Kingston Concerned About 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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July 11, 2008

Updated: reports from the courthouse

New: Today the Whig Standard runs this story about yesterday's proceedings.

Which beats the pants off the transcript of CKWS-TV's report from outside the courtroom.

Published: 07/11/08 09:23:09 AM
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July 10, 2008

Conflict allegation to be heard by judge

Today is the first time EVER that the Whig has reported on the apparent web of influence involving Harvey Rosen, Martin Skolnick, and John Wright, the owner of both KROCK and Kingston Marina, the original proposed site of the LVEC.

What's also embarassing is, despite being a major player in all this, neither Mr Skolnick's name nor the name of the real-estate firm where he works appear on the list of donors to the LVEC. That list hasn't been updated since May 7th, and at that time the fundraising campaign was over $700,000 short of its meagre nominal target.

Published: 07/10/08 01:00:36 PM
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April 17, 2008

863 Princess street
Rosen Building in Kingston, Ontario

Here are pictures of The Rosen Building at 863 Princess Street.

Below are its roadside sign and the directory inside.

Related: Rick Downes steps-up on Mayor Rosen's apparent conflict of interest about Anglin Bay.

Anglin Bay was supposed to be the LVEC's location between March 2004 and November 2005. That property is directly connected to the owner of the K-ROCK radio station.

Rosen Building Sign in Kingston, OntarioRosen Building Sign in Kingston, Ontario
Published: 04/17/08 02:13:43 PM
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April 10, 2008

Rick Downes steps-up on Mayor Rosen's apparent conflict of interest

Today The Whig finally reports on Rick Downes' 3-week old legal action: "Legal challenge calls for mayor's job" is the Whig's headline which is somewhat misleading.

Related: The Mayor, KROCK, John Wright, and Anglin Bay - a pecuniary interest? from February 11th 2008.

Published: 04/10/08 12:35:58 PM
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April 9, 2008

The decline of the Kingston Whig-Standard

Jamie Swift has written an insightful piece titled The decline of the Kingston Whig-Standard, with the subheading "New Editor also serves on the Kingston Chamber of Commerce".

The Whig's publisher is Ron Laurin. And reporters have even been told by the publisher how to compose their stories. A case in point: On November 28, 2007 Laurin sent a memo to then-editor Christina Spencer instructing his underlings how to describe Kingston's controversial downtown arena, a pet project of the city's business elite.

"We need to discontinue our practice of referring to our City's new Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre as an arena," wrote Laurin.

This is an ad man's perspective. It's all about branding. Understandable, if you see a local paper simply as a promotional vehicle for pet projects of the booster boys. But troublesome if you're a journalist who values the integrity of your craft.

Read the whole thing, originally published by The Straight Goods.

Published: 04/09/08 09:28:54 PM
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April 8, 2008

Michael Davies' edifice complex
Edifice complex

Spot the cluster. Now add the Downtown Action Plan that systematically pumps millions into the Downtown, year after year, with no effective end in sight.

Looking ahead, Pin 7 "Police station" conveniently vacates public land next to the LVEC. How do you expect that to go?

Also in the near-term: Marinas, specifically Confed. Who, we wonder, is potentially first-in-line for that? More focus downtown.

And downtown Kingston? nearly zero money down, and not stepping-up to its responsibilities because, with Harvey Rosen for Mayor, they don't have to.

Remember this whenever you hear Ed Smith or Harvey Rosen (also here) play the "parochial" card, and when you hear some people praise the Mayor.

Michael Davies, very evidently, has an edifice complex.

I will go on record that Rosen's performance as mayor is unparalleled for the last 50 years.

Now read this sharp retort from former Kingston mayor Isabel Turner.

Judge for yourself.

While we are on the subject, here's a backgrounder on Michael Davies relating to Harvey Rosen and the LVEC:

Related: We've lamented Kingston's edifice complex before.

Published: 04/08/08 04:22:22 AM
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April 7, 2008

"K-ROCK Centre woes continue" -- Promoter

Here's an interesting article by a concert promoter describing the exasperation involved in trying to book the K-Rock Centre (LVEC). It's apparently not just the LVEC, but other Kingston venues too.

He was trying to book Faber Drive, a 2008 Juno-award nominated band from Mission BC, one of Much Music's most-aired Canadian bands during the past couple of years. The band has recently performed in Cornwall and Brockville.

The fact that they are not answering requests should be very disturbing for the taxpayers of Kingston, considering every paid event at the K-Rock Centre is an important part of the arena's financing plan. Continuous rental of the facility for shows and sporting events means councilors won't have to dip into city reserves to pay the mortgage on the $46.5-million centre, or possibly even raise taxes. The City of Kingston better make some changes, and quickly, if this facility is going to be self-sustaining.

Updated: Check out the related comments online while you still can.

Published: 04/07/08 12:03:36 PM
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March 25, 2008

It's official: Engelbert's not coming

Today the Whig reports that Engelbert Humperdinck has cancelled.

Published: 03/25/08 06:00:08 PM
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March 15, 2008

Expect our docile Council to just smile and nod
Why, fundraising is at 90%

Above: what City Staff is reporting this week.

KAP agreement is over 40 years

Above: The deal with KAP is over 40-years, with ZERO up-front.

Typical KAP agreement rider

Above: KAP and its LVEC deals: apparently "in" so long as they don't arbitrarily decide to disband.

There's another LVEC Report from Staff in this week's Council package.

This isn't the first time we read in a report from City Staff that private-sector LVEC fundraising is apparently close to the 90% mark. That's because the contributions from the Downtown Kingston BIA and the Kingston Accommodation Partners are presented (and lauded) by City Staff at full face-value even though these contributors have, in fact, paid next-to-nothing so far for the LVEC even though the building is fully built.

For example, here's a link to the May 20 2006 agreement between The City of Kingston and Kingston Accommodation Partners for $3M in LVEC funding. The agreement covers a period of 40-years (!) with KAP paying absolutely nothing up-front. In fact, it amounts to Kingston Taxpayers shouldering an unsecured 40-year loan on behalf of KAP.

KAP Payments so far: $38,620 in principal, and $360,932 in interest.

Understand that $38,620 is just 1.29% of $3 Million. KAP still owes over $2.96 million, and that's completely unsecured.

Also, understand this about KAP:

Yet City Staff presents this at full face-value when, evaluated objectively in financial securities' terms, it's probably below "junk" status except that, with a junk bond, you get a premium interest rate, which isn't what taxpayers are getting here.

It's certainly obnoxious that Kingston's hotelliers are constantly given credit for $3M for the LVEC when, in fact, they've paid just 1.29% of that so far even though the building is already built.

We emphasise: KAP contributed no money up-front, and the agreement KAP negotiated for itself using its systemic political-insider status puts NONE of the LVEC's financial risk on KAP. Kingston taxpayers don't even get a premium for shouldering all the risk on KAP's $3M promise.

It's basically a similar story with the Downtown Kingston BIA:

So in reality LVEC fundraising is nowhere near "the $8M goal outlined in the financing portion of the (LVEC) business plan". Sub-junk grade securities are being presented at full-face value to Council by City Staff grown accustomed to developing and reporting without oversight or consequence to docile Councils.

Despite the clear mandate granted at the November 2006 municipal election, this council has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to remedy the LVEC's financial risk profile, and has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to sanction Staff for these blatant face-value misrepresentations of the LVEC to the citizens of Kingston. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Above: KAP's payment schedule. Total so far: just $38,620 in principal, and $360,932 in interest on its debt, which is carried without any risk premium by municipal taxpayers.

Published: 03/15/08 12:28:45 PM
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March 10, 2008

Remembering Deri Fairman

Deri (Frederick) Fairman, Professor Emeritus at Queen's University, co-founder of Citizens for Responsible Development in Kingston, and a pioneer in using of the internet for protest movements in Kingston, passed away on February 26th. He was 72-years old.

Our tribute.

Published: 03/10/08 12:46:01 PM
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March 8, 2008

Where is Engelbert playing?

Apparently Engelbert Humperdinck's people aren't quite sure which arena in Kingston he's supposed to be playing, what it's called, or where it's located.

It's a good thing Kingston has professionals like Arcturus SMG managing, booking, and promoting the LVEC / K-Rock Centre.

Published: 03/08/08 12:11:14 PM
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March 7, 2008

Still many names missing from the LVEC's fundraising donor list

There are still many notable names AWOL from the LVEC's fundraising donor list, and several of those listed, including hockey team owners, parking lot owners, hotel owners, and some restaurant and bar operators are apparently in for peanuts relative to the taxpayer subsidy of their businesses that the LVEC represents.

The fundraising campaign is still over $800,000 short of its wholly unspectacular nominal target.

Published: 03/07/08 02:03:09 AM
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March 6, 2008

Two LVEC / K-Rock Centre concerts cancelled

Here are stories from CKWS-TV News and The Whig about two of the K-Rock Centre's upcoming concerts being cancelled for lack of interest. Englebert may soon be cancelled as well.

What does this mean, in practical terms?

Total number of K-Rock Centre concerts in its first two full-months of operation whose artists grew-up outside a 40 km radius of Kingston: 0.

So much for all the great acts passing-us-by on the 401.

Apparently those who bought tickets online are on-the-hook for the service charges. That will go-over well.

Back in December 2006, KCAL issued a news item titled LVEC red-flag: The LVEC / KRSEC brand in peril about how Mayor Harvey Rosen had completely screwed-up the building's image long before it opened.

The Mayor recently had the temerity to publicly blame the LVEC's marketing woes on the Kingston Frontenacs, which tells us plenty about what kind of person the Mayor is.

The non-refundable service charges for cancelled events just makes marketing the K-Rock Centre harder because it frustrates many of the building's few remaining believers. How dumb is that?

Published: 03/06/08 11:13:03 AM
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March 5, 2008

Photos of the LVEC / K-Rock Centre logistics-zoo on Flickr
trucks around the LVEC

We've just updated the KCAL page on Flickr with photos of the trucks from Disney's High School Musical festooning the streets all around the LVEC.

We've also preserved screen-shots of various LVEC-related websites on Flickr so we can compare, in the future, what City Staff were saying in the light of what the LVEC is actually turning out to be. KCAL's home page is included in this set of screen captures.

KCAL's page on Flickr is a good place to look if, for whatever reason, you need LVEC-related photos and diagrams.

Published: 03/05/08 01:48:04 PM
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March 4, 2008

CKWS-TV News: blatant dishonesty in local media

On March 3rd 2008, CKWS-TV news broadcast this news item (transcript) that claims:






But everyone tuning-in on COGECO-TV 13 could clearly see the sea of empty seats for both those home games.

It's one thing to parrot a number of tickets distributed or sold, a number supplied by the Kingston Frontenacs. It's quite another to mislead the public into believing there was anywhere close to that number actually in attendance, or that money is flowing-in from ticket sales. It's tickets sold and bums-in-seats that generate the revenues that are critical to the LVEC business plan.

Here's what a long-time season-ticket holder had to say about Friday night's game:

When the attendance was announced everyone laughed and started to look around.

I know that the 8 guys sitting in front of me didn't pay for their tickets, they made it clear "no we didn't pay for these."

My niece and her husband and the 4 that were with them also got free tickets they were at Fanatics (old Shoeless Joes) eating supper and were offered them, PLUS tickets for Sunday.

Now they are advertising buy a ticket for Sunday and get the rescheduled Oshawa game for half price.

Makes you feel good for those that actually paid to get in.

CKWS-TV should be ashamed. They are not alone; CFLY-FM has been parotting the same thing on-air.

Related: Julie Brown: powder puff.

Published: 03/04/08 12:55:45 PM
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It's official: the LVEC / K-Rock Centre logistics are a zoo (Updated)

No surprise here. The westsport blog reports on the awful state of affairs outside the LVEC yesterday.

Yesterday, there were 7 trailers parked on the streets around the LVEC, either unhitched or waiting (idling) with their tractors. Unhitched trailers were/are in the on-street spots on Place d' Armes at the corner of Wellington, on both sides of King Street between Queen and Barrack, on Barrack Street in front of the Food Basics, across the main Barrack Street doors of the LVEC, on the north side of the facility (where the team buses have been idling for extended periods of time).

To access the building's unloading area, these 18 wheelers drive into the stub of King Street north of Place d'Armes; they idle there till a worker comes from the lvec to "direct" them as they back into the building. As they back into the building, traffic coming off the Causeway piles up past Fort Frontenac toward the bridge.

That's only one snippet. Read the whole thing.

Updated:: CKWS-TV News covered the story.

Published: 03/04/08 10:17:38 AM
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March 3, 2008

Impact World Tour: 4-nights in April

Here's a show that won't "pass-us-by" on the 401. The Impact World Tour is booked into the LVEC for 4-nights in early April for 4 free shows.

Here's a link to the Impact World Tour media release.

All of the IWT teams are made up of volunteer Christian performers from across the world, sharing a positive message of hope and destiny with their audiences.

Teams will also be going into schools and detention centres to challenge young people with their anti-drug and alcohol messages and encouraging them to live their lives to their full potential.

Hands-up if you think Kingston will be getting the $2 per ticket which it is due under the LVEC's business plan.

Published: 03/03/08 08:23:47 PM
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Summary of the the LVEC / K-Rock Centre's first week in mainstream print media

The Frontenacs marketing problems have been evident for years and the Mayor was fully aware of them.

The LVEC's so-called "process" systematically ignored this risk.

How obvious was this? Prior to the closing game at the Memorial Centre, the Frontenacs had sold-out just one game in seven years.

Here are links to stories from the past week.

Published: 03/03/08 05:50:34 PM
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February 26, 2008

Observations from a long-time season ticket holder

A long-time season-ticket holder chimes-in:

I have been to 2 hockey games so far and yes the arena is nice a new but there sure are some issues.

The notion of the public choosing the seat type (a link back to January 2007) was pure BS. They went with the cheapest narrowest seating they could find. They are not that comfortable and a couple of large lads I know say the seat sags forward thus making them slip forward. It is very cramped sitting next to anyone plus there is absolutely no leg room, even for the vertically challenged.

The club seats are chained-off. That means the club seat people do not have egress or access to and from the tunnels. The people sitting below have to use the tunnels and cannot go up to the top of the stairs. I sure hope there isn't a fire, when I worked in my manufacturing days this type off blockage would be condemned by the ministry of labour. I guess paying citizens are expendable

Also you cannot get from one side of the arena to the other so forget about socializing with your friends on the other side of the building.

Rapport with the team: We used to be able to talk to the Frontenac players before and after the game as they were accessible, now they are hidden away, I haven't the foggiest idea on how to make contact with them.

Policing: Who is paying for this? I have seen more police inside that building in 2 days then I have seen in the last 15 years in the old M-Centre, plus there are a whole bunch of them outside before and after the game.

Yes there are some good things about the arena but right now the place is sterile, there is no"our" feel to it. The atmosphere is not there. There was absolutely no fan energy in that place Sunday it was DEAD in there. But hey we have a nice shiny new building where we can coif beers back for only $6 for a 20 oz draft.

Seat selection: I loved my seat so much that I was running around opening night to find out how to change it. It was a horror show for me. I am in the process of doing it now. I'm not the only one there are many people not satisfied with their seating, so much so there was a line up at the old Frontenacs office on Monday morning. This is what you get when you pick blind like all the season ticket holders did.

Published: 02/26/08 11:24:45 PM
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February 25, 2008

Bruce Todd's report from Friday night's LVEC-opening Frontenacs game

This letter is from Bruce Todd about the LVEC's opening-night hockey game on February 22 2008.

From: Bruce Todd


CC:, "Morris, Malcolm", "Laubenstein, Glen", "Hurdle, Lanie", Deanna Green, Chris Sleeth, Councillor M Gerretsen, Councillor B Glover, Councillor D Hector, Councillor R Hutchison, Councillor J MacLeod-Kane, Councillor R Matheson, Councillor L Osanic, Councillor S Meers, Councillor E Smith, Mayor H Rosen, Councillor L Foster, Councillor S Garrison, Councillor V Schmolka, "Beach, Cynthia"

Subject: February 22 LVEC observations

Date: 25 February 2008, 02:04:30

I went downtown around 5:30 p.m. last Friday night and observed the downtown before and after the OHL game that drew a crowd of 5,700. There were opening ceremonies at 6:00 p.m. and people were lined up along Barrack Street from the entrance westerly to the Food Basics parking lot. Signs were erected at public parking lots indicating the LVEC parking rates came into force at 5:30 p.m. I asked the Anglin Lot parking attendant how they were handling those cars/people who were still parked in the lot from prior to 5:30 p.m. They said that they didn't know. I assume there is some lost revenue here.

On-street parking was fully utilized at 6:00 p.m., although there were a few cars that pulled away, leaving the parking spot to be quickly taken again. I am sure there had to be an economically detrimental effect on other downtown businesses whose customers could not find on-street parking.

I noticed a lot of "illegal" on-street parking in signed no-parking zones. I understand from others that tow trucks were kept busy. I witnessed a tow from the Tim Horton's parking lot on Ontario Street around 6:30 p.m.

Many people took advantage of the on-street parking through the residential area north of Barrack Street and west of Rideau Street. In fact, cars were parked on both sides of Bay Street west of Rideau Street, and therefore there was not enough room for opposing vehicles to pass each other. Vehicles had to back up out of Bay Street onto Rideau Street in order to continue their journey, and I held my breath as many cars backed out into the very busy intersection of Rideau and Bay. Fortunately, the snow banks had been cleared from many of these streets.

Traffic was tied up on Barrack Street at the entrance to the Liquor Store as the store's parking lot could not handle the inbound flow of traffic, so people sat on the street with their turn signals blinking, and through traffic was blocked in both directions. I am assuming that this situation occurred because there was no on-street parking available, and Liquor Store patrons were not going to pull into a public parking lot and pay a hefty parking fee.

I assumed that most people who were going to the game would be parked by 7:00 p.m. because of the opening ceremonies at 6:00 p.m. So, at 6:55 p.m., I checked out the parking at the Hanson Garage. There were approximately 175 vehicles in the garage, about 100 more than normal according to the attendant. One gentleman said he had been parked in the garage since 2:00 p.m., and was told that if he waited until just after 10:30 p.m. to leave, it would only cost him $3.00 for all that time, as the attendant would have left at 10:30 p.m. More parking revenue losses.

I then checked the Chown Garage at 7:00 p.m. and found that there were only about 80 vehicles parked in the garage, which is normal at that time. Therefore, virtually no one chose to park at the Chown Garage and walk to the LVEC, as I have said all along.

I parked at the corner of Place D'Armes and Wellington Street at 9:45 p.m. to witness the movement of people leaving the LVEC and proceeding northerly and westerly. People who were headed for the Anglin Parking Lot crossed Place D'Armes in the general vicinity of King Street and the Food Basics parking lot entrance, just as I indicated they would do in my report to the city and to IBI consultants. Any people who came up to the Wellington Street traffic signal were headed for Rideau Street and points northerly and westerly, and many of these people sauntered across the length of Place D'Armes, interfering with westbound traffic that had come from the Causeway.

I observed one motor vehicle accident at the corner of Bagot and Brock Street. Judging from the front-end damage, it looked like at least one of the vehicles was a writeoff.

The City and the event-goers were fortunate that there was enough time to clear snowbanks from streets, and that it was a relatively mild evening.

I was very surprised at the attendance of 2,283 people at the Sunday OHL game, virtually no increase from previous years. I had thought perhaps 3,000 to 3,500 people would be in attendance. Let the speculation begin!


Published: 02/25/08 03:11:10 PM
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February 24, 2008

Sunday Frontenacs attendance: 2283 (updated)

According to the OHL game summary, Sunday afternoon's Frontenacs LVEC attendance, their second match in the LVEC, was just 2,283. That's only 130 more than the average of the previous games played at the Memorial Centre this year.

It probably didn't help that Doug Graham, Whig Standard sports reporter, wrote on Friday that the second match was a sellout (scroll to the very botton).

Update: Some interesting comments on Fronts talk

Friday night had a lot of people that are not hockey fans that were there for the hype and to say they were there. That is a one time crowd.

Also, on the changing dynamic for the Frontenacs' owners:

I am to one point ecstatic that the Fronts have the new arena. NOW THEY CANNOT BLAME facilities for the lack of fans or the players that say they don't want to come here.

Published: 02/24/08 10:14:42 PM
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February 22, 2008

Who's lording over you now?

In March 2007, nearly a year ago, the LVEC's luxury suites were sold-off. Here's another look at who'll be lording over the regular folks.

It's a who's-who of Rosen-family businesses, tenants of Rosen Family properties, overt Harvey Rosen election backers, companies that do a lot of business with City Hall (including several members of the Kingston Home Builders Association and the Kingston Construction Association), and the usual mainstream media outfits.

Frontenac Public School As you gaze-up at the luxury suites, try not to think of the rest of Kingston like, for example, Frontenac Public School on Cowdy Street, with some 275 kids JK to Grade 8, just 0.8 miles from the LVEC, that doesn't have a school library and needs funding and more support in all its aspects.

Each one of those luxury suites cost between $15,000 and $23,000 per year, and their occupants will be hob-nobbing, at tax-deductible expense, in a taxpayer-subsidized OHL arena built on pretenses of "economic development".

All these folks will be hob-nobbing together in suites largely paid-for with tax-deductible expenses, with special parking, a private entrance, private concessions, and priority access to non-box event tickets whose leftovers will then be sold to the general public. More here on the LVEC's perks for the those in this class.

Note that John Wright, owner of K-Rock, apparently controls three suites.

1000 Islands Cruises (Same owners as K-Rock)
1203157 Ontario Limited
J.E. Agnew Food Services Ltd. (Tim Hortons)
Braebury Homes Corporation
Canadian Tire - Cataraqui
CHUM Radio Kingston (FLY-FM)
CIBC Wood Gundy
Cruickshank Construction Limited and Rosen Heating Cooling
Empire Life Insurance Company
Gananoque Chevrolet Cadillac
JKL Micro
Kingston Financial Centre Inc.
Kingston MRI
Kimco Steel Sales Limited (owned in the Rosen family) and Kingston Truck Centre
The Kingston Frontenacs (owned by the Springer family)
The Kingston Whig-Standard
Kingston Young Entrepreneurs
K-Rock (Complimentary suite for naming rights holder)
Len Corcoran Excavating Ltd.
Melo Hotels
CaraCo Development Corporation and Taggart Investments
The Radio Group (K-Rock & KIX FM)
Thomson Jemmett Vogelzang o/b The Insurance Centre Inc.
Waste Management

Published: 02/22/08 11:17:28 AM
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February 21, 2008

Kingston and District Labour Council media release

Here's the Kingston and District Labour Council Media Release from yesterday.

(KINGSTON) The Kingston & District will hold a media conference on the steps of the new arena prior to its official opening to discuss problems with the arena operator and to support picketing workers. The media conference will include a number of speakers on hand to support local workers, members of International Alliance of Theatre and Stage Employees (IATSE), Local 471 who will not get a chance to bid or work locally on events in the building.

WHAT: Press Conference and speakers.
WHEN: Friday February 22 at 11:00 A.M.
WHERE: Outside the main entrance to the entertainment centre.

Read the whole thing.
Published: 02/21/08 10:01:00 PM
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Bogus artificial deadlines: obvious tactical mistakes made 14-months ago

While the LVEC project is today in pre-opening confusion and doubt, 14-months ago, back in December 2006, KCAL wrote this:

So we have a City staff who clearly can't manage projects -- KPMG told us that twice (1-2) -- and a Council that's clearly not into overseeing incompetent Staff.

These projects have multi-million-dollar stakes.

Mark Gerretsen, thank you very much.

What's unsaid in recent LVEC discussions is the agreement between the City of Kingston and the Kingston Frontenacs is not silent about a delay in the LVEC's opening.

Translation: As far as obligations to the Frontenacs are concerned, the project can slide. That's covered. In short, the current agreement for the Frontenacs to play at the Memorial Centre is extended. End of story.

Question: why hasn't this option to moderate the pace of the project been presented to the new Council? Under current circumstances, explain why the blind following of artificial imagined "timelines" because of arbitrary and arguably bogus "deadlines" is a good idea. Why wasn't a single project timeline or Gantt chart presented to Council on Monday night?

Recommendation: that staff proceed with extreme caution, and advise council, prior to considering any bookings for the LVEC.

On current trends, it would be par for the course if staff were to let the operator book the LVEC for December 2007 ASAP, thus further tieing the hands of City Council.

The thinking at the time was: don't book the LVEC prematurely because it limits your options, and that can be expensive.

bulldog.  We didn't get one

How much would a bulldog have cost since April 2007?

Maybe $150,000?

We could have been reading project progress reports from the bulldog, not the pap we've been reading from Lanie Hurdle ever since.

Today a lot of money is being squandered, corners are being cut, work is being rushed, all because our City Hall civil servants know little about managing quality projects.

Who could have prevented this?

Our current gutless Council balked at the opportunity for independent project oversight. Council had the chance to appoint a Council advocate to the project cabinet but Mark Gerretsen, BIA board member, withdrew his long-delayed motion in April 2007.

So we have a City staff who clearly can't manage projects -- KPMG told us that twice (1-2) -- and a Council that's clearly not into overseeing incompetent Staff. These projects have multi-million-dollar stakes. Mark Gerretsen, thank you very much.

How much would a bulldog have cost since April 2007? $150,000 maybe? We could have been reading project progress reports from the bulldog, not the pap we've been reading from Lanie Hurdle since then.

Published: 02/21/08 02:58:53 PM
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February 20, 2008

Bruce Todd slams City Hall for deceptive advertising

I have repeatedly surveyed the parking situation in the downtown on a Friday evening around 6:30 to 7:00 p.m., as Consultants should have done for their reports to the City, and, consistently, the on-street parking has been fully utilized except for 30 to 50 spots, and parking lots have been half full or more at that time.

I have reported this on many occasions to the city and to LVEC management, but all reports have been consistently ignored.

Bruce Todd has penned a scathing letter to Council and Senior Staff, copies to The Whig, about apparently deceptive communications from The City of Kingston Growth and Sustainability Group and published in The Whig.

Read the whole thing. City of Communications Dept, chain of command during the LVEC's inception and implementation


The special section produced by the Kingston Whig Standard last Friday, February 15, 2008, entitled "It's Show Time" included on page 10 an article on "Ample Parking Available for Event Goers". It paints a picture of parking availability as if no cars are ever on-street or in parking lots on a Friday evening. It gives a detailed number of parking spaces as if these are all waiting to be used by LVEC event-goers. What a deception! What an utter falsehood for those who might not be familiar with Kingston's downtown on a Friday evening in particular.

The article states that "more than 550 on-street parking spaces are located within 600m of the Centre and will be free for use during evening and Sunday events".

To state that all these parking spaces are "free for use" is an extremely deceptive statement.

I have repeatedly surveyed the parking situation in the downtown on a Friday evening around 6:30 to 7:00 p.m., as Consultants should have done for their reports to the City, and, consistently, the on-street parking has been fully utilized except for 30 to 50 spots, and parking lots have been half full or more at that time. I have reported this on many occasions to the city and to LVEC management, but all reports have been consistently ignored.

Published: 02/20/08 10:48:27 AM
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February 19, 2008

In St. John's: Big acts, big losses

The biggest loser was Hootie & The Blowfish. The band's show on Sept. 11, 2006, cost Mile One $125,196.

From Sunday's Telegram in St. John's: the more acts they book at the Mile One Centre, the more money they tend to lose.

Looking at some of the LVEC's upcoming events, it's hard to imagine this isn't already happening here.

Published: 02/19/08 11:01:26 AM
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A year ago in KCAL: February 2007

Looking back to last February, in 2007. This is old news.

Last year on February 1st 2007 CKWS-TV reported that Kingston's major construction projects were not much benefiting local labour.

On February 12th 2007, the BIA cemented its 30-year, $3-million, back-end loaded, 4.57% credit from taxpayers for the LVEC. Today there is evidently no solid plan, no formal channel of public accountability, to ensure this will ever be repaid.

On February 14th 2007 City Staff dropped 14 major LVEC documents on Council just hours prior to key Council votes on the project. Therein was a " Risk Management Plan" that pegged the risk of "insufficient project funding from fundraising and grants" at a "4" on a scale to "1" to "9". Remember, all of Harvey Rosen's other projects (Market Square and The Grand Theatre) were, and remain, in concurrent public fundraising crisis and everybody, like now, knew it then too.

On February 16th, KCAL published the details behind the LVEC's funding, where the money was really coming from, including an Excel spreadsheet you can still download.

On February 20th, The Whig Standard published several LVEC-related stories riddled with grievous errors about the sums involved in the LVEC project.

This was also the time when it was clear that the second covered-up KPMG Report festered on Council.

Then on February 26th Councillor Vicki Schmolka was mugged on K-Rock's airwaves and K-Rock's Shadoe Davis was being obnoxious in The Whig. You can listen to MP3-format recordings here (Schmolka, Wong, and Davis), and here ("G" and rock-star Rob Baker).

Meanwhile project proponents like Ken Wong and Jeff Garrah get to repeatedly field softballs from CKWS-TV's Julie Brown on KEDCO-funded TV-COGECO programmes.

On February 27th 2007, KCAL's list of apparent LVEC cost omissions.

By the end of February 2007, everybody on Council knew that ALL of the LVEC's financial risks were going to be assumed by taxpayers. Everybody on Council knew the LVEC was a rigged-deal from a taxpayer's perspective.

So what changed? Nothing.

In the end this gutless Council even balked at the opportunity for independent project oversight. Council had the chance, and certainly had the votes, to appoint a Council advocate to the project cabinet but Mark Gerretsen, BIA board member, withdrew the long-delayed motion in April 2007.

Thus Mayor Harvey Rosen and his acolytes were free to continue the unfettered bullying of the LVEC project clear through to the end.

Published: 02/19/08 12:34:42 AM
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February 16, 2008

Union busting becomes so Tragically Hip (UPDATED)
Lots and lots of LVEC Jobs!

When you hire an out-of-town company to run the LVEC, what do you get? How about an out-of-province non-union labour provider for staging services.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 471 (Ottawa/Kingston) is pissed about this, and rightly so.

Update: As it turns out, the facility operator, Arcturus SMG, is bringing-in non-union labour from out-of-town for both staging and for event security for the LVEC's opening concert by The Tragically Hip.

Back in May 2006, rock-star Rob Baker was front-and-centre in a $50,000 ad campaign that featured logos from KEDCO, The Chamber of Commerce, Kingston Accomodation Partners, and local construction associations.

The ad, which ran in all the local papers and on a now-defunct website named, promised "New Employment Opportunities: 750 Construction and 450 post-construction jobs".

At the time, the ad was designed to influence Council for critical LVEC-related votes in May 2006. The website went dark after just one year on April 11 2007. Evidently the LVECs drum-beaters didn't have the $10 and the stones required to keep "Watch Kingston Grow" in the public eye.

So let's recap what's actually happened so far, shall we?

The LVEC was railroaded through on false premises such as this with the help of several supine out-of-town consultants and using out-of-town project management support. It was designed by out-of-town architects, then built by an out-of-town general contractor, using significant amounts of out-of-town construction labour. The arena is being operated by an out-of-town management company that's bringing-in out-of-town non-union labour provider for event-related services. Of course, the vast majority of the acts coming to into the LVEC will be from out-of-town, and most of the box-office will be leaving with them on the bus.

Where's the mayor? He's out-of-town, on holidays, between February 12th to the 20th, while the LVEC fundraising campaign he chairs is $1M short. Harvey Rosen: Vision, Courage, Results.

Published: 02/16/08 07:55:58 PM
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Celebrate THIS! #4: For nearly a year now, Google ranks the City of Kingston #1 for the keywords "dispersed parking"
Whig Advertising

Friday The Whig Standard distributed a special advertising section to "Celebrate the Opening" of the LVEC. Therein, on page 10 of the supplemental section, is this claim:

London's John Labatt Centre has it, so does Toronto's Air Canada Centre, so does New York's Madison Square Gardens. Like these successful downtown venues, the Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre takes advantage of a dispersed parking model.

Whoever wrote this in The Whig Standard is ignorant.

For the record, so there is no Whig-Standard-induced confusion here:

Google search results for 'dispersed parking'

But nevermind hyperbole courtesy of our Whig. Let's examine "dispersed parking", shall we?

If you execute a Google search for the term "dispersed parking" you'll get results similar to those pictured at left.

Look who ranks in the top-two spots.

Scroll the list, and look for something else, anything, comparable and related to parking for the LVEC. You won't find it.

This isn't new; it's been this way for nearly a year (a link to our item from April 11 2007).

But it goes back further still: back in mid-September 2006, 17-months ago, Council and our local mainstream media were informed that THE CONCEPT "DISPERSED" PARKING IS NOT EVEN RECOGNIZED IN MAINSTREAM TRAFFIC ENGINEERING.

In other words, "dispersed parking" is homespun crap. Those who have perpetrated this blatant fabrication, and who have built this arena with such contempt for the arena's customers and the taxpayers of Kingston won't be forgotten.

Another false statement by The Whig on Page 10 of the supplement is the number of parking spots available for people on-street and at various lots. They say:

Also, more than 550 on-street parking spaces are located within 600m of the Centre and will be free for use during evening and Sunday events.

KCAL's Friday night counts around 6:30-7:00 p.m., on the public record beginning May 25 2005, have consistently show only about 30-40 empty parking spots on-street. The Kingston Whig Standard has slept through this whole boondoggle.

Google search results for 'dispersed parking'

But here's where things get really weird for Harvey Rosen, the Springers, City CAO Laubenstein and senior City Staff.

If you search google for the exact phrase "dispersed parking model" (with quotes) just one document is returned. A well-formed query which returns a single Google result, which is extremely rare.

It's a story from the Berkley Daily Planet, written in 2006, and it's about a grocery store with serious parking issues.

Now how bizarre is that?

Parking in London, ON

Parking lots surrounding the John Labatt Centre in London.

See also

Published: 02/16/08 12:20:04 AM
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February 11, 2008

The Mayor, KROCK, John Wright, and Anglin Bay - a pecuniary interest?

Consider this:

One question arising is: If Mayor Rosen, via his holdings, has had a long-standing and ongoing business relationship with John Wright, under the same roof, then how come Mayor Rosen didn't disclose this apparent pecuniary interest when deliberating the Anglin-Bay LVEC which was supposed to be built on land owned by John Wright?

863 Princess Street, Kingston, ON

Published: 02/11/08 12:30:08 AM
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February 4, 2008

Kingston's naming rights agreement

Here's a link to the proposed LVEC naming rights agreement which the city has put online.

The name of the company hasn't been revealed. Reading the agreement, it's evidently a media company.

The deal has an interesting twist: the Sponsor explicitly becomes the preferred supplier for spending on promoting events.

So it appears that the Sponsor:

The event promotion pie could be worth $600,000 per year. At that level of media purchasing, you might expect a 25% discount ($150,000) in any case. If so, staff might be drastically over-selling this deal to Council.

How ironic would it be for K-ROCK to be on the outside looking-in at the LVEC's promotional expenditures for the next 10-years?

Then again, if the Sponsor is a local consortium, which presumably would include KROCK, that would re-connect some interesting dots.

Either way it looks to be a coup for the Sponsor, and it shows the poor negotiating position of the City.

See, the deal is not just for the naming rights. It's also for 10-years of event advertising and promotion business. That business is guaranteed, in the short-term, because heavily promoting the LVEC is imperative.

The business also flows 2-ways, as the Sponsor can curry the favour of its advertisers inside the building.

There's more: if aggregate attendance is below a yet-to-be-specified threshhold the Sponsor can just walk away. No Hershey Centre scenarios for these folks! If ticket sales are "poor" the shortfalls will be borne by Kingston's taxpayers as the agreement provides specific bail-out clauses for the Sponsor.

More to the point, if there's over-allocation to event advertising and promotion, leading to more funneled through the Sponsor and corresponding lower than expected operational profits, the regrettable shortfalls will be picked-up by taxpayers.

Notice the continuing theme: Once again, Council is being asked to quickly approve a complex long-term LVEC-related deal with information provided at the very last possible moment. That's how staff at senior levels in this city continue to operate.

Published: 02/04/08 07:49:49 PM
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February 3, 2008

Naming rights in Sault Ste. Marie going sour

There's an interesting article in Sunday's Soo News about how their LVEC's naming rights deal has gone sour. The brewery (Steelback) sponsoring the arena is in bankruptcy protection and their last cheque for $67,500 was NSF.

See this article in the December 17th Globe and Mail Report on Business for more details on the $120 million owed to more than 400 creditors.

A citizen's petition is in circulation demanding that the arena's name be changed to include "Sault Memorial Gardens".

Expect Kingston-City Staff to present the Soo's naming-rights deal to Kingston City Council without any mention of the Soo's current predicament! Troubles in Sault Ste. Marie have been well known since November 2007, but protecting the interests of Kingston Taxpayers, and honesty in accounting never counted for much here.

Published: 02/03/08 02:48:06 PM
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January 31, 2008

Celebrate THIS! #3: Joe deMora and the "silent majority"
Whig Advertising

The Whig Standard has been running this advertisement for a special advertising section to "Celebrate the Opening" of the LVEC to be published on February 15th.

Until then, KCAL will be featuring many items you probably won't be reading in whatever The Kingston Whig-Standard prints about its pet-project.

#3. Joe deMora's "silent majority"


Joe DeMora

See also

Published: 01/31/08 06:00:34 PM
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January 29, 2008

Combined LVEC calendars of Mississauga, Oshawa, Guelph, and Sault Ste-Marie for Q1 2008

You are looking at the combined published calendars for January, February, and March 2008 for LVECs in Mississauga, Oshawa, Guelph, and Sault Ste-Marie.

Four comparable buildings to Kingston's LVEC, over a full three months. We've circled the non-OHL hockey events to get a sense of what else these buildings draw.

You are looking at just 17 non-hockey events in a possible 364 event-days. This includes:

See also:

Over the past 9-months, we count just 52 non-OHL events in 4 comparable buildings.

In the three quarters we've been tracking this, other than OHL home-team events, we've seen just 52 non-OHL events into 1,100 potential event days.

These OHL arenas don't appear to be anything like economic players for their local communities.

Published: 01/29/08 11:53:56 PM
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The Whig: Rosen must step-up, and Market Square fundraising runs dry

Recently in the Whig: on January 25th an LVEC-related editorial titled Mayor must step it up, and today (January 29th), an article on Market Square's fundraising failure titled The well has run dry, group finds.

If we've learned anything, it's "fundraising" should never be taken at face-value.

There's more: apparently Mayor Rosen is due to fly South for a holiday shortly, just as the LVEC fundraising campaign is supposed to be winding-up.

Another question: Do "Buy Local" invocations from Kingston merchants apply to holidays, or just to other people's spending?

Published: 01/29/08 04:03:07 PM
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January 27, 2008

The Whig: Ken Wong and Jeff Garrah on prosperity

On January 22 2008 The Whig ran a story titled Economic forecast bleak: report.

The author, Alan Arcand of the Conference Board of Canada, forecasts a 2.1% growth rate for 2008, as compared to 2.5% in 2007. ( Note: The 2007 numbers are not finalized, and are likely subject to adjustments for months thereafter.)

The article gets interesting in its closing paragraphs.

First, there's this about Ken Wong.

Translation: prosperity from a dysfunctional, mostly empty, money-losing OHL arena, and prosperity from ice-pads.

Ken Wong, a professor at the Queen's School of Business, said he wasn't surprised by the results of the forecast. Indeed, some of the same predictions were made during an economic forecast luncheon held late last year by the business school.

Thanks to the previous council, which managed to get several large construction projects started, Kingston has the potential to experience much higher growth, Wong said.

"We at least have a foundation we can build on in terms of creating some economic prosperity for the city," he said. "It's not like we don't have anything we can promote."

For example, when it opens, the west-end multiplex will bring people here for hockey games. Likewise, the Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre will bring some big acts to town. "If you get great acts, you get people. If you get people, you get prosperity," Wong said.

Translation: prosperity from a dysfunctional, mostly empty, money-losing OHL arena, and prosperity from ice-pads.

Then, there's this about Jeff Garrah.

Jeff Garrah, CEO of the city's economic development organization KEDCO, said his agency plans to work closely with local agencies, such as the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area, the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce, and Kingston Accommodation Partners to help make Kingston an even more desirable place to live.

Translation: "Downtown" Kingston will continue monopolizing the City's prosperity agenda for the foreseeable future.
Published: 01/27/08 12:37:43 AM
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January 25, 2008

Still more LVEC-related money-grabbing

We're hearing reports now that the advanced-sales ticket selling process for the Avril Lavigne concert at the LVEC will only let people buy one ticket at a time, even for general admission tickets.

This means that to buy (say) four tickets you need to make four transactions, with four separate sets of fees, including four sets of odious ticket shipping charges.

Published: 01/25/08 10:49:01 AM
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January 23, 2008

Celebrate THIS! #2: The CastleGlenn traffic and parking study
Whig Advertising

The Whig Standard has been running this advertisement for a special advertising section to "Celebrate the Opening" of the LVEC to be published on February 15th.

Until then, KCAL will be featuring many items you probably won't be reading in whatever The Kingston Whig-Standard prints about its pet-project.

#2. The CastleGlenn traffic and parking study


None of Kingston's old-media news outlets have EVER reported on the serious problems with the CastleGlenn "Phase I: Traffic and Parking Viability Assessment Study".
A comparison of distances supplied by CastleGlenn Consultants and measurements Bruce Todd made using a surveyors' wheel:
(Anglin Bay)
to lot
Measurements in Meters
Bruce Todd
Anglin 60 185
Barrack 250 431
Frontenac North 280 536
Drury 390 540
Frontenac South 280 606
King & Queen 480 682
Angrove 460 737
Springer 510 745
Ordnance 530 804
Holiday Inn 550 833
Byron 520 889
a Truemeter

Mr Todd has, we remind you, over 40 years experience in the field of traffic engineering and planning.

Published: 01/23/08 10:19:25 PM
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January 22, 2008

Julie Brown: powder-puff
Julie Brown of CKWS-TV News, lobbing softballs

Those tuning-in early to tonight's Council meeting on COGECO-TV Channel 13 were treated to Julie Brown, of CKWS-TV News, shamelessly serving-up leading powder-puff questions to LVEC project manager Lanie Hurdle and Arcturus SMG's Neil Shorthouse about our wonderful, wonderful new Sports and Entertainment Centre.

The program was "KEDCO on the Street" and lists KEDCO CEO Jeff Garrah as one of its producers.

The program was "KEDCO on the Street" and lists KEDCO CEO Jeff Garrah as one of its producers.

Make no doubt: it's a blatant infomercial. Our local TV news-anchor is all-in, parroting the LVEC party-line to Kingstonians.

Published: 01/22/08 07:21:05 PM
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January 21, 2008

Celebrate THIS! #1: LVEC PM Don Gedge's firing kept secret for over 2-months, until after the 2006 municipal election
Whig Advertising

The Whig Standard has been running this advertisement for a "special advertising section" to "Celebrate the Opening" of the LVEC to be published on February 15th.

Until then, KCAL will be featuring many items you probably won't be reading in whatever The Kingston Whig-Standard prints about its pet-project.

Don Gedge, fired as LVEC project manager in October 2006

#1. The firing of Project Manager Don Gedge was kept secret for over 2-months, until after the November 2006 municipal election

The LVEC's first project manager, and first-engineer on the LVEC railroad, was a man named Don Gedge.

Don Gedge was fired in October 2nd 2006, but this information was kept from the public, and from Council, until AFTER the November 2006 election where the LVEC boondoggle was, by far, the most contentious campaign issue. Mayor Harvey Rosen was narrowly re-elected.

How's that for slimeball local politics?

There's more: The Kingston Supine-Standard, finally reporting the firing of Don Gedge in a story published on December 14 2006, two days after reporter Bill Hutchins broke the story in The Heritage, completely downplayed the 2-month delay in disclosure.

How's that for slimeball local politics?

The Whig's publisher at the time, Fred Laflamme, was a "founding member" of a group calling itself "Friends of the Entertainment Centre", about which we'll have lots more to say. This group thought putting the LVEC on Kingston's waterfront, clobbering a marina, part of a park, and displacing a fireboat-builder that employs 60 skilled-workers, was a fine idea.

Published: 01/21/08 05:01:10 PM
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January 19, 2008

LVEC-related items on Council's agenda

There are a number of LVEC-related items on Council's agenda for Tuesday, January 22.

Published: 01/19/08 02:35:07 PM
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January 14, 2008

Monday in The Whig: Ed Smith pats himself on the back

In Monday's Whig Standard, in the editorial page Opinion Column, Williamsville Councillor Ed Smith pats himself on the back.


I regret that there were some members of our community whose attacks on some council members became personal during the heated debates on some of these major projects. Such an experience does not encourage good people to enter or remain in public life. But to councillors' credit, they remained steadfast in their support for projects they believed to be in the best interests of Kingston and the people who live here, now and in the future.

Debates? What debates? Ed Smith, the LVEC's somnolent "Streering Committee" chairman, organized and chaired an apparently stacked "public consultation" meeting then, less than 10-hours later, Ed Smith forwarded apparently pre-determined recommendations to council, complete with attaboys from proponents and no mention, not a word, of the significant and widely evident opposition to the LVEC project, a mistake that cost at least $504,100, plus time wasted.

Evidently the not-so-subtle distinction between "encouraging good people to enter or remain in public life" and "coralling process-fudging lunatics and their half-baked plans" escapes Mr Smith.


The LVEC's ridiculously over-hyped so-called "benefits" will soon to be apparent to all and, for Mr Smith, there will be no escaping responsibility for it. Until then, high-fiving himself in The Whig is really all Mr Smith can do.

Published: 01/14/08 05:01:09 PM
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January 11, 2008

Avril Lavigne coming to the LVEC on April 8

According to Pollstar, Avril Lavigne will play in the LVEC on Tuesday April 8th 2008.

This is the first and only concert booked so far that delivers on the LVEC promise that Kingston's youth won't have to travel out of town to see popular acts.

Published: 01/11/08 04:44:10 PM
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January 5, 2008

LVEC-related item on the January 8, 2008 Council Agenda -- IBI, again

On Council's Agenda for Tuesday is a report from Staff that recommends the IBI Group to create recommendations for further development of the North Block.

It is hoped that the timing for the award of this work will position the City to be able to decide on the next steps in the redevelopment of the police building at 11 Queen Street in addition to meeting a number of other objectives related to the sustainable redevelopment of properties in the area.

It appears that waiting to see the extent of the disaster the LVEC turns out to be before frittering away any more money on the North Block was never an option.

It's pretty clear that unflattering independent assessments of prior LVEC-related reports by the IBI Group have fallen on deaf ears at City Hall.

If all this goes ahead, this could lead to a very interesting juxtaposition: when the LVEC's logistical dysfunctionalities are a reality, the firm that apparently white-washed its logistics will be presenting reports, and collecting handsome fees, for next-steps related to the LVEC's immediate surroundings.

Published: 01/05/08 10:57:00 PM
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December 20, 2007

Mile One in the red: Scripting Harvey Rosen and Ed Smith in 2009

On December 4th, The St. John's Telegram published an article titled Mile One in the red -- May never break even, mayor says about the precarious financial situation of the 6,250-seat Mile One Centre, and what some politicians are saying about the Centre now.

Mile One Centre is in the red for $640,000 and may always have some level of subsidy from the City of St. John's.

Mile One Centre is in the red for $640,000 and may always have some level of subsidy from the City of St. John's.

When questioned on whether the stadium and convention centre will ever break even with it's $1.5-million subsidy from the city, Mayor Andy Wells snapped back that the facility may always be in some debt.

"We're not going to break even on our Mundy Pond facility, we're not going to break even on Wedgewood Park, we're not going to break even on Mile One.

According to the LVEC business plan, our building is supposed to easily cover its costs and service its debts.

Coun. Ron Ellsworth tabled Mile One Centre's financial statements and 2008 budget Monday night, pointing out operating losses of $639,596 for 2007 and a projected $527,560 loss for 2008.

That means city residents are paying about $2.25 million in subsidies to keep the centre operational. Wells said that number is reasonable when compared with the benefits the city receives from the facility.

"As far as I'm concerned it's been a good deal. It's been controversial... but I'm perfectly satisfied that things are falling into line," he said.

We expect to hear the same sorts of things from Harvey Rosen and Ed Smith about the LVEC.

Here's a link to the Mile One Centre Events Calendar. Just like the four other Ontario arenas we're watching, there's really nothing going on at the Mile One Centre, with just one non-hockey event (Blue Rodeo) scheduled in the first three months of 2008.

So far this year, the QMJHL St. John's Fog Devils have attracted an average of 3,365 fans to their 18 home-games, which is about 52% of the building's capacity.

Given all this, how is it possible that some politicians in St. John's can claim to be satisfied? Who's kidding whom?

The construction cost of the Mile One Centre was $35 Million in 2001. The present value of St-John's $2.25 million in annual subsidies over 30-years, given the latest prime rate of 7.25 %, is $27 Million.


Published: 12/20/07 10:23:24 AM
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December 17, 2007

LVEC-related agenda items for Tuesday's council meeting

There are two LVEC-related items on Tuesday's Council agenda.

Published: 12/17/07 11:56:28 AM
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December 15, 2007

Stars On Ice: coming after all

In a full-page colour ad in today's Whig is an announcement for 5 LVEC events:

There's no mention of the other dates everyone already knows about:

About all this, some observations:

Published: 12/15/07 10:02:20 AM
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December 13, 2007

The Tragically Hip: what's wrong with this picture?

On December 11 2007 The Whig published this story titled Fans get dibs on Hip; Concert tickets sold on website first.

Tickets for the Hip concert, the first entertainment event planned for the Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre, will go on sale tomorrow, with true Hip fans getting first dibs.

Registered users of the band's website,, will get first pick of tickets to the show. These fans can log onto the Hip website starting at 10 a.m. tomorrow to find a link to purchase advance tickets. They will be available until midnight Thursday.

So the taxpayers of Kingston are forced to hold-the-bag for the LVEC boondoggle, but for the LVEC's opening concert event, registered fans of the band, regardless of where they may be, get first-dibs on tickets? It's pretty clear who's calling the shots here.

Nevermind that rock-star Rob Baker is in for peanuts despite being the face of LVEC, the rest of the band is, so far, not yet on the list of arena donors.

There's more: the LVEC fundraising campaign is still $1.3M short of target yet the Tragically Hip is using the opening concert as a fundraiser for some pet-charities, not the arena.

Not that Camp trillium and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper aren't worthy causes. It's just that, in the scheme of things, the taxpayers of Kingston never counted for anything. The LVEC's opening concert is just another sign of that.

It's also a clear sign that, despite all that is invested by taxpayers, when it comes to the LVEC the City of Kingston is powerless.

Published: 12/13/07 12:05:39 PM
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The oldtimers are coming! The oldtimers are coming!

The Oldtimer's Hockey Challenge, who in the past played each year in Kingston's Memorial Centre, will play in the LVEC on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 7:00 PM.

Published: 12/13/07 11:11:59 AM
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George Jones: not coming here

Here's the George Jones tour schedule. He's playing in lots of smaller towns. Kingston's not on the list. "Passing us by on the 401" between Toronto (April 8) and Ottawa (April 9).

Just like Avril Lavigne who still "passes us by on the 401" between Ottawa (April 3rd) and Toronto (April 9).

George Jones:


Published: 12/13/07 11:01:07 AM
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Stars On Ice: not coming here

The Stars On Ice 2008 Tickets and Schedule page shows us that Kingston's LVEC is evidently too small.

The smallest venue on the Stars on Ice schedule is the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria which seats 7,400.

The Stars on Ice tour features Kurt Browning, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, Sasha Cohen, Jeff Buttle, and Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.

They'll be "passing us by on the 401" sometime between shows in Ottawa (April 19) and Toronto (April 25). Even with a five-day scheduling cushion, the LVEC evidently isn't attractive.

Stars on Ice tickets in the smaller venues like Victoria are typically $50 (ends), $70 (sides), and $100 (at ice level). In Toronto the ice-level tickets are $130.

Published: 12/13/07 10:34:23 AM
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December 11, 2007

The LVEC website

Here's the link to the LVEC website:

That's an odd web address considering that the much shorter and intuitive is registered to Paul MacLatchy in the name of the Corporation of the City of Kingston. Is this a sign of acrimony between Arcturus and the City?

Launching the website before the naming-rights deal is a clear signal that revenue from LVEC naming-rights may not materialize.

Some "features":

Published: 12/11/07 11:42:53 AM
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December 10, 2007

The Kingston Regional Sports & Entertainment Centre Transportation Operations Plan is online

Finally, the Kingston Regional Sports & Entertainment Centre Transportation Operations Plan is online.

Published: 12/10/07 09:20:01 AM
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December 8, 2007

LVEC Transportation Operation Plan. Sort of.
LVEC Parking zones

The KRSEC Transportation Operation Plan is on the agenda for the Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation Policies committee agenda for Thursday.

The agenda document refers to "Exhibit A - KRSEC transportation Operations Plan Draft Final Report, December 2007" which is distributed seperately and not yet available on the City of Kingston website.

We assume that Staff will be improvising this document until the last possible moment. Here we are, just two months before opening, and traffic and parking is still being improvised with "Draft Final Reports". This is possibly the first time we've seen a major plan masquerading as an exhibit.

Get this: Parking is to be split into three zones. Parking in zone-1 will cost $8.00 in city-run lots, $5.00 for lot parking in zone-2, and $3.00 in zone-3. On-street parking is still free everywhere, regardless of zone.

What we'll likely see is jammed streets, stalled traffic, mostly empty city lots, and nearly zero ancillary busineess downtown during event nights, with taxpayers picking up all the pieces.

Denis Leger and Glen Laubenstein signed-off on the plan which, on Saturday December 8th, still wasn't publicly available.

The meeting is Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 5 p.m. in Conference Room AB Rideaucrest Home.

Published: 12/08/07 05:06:40 PM
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December 5, 2007

Whig letter: Outrageous damage to our heritage

Edward Grenda, president of the Kingston Historical Society, wrote this letter that the The Whig published on December 4th 2007. The LVEC is being constructed adjacent, some might say atop, a 17th Century settlement site.

Evidently the remaining bastion is not being respected by project and site managers and contractors.

Simply put, this type of treatment of a national historic site is outrageous and speaks of rank negligence on the part of those responsible for the supervisory functions on this project. The damage to this site was a patent violation of various provincial and federal regulations governing designated historic sites.

Read the whole letter.

Published: 12/05/07 07:52:43 PM
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December 3, 2007

Anne Murray at the LVEC on April 22nd 2008

There's a draw at where you can enter to win one of 85 VIP concert passes to Anne Murray concerts. One of the dates you can select is Kingston, on April 22nd 2008.

This will be an LVEC concert, not the Grand Theatre, as she plays London's John Labatt Centre two nights later. Ticket prices in London are $82.75, $62.75, and $48.75.

Here are the Anne Murray tour dates: Moncton - April 15; Charlottetown - April 17; Halifax - April 18; Montreal - April 20; Ottawa - April 21; Kingston - April 22; London - April 24; Toronto - April 25; Sault. St. Marie - April 26; Thunder Bay - April 28; Winnipeg - April 29; Regina - April 30; Edmonton - May 2; Calgary - May 3; Kelowna - May 6; Victoria - May 8; Vancouver - May 9.

Anne Murray is 62 years-old.

Update: : It's official.

Published: 12/03/07 07:10:09 PM
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December 2, 2007

The Mayor's re-election campaign communications co-chair speaks out

In response to Barbara Wamboldt's November 27th Whig opinion piece titled Naming the sports centre: let's call it The Millstone, the Whig published this letter by Sally Barnes on Saturday December 1st.


In a nutshell, Wamboldt says events at the new centre will be unaffordable, it will benefit only downtown residents and Kingstonians won't be willing to brave the winter weather to attend events there.

Oh, c'mon, Barbara. We are Canadians. It will take more than bitter winds off the St. Lawrence river to scare off our adults and kids anxious for the opportunity at last to attend exciting concerts, sporting events and ice shows now available only to those who can afford family trips to Toronto and Ottawa.

Folks in London and other medium-sized cities competently plan, finance, manage and benefit from their downtown sports and entertainment centres. Why not us? Let's show some faith in our civic leaders and ourselves.

In addition to this blatant wishful thinking and revisionist history (see also here), it's notable that Sally Barnes was communications co-chair of the 2006 Harvey Rosen re-election campaign.

The pretense of non-partisan insight in Ms Barnes' letter is notable.

Many may not agree with her views, but at least Ms Barnes has contributed towards what she believes, which is more than can be said for most of this long list of so-called "Friends of the Entertainment Centre".

A pointed observation might be: Ms Wambolt was merely saying what is increasingly obvious to everyone. Ms Barnes is well-advised to remember that we'll soon know exactly how the LVEC performs, financially or otherwise.

When that time comes, we'll surely recall who was glibly shooting-the-messenger here.

Published: 12/02/07 03:43:21 PM
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November 29, 2007

Sault's Steelback Centre -- Steelback Breweries in bankruptcy protection

There's concern in Sault-Ste Marie about the ongoing naming rights to the Sault's $25M Steelback Centre as Steelback faces a 'liquidity crisis'.

That $135,000 per anum 10-year naming rights deal started just 13 months ago.

Published: 11/29/07 11:33:05 AM
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November 27, 2007

In The Whig Monday: Welcome to Kingston's new LVEC, The Millstone

There's an interesting opinion column by Barbara Wambolt in today's Whig Standard.

Welcome to Kingston's new large-venue entertainment centre, The Millstone.

Sounds good, eh? It's time we called a spade a spade and accepted what we've all known and feared all along: that the downtown sports and entertainment centre is becoming a burdensome responsibility. Will its costs eventually be heaped on the backs of lowly taxpayers who probably won't be able to afford to attend events there, even if they were willing to freeze their arses off in winter while they walked the the facility from God knows where they finally found a place to park?

Published: 11/27/07 02:01:33 PM
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November 24, 2007

Frontenacs season tickets: how bad could it be?

There is a telling small photo in a recent Kingston Frontenacs press release. Here it is the photo, blown-up somewhat in size.

The press release vaunts the Kingston Frontenacs LVEC seat selection for current season-ticket holders.

Each one of those dark spots is a seat taken by an existing season ticket holder. We know from the numbers on this diagram that each LVEC seating section contains between 270 and 370 seats.

Therefore we're looking at a thousand or fewer season-tickets carried forward to the LVEC from the existing Kingston Frontenacs season-ticket holders.

Consider that the cost of this seat-selection was zero -- these seats are for the last seven regular-season games and, given current trends, probably zero playoff games, for which current season-ticket holders have already paid. The selection of seats gives rights to these specific seats for 2008-2009 and beyond, but the incremental cost of these rights was zero at the time of seat-selection.

The KCAL grapevine at the Memorial Centre is very clear on this: a significant number of current season-ticket holders say they will not be renewing for 2008-2009 and beyond.

All told, this is quite a ridiculous underachievement by the Kingston Frontenacs. What's worse: taxpayers of Kingston are holding the bag on a 30-year deal with this chronically underachieving outfit.

Published: 11/24/07 10:49:37 AM
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November 23, 2007

Blue Rodeo, February 27th 2008, at the Kingston "Entertainment Centre"

The Blue Rodeo website indicates that the band will be playing at Kingston's "Entertainment Centre" on Wednesday February 27th.

Golly! The two-car tsunami of Kingstonians who would travel out-of-town to see Blue Rodeo now won't have to.

The schedule shows Blue Rodeo playing in in Cornwall on Friday, February 8th, and in Kitchener's 50+ year-old Memorial-Cup-2008-hosting auditorium on Thursday, February 9th. They are also playing in Belleville (date TBA).

Tickets on this hockey-bowl tour are typically in the $40-$50 range, and most of those receipts will be leaving town on the tour bus.

Judging from the venues where Blue Rodeo is playing, the Memorial Centre is where they would happily be playing if the LVEC wasn't there. This won't stop Kingston's self-congratulating LVEC-philes from back-slapping each other in toasting the great achievement that is attracting Blue Rodeo to Kingston to play in the arena's opening week.

Another act with a Kingston date so-far is the Harlem Globetrotters on Tuesday April 1, 2008 at 7pm. Presumably the Globetrotters travel with their own floor because the LVEC hasn't got a basketball floor and, even if it did, there would be no place to store it. Tickets for the Globetrotters in Ottawa on April 2nd are $17 to $96, and in London (April 5th) are $25 to $91. The Globetrotters routinely played at the Memorial Centre in the past, so this isn't an act the LVEC is attracting to town and, again, nearly the full gate leaves town on the bus with the team.

Don't hold your breath

Teen pop star Avril Lavinge, originally from Napanee, plays in Buffalo NY on March 29th, The Bell Centre in Montreal on April 2nd, Scotia Bank Place in Ottawa Apr 3rd, the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on April 7th, and the John Labatt Centre in London on on April 9th. Kingston's just not in this league, but if there is an LVEC stop, it'll be between April 4th and 6th.

The Foo Fighters, who play in Montreal on March 17th, Ottawa on March 19th, London on March 20th, and Toronto on March 25th, certainly won't be stopping here.

Monster Jam Trucks, in London on March 8th, won't be coming here. Some local wankers promised that Monster Trucks would come, but the awful logistics at the LVEC means that just isn't going to happen. If it ever does, it will be the only time.

Published: 11/23/07 07:43:16 PM
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November 22, 2007

Whig: No new taxes for arena: city

On Tuesday The Whig ran this article about how the fundraising shortfall would mean "no new taxes", but the public purse -- in the form of reserves -- remains fungible to cover the LVEC's underachievements.

The article also mentions the possible raiding of a new Federal program for projects of "significant economic or regional impact", as if there wasn't already a long list of far better-suited and deserving needs in and around Kingston.

Evidently City Staff isn't much concerned with those. Amalgamated Kingston be damned, it's apparently still all about subsidizing downtown land owners and others who, in the scheme of things, are the least deserving of taxpayer subsidies.

So far the LVEC has scammed $4 Million from the province under the guise of "health promotion", $3M in development charges previously earmarked for increasing Kingston's woefully inadequate recreational square footage and now, apparently, seeking still more under the pretense of "economic development".

Hands-up if you think this had better stop, and soon.

Published: 11/22/07 12:26:34 PM
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November 19, 2007

The Whig: Arena campaign off stride: report

The Whig Standard apparently needs a report from City Hall before publishing anything related to the scandalously underachieving LVEC fundraising campaign.

Ditto for CKWS-TV News.

Published: 11/19/07 10:57:55 PM
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November 15, 2007

Following Segsworth

Here's what's transpired in the past week:

Here's what's really interesting about all this: None of our local media have chosen to tie Mr Segsworth to the LVEC boondoggle in any way, even obliquely. On the other hand, all media tied Mr Segsworth to the Market Square disgrace, which saw its perpetual renaming to "Springer Market Square", bought by the Springer family for less than one-sixth the cost of one single renovation.

Apparently Mark Segsworth is getting a free-pass out of town, despite being the overseer of both the City's Transportation and Engineering departments during the entire LVEC fiasco.

Published: 11/15/07 11:30:13 PM
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November 7, 2007

Rough sledding at The Partners in Mission Food Bank

In The Whig today: The Partners in Mission Food Bank is in tough.

One reason: competition for donations, which includes competition from LVEC fundraising.

Hands up, those who didn't see this coming.

Published: 11/07/07 06:35:45 PM
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November 3, 2007

No Report from Rosen about LVEC fundraising on Tuesday's Council's agenda

The agenda for the Tuesday November 6th Council Meeting is now online and there's nothing LVEC-related on it.

Recall that, at the last Council meeting, Councillor Schmolka asked the Mayor for an update on LVEC fundrasing. The Mayor replied that he, in his capacity as fundraising campaign chair, would have a report for Council this week.


Meanwhile, everybody knows that $2M LVEC fundraising drive is, so far, an embarrassing disaster for the Mayor.

Published: 11/03/07 02:06:25 PM
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November 2, 2007

Bruce Todd has major issues with the process and findings for proposed intersection at Place D'Armes and Ontario Street

Bruce Todd has written seven letters to City Councillors and senior City staff about the traffic issues around the LVEC. This arises from the October 30, 2007 public meeting which, by all accounts, was a total embarassment. The meeting featured presentation by firm of Totten Sims Hubicki (TSH) about the Place D'Armes / Ontario Street intersection.

In letter #1 titled Peer Review, he wonders how a motion of Council calling for a completely independent peer review about traffic in the area of the LVEC turned into a report from a non-independent consultant (Totten Sims Hubicki) about just one intersection.

In letter #2 titled Availability of information prior to a Public Meeting, he points out the complete lack of information made available prior to the October 30th 2007 public meeting, and the lack of information available at the public meeting itself.

In letter #3 titled Telling the Public Why the Intersection has to be Reconstructed and Signalized, he bemoans that the public was never told WHY the intersection needs to be completely re-designed and rebuilt, what the costs were, what ancilliary impacts would be, and almost no information about options.

In letter #4 titled A conflict of Philosophies, Mr Todd points out the incoherence between policy and what the city proposes to do here.

Letter #5 titled Baffled by Words raises questions about how evaluation criteria were established, and why one percent of the intersections users are apparently driving the decisions about its design.

In letter #6 titled Road Reconstruction/Rehabilitation, he asks why traffic "moves" that weren't hitherto required are now proposed, and why expenditures on roadbuilding is occuring years before development has been agreed upon. He also points out that the citizens have been sold a bill-of-goods with a concept called "dispersed parking", which is a term undefined and unaccepted in the traffic engineering world. If you search for "dispersed parking" in Google, we see that the City of Kingston continues to own the top spot, having invented this notion, practically out of the blue, in the justification of the LVEC's location.

In letter #7 titled Impacts of Various Traffic Scenarios, it's clear that the consultants are making traffic recommendations while ignoring effects on both upstream and downstream traffic flows.

In closing, Bruce Todd states:

I am asking councillors to get us back on track and demand a peer review of the IBI Transportation Study in every aspect.

About that, see Bruce Todd's final evaluation and summary of the IBI Transportation Study, which have been known for over a year, in which Mr Todd concludes:

In summary, IBI has unprofessionally wriggled its way around addressing any problems with this project. IBI is proposing a parking scenario that is clearly in uncharted waters. And the city and the taxpayers are left to resolve their own problems.

It appears that The City of Kingston has now procurred for itself three embarassing traffic reports. What's worse is we're not being shown anything from the third one, by the firm of Totten Sims Hubicki.

Published: 11/02/07 08:45:16 PM
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October 31, 2007

The Best Question of the Evening

The fallout from last night's so-called "public meeting" on the Ontario Street/Place D'Armes intersection, adjacent to the LVEC, begins with this from the WestSport blog: The Best Question of the Evening.

"After hearing comments and concerns from people at this meeting, and after the report of TSH, is anything going to change? Are you going to do what you planned to do anyway?"

Read the whole thing.

Also, here's The Whig's article: Consultants grilled on arena traffic plan.

Published: 10/31/07 04:38:55 PM
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October 28, 2007

Ontario St. / Place d'Armes Intersection: meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30 in Memorial Hall
Public meeting notice for the intersection adjacent to the Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre (LVEC)

In a move apparently designed to minimize publicity, and minimize public input, the City has scheduled a public meeting on very short notice at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30, in Memorial Hall, City Hall.

This meeting has been delayed before, presumably because the LVEC has created some tricky and embarassing traffic problems downtown generally, and around this intersection in particular.

This is interesting: this "Public Notice" was not placed on City of Kingston Press Releases page, where public meeting announcements are routinely found.

Also this "Public Notice" does not appear in the City of Kingston's RSS feed , where such notices are routinely transmitted to subscribers.

The kicker: there are no drawings, and no documents posted online, about the proposed design of this crucial intersection. There is no way for the public to gauge what's proposed other than to attend the meeting in person, and sit through it.

Does this seem like a genuine overture to the public about this vital piece of Kingston's infrastructure? What does this smell like to you?

Published: 10/28/07 11:20:10 AM
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October 24, 2007

Canadian Employment Law Today: Kingston CEO facing some tough charges in Bill Bishop case.

In the October 22 2007 issue of Canadian Employment Law Today: City executive gets fired after his salary report yields unpopular results. Apparently former City of Kingston HR director Bill Bishop claims that City CEO [sic] Glen Laubenstein didn't react well to a report that didn't fit his world view.

This is old news. Curious that article refers to "CEO".

Published: 10/24/07 12:28:29 PM
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An excellent post on the Limestoned blog: Got Coach?

From the Limestoned blog: Got Coach?

The organization fired Cassidy while on a northern road trip where they were beaten Sunday night by the league leading Sault 'Hounds before heading to Sudbury tonight to play the bottom feeding Wolves. Not that the Fronts are much higher on the food chain, but the interm coach stands a better chance to win his first game behind the bench against the last place team rather than the first place team.

Read the whole thing.

As it turns out, Kingston lost 4-0 in Sudbury.

Update : Here's related a post blog named "Out Of Left Field": FRONTS: MAVETY, SPRINGER THROW A NECKTIE PARTY FOR CASSIDY.

The Frontenacs have some nice players, but they are 12 games in and haven't won a game in regulation time. They are dead last in all of Canadian major junior hockey in goals scored and in goals allowed.

Read the whole thing; there's more, it's hilarious.

Published: 10/24/07 11:12:06 AM
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October 21, 2007

EllisDon in contravention of the noise by-Law in Kingston

From the Westsport blog: Contravention of the Noise by-Law in Kingston.

Noisy construction on the LVEC at early hours on Sunday mornings has been happening for quite some time. EllisDon don't have a bylaw exemption from Council for this, and City staff have done squat following numerous complaints about it.

Add this to the growing list of things for which Glen Laubenstein, Cynthia Beach, Lanie Hurdle, and many others deserve to be held accountable.

Published: 10/21/07 04:08:02 PM
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October 18, 2007

The Whig still not getting it

A brief LVEC-related item in today's Kingston Whig Standard illustrates what we've been up against since April 2004 when the LVEC saga began.

Fundraising for the sports and entertainment centre is just over a third of the way to its $2-million goal.

The $46.5-million project requires the money as part of its business plan.

According to the city's website, as of Oct. 15 the fundraising total stood at $630,072.43.

Evidently Whig Editors don't work on LVEC-related items. $630,072.43 is not "just over a third" of $2-million.

When it comes to the LVEC, The Whig has always been about overstating the positives, minimizing or omitting the negatives, to the point of apparent misrepresentation.

Published: 10/18/07 08:51:44 PM
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October 13, 2007

September LVEC project status report on Tuesday's Council agenda
Another illegible LVEC project schedule

There are several illegible or indistinguishable elements in the latest published schedule.

On Tuesday evening Council will receive the September 2007 LVEC Project Status Report from City Staff.

As usual, the report is in black and white, and buried with other documents in a PDF file with no table of contents. Note that this package is improperly collated: The report starts on page 39, but the report's introductory pages begin on page 89, with two unrelated documents in between.

A table of contents for these.PDF reports would not only be very useful for readers, it would also prevent collation sloppiness like this, which is a chronic problem: see here, here, and here.

The report includes 16 pages of detailed project schedule dated September 27th, 2007. At least Staff's submissions of six-week old project schedules seems to have improved somewhat; this one is only three weeks out of date.

Why does staff persist in submitting reports with formatting wholly unsuitable for black and white presentation? Maybe they really don't want people reading too closely? See also here.

In several places the report states:

Some activities are on schedule. Some construction activities behind schedule could have an impact on the critical path.

The unreadability of several critical elements of the published schedule sheds no light whatsoever on that.

Apparently on September 30th 2007, the project had received $619,672 in donations and pledges. Yet today, on October 14th 2007, two weeks later, the City's Latest Campaign Donors List shows only $618,937.50 in donations and pledges. Has the fundraising campaign gone $735 backwards over the past two weeks?

Let the record show that, four months before the LVEC's scheduled February 22 2008 opening, this City Staff report, like others before it, convey the distinct impression that everything is hunky dory with LVEC project finances. There is no expression of concern about the $2M fundraising campaign which looks to be falling absurdly short at this juncture.

Published: 10/13/07 12:38:50 PM
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October 12, 2007

Combined LVEC calendars of Mississauga, Oshawa, Guelph, and Sault Ste-Marie for Q4 2007
You are looking at the combined published calendars for October, November, and December 2007 for LVECs in Mississauga, Oshawa, Guelph, and Sault Ste-Marie.

Four comparable buildings to Kingston's LVEC, over a full three months. We've circled the non-OHL hockey events to get a sense of what else these buildings draw.

You are looking at just 23 planned non-hockey events into a possible 368 event-days. This includes:

Not exactly the stuff of 2,500 to 5,000-ticket juicy box office receipts like we've been told to expect here in Kingston.

The LVEC Business Plan assumes 97 events per year, 41 of which (including a wildly improbable 4 home-playoff games per year) are assumed to be Kingston Frontenac events.

Of the 56 remaining expected events, 11 are assumed to come from other hockey-related events and tournaments, and the 45 remaining events are assumed to be "Concerts", "Family Shows", and "Other Events" drawing, on average, between 2,500 and 5,000 people each.

In other words: roughly 12-15 big-revenue-generating non-hockey events per non-summer quarter.

Not bloody likely. That is roughly equivalent to the current performance of Mississauga's Hershey Centre and Oshawa's General Motors Centre COMBINED in a year that Mississauga hosts BMO Skate Canada (5 days) and Oshawa's schedule is padded with a Craft Fair (3 days) and other events that, clearly, we would host in The Grand Theatre.

See also: Combined LVEC calendars of Mississauga, Oshawa, Guelph, and Sault Ste-Marie for Q3 2007.

Published: 10/12/07 06:05:58 AM
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October 11, 2007

Recent LVEC-related posts on the WestSport blog

There are two recent LVEC-related posts over on the WestSport blog:

Related to this: nobody can say they weren't warned.

Published: 10/11/07 11:05:58 AM
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October 10, 2007

For the record: Ken Wong is "already there"

Last week the Whig Standard ran this ad for the LVEC fundraising campaign, part of a series in which Kingstonians who have donated briefly state why, and encourage others to do likewise.

According to Ken Wong,

It (the LVEC) enhances our ability to do so many things -- culturally, economically and socially. It can be a huge driver of our future.


Ken Wong has been a notable drum-beater for the LVEC. Here is a retrospective of Ken Wong's published views on the matter, with links to others' comments related to those views. Judge for yourself.

Ken Wong prior to the LVEC (prior to 2004)

Background: Prior to 2004 there was, among other things, a proposal by a firm named Kingston 2000 Developments Ltd to build a $200M arena and hotel on Block D.

Ken Wong in the LVEC-on-Anglin-Bay era (March 2004 - September 20 2005)

Background: The original LVEC plan showed it as occupying the Kingston Marina site on Kingston's Inner Harbour. This would have meant the relocation, at considerable expense, of MetalCraft Marine and its 70 employees, a locally-owned and internationally-respected builder of Fire, Rescue, Patrol and Work boats. Ken Wong was a member of the Task Force responsible for this idea.

Ken Wong in the LVEC-on-the-North-Block era (September 20 2005 - Present)

Background: When swing-councillor support for the LVEC's Anglin Bay location collapsed on September 20th 2005, LVEC promoters immediately concocted a back-room deal to move the project to the North Block, as if the waterfront location was the project's only notable dodgy aspect.

Two things are also evident:

  1. So far the marketing of the LVEC project has been an abject failure. Marketing is supposed to be Ken Wong's area of expertise.
  2. The lack of strong support from the Kingston business community towards the $2M LVEC fundraising campaign is extremely dissapointing.

What if Mr Wong's wishful predictions don't come to pass? What if annual taxpayer subsidies in the six- or seven-figure dollar range are required to keep the LVEC afloat, like has happened in London and Guelph and elsewhere? Consider also that the LVEC does not solve the Memorial Centre problem, which along with its annual taxpayer-financed six-figure dollar costs, remains with us.

So far most of the great things that were promised by arena promoters, like local benefits from construction jobs and "silent majority" support (also here and elsewhere), have not come to pass.

Published: 10/10/07 04:13:24 PM
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October 6, 2007

City: Public Meeting On Traffic Signals Has Been Postponed

Released Friday, Oct 5th:

A public meeting about the signalization of the Ontario St./Place d'Armes intersection originally set for this Tuesday, Oct. 9 (to start at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Hall at City Hall) has been postponed until further notice.


"Given the sensitivity of this area, we are being exceptionally conservative and cautious moving forward," says Malcolm Morris, Director of Transportation.

Possible translation: The LVEC's traffic and accessibility story is REALLY a mess.

Nobody can say they weren't warned.

When do you think was the time to be "conservative and cautious moving forward"?

Published: 10/06/07 01:31:15 PM
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October 4, 2007

For the record: Julia Kempffer is "already there"

Early last week the Whig Standard ran this ad for the LVEC fundraising campaign.

Writing teacher Julia Kempffer is looking forward to a world-class venue for large international classical and instrumental performances.

If we look at the full list of events hosted by the 10,000-seat John Labatt Centre in London since 2003, and the thin event histories of other OHL venues much closer in size to Kingston's LVEC, this donor is likely to be very disappointed.

Evidently hockey bowls aren't places where "large international classical and instrumental performances" are typically hosted.

There's more:

And she is delighted that it will also be accessible to patrons with special mobility needs.

Many people, it seems, are unaware of the the LVEC's accessibility disgrace.

What do you think of the rectitude of LVEC project management and The Whig who print and perpetuate these apparent misconceptions?

Published: 10/04/07 09:40:17 AM
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Ed Smith: you be the judge

According to an article in Today's Whig, Councillor Ed Smith apparently said this at last Tuesday's Council meeting:

Councillor Ed Smith said he didn't see anything that should prevent Homestead from receiving the exemption. He added that the company has made several donations to local projects and is a supporter of the city. Approving the exemption would send a message to the company and to other developers, Smith said.

"One of the things we have a reputation for in this city is not being very business-friendly," he said.

Ed Smith must believe we're all stupid.

Published: 10/04/07 09:01:57 AM
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October 3, 2007

Empire Life steps up for $50,000 towards the LVEC

Insurance Company Donates $50,000 To The Fundraising Campaign.

Great! Now we just need just 27 more like Empire Life and LVEC fundraising will reach its meagre $2M target.

Some would say that compared to $150,000 per year that naming rights are expected to fetch, Empire Life, a candidate for that level of LVEC support, disappoints greatly here.

Empire Life is one of the luxury suite holders.

Published: 10/03/07 03:43:23 PM
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Three LVEC-related articles in Tuesday's Whig

Three LVEC-related articles appeared in yesterday's Whig.

  1. A tangled federal funding trail -- Letters capture mayor's attempts to obtain money for arena from Ottawa, by Jordan Press, outlines Mayor Rosen's ongoing failure to sell the LVEC to the Federal Government for funds. Note how the LVEC is apparently being touted as a "recreation" asset, which requires the suspension of disbelief considering Kingston's real recreation infrastructure deficit, nevermind our general infrastructure backlog.

    Question: If most Kingstonians believe the LVEC is a boondoggle, why wouldn't the Federal Government be aware also?

    See what other communities are doing infrastructure-wise with their Federal funds from the same program. It would be a shame if Kingston didn't get more funding for real infrastructure because the Mayor and staff were apparently busy trying to save face on the LVEC's finances at the expense of other worthy projects that might benefit all Kingstonians.

  2. It's all business at seminar about the October 10th Chamber of Commerce LVEC business seminar.

  3. Tempers flare at debate about how the LVEC came up among local provincial candidates in a public debate.

    Liberal candidate John Gerretsen and New Democrat candidate Rick Downes clashed several times over a series of accusations Downes has levelled at Gerretsen throughout the campaign.

    Downes, as he's done several times during the last few weeks, blamed Gerretsen for allowing Kingston city councillors to spend money earmarked for roads and bridges, like the third crossing, on the downtown arena.

    An angry Gerretsen interrupted Downes, who had the floor, saying, "Not true, not true, not true. Get your facts straight." He was reprimanded by the moderator.

    Downes retorted, "I can understand why the sitting member is so sensitive about the issue."


Published: 10/03/07 09:28:46 AM
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October 1, 2007

The Kingston Frontenacs: not the genuine article

Remember this, from June 17th? Frontenacs "Season Tickets Sales UP 41% from this time last year" !

Here's how that's actually playing-out so far:

Kingston Frontenacs
attendance after
3 home games

These numbers are tickets distributed or sold. KCAL members attending these Frontenacs games report that the actual turnstile count appears to be much, much lower than the 6,017 being reported for the first three games of 2007-2008.

So, how much do you trust the people who own and run the Kingston Frontenacs?

At the urging of our stellar municipal staff, the City of Kingston signed a 30-year LVEC deal with this chronically underachieving outfit.



Published: 10/01/07 12:00:40 AM
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September 27, 2007

How pathetic are LVEC project communications?

The following notice has been circulating by email only. There is not yet any notice of this on the City of Kingston website

From: Leonore Foster
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 10:01 AM
Subject: Public Meeting Ontario Street/Place D'Armes intersection

Dear Resident:

Public Meeting on the Ontario Street/Place D'Armes intersection

7.00pm, Tuesday, October 9

Memorial Hall at City Hall

The firm of Totten Sims Hubicki (TSH) were hired to conduct a peer review of the new design of the intersection at Ontario Street and Place D'Armes.. Representatives of TSH will be present at the public meeting to provide a description of their work and findings. A question and answer session will follow their presentation. The Ontario Street/Place D'Armes intersection is slated for full reconstruction in the spring of 2008. In the meantime, a temporary right-turn lane will be constructed to enable eastbound traffic on Place D'Armes to turn southbound to Ontario Street.

Please attend this meeting to hear what the consultants have to say, to ask your questions and to express your point of view.

(As a reminder, Place D'Armes is slated to re-open on September 28 and the underground utility work that is currently underway is expected to be completed by mid-October.)

Please let your neighbours know as I may not have their email address.


It's quaint that those on Leonore Foster's email list are the only ones in-the-know about that.

Another example: Where do you suppose you'd find out about upcoming LVEC-related traffic chaos? From the City of Kingston? You would be wrong.

To get the skinny on the traffic hell to come, you'll need to go to the Downtown Kingston BIA website's Entertainment Centre page:

Update on Street Construction - As of September 10, 2007

Here is a list of work being done on the streets surrounding the KRSEC:

  • Underground intersection signalization works at Barrack and Ontario - Sept. 10-17 (no significant traffic interruption)
  • Watermain construction on King St. from Queen to Barrack - Sept. 10 - 21 (no road closure, but reduced lane widths with flaging)
  • Underground intersection signalization works at King and Barrack - Sept. 17-24 (no significant traffic interruption)
  • Underground electrical works Place D'Armes from Ontario to King - Sept. 17-28 (Place D'Armes closed in this area)
  • Underground signalization and lighting works on Barrack from King to Ontario - Sept. 24 - Oct. 1 (reduced traffic volume)
  • Utilities Kingston Cable pulling operations on Barrack and King various locations - Oct. 1 - Nov. 30 (minor traffic disruptions)
  • Watermain and gasmain construction on Ontario from Place D'Armes to Queen - Oct. 1. - Nov. 15 (closure to all south bound traffic, detour up Place D'Armes to Wellington to Queen to Ontario, North bound unaffected)
  • Road works at the corner of Place D'Armes and Ontario Oct 1-5 or Nov. 5-10
  • Sidewalk on west side of King from Barrack to Place D'Armes and Sidewalk & Lay-by lane on Barrack from King to Ontario - Oct. 15 - Nov. 12 (closure of Barrack and continued closure of King)

Spring 2008 - resurfacing of the roads will be completed on:

  • Barrack from Ontario to Wellington
  • Place D'Armes from Ontario to Wellington
  • King St from Queen to Place D'Armes (possible base asphalt this fall)

What do you think of Lanie Hurdle's LVEC Updates now?

Also: how much of the above work do you think is being charged to the LVEC? Answer: nobody knows, because with this project the developer is the regulator and proper, transparent accounting apparently hasn't been happening. Not yet.

Published: 09/27/07 10:25:00 PM
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September 20, 2007

Don Curtis: Mr Happy

Here's Don Curtis' latest admonition in Kingston This Week.

According to Mr Curtis, all we need to make boondoggles vanish is pretend they aren't there. All we need to reap fabulous benefits from the LVEC is be optimistic, and trust that providence will be kind. Presumably the downtown land owners will share the wealth with the taxpayers of amalgamated Kingston, who are financing the whole arena deal, and shouldering all the risks alone.

Once again, Mr Curtis does not disclose to the reader his ongoing relationship with The City, which is through KEDCO. KEDCO, you will recall, was apparently used as a tool to sell the LVEC to the prior Council. Selling an arena to Councillors and taxpayers, as opposed to selling Kingston to outside business investors.

More on Don Curtis here, here, here, and here.

Published: 09/20/07 08:30:28 PM
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September 19, 2007

LVEC likely too small for the Kingston and District Sports Hall of Fame

Front page, above the fold, in The Whig today: New quarters cosy for hall of fame; In six years, attraction could run out of room.

What, the LVEC soon won't have enough space for the 'Hall exhibit? What a surprise!

According to the article, the Kingston and District Sports Hall of Fame will, regardless, still require space in the Memorial Centre for storage once the LVEC opens.

There is a place where the Kingston and District Sports Hall of Fame can expand, and that's online. The 'Hall doesn't have a website that we could find and, so far, nobody has even bothered to create a Wikipedia article about it.

Which begs the question: just what, exactly, is the 'Hall doing for Kingston's sports heritage, and for whom?

Published: 09/19/07 11:27:55 AM
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September 18, 2007

From the 'Chamber: Doing business with the LVEC

From the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce, this event on Wednesday, October 10, 2007, between 8:30 and 2:00 at the Confederation Place Hotel, you can learn from the "experts" how you can leverage the Kingston Regional Sports & Entertainment Centre and its events for maximum exposure of your business.

Here's the event flyer in PDF format. The program, which carries a $75 registration fee, looks like this:

8:30-9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:05 Welcome and Introductions
9:05-9:45 The Essence of a Successful Sponsorship - Ken Wong, Queen's School of Business.
9:45-10:25 The London Experience - Guest Speaker from London to talk about the success of the John Labatt Centre.
10:25-10:40 Break.
10:40-11:00 Using the Kingston Regional Sports & Entertainment Centre and the Kingston Frontenacs as Sales Tools - Neil Shorthouse, Arcturus SMG; Jeff Stilwell, Kingston Frontenacs.
11:00-11:45 Partnering with the Local Media to Leverage your Promotion - Panel discussion with local media.
11:45-12:30 Expert Panel Discussion on the Value of Locally-Based Sponsorships.
12:30-1:00 Buffet Lunch.
1:00-2:00 Special Value-added Session extra $50 - Consultation time with presenters.

Event proceeds will go towards the LVEC fundraising campaign.

The feature speaker is Ken Wong, who will endeavour to sell the LVEC to local businessmen who don't appear to be behind the LVEC in a meaningful way. It would appear that most of the "Founding Members" of the long-defunct "Friends of the Entertainment Centre" are shunning the LVEC as shown by their failure to come up with significant contributions for the fundraising campaign.

It is probable that the hefty multi-million dollar annual taxpayer subsidy required to keep the "successful" John Labatt Centre afloat (see also here) will not be mentioned by the guest speaker from London.

The Kingston Frontenacs will tell attendees what they know about marketing. They'll have help from Arcturus SMG, who appear to be having trouble booking events for the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. Let's hope they'll do much better in Kingston.

Published: 09/18/07 11:31:23 AM
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September 16, 2007

LVEC item on Tuesday's Council agenda -- seating

There is a very interesting LVEC-related item in Report No. 95 of the CAO, which is on Tuesday's Council agenda.

Keep in mind that there isn't a single diagram adorning the item. The diagram below is by KCAL.

Also keep in mind that this is presented as a "done deal"; no alternatives are presented. Nonetheless, council is being asked to approve this.

It starts with an apparently intractable problem:

In reviewing the seating layout, EllisDon identified some structural challenges which would impact the retractable seats. The seats in question, should they be installed, would not fully retract under the current risers. These retractable seats were included in the scope of the facility to accommodate stage set up for concerts. In order to be valuable from an operational point of view, the seats need to be fully retractable. There are currently 118 retractable seats which will only retract on about two rows of seats.

Translation: "Probably due to an embarassing design screw-up, or lack of time to properly re-design this, or lack of space backstage in the LVEC, or some combination of these reasons, sections we thought would be rectractable, won't be!".

This project has been so opaque, with diagrams and drawings so sparse, that we must turn to the Kingston Frontenacs website for a year-old (ancient) seating diagram to make some sense of what City Staff is talking about.

In that diagram, we find some seating sections with markings that may indicate seat retractability. Those sections are outlined in red below.

Planned retractable seating in the Kingston, Ontario LVEC

This might explain why, this late in the game, Council and the public hasn't been officially shown any seating diagrams.

We suspect that this issue has been known for quite some time, but it's been easily hushed-up because this Council is a pushover and the LVEC project has little effective Council oversight.

There's more.

Based on discussions with Arcturus/SMG, it was suggested that in order to make a better immediate use of the facility and its capacity, all retractable seats should be removed and that the space could be used as a premium zone. This zone could increase advertising revenues and provide for some prime viewing positions which could include high top tables and chairs.

Team Canada hockey fans have seen this in TV broadcasts from Europe: large areas close behind the boards where they park Skoda automobiles. One reason is they have lots of empty seats anyway, so they can place a car promotion in an otherwise premium section without losing much ticket revenue. The Kingston Frontenacs, who've sold-out just one game in the past six years, are understandably fine with the idea.

Back to this done-deal: remember the roughing-in of the 1,000 extra seats that Council approved on July 10th? Arcturus and staff is telling us that the retractable seating system that will dissapear should be used as a "credit", and the value of that be used to fill some or all of the empty risers that the 1,000-seat rough-in creates.

The net effect is more seats in the LVEC for opening day, and the apparent burial of an embarassing engineering problem, all without undue delay of the building's progress towards its bogus deadline.

No other options are proposed.

The report doesn't even tell us if the LVEC will ultimately ever be able to hold a full 6,000 seats, as was originally promised. Without the retractable seating system, the answer appears to be "not without adversely affecting the flexibility and functionality of the venue".

Why is ultimate seating capacity not mentioned in the report? This angle should be vigorously explored by Council; somebody probably deserves a haircut for this omission.

Another question might be: what did senior staff know when the 1,000-seat rough-in was proposed to Council?

Published: 09/16/07 12:33:23 AM
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September 12, 2007

Another "LVEC update" from the City

The Issue #9, September 6, 2007 Update on the LVEC has been posted on the City website. It's a 3-page PDF with no diagrams.

There's no mention of the $527,000 high-definition scoreboard, a story which ran in The Whig on Saturday, September 1st, 2007.

There's no mention that construction activities now include Sundays and holidays.

There's no mention of imminent traffic tie-ups due to construction.

A full quarter of the report deals with odd minutia of interior acoustics.

There's no mention at all of anything related to surrounding work, such as this City of Kingston Tender which is due today (September 12th) for "Construction and Reconstruction of Concrete Sidewalks and Lay-by Lane at King and Barrack Streets", for over 1000m2 of exterior surface work. Not a single damn drawing of that.

The city has applied for $8 million in Federal funding for the LVEC under an existing program named the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund. See what other communities are doing infrastructure-wise with their piece of CSIF. That's not to be confused with COMRIF, the Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, for which the LVEC project was nowhere near appropriate.

Fundraising seems currently stalled at between 25 and 30% of target.

About LVEC fundraising, in practical giving terms the $1.44M shortfall represents 28 more Bill Daltons, or 56 more Walter Fenlons, or at least 288 more rock star Rob Bakers. Oh by the way: going head-to-head with the United Way campaign which just launched.

Published: 09/12/07 01:51:36 AM
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August 24, 2007

Hershey Centre hosts Skate Canada events

Arcturus SMG, the firm that will manage Kingston's LVEC, also manages Mississauga's Hershey Centre.

Last week this news: Hershey Centre hosts Skate Canada events, which will take place on December 5-9 2007. Some 500 of Canada's best skaters are expected to try and qualify for the 2008 BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships (January 16-20, 2008 in Vancouver) and the 2008 BMO Skate Canada Junior Nationals (January 30-February 2, 2008 in Ottawa).

It's good that Mississauga's facility is able to attract and stage this sort of middle-tier sporting event.

The Hershey Centre:

It sounds like a very useful and functional facility, one with lots of future upsides, doesn't it?

How does Kingston's "vision", and the Mayor's sycophants who pine about it, look now? The dysfunctional LVEC has one pad, so no warmup rink, so no chance whatsoever of landing an event like this.

More on the indoor arenas of Mississauga, a city of 700,000.

Published: 08/24/07 12:58:25 AM
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August 22, 2007

Beware of chatter about "Vision" and "Visionaries"

One of the great things with the recent Google Maps imagery upgrade of the Kingston region is you can easily zoom-in fairly close to many features like, for example, the Memorial Centre and the LVEC site at exactly the same scale. Like this:

We've placed shapes enclosing the two buildings. For the LVEC, we've used one of the available drawings to roughly position and scale it correctly on its undersized lot.

Here's what we get when we superimpose the resulting shapes.

One conclusion is immediately evident: Anyone who thinks the LVEC is a much larger and more functional facility than the Memorial Centre is in for a rude awakening.

The LVEC isn't, in fact, much bigger than the Memorial Centre. The LVEC occupies a minimally larger surface, but inside it must house a bigger bowl, plus luxury suites, more washroom space, more concession space and storage, a sit-down restaurant, and more space for the exclusive use of the Kingston Frontenacs. Moreover its curved outside wall severely limits the functionality of a large portion of the building. All aspects of the LVEC's accessibility and logistics are atrocious in comparison to the Memorial Centre.

We've been reading quite a lot recently about the "vision" thing. Yesterday in The Whig, for example, David Morris had a piece published titled Principles without vision. Read the whole thing; it's funny.

When the LVEC saga finally plays out, it may become evident that it's the wrong building, in the wrong place, a significant drain on the city as opposed to a magical motor of economic development, financed and paid-for by all the wrong people.

History will no doubt properly judge the so-called "visionairies", and those who today tout them. Meanwhile what we're reading is nothing but wishful thinking and a denial of all the evidence that indicates that the LVEC may become an embarassing money-losing white elephant.

Published: 08/22/07 11:25:57 AM
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August 21, 2007

Tony Houghton, again: "Kingston is an exciting place, thanks to the previous council"

"Kingston is an exciting place, thanks to the previous council", says Tony Houghton, again.

Apparently, if Tony Houghton is to be believed, the LVEC is "bound to be a success".

Our collection of Tony Houghton's pro-LVEC pronouncements continues to expand. Here it is:

Tony Houghton has said quite a lot about the LVEC in the pages of The Whig.

However we don't see Mr Houghton's name, and many others', in the list of donors to the LVEC, nearly four months into the fundraising campaign.

When, or if, Tony Houghton finally contributes it won't be enough.

Published: 08/21/07 07:18:39 PM
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Whig Editorial twice calls the LVEC an "arena and convention centre"

This is funny: In an editorial about uncertainty surrounding the Modern Fuel art gallery, The Whig today twice calls the LVEC a "convention centre".

The question facing Modern Fuel and city hall is whether the gallery will still "fit" the neighbourhood once the $46.1-million arena and convention centre is completed.

One wonders what they really do at The Whig.

The LVEC is a hockey bowl, with snack bar counters, washrooms, dressing rooms, a restaurant typical of buildings like this, offices for the Kingston Frontenacs, a ticket office, ice-arena operations space, and not much else. Here's a dated diagram of the LVEC's 100 level and one of the LVEC's 200-level.

Convention centre? Where?

Published: 08/21/07 12:59:47 PM
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August 16, 2007

LVEC to open Feb. 22, 2008

Here's today's City press release stating the Sports And Entertainment Centre To Open Feb. 22, 2008. The report in today's Whig says more: the arena won't be finished, just able to host events.

Even better news: On that night, the Kingston Frontenacs should achieve their second sellout crowd in seven full seasons.

Published: 08/16/07 10:28:48 AM
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