Boathouse process flawed, Kitchener councillor says

Kitchener Ward 3 Coun. John Gazzola wants changes made to the process used to select a new operator for the Boathouse in Victoria Park. He says the city should have suggested to bidders how much it would cost to rent the city owned facility.

A Kitchener councillor wants changes made to the process used to select a new operator for the Boathouse in Victoria Park.

John Gazzola, the councillor for Ward 3, said the city should have suggested to bidders how much it would cost to rent the city owned facility.

This follows complaints from former bidder Glenn Smith that city officials wouldn't provide rent information. City bureaucrats argued lease details are part of the negotiating process.

I think you can always go back and change things.- John Gazzola, Ward 3 councillor

When Smith of Ethel's Lounge and singer-songwriter Danny Michel dropped out, brothers Curt and Cory Crossman of the KOI Music Festival and operator of Imbibe Bill McTavish became the last remaining bid. 

Gazzola said while he finds the city's process flawed, it's not too late to reopen the bidding.

"Nothing has been put into the ground, nothing has been built. When you're at that stage, I think you can always go back and change things."

'Skeptical of the process'

Scott Davey, Ward 1 councillor said he is "skeptical of the process," to find a new operator for the music venue at the edge of the Victoria Park Lake.

"We are down to one bidder and everyone is aware that when you only have one bidder the city doesn't have a whole lot of leverage," Davey said.

"I remain open minded, and if the bid comes in and it is to the benefit of taxpayers and the city proper, then I would look at it seriously." he said.

Coun. Frank Etherington represents Ward 9, where Victoria Park is located. He said if the city's qualifications are met, councillors should approve the final bid to take over the facility.

"I think we've had a very solid committee determining all of these applications and I am satisfied with the process," Etherington said.

A city committee met with the last remaining bidders last Friday to hear their plans for the music venue. 

City staff will present their recommendation to councillors on Monday.

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