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This was sent as a letter to the editor of the Whig:
According to the consultant's report, there are 2,500+ parking spaces in downtown Kingston within a ten-minute walk of the proposed LVEC waterfront site.
Does that mean that anyone driving to the downtown area on a big LVEC event night for any other purpose -- including shopping and dining in the heart oif Kingston -- will find it difficult, or impossible to park conveniently ? If that's the case, then people will come downtown by car less and less frequently and, ultimately, may stay away entirely.
I understand the downtown business community fully supports the LVEC waterfront plan. Hope they examine the potential downside of the parking study.
Walter Tedman Kingston, ON
I question the propriety of having Ed Smith as chair of the LVEC steering committee. He is the owner of a downtown restaurant (Windmill's), a supporter of the downtown business association, and he stands to gain financially if the LVEC is located in the downtown area as opposed to other proposed sites.
You may publish this on your comments page.
Mayor Rosen and Professor Wong, and others, are arguing that the operating costs of the proposed LVEC would be partly but significantly offset by the tax flow provided by the new housing or commercial developments on the site of the Memorial grounds, were that site to be sold by the city.
Unless I am missing something, this claim makes neither sense nor logic, since any such new houses or commercial establishments would likely have been built somewhere else in Kingston anyway.
If this false reasoning is left to get by with no challenge there is a risk that some innocent people may buy into it, victims of the familiar " the hand is quicker than the eye" illusion.
While there has been no economic impact study as yet, I believe the negative impact on the local economy must be considered. The Kingston area private sector is small, relative to other centers of similar size, and it is not healthy, as witnessed by the number of businesses that have either closed their doors or simply moved elsewhere. The LVEC will harm the private sector, as its events will compete for local household disposable income. Entertainers from out of the area will take their share of this local disposable income (their profits from their performances) back to their home markets. The LVEC management organization, whether affiliated with the Ottawa Senators or the Toronto Maple Leafs, will be compensated by Kingston taxes, and transfer the majority of these funds to their home markets.
The Kingston private sector cannot afford a net outflow of household "entertainment" dollars. More money leaving Kingston via payments to outside interests through the LVEC cannot help but damage local stores and restaurants, as families will have fewer entertainment dollars to spend elsewhere. As these local firms are weakened, so are other local firms that supply them with goods and services.
Has anyone looked at the possibility of using the existing Penrose as the LVEC center???
It qualifies--it is a venue; it is large; it is on waterfront; it has lots of parking area; it has easier access than the downtown core; it is not an environmental nightmare and wouldn't it make a wonderful entertainment center with possibilities for weddings such as the Toronto Casa Loma.
There has been a lot of negative history associated with Penrose and it would be quite fitting for this "grand" building to be turned into a venue for concerts, parties, theater etc. The possibilities are endless!!
Let's look outside "the box".
Kind regards, Tish LaVallee
In my mind, the fake tickets are a desperate attempt to rekindle positive interest in the LVEC plan. Looking back to a year ago, the 100-day task force was meeting and the community was pretty solidly behind the idea of a replacement for the Memorial Centre. There was enthusiasm and maybe even excitement about the community doing something positive.
If you look at where things are at today, it is a completely different picture. I am not even sure that the business community wholeheartedly supports the "plan"; they just won't burn any bridges and say anything negative publicly. It is unbelievable that the mayor and company have managed to squander such enthusiasm. They try to blame the 'nay-sayers' in the community but the responsibility is really theirs. They are proposing something different from what they originally promised. They are not being open and transparent about options. They do not demonstrate that they are listening to anyone with a different view. And, they are spending big dollars for their dream while raising taxes. No wonder people are no longer feeling so rah!rah! about this and no wonder they have to come up with a gimmick like fake tickets to try to make people believe in their dream again.
I was wondering about publishing other tickets -- attend the ribbon cutting for the refurbished Ravensview sewage treatment plant; skate all week for free at the new community ice pad; watch the biggest minor hockey league tournament Kingston has ever hosted; win the chance to be the first car to travel on the newly paved Brock Street; join 100 other cyclists to be the first to travel the 18 km K & P trail from downtown to South Frontenac township ...
Happy holidays everyone.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
I believe the sponsors of the proposed Large Venue Entertainment Center have yet to present a full accounting for, and disclosure of the interests in this facility. Kingston's taxpayers have every right to inquire as to what the proposed facility will cost, and who's interests will be served by its construction. Who is going to make money out of this venture?
If the Ontario taxpayers' experience with SkyDome is any guide, we should be doubly concerned to understand where the money will come from, and where our tax monies will go. As is revealed in today's papers, SkyDome - another "large venue entertainment center," which originally cost $600 million in 1990 dollars, has been sold - 15 years later, to one of Canada's wealthiest men for $25 million. Along the way, numerous interested parties have made millions.
Time for another Whig Standard "investigative report?"
Re: Luxury Venture Endangers City
A limited vision affecting council, (L-VAC) has the appearance of a virulent contagion that, sadly for the well being of our community, threatens to tear us apart.
The citizens of Kingston will not forget the members of this Council they now resent for refusing to help Kingston’s citizens in troubled times. Not wanting to open up the floodgates, council often turns away the needy, including non profit groups who provide services crucial for the vitality of our community. Those same Council members, continuously looking for ways to slash costs, are also willing to spend large sums taken from the pockets of every citizen to build an entertainment place, a luxury they deem necessary for the public good..
Common sense dictates caution, however, they fail in their duty to act with diligence when, in the absence of a comprehensible understanding as to needs, benefits and who pays how much for how long, they agree to an undertaking of major capital expense on the scale of the L.V.E.C. proposal, passed in short order and moved forward as quickly.
With our infrastructure in serious decline, water and sewer rates expected to explode, and the community continuously impoverished by reduced services and increased taxes, it is hard to understand the reason and extent of council commitment for a new facility of debatable merit, given the claim that they are fiscally prudent and protectors of the public good.
L.V.E.C. must not fracture the community nor become a burden for those who do not want it built by destroying a memorial, raising taxes or selling off public assets unless first having the majority support of the people of Kingston, oddly something Council never thought necessary to determine in any meaningful way.
He confirmed this at Tuesday evening's Council Meeting. He says that "validating the site is an ongoing process aimed at eliminating the site risks one step at a time", and he expects this process to take until "well into the second quarter of 2005". It is not clear whether or at what point Council will be asked to approve further interim steps before that time. This question needs to be answered.
(2) Re: Tuesday October 26 council meeting fireworks. Council was being asked to approve the priority ranking of the top three initiatives for 2005--2007 as The Ravensview Upgrade, LVEC, and the Arena and Community Centre upgrades. They were being asked to approve this threefold group as a whole, not one at a time. Downes and Garrison argued that this amounted to manipulating Council into approving the LVEC project before the information is there for making an informed decision.
I think they are right. While it is true that everyone, including the mayor, repeats the mantra that "of course, if the site turns out to be not feasible, we'll focus on another", there's a lot of wiggle room in that notion of "feasibility". There are going to be drawbacks to the site: that's obvious enough. But just how bad do they have to be before it is decided to drop the idea? And who gets to decide this? And when? There's a big difference between deciding that a site is "feasible" and deciding that it's optimal. And the problem is that at no point in this whole process has there been a proper comparative investigation to determine whether the Inner Harbour site is, not just feasible, but the best site, and the best use of the land at that location.
When councillors voted this past June 8 to "move ahead" on the basis of the Task Force recommendations, many of them stated that they were not necessarily approving of the project, but simply voting to obtain more information as a basis for making a responsible decision. Here are some excerpts from newspaper coverage of the June 8 Committee of the Whole meeting:
Kingston This Week, June 11: "All councillors who spoke said they had serious questions about the LVEC proposal, but that in order to address them, the proposal needed to progress to the next step. "We have been asked question after question which we couldn't answer. The only way we can answer tem is to go to the next stage,' said Coun. George Beavis."
Whig Standard, June 9: "During the two-hour debate, no councillor wholeheartedly supported the LVEC in its proposed form at the proposed location. All expressed discomfort with some part of the project...Rosen...said 'Our decision tonight isnot that the LVEC will be built at any cost...regardless of any obstacles', reminding council that they were only being asked to further study the proposal."
It is important that we keep reminding councillors of this.
(Wed, 27 Oct 2004)
Apparently, the steering committee members have been proceeding unaware of the fact that there would be zoning issues arising from the planned LVEC on Anglin Bay. During yesterday's Steering Committee at which Don Gedge outlined a "work plan" for the LVEC process, one of our members asked whether there was any intention of addressing zoning questions, and got a surprised "no" from Mr. Gedge. Then someone on the committee (I think it was Mr. Menieur) said, "it's zoned commercial; according to our city staff there's no zoning issue".
Now the site intended to accomodate the LVEC is actually zoned "harbour". According to the bylaws for harbour zoning, although an LVEC could be a permitted use if a "public use", it would have to comply with a 35' height limit and also be set back 33' from the water.
In the LVEC reference materials, there is a memo from the Planning Department to the Task Force, pointing out that the site is zoned "harbour". It doesn't mention the 35' height limit, but does point out that if the building is to comply with the "public use" designation, it should at least be publically owned. (This could cause problems for PPP approaches.) Evidently, even this information didn't get very far!
After the meeting, one of our members, a retired Queens' law professor, had a long talk with Mr. Gedge, explaining to him that, contrary to what he may have been told, there are, indeed, zoning issues. Obviously, we need to make sure that Council is aware of the need for addressing these issues and going through a proper planning process, at the appropriate point in the development of the project.
See also the KCAL Planning and Zoning page.
(Wed, 20 Oct 2004)
I have two concerns about this. First, any valid user group should be allowed to have a representative. If that means representation from 16 groups or 20 groups, so be it. No public user groups should be denied access to the project. Second, it clearly states on page 7 of the Task Force Report , Section 1.3, "The LVEC is a large venue entertainment centre with multipurpose uses (Section 3.1), not a venue for the everyday recreational needs of residents". Mr Gedge needs to clarify this conflicting information.
(Wed, 20 Oct 2004)
Last updated: May 6, 2005