Nelson Commons is seen under construction last week.

LETTER: Commons Sense or not?

The Q&A format of Russell Precious’ column “Commons Sense” was a cute construct but it was not, in fact, a real interview.

Re: “Commons’ Sense”

The Q&A format of Russell Precious’ column “Commons Sense” was a cute construct but it was not, in fact, a real interview. Mr. Precious wrote both the questions and the answers.

Further, he asked himself only the questions he wanted to answer and phrased his answers to deflect the principal and most important issue in my letter: what happens if the remaining 19 units not yet sold are not sold by the completion date?

Which raises yet more questions: the Nelson Commons website on no less than three separate pages shows 19 units still for sale as has been the case for quite some time. This means 35 units sold or 64.8 per cent which rounds out correctly, if that’s the intent, to 60 per cent (math skills). Mr. Precious states the project’s residential units are 70 per cent sold which means 38 sold. So Mr. Precious, how many units are actually sold?

Mr. Precious also states “There was no rescue by Nelson and District Credit Union ….” Well, I never said that there was any “rescue.” I did say that the original lenders were about to pull out at one point. I gleaned this info from Mr. Precious himself who stated in a Nelson Star article published July 10, 2014 that he was “hoping for the restructuring any day now from Vancity and the Nelson and District Credit Union.” It follows that the restructuring was demanded by the lenders. One doesn’t restructure financing if it isn’t demanded by someone and who else would so demand but those holding the purse strings?

Further, with regard to overall financial viability as part of a interview of Mr. Precious by Bill Metcalfe in The Tyee on July 21, 2013 this was said: “Fifty-four housing units go on pre-sale in September, before any construction begins. If about 80 per cent of them don’t sell by the end of the year, the co-op will drop the residential part of the plan and regroup.”

I therefore stand by my letter and feel that Mr. Precious’ column attempts to deflect and ignore the real issue: Initiating construction with only 60 per cent pre-sales was and remains very risky, a big gamble with other people’s money. Mr. Precious seems to have believed this at some point but now dismisses anyone who raises the point.

Once again, I sincerely hope the Nelson Commons succeeds. Especially now that it’s a very big hole in the ground.

Kevin LePape, Rural Nelson

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