CS&B COMMITTEE AGENDA
                                                                         JUNE 26, 1997

                                                        ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT

                                                                                  Date: May 14,1997
                                                                                  C.C. File No. 4155-1 

     TO:              Standing Committee on City Services and Budgets

     FROM:    General Manager of Parks & Recreation

     SUBJECT:         Brockton Totem Poles Concession / Visitor Centre


              THAT funding  for the proposed  Visitor Centre at  the Brockton Totem  Poles Site in  Stanley Park as  proposed in                                                                                                                               
              Appendix  A, be  approved with  financing to  be  provided by  a loan  from the  Capital  Financing Fund  on terms                                                                                                                               
              satisfactory to the Director of Finance to be repaid from the park Board Global Budget.                                                                                                    


              The  Director of  Finance notes  that this  project is  being brought  forward by  the Park  Board for
              funding approval.  In  addition, the Board is requesting  that Council provide project financing.   It
              is being funded outside the Park  Board Capital Plan because the  project, as presented by the  Board,
              demonstrates a reasonable business  plan with a payback period within the acceptable range.  The Board
              proposes to repay the loan  from the incremental net revenues that the project  will generate, without
              further City participation.

              Should Council agree to  finance the new Visitor Centre,  the Director of Finance supports  the source
              proposed in  the  recommendation,  being a  loan  from the  Capital  Financing  Fund.   Under  current
              financing terms, the loan will be repaid within eight years at the City s current financing rate.


      There is no Council  policy directly applicable to this matter. From time to time  Council has approved loans
      from the Capital  Financing Fund to finance  capital projects, with the Fund  being repaid for both principal
      and interest.



      The purpose of this  report is to request that City Council provide  funding on a loan basis for the proposed
      Visitor Centre at the Brockton Totem Pole site in Stanley Park.


      On May 5, 1997 the  Park Board approved a staff report  (Appendix A) recommending that the  concept for a new
      Visitor  Centre be built  at the  Brockton Totem Pole site  in Stanley  Park. The following  resolutions were
      passed by the Board:

               .       THAT the Board  approve the concept of  a Concession / Visitor Centre at the  Brockton Totem
                       Pole site in Stanley Park.

               .       THAT an architect be retained to prepare a concept design for the Board s approval.

               .       THAT  the Board request  City Council to provide  funding on a  loan basis  for the proposed
                       Visitor Centre.

               .       THAT staff hold discussions with the  lessee of the Prospect Point Cafă and report back on a
                       marketing strategy for the new concession.

               .       THAT the interpretative and commercial  components will acknowledge the history of the local
                       First Nations and their involvement;  and their counsel will be sought on the development of
                       these elements.

               .       THAT staff be  directed to look into the possibility of holding a competition for architects
                       to come up with various concepts and designs for the Visitor Centre.

      Discussion on  the proposed Visitor  Centre took place  at the Board s Planning and  Environment Committee on
      April 14th and 28th.  Delegations were heard at  the first meeting and resolutions  D and E address  concerns
      that  were raised  by some  of the speakers. Resolution  F resulted  from a  staff suggestion  that the Board
      initiate a design competition from a pre-selected group of architects. 



      There  are many demands on the Board s capital  plan allocation and projects such  as the Totem Poles Visitor
      Centre that  have a sound  business plan with  a viable payback  period should be  considered for alternative
      funding whenever possible.  In this way the City will gain an important asset which will produce an increased
      level of service to the public and a constant revenue stream in future years.

      As stated in  Appendix A, the payback period  for the $500,000 loan  is between 7 - 8 years. Net  revenues at
      the Brockton  Cricket Pavilion  and Totem  Pole mobile units totaled  $45,000 in  1996 and  are estimated  to
      increase to $120,000 in the first year of the Centre s operation.

      Council have previously approved  loans for other Park Board capital  projects that have shown to have viable
      payback periods. The  Burrard Marina received a loan  of over $1,000,000 in 1981  for new concrete floats and
      services that was  repaid in 1996.  The three golf courses  are nearing the end  of a $25,000,000  renovation
      program with a payback schedule that retires the debt in 2010.

      The  Board intends to hold a  public meeting to discuss the design  options for the Visitor Centre before any
      final decision is made.


      The Brockton Visitor Centre is a project that has a good business plan, will increase the Board s  service to
      the public and generate  additional revenues to the City in the years to come.

                                                  *    *    *    *    *

                                                                                                   APPENDIX A

                                                      April 3, 1997



         1.   That the  Board approve the concept  of a Concession /
              Visitor  Centre at  the  Brockton Totem  Pole  site in
              Stanley Park.

         2.   That  an architect  be retained  to prepare  a concept
              design for the Board s approval.

         3.   That the Board request City Council to provide funding
              on a loan basis for the proposed Visitor Centre.


    On  February  5,  1990  the  Board  agreed  to  hold  a   public
    information meeting  to discuss  the idea  of a  visitor service
    centre  at the Brockton Totem  Poles site. As is the case today,
    the Brockton Totem  Pole area was identified  as one of the most
    popular  attractions  in Vancouver,  and  the  proposed  visitor
    centre  would incorporate  an Interpretative  component,  public
    washrooms and a concession.

    On March  8, 1990 a  public information meeting was  held at the
    Robson Square Media Centre. Seventeen delegations were heard and
    one  written  submission  was  received.  The  majority  of  the
    speakers were opposed to the proposed facility. Reasons included
    spoiling the tranquillity of the site, the questionable need for
    an  interpretation  centre,  keeping  the  park  as  natural  as
    possible, increased commercialism and  the potential to  upgrade
    concessions and washrooms in other areas of the park. Reasons in
    favour of  the project  included improved  services for tourists
    and families and the need for washrooms at this site.

    On April  23, 1990  the Board  resolved to  table a  decision on
    whether to build a visitor service centre at the Brockton  Totem
    Poles area indefinitely.

    On  October 29, 1991  staff made a presentation  on the proposed
    visitor service centre  to the Stanley Park Task Force  that was
    generally well received. When their final report was released in
    May, 1992,  however, the  issue  of the  visitor centre  at  the
    Brockton Totem Pole site was not addressed.


    Since 1990 the Totem Poles  area has become an even more popular
    attraction for park  visitors, especially those arriving by tour
    buses.  It is  estimated  that  anywhere from  1.5 -  2  million
    visitors come to this site every year. Due to many requests from
    both tourists and local residents it is believed that the  Board
    should re-examine the need for a visitor centre and the benefits
    that it would bring  to the level  of service that we  presently
    provide in Stanley Park.

    There would be no increase to the number of buildings in Stanley
    Park as  the proposed centre would  replace the existing carving
    shed which was renovated in 1986 for  Expo 86. At that time  the
    original area  of 1096  sq.ft.  was extended  to 1643  sq.ft.  A
    temporary occupancy permit  was issued for 1986  only and  after
    1986 it was  only used  for carving totem poles  to replace  the
    existing ones.

    The new Visitor Centre

    The  three components  of the  visitor  centre, which  each have
    approximate space allocations  of 700  sq. ft  are discussed  as


    As part of  the Park Board Centennial in 1988 efforts  were made
    to  raise funds for an interpretative  display to complement the
    totem poles. Unfortunately, funding did not materialize.

    At the proposed centre there  would be information regarding the
    totem  poles,  the   carvers  and  their  native  cultures.  The
    interpretative themes and design concepts would also reflect the
    Coast Salish Nations  use of Stanley Park. Despite its extensive
    use,  the Coast  Salish presence  in the  Park is  not currently
    acknowledged.  Instead, the  present focus  of the  site  is the
    Totem  Poles, which are representative of  the North and Central
    Coast Nations.   It is  envisaged that the history  of the  area
    would be  portrayed and the part played by the early settlers to
    the region. Interactive displays would be considered.


    As a major tourist  destination and visitor attraction, there is
    a demand  for public  washrooms  in the  vicinity of  the  totem
    poles.  While public washrooms do exist  at the Brockton Cricket
    Pavilion,  which is  approximately 400  metres from  the parking
    lot, this is felt to be too  far away to be convenient. Tour bus
    patrons,  seniors,  people with  disabilities  and  parents with
    young  children  would  all  benefit  from  improved  access  to
    washroom facilities at this site.


    At present  concession  services to  this area  consist  of  two
    mobile units that  sell souvenir items that relate to  the Totem
    Poles  area, ice cream  and cold drinks. These  mobile units are
    stocked  and   serviced  from  the   Brockton  Cricket  Pavilion
    Concession. A breakdown of gross sales in 1996 is as follows:

         Books                         $32,174
         Film, Cameras, Batteries       26,467
         Small Totem Poles              20,698
         Post Cards                     10,669
         Totem Pole Magnets              5,551
         Pins                            3,968
         Misc                            5,859

         SUBTOTAL                     $105,386

         Ice Cream                     $43,148
         Cold Drinks (est)              10,000

         SUBTOTAL                     $ 53,148

         TOTAL:                       $158,534

    The net revenue from these mobile units was $39,633

    The proposed concession will sell a  limited selection of snacks
    and  drinks. There would  be limited cooking and  the menu would
    include some items that relate to a West Coast native theme such
    as salmon jerky.

    The souvenir  items would generally  relate to  the Totem  Poles
    area  as before,  however, the  Board might  wish to  sell other
    items in the future.

    Impact on the Prospect Point Cafă

    Staff have met with the operator of the Prospect  Point Cafă, Mr
    George  Frankel to  advise him  of  the recommendations  in this
    report. Prospect  Point is usually the next stop on the tour bus
    circuit and  Mr Frankel  has expressed  concern previously about
    losing potential business if a larger concession is built at the
    Totem Poles.

    Staff recognise that despite the millions  of visitors that come
    to the  park each  year, there  could be  some drop  in Prospect
    Point  sales.  The   lessee  has  spent  considerable  funds  in
    renovating the facility and the Board benefits from a percentage
    of total sales (8%) as rent.

    There  is a need,  however, to improve customer  services at the
    totem  poles  and  staff  are  willing to  discuss  a  marketing
    strategy with  Mr Frankel  that will  enable both  operations to

    Tour bus  drivers often  advise  their patrons  of the  type  of
    merchandise that  is available  at the different stops   at  the
    start of  each trip,  and the proposed small  concession at  the
    Totem Poles will not compare with the  established food services
    and large gift shop at Prospect Point.

    Funding to build the Concession/Visitor Centre

    It is estimated that the total project cost to build the centre,
    with a size of approximately 2100 sq. ft. is $500,000.

    It is  estimated that  the  new  concession would  generate  net
    revenues of  $120,000, which are  almost three  times the  sales
    generated  by the  Cricket  Pavilion concession  and  totem pole
    mobile units ($45,000) in 1996. The payback period for a loan is
    between 7 and 8 years based on new revenues  of $75,000 inflated
    annually at 3%.(Appendix 1)

    Discussions with  staff in the City s  finance division indicate
    the proposed  payback period for the  Totem Poles Visitor Centre
    would be an acceptable time frame.

    Brockton Clubhouse Concession

    As mentioned  above, sales  out of the small  concession on  the
    lower floor of the  Brockton Cricket Pavilion are  just $20,000.
    Apart  from being open for cricket and rugby  games there is not
    enough demand to open the concession on a daily basis.

    The  concession has been  operated by the Board  since 1984 when
    the  building was  renovated.  If  the  new  visitor  centre  is
    approved  staff will  explore  whether  the  Brockton  Clubhouse
    Society might utilize the space but that no sales to  the public
    be permitted.

    The  Clubhouse washrooms have exterior doors  that are opened in
    the summer months to allow public access. Hours of operation are
    generally from 10.00AM - 8.00PM. The Board contributes $2,700 to
    the  maintenance  of   these  washrooms.  With  the  new  public
    washrooms  at the totem poles  the clubhouse  washrooms could be
    closed  to   the  public  and  the   Board s  maintenance  costs
    transferred to the new operation.


    There  is a  need to improve  the level of service  at the Totem                                  -3-

    Poles.  A  new  visitor  centre  would  provide  interpretation,
    washroom facilities and an  improved selection of food and  gift
    items for the general public.

    There would be no addition to the number of buildings in Stanley
    Park  as the  existing Carving  Shed would  be removed  from the
    Totem Poles site.

    Prepared by:
    Administration and Revenue Services Division
    Board of Parks and Recreation
    Vancouver, B.C.