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Kingston Concerned About the LVEC
Currently known as the "KROCK Centre"
Formerly the "Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre" or KRSEC
Formerly the "Large Venue Entertainment Centre" or LVEC
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Myths About The LVEC

List of Myths:

1. The LVEC is a fulfillment of the mayor's promise to replace the Memorial Centre.
2. The Mayor's election was a mandate to build a downtown LVEC.
3. The LVEC location is supported by popular demand.
4. The LVEC won't cost taxpayers any money.
5. Opposition to the LVEC project is mainly NIMBY.
6. A downtown LVEC is necessary in order to revitalize Kingston's downtown.
7. The BIA will be contributing $3M to the proposed LVEC

Myth 1. The LVEC is a fulfillment of the mayor's promise to replace the Memorial Centre

The proposed LVEC will not replace the Memorial Centre.

It is to be a privately operated facility providing for-profit spectator sports and entertainment, trade shows and exhibitions. It will not provide for non-professional and junior level hockey and figure skating, recreational skating, and the many and varied other community uses of the old Memorial Centre arena, which hosted these events 75% of the time. (Whig Standard, June 19, 2004) Instead, the Task Force Report allows for only five days of "community use" of the new LVEC. And to finance this, the Task Force initially recommended selling off the entire 23.6 acre Memorial Centre Park and recreational lands, to be replaced by residential use.

Update: October 3, 2004: According to newly appointed LVEC project manager, Don Gedge, the new LVEC "would welcome the community, especially minor sports"; "We have 365 days of the year and 80 to 100 days of events, so the rest of the time we will have hockey groups in there...there will be minor hockey and figure skating using the facility when its not being used for concerts or major junior A hockey.'' (Whig Standard, Oct 1, 2004.)

We asked Sandy Levin, a former London councillor, whether the London Labatt Centre hosts much in the way of such community events. Here's what he had to say:

"...as far as I am aware, there are almost no community events in the John Labatt Centre...there is no money in opening it up for community programming unless it is subsidized by the city. It costs money to run the building, have staff, turn on the lights, etc...

Looking at the City of London Skating Guide 2004-2005 seems to support this. The JLC is not listed as a skating venue.

Kingston has a big decision to make. If the city runs it, you might have community use, but the city won't have the market power or expertise to bring in the big acts (Global Spectrum essentially blocks books acts because they own or run so many facilities across North America)...But if you have a big name operator like Global Spectrum, you will not have community usage because they are in it to make money."

It's clear that, like London, the city of Kingston won't be operating or programming the Anglin Bay LVEC.

Myth 2. The mayor's election was a mandate to build a downtown LVEC:

During his election campaign, the mayor never mentioned the term "large venue entertainment centre".  Instead, he spoke of "building a new Memorial Centre". (Kingston Whig Standard, Sept. 27, 2003)

Mayor Rosen was not the only candidate who made this promise, so it is questionable whether his victory could be attributed that just the promise to build a new Memorial Centre. And even now, the Whig Standard reminds us: "the main sticking point now for LVEC proponents is that when Rosen pledged to build the facility - essentially a replacement for the Memorial Centre - he didn't give any indication that it might be built in a location other than at the Memorial Centre site. It could be argued that his mandate didn't include building it on Anglin Bay." (April 27, 2005)

Myth 3. The LVEC location is supported by popular demand.

There was no public consultation on either the Anglin Bay location, the North Block location, or on the proposal to sell off the Memorial Centre site, prior to publication of the Task Force Report.

The Task Force report claims that 57% of residents polled agreed to a downtown location. But these 57% included 20% who supported the Memorial Centre site, which was dropped from consideration because it was seen as a ready cash source, and was not downtown! According to the Task Force appendices, of the 96 other opinions dealing with location, only 11 advocated downtown, and 21 indicated strong opposition to a downtown site. These figures represent extremely informal opinion gathering, as there was no attempt to poll on a representative basis. Since the publication of the Task Force report, there has been no scientifically-based poll to determine public reaction.

Myth 4. The LVEC won't cost taxpayers any money.

The Task Force estimated that the LVEC would cost approximately $28.5 million. We now know, from the recent "Business Plan" that the building alone will cost at least $37.5 million.

The Business Plan proposes to finance all this through: a BIA contribution of $3.million; government grants of $8 million, community fundraising of $2 million. It proposes a debt of $16 million, to be carried out of revenues from the operation of the facility. An additional $3.3million is to come out of the Municipal Capital Reserve Fund. As yet unknown land costs and shortfalls in grants and donations, and ongoing support for the Memorial Centre, will also be drawn from the Municipal Capital Reserve Fund.  the total draw could be in excess of $12million.. Given that both initial sources of funding and operating revenue from the facility are wildly overestimated, the facility could wind up costing taxpayers a great deal-both for servicing the debt, and for replenishing the Municipal Reserve Fund.. (See LVEC Financial Issues and "LVECS in other cities" ).

Myth 5. Opposition to the LVEC project is mainly NIMBY

Opposition to the project comes from people across the city, not just the residents of the area. A large number were dismayed by the proposal to sell off the Memorial Centre site and are still aware that this is still a possibility if financing turns tight; others, particularly from the west end, are unhappy about the prospect of having to drive all the way through downtown and walk a distance for parking , especially senior hockey fans. Residents of Pittsburg worry about emergency vehicle access over the Causeway during congested conditions due to big events. KCAL is supported by Citizens for Responsible Development in Kingston, (most of whom do not live in the area) who are concerned about congestion and parking. In addition, there have been many expressions of concern from those who are concerned about the financing issues, and who believe that other pressing city priorities - such as Ravensview and the Multiplex - ought to be attended to before city resources are expended on an entertainment centre.

Myth 6. A downtown LVEC is necessary in order to revitalize Kingston's downtown.

This is probably the main reason offered for locating the LVEC on Anglin Bay. But it is totally unsupported by the evidence. For one thing, Kingston's downtown is already "vital". More important, a host of economic studies of sports facilities and their effects on downtowns show that this sports and entertainment complexes have little positive economic effect, and possibly even negative effect, on their communities. That famous downtown arena, London's Labatt Centre, has done virtually nothing for London's downtown. (See London Free Press, March 11, 2005).

For further reference, see articles from Mary Louise Adams, "Stimulating the Downtown?" and Derek Baldwin's article,  "Can a New Arena Really Help a City's Downtown?" from the Whig Standard, April 16, 2005.

Myth 7. The BIA will be contributing $3M to the proposed LVEC.

False.  The financing alternatives are presented in Table 17 on page 57 of the Business Plan.  "Downtown Kingston!" is in for $500,000 through 2008, and for the servicing $2.5M worth of debt.  That's worth about $187,000/yr.  The debt itself is held by taxpayers.

From Page 57 of the Business Plan.

In fact, a BIA cannot hold debt.  BIA's report to Municipal Council on budget matters. See Sections 204 to 215 of the Municipal act, in particular Section 205, which we reproduce here:

Section 205 of the Municipal Act (2003), which deals with Business Improvement Areas.

Last updated December 17 2005