Former mayoral candidate Gerda Peachey took a stand Monday night against the expansion of Tradex and the annual sex show that takes place there.
Appearing as a delegation before council, Peachey voiced her concerns over what she called a $20-million expansion project by Tourism Abbotsford, the organization that runs Tradex for the city.
She said money to finance the expansion would come from many sources including provincial and federal grants.
“All of those are still public monies … I’m not in favour of the public subsidizing.”
While Tradex has been the subject of expansion talk, no plans are imminent.
“There has been no formal request for expansion,” said city manager Frank Pizzuto after the meeting. “There haven’t even been any conceptual designs completed yet on the expansion. And there hasn’t been a request to the city, nor do we actually expect a request to the city. The expansion funds would be out of other levels of government.”
Peachey felt a recent economic study, performed for Tradex, is not completely accurate.
“To claim that Tradex generates $84.6 million in economic benefit to our city is just numbers,” she said, adding that the claim of creating more than $24 million in wages is “just silly.”
On Tuesday, Stefanson said the economic study is correct, although it just isn’t solely focused on Abbotsford.
“The reality is that Tradex is part of a national exhibition centre network and many of the clients, many of the exhibitors, many of the guests who come here, are from other communities.”
That broader economic impact is one of the reasons Stefanson wants to pursue provincial and federal funding if expansion occurs.
Stefanson did say there was a weakness in the study, in the fact that it didn’t report the local impact. That will be covered in any future study, he said.
Peachey told council she began looking into Tradex because of the Naughty But Nice Taboo Sex Show. The event takes place each year, with the fourth annual showcase scheduled for March 29-31.
Peachey does not agree with a public building hosting this type of event.
Her request to council was to take a moral stand, pointing to the recent decision to deny more slot machines as an example.
She said Tradex is no different than other public buildings.