March 4, 2005
Re: Ken Wong's Letter
For those of us who believe that there was a conspiracy to put the new Arena downtown existing before the last election, Mr. Wong's letter seemed to confirm that belief. He personally contributed towards the campaigns of both Mr. Rosen and Ms. Foster. As we all know Mr. Rosen subsequently appointed Ms. Foster chairperson of the Task Force. Mr. Wong and the vice-president of Mr. Rosen's largest business contributor, a real estate company, were also appointed. (Follow the Money)
Mr. Wong's strong assertions that such a venue could ONLY be located downtown must have been known by Mr. Rosen prior to his appointment. Ms. Foster's desire to have a third crossing built once the Wellington Street extension is completed has been well documented. This would help explain why no other site than downtown was ever given serious consideration, and the fact that on-site parking was not only deemed unnecessary, but according to Mr. Wong would be detrimental to the project. It is ironic though it has been deemed necessary for those who can afford the luxury boxes since they will get on-site parking right next to the building. All others attending events will have to pay for the privilege of traffic, pollution, and long cold walks if they can find a parking space: just so Mr. Wong and company can soften the blow of the initial construction cost.
Mr. Wong also places great emphasis on raising capital via real estate transactions by selling off properties such as the Memorial Centre Site, and the sizeable contribution of the DBIA. Since Mr. Wong, Ms. Foster et al included the Memorial Centre as "downtown" to help justify their "survey" results, does it not seem fair that the DBIA's offer would also apply to the Memorial Centre site?
The rest of Mr. Wong's letter contains too much smoke and mirrors to get into here, but suffice it to say that there will hopefully be more correspondence with the Whig clarifying the many misleading and unsubstantiated claims contained therein.
It is sad when it is so obvious that the Task Force only cared about satisfying a few political and business intents to try to attract a few tourists rather than trying to give the citizens a true replacement for the Memorial Centre. No consideration appears to have been given to the needs of the patrons who only wanted an updated venue with easy accessibility and parking. It is even sadder to see city councilors fall in line to support this scam, rather than the wishes of their electors.