Boathouse bidders revealed

By Paige Desmond


KITCHENER — City staff publicly released the names of groups and individuals bidding to operate the Victoria Park Boathouse after a council vote Monday.

Coun.  brought a motion requesting release of the information, after staff refused to do so in recent weeks.

Much of the information was out in the community through unofficial means.

“All sorts of things can be out there, but until it’s officially stated by the city that’s not the official list,” Vrbanovic said.

The city is in the midst of a two-part process to find a new operator for the popular local music venue after terminating an agreement in mid-September with the former operator due to utility arrears.

Staff said that when council approved a report in September outlining the process to find a new operator, there was no direction to make candidates public.

Six groups and individuals have made bids for the Boathouse.

Coun. Zyg Janecki said the motion seemed redundant, given the information was already circulating. He said council doesn’t usually reveal bidders partway through the process.

“This is an anomaly,” he said.

Coun. Frank Etherington supported the motion. He said he wants to see an operation that appeals to a wider audience.

“I’m concerned that as long as council is not involved, we will have some restricted views,” he said.

A committee comprised mostly of city staff reviewed the six proposals that came in and have shortlisted three.

A recommendation is expected in early December.

The list of bidders is now posted to the city’s website.

The short list includes Glenn Smith and Danny Michel, who want to call the live-music venue the Jubilee Music Hall.

According to the city, Denny Cybalski withdrew from the short list Oct. 25.

Bill MacTavish, owner of the bar-restaurant Imbibe at 10 King St. W. in downtown Kitchener, is also shortlisted.

Cory and Curt Crossman and Bill MacTavish announced Monday they will join forces in a bid.

“We’re really like-minded,” Cory Crossman said.

He said the plan was born when both parties toured the Boathouse. “We had really similar visions in mind of what we wanted to do,” Crossman said.

That vision combines live local, national and international music with a unique Canadian food component and dining experience, Crossman said.

He said the team has been told by city staff that the dual bid will be permitted.

Updates on the Boathouse project — including the original six bidders — can be viewed online

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