I have spent the last few days sifting through many pieces of information regarding the dire position the Westerner Exposition Society is now in.
Although the solution is not an easy fix, there is really only one answer. The city cannot afford to let the Westerner go into bankruptcy, therefore eventually they are going to have to anti up a very large amount of money.
Therefore the question becomes: What is gained by prolonging the decision as our present council seems so bound to do? Absolutely nothing.
Meanwhile delaying the decision has several disastrous outcomes: The worst scenario that it may lead to is the bankruptcy of the society leaving the city with a very large white elephant that will cost who knows how much to reinstate. The delay of council has already caused the possible loss of several million dollars of donations and grants and there are loans with banks and contracts with associations that are time sensitive. And most of all, it keeps the board of directors of the Westerner and the dedicated volunteers from being able to use their vast collective expertise, freely given energy and unparalleled commitment to begin the rehabilitation so desperately needed to save the Westerner.
The time for excuses and finger pointing is long gone. Rather than looking like heroes who so diligently looked after their taxpayer’s dollars, this council, or perhaps the newly elected one this fall, will have to pay the piper, and in the final tally, the money needed will be much greater than the proposal that might still be on the table.
As council members, it is their duty to protect not only the people, their needs and desires and their money, but the assets of the city and like it or not, right now their biggest problem is a $57 million asset that requires instant help.
Patricia Young is Red Deer resident and Westerner shareholder and volunteer.