City staff get free hand to sell Penmar theatre assets - InfoNews

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City staff get free hand to sell Penmar theatre assets

Penticton city staff sought council approval to look at the best means possible to sell city assets of theatre chairs and projectors related to the Penmar Community Theatre Society's failed bid to create a community theatre at the April 18, 2017 council meeting.
Image Credit: City of Penticton
April 19, 2017 - 5:30 PM

PENTICTON - The City of Penticton wants to recover as many tax dollars as possible from the failed community theatre project.

The City invested over $62,000 to purchase two theatre projectors and 310 seats for the Penmar Arts Society and now it needs how to ensure the sale price of the items provides the maximum return.

Chief financial officer Jim Bauer told council at the a meeting yesterday, April 18, the money for the projectors and seats came out of the city’s reserve funds in May, 2014.

The society also spent $11,315 of city money on electrical upgrades on the former Penmar theatre building on Martin Street with the intention of turning it into a community arts centre. That dream died when the building was purchased by private interests last spring after the society was unable to find sufficient funding to move their plans forward.

After the building was sold, the city removed and took possession of the seats and projectors to hold as security.

Before the city can dispose of the assets, a written agreement with the theatre society will be necessary to allow joint disposal of the assets, or through a quit claim in which the society voluntarily releases its interest in the equipment.

Bauer noted former society directors were prepared to sign a quit claim, and agreed with the city it was in the best interests of all to dispose of the chairs and projectors at the best price possible, and apply the proceeds to the society’s loan.

Locally, the Many Hats Theatre group has expressed interest in purchasing some of the seats, while more recently another private interest has expressed interest in purchasing the entire lot.

Proceeds from the sale of the assets would go back into the city’s reserve funds, but staff only expect to see the city gain a partial return on the equipment. The investment in electrical upgrades to the Penmar building is already considered unrecoverable.

Staff noted in their report to council the theatre seats and projectors are specialty items with limited market value that would make returns through such venues as an auction sale minimal.

Staff also recommended council waive the city’s purchasing policy in order to open up the market for possible buyers of the assets at fair market value.

Coun. Picton said he liked staff’s presentation, noting the recommendation involved reclaiming city assets and minimizing legal expenses involved.

He moved the staff recommendation, which was endorsed unanimously by council.

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