This is Joché Katan's presentation to the LVEC public meeting held April 25th 2005 at City Hall.
Good evening, my name is Joché Katan. Thank you for the opportunity to address the LVEC steering committee and present councillors.
Although I can fully understand that it would be wonderful to build the LVEC on such prime land close to Downtown Kingston, ladies and gentlemen I strongly oppose to use this precious waterfront location for the proposed building.
The Anglin Bay site is too small to squeeze in a building with even reduced seating capacity. Does Kingston need such a huge building on prime waterfront?
Access to the site and parking is similarly quite inadequate; the proposed new building is incompatible with the current land use; and finally other experience says that without doubt the facility will become a serious burden on the Kingston tax base.
It is also clear to all that the Mayor is intent on pushing this development on the city, regardless of the steadily accumulating negative results of a rushed evaluation process.
The proposed building is huge, with a mass five times that of the Leeuwarden building which will be is situated less than a hundred feet away, and will not blend in with anything in the surrounding area. This would be a large industrial building, located in a residential area, of which the majority of the residents are seniors, not interested in the facility and its proposed functions and totally opposed to the proposal to build it.
No proper road access from four sides can ever be achieved. The proposed Wellington extension is a road that is needed only if the LVEC is built at the Anglin Bay site. The cost to the city of approximately 11 million dollars can be avoided and our precious waterfront could be saved by turning the grounds into a beautiful park. This park can be used by all : young and old.
Adequate parking cannot be provided, again because the space is too small. Simply saying we do not need the parking space on site, is sheer nonsense
There is NO evidence that the LVEC will pay for itself.
Even Mr. Gedge, stated that the building is not viable without the support of "city" dollars. Maybe it will break even in the beginning, but then thereafter: it will be a hard struggle to keep this white elephant alive. Reference to the London experience is also irrelevant, because this is a time when that city has an all time record breaking hockey team as a tenant.
Having said this; as proven many other cities undertaking such a program got a substantial tax increase after a couple of years. Toronto is one of the best examples. After the Sky Dome was built for 175 million, the tax payers got a 13% increase in their property tax and are still paying for that building, which was recently sold for 25 million dollars.
My opinion is that the city of Kingston can NOT afford an LVEC built on the waterfront which will end up being between 60 and 70 million dollars once the area is completed. As we all know, the city's reserve fund holds 12 million and we are already in debt 50 million. We cannot afford to take anymore money out of our reserve fund as was proposed in the Business Plan. Our first priority is to repair our roads and sewers.
And the first casualty is already there: the City cannot afford to look for office space for City Hall staff !
And through all of this controversy the city has a much superior option at the Memorial centre where the land is more then adequate for all needs, road access and parking are all available, and costs are fractional. And above all the people in the area, and Kingston as a whole, want the facility built there.
For all of these reasons, I strongly recommend that an LVEC be built, incorporated with two new smaller ice rinks at the Memorial Centre site. That should fit our town much better. An underground parking within the Memorial Centre in addition with all surface parking already available will be a much better and cheaper solution than chasing away a well run Marina as well as an excellent run boat building business, Metal Craft, destroying more of our irreplaceable waterfront, and throwing into turmoil a settled community already in place.
And for what fantasy………
Although the steering committee has its mandate, it is now time to turn around and find a better location for the LVEC.
Councillors, please vote against this Nightmare, which will be empty for the majority of each day, and think of the future for our tax payers and the beauty of our harbour front.