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Word on CPR Steamship Terminal building comes Wednesday

Nov 25 2011
CPR Steamship Terminal: Four bids under review. 

CPR Steamship Terminal: Four bids under review.

Photograph by: Adrian Lam, timescolonist.com

The likely next tenant for the historic CPR Steamship Terminal building will be revealed Wednesday, the Provincial Capital Commission has announced.

Ten directors of the commission, the building's landlord, are expected to vote; six are from elsewhere in B.C., four are from Greater Victoria.

The vote comes just before the expiry of the terms of all directors at various dates in December.

Who should be the tenant of the high-profile building has been the topic of much debate in the community. Vacant since the fall of 2010, the 1924 building has just gone through a $5-million seismic upgrading and renovation.

The directors from out of town are: Jennifer Clarke of Vancouver, who runs a

project management firm; landscape architect

Jane Durante of Vancouver, David Everett of Vancouver, who runs a real estate management company, architect Christopher Fairbank of Nelson; Russell Irvine from the Comox Valley Airport Commission; and William Oppen of Dawson Creek, a former deputy minister of renewable resources for the Yukon government.

The four from Greater Victoria are: Saanich

councillors Dean Murdock and Wayne Hunter, Esquimalt councillor

Lynda Hundleby and Victoria councillor Lynn Hunter.

Wayne Hunter and Lynn Hunter will not be part of the new municipal councils elected on Nov. 19.

The board won't be at full strength for the decision.

Chairman Bill Wellburn and Victoria councillor Chris Coleman have decided not to participate. Wellburn is also a board member on the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, one of the applicants, and a decade ago Coleman was interim executive director of the Maritime Museum of B.C., also bidding.

They wanted "to avoid any perception of conflict," the commission said.

The board met in camera Thursday to receive a recommendation from a five-member advisory panel. They reviewed summaries from the panel as well as from a seven-member bid screening team.

The screening team met for 40 hours to vet submissions, the commission said in a statement.

The advisory panel then spent more than 50 hours during a two-week period weighing proposed uses, lease terms and business risks associated with the submissions.

"The board is very satisfied with the integrity of the process and the thoroughness of the review of the submissions," said Russell Irvine, chairman of the commission's governance committee and director responsible for overseeing the tenancy process. Bidders have pitched a range of uses:

• Bob Wright's Oak Bay Marine Group is proposing a high-tech attraction featuring First Nations and B.C. history.

• The Maritime Museum of B.C. wants to relocate to the waterfront building.

• The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority wants to make the building part of a ferry terminal complex.

A fourth bidder has come forward but its proposal has not been made public.

Wright and the museum were turned down this year by the commission, which cited a lack of information.

Also rejected was

Irish Times pub owner

Matt MacNeill, who suggested a market. He chose not to re-apply.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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