinitely postponing its controversial plans to build a membership driven fitness facility with taxpayers’ money.

Mayor Banman told the approximately 175 people attending the meeting that, it was Butz’s contention that, in light of the fact that the Parks and Recreation Department now has only an interim manager and, with all the work required to bring almost a decade’s worth of planning and investment to fruition it was going to postpone the project indefinitely and move on to another project.

Mayor Bruce Banman

Mayor Bruce Banman

Neither the letter nor the Mayor explained how Taylor’s death could have such a cataclysmic impact on the $35 million proposal other than to imply that there was a lot of work to be done and not enough senior staff to do it.

Fred Thiessen

Fred Thiessen

When Thiessen was asked if he would still like to make his presentation, Thiessen said, “Well not to make light of the tragedy that befell Mark Taylor, and anybody who knows me knows I have known tragedy, I’m not sure what indefinitely postponed means nor what Mr. Taylors death has to do with this.”

He then asked Banman if Butz’s letter withdrawing the YMCA’s proposal meant the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and the YMCA was now null and void but Banman wouldn’t commit himself saying, “You’ll have to give us a little time to deal with this matter.”

Banman didn’t explain why, if the letter was dated March 28, staff and council had so far been unable to deal with it.

Trying to be as delicate as possible Thiessen nonetheless pressed the mayor to explain how the MOU could remain a legal obligation on behalf of Abbotsford taxpayers if the YMCA appeared to be pulling out with no explanation other than the word ‘indefinitely’ which Thiessen said, “Could change next week.”

Banman said there would likely be more news on the future of the proposal at the next council meeting and suggested that there be no further public discussion of the YMCA proposal for an indefinite period as well.

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Way too soon to celebrate. Banman at first implied we could all just go home now. Thankfully Fred Thiessen pressed for clarity, and sure enough, there it lurked again, the murky, muddy waters.

    We have NEVER been given the straight goods about council and staff dealings with the YMCA, and once again the public was treated to smoke and mirrors.

    Banman admitted the MOU was not cancelled. The letter from the Y says only that they have withdrawn INDEFINITELY.

    The Memorandum of Understanding, Page 2 ‘Financial Plan Implications’ reads, “The MOU……..WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL REPLACED WITH BINDING LEGAL AGREEMENTS.’

    Please lets not be taken for fools any longer, either by our leaders, or by the YMCA.

    Until both signatories to this MOU sign to cancel it, the Y still has a noose around our collective neck.

  • Eric van Steenis says:

    Just like the Tree Protection Bylaw, just like the Sumas Mountain Environmental Management Plan, just like the Uplands Ditch Tax, the YMCA has been “shelved”… for reintroduction at some future date.

  • wintershades says:

    It will be put on the “shelf” until such time as Mayor and Council think we the taxpayer have forgotten all about it. Then “WHAMO!” I agree with Gerda, until this document is signed making the MOU null and void it will not go away.

    • DeceitinDrugs says:

      You are absolutely right!

      An unexpected windfall from Michael DeJong putting
      the Vye Road/Nexus upgrade to the forefront has the
      city scrambling for their portion of the $8.3 million
      or loose funding for a priority public safety related
      project, which has been on the cities’books, since 2005,
      and thus, reating a situation of public risk, for years.

      The City of Abbotsford still has to pay up $20 million
      taken out of the road and water DCC fundsvia future
      DCC’S, which are at an all time low for Abbotsford,
      due due to the economic downturn.

  • The Editor says:

    Sobe Daya Says:

    Sobe Daya so the MOU was not cancelled, as in the Y is waiting for the momentum to die down and then will go ahead anyway. Something smelly this way comes

    On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Today-Media/447088788677534?ref=hl

  • Eric van Steenis says:

    Mr. Banman did at one point early on in the “debate” say it was “dead”. Others heard this as well since it was repeated somewhere behind me. But then, based on previous “dead” issues, one might conclude that city council and staff firmly believe in reincarnation.

  • BCGuy says:

    We can’t trust anything the Mayor or Councillors tell us anymore. Do they take the taxpaying public for fools? Perhaps they should look in the mirror.

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