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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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The KCAL News Feed -- March 2007
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March 27, 2007

A glance at 2006-2007 attendance in Oshawa's new GM Centre

DateVisitorArenaAtt
Oct 6, 2006Barrie ColtsOshawa Civic Centre2961
Oct 8, 2006Sault Ste. Marie GreyhoundsOshawa Civic Centre2565
Oct 20, 2006Erie OttersOshawa Civic Centre3029
Oct 22, 2006Ottawa 67'sOshawa Civic Centre2873
Oct 29, 2006Kingston FrontenacsOshawa Civic Centre4012
General Motors Centre opens
DateVisitorArenaAtt
Nov 3, 2006Owen Sound Attack General Motors Centre5500
Nov 5, 2006Belleville Bulls General Motors Centre3683
Nov 12, 2006Peterborough Petes General Motors Centre5003
Nov 17, 2006Barrie Colts General Motors Centre4052
Nov 19, 2006Sudbury Wolves General Motors Centre3593
Nov 26, 2006Sarnia Sting General Motors Centre3824
Nov 27, 2006CAN RUS CHALLENGEGeneral Motors Centre 5655
Dec 2, 2006Ottawa 67's General Motors Centre3468
Dec 3, 2006Kingston FrontenacsGeneral Motors Centre3180
Dec 8, 2006Peterborough Petes General Motors Centre4859
Dec 10, 2006Mississauga IceDogsGeneral Motors Centre3481
Dec 15, 2006Plymouth Whalers General Motors Centre3692
Dec 17, 2006Saginaw Spirit General Motors Centre4341
Dec 29, 2006Brampton Battalion General Motors Centre4776
Jan 1, 2007Sudbury Wolves General Motors Centre5340
Jan 7, 2007Belleville Bulls General Motors Centre4065
Jan 11, 2007London Knights General Motors Centre3641
Jan 14, 2007Peterborough Petes General Motors Centre5610
Jan 19, 2007Windsor Spitfires General Motors Centre5652
Jan 21, 2007Toronto St. Michael's Majors General Motors Centre4409
Jan 28, 2007Peterborough Petes General Motors Centre5789
Feb 2, 2007Brampton Battalion General Motors Centre5046
Feb 4, 2007Kingston Frontenacs General Motors Centre4803
Feb 11, 2007Belleville Bulls General Motors Centre5473
Feb 15, 2007Guelph Storm General Motors Centre4274
Feb 18, 2007Kitchener Rangers General Motors Centre6133 (?)
Mar 4, 2007Ottawa 67's General Motors Centre5747 (?)
Mar 9, 2007Belleville Bulls General Motors Centre5651
Mar 11, 2007Kingston Frontenacs General Motors Centre5405
Mar 14, 2007Toronto St. Michael's Majors General Motors Centre5337
Playoffs
Mar 23, 2007Kingston Frontenacs General Motors Centre4699
Mar 27, 2007Kingston Frontenacs General Motors Centre4676
The Oshawa Generals have been playing in the new 5,500-seat General Motors Centre since November 3 2006.

The reported attendance for the Oshawa Generals plus the OHL vs Russia Challenge game on Nov 27th won 4-3 by the OHL before a reported attendance of 5655, is listed in the table.

Back on December 11 2006, we noted that Oshawa's new building just wasn't drawing in its first 10 matches.

They seem to have turned attendence around, though some of their numbers look dodgy. For example, the report of 6133 in attendence on Feb 18th, and 5747 on March 4th, appear suspect.

Oshawa is playing Kingston in this year's playoffs, and the attendance in Oshawa is reported as 4699 (March 23rd) and 4676 (March 27th). That would be 85% capacity on 5,500 seats.

Anyone watching Frontenacs playoff games on COGECO can plainly see all the empty seats in Oshawa. Apparently Oshawa does what Kingston does: report tickets sold, not the turnstile count, which is typically hundreds less.

These "no-shows" don't factor much in LVEC business plans.

Unless 500 ghosts wander downtown paying for parking and otherwise spending on typical LVEC event nights, taxpayers are on the hook for that, year in, year out.

One thing's not changed since we last looked: Non-hockey events programming in the General Motors Center continues to appear nothing like what's required to finance Kingston's LVEC.

Kingston's taxpayers shoulder ALL of that LVEC risk too, for the next 30 years.

Published: 03/27/07 12:26:46 PM
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March 26, 2007

Here's who's gets the luxury suites in the LVEC

In Saturday's Whig, this list of those who've won rights to luxury suites in Kingston's taxpayer-funded LVEC.

As you might expect, those who will lord-over the unwashed are a who's-who of Rosen-family businesses, overt Harvey Rosen backers, companies who 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 old-media outfits who've been soft-selling the LVEC, to the point of flat-out misrepresenting it to taxpayers in print and on the air.

All these folks will potentially be hob-nobbing together about 100-events per year (or so we're told), largely paid-for with corporate tax breaks on these "business" 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.

In alphabetical order:

1000 Islands Cruises (Same owners as KROCK)
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
KPMG LLP
Len Corcoran Excavating Ltd.
Melo Hotels
RBC WAGG
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: 03/26/07 01:31:16 PM
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March 22, 2007

George Hood shows his colours

George Hood, the man behind the disgraceful sellout of Kingston Market square, whose name was sold to the Springer family in perpetuity for less than one-sixth the cost of one single renovation, is pointing fingers and, apparently, quitting.

Who really killed municipal fundraising in Kingston?

Judge for yourself.

Published: 03/22/07 08:32:50 AM
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March 21, 2007

Bruce Todd sticks it to Leonore Foster

Bruce Todd penned this letter to the Editor of The Whig Standard, and widely copied to others. The Whig chose not to publish it, so here it is.

Where were you, Councillor Foster, when...

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

Councillor Foster's sudden concern for traffic on the Lasalle Causeway is a thinly-veiled farce. The Lasalle Causeway never factored into anything pushed by Councillor Foster in the past, including the LVEC.

Published: 03/21/07 07:18:31 PM
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Whig: Arena's luxury boxes mean luxury parking

A story today in The Whig about the LVEC's perks.

Published: 03/21/07 06:22:02 PM
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March 20, 2007

Two great Whig letters today

In today's Whig were two interesting letters.

Stepping out of the shadow of councils past by Rob Matheson, City councillor for Loyalist-Cataraqui district.

The second letter, from Catherine Ross, says Councillor cant have it both ways about Leonore Foster's curious priorities, and sudden unexpected concern for the Lasalle Causeway, whose traffic congestion never factored when it came to the LVEC.

Published: 03/20/07 07:46:53 PM
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March 18, 2007

LVEC-related Council documents posted

A number of LVEC-related council documents have been posted on the City website in view of the March 20, 2007 Council meeting.

In summary there is much to read and digest here.

Here's more:

Something needs to be acknowledged:

It's hard to overstate the incompetence and sloppiness of the City of Kingston Communications department. The communication between Staff and the public, and between Staff and Council, is in a terrible state. This isn't news; it's been this way for years.

Here's an example: In this week's Council bundle we see, among other things:

  • Pages collated upside down. There is, quite frankly, absolutely no excuse for this.
  • Text in.PDF files that is not "selectable" because the text is scanned and stored in the.PDF as graphics which means that no search will ever find that text. In this day and age, this is unacceptable because it effectively and functionally hides the information. See for example 24-pages of Rates and Fees and large proportions of the 2007 Operating Budget Summary that are effectively forever lost to citizens because electronic searches will never find them.
  • In some cases, perfectly good text has been scanned-into a.PDF file, and an optical character recognition (OCR) step is used to reckon the text from the graphic. Problem is, apparently nobody proof-reads the OCR output. For example, see below how "Confederation Basin" gets mangled to "COnfedBraUon_msln" and, just below that, how "Confed Basin" gets mangled to "Confed &sin". The result? Good luck researching the history of Kingston's crumbling waterfront infrastructure in the Harvey Rosen era.

  • Several unrelated documents collected into the same report, the same.PDF file, with no leading table of contents. How many citizens download Council reports, open them, only to find the first page isn't related to what they thought they were downloading? Considering how much it costs to produce these reports, why isn't a table of contents page provided, with hyperlinks, so users can see
    • what's in the document, and
    • immediately jump to the item they seek.
    • Better yet, why can't each report be in its own file?
  • In those.PDF files, trivial items are collated prior to the multi-million-dollar items. It's odd, isn't it, that LVEC items are commonly shuffled towards the back of Council reports?
Will it take a motion from Council to compel City Staff to provide information that is properly packaged, properly collated, searchable, and fully indexable?
Published: 03/18/07 11:09:51 AM
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March 16, 2007

City Staff's LVEC Newsletter #4 is online

Staff's fourth LVEC Newsletter is online. Dated March 7th 2007, released March 14th, there's nothing in it.

Really, despite being a known issue for years now, project communucations continues to be lame.

Taxpayers haven't seen any revised drawings in months. Detailed drawings of the luxury suite level, from where taxpayers will be lorded-over by the LVEC's proponents, have never been seen.

There is still NOTHING concrete on the City Website about fundrasing, despite months notice of this requrement, and the obvious passing of any surge in interest that may have existed.

Could it be worse? Well, the next round of budget overruns is about due soon. Expect the cost of the proposed expansion to 6,000 seats to be significantly padded so they can cover other areas they'd rather not have to talk about.

That's just a hunch, you understand. We've all seen this movie before.

Published: 03/16/07 11:19:15 AM
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March 14, 2007

Rumour: downtown Food Basics moving to Division and Dalton

This is just a rumour, so beware. Word on the street is the new grocery store that is going to the new "big box" location at Dalton and Division Streets is Food Basics, the one that is presently located downtown adjacent to the LVEC construction site.

If this is true, then most signs indicate that if you thought you'd already seen a citizen's revolt over the LVEC and its proponents...

In other words, no telling how messy this could become.

Published: 03/14/07 06:41:47 PM
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March 10, 2007

Shadoe Davis schmolkas himself
This is from the March 10th 2007 edition of The Ticket, the Kingston Whig Standard Saturday arts and entertainment insert.

Shadoe Davis is K-ROCK's morning man. He is also the only public spokesman for the Downtown Kingston BIA on the LVEC matter. If not him, then who else?

Read the whole thing.

How much public goodwill do you think the Downtown Kingston BIA has frittered away since April 2004 when this LVEC saga first began?

If you were the Downtown Kingston BIA, how dumb would you be to engage in a messy public LVEC blame-game long before the worse to come?

Hands up if you think this piece by Shadoe Davis makes fundraising for the LVEC any easier.

KCAL's regular readers might appreciate this: Consider that Mr Davis is in the media business.

Google "Shadoe Davis", including the quotes to exactly match the phrase.

Google
Published: 03/10/07 08:27:31 AM
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March 9, 2007

For the record: past KEDCO boss Bill Beattie

Not lost in the shuffle of recent events is this February 26th Whig letter from Bill Beattie, KEDCO ex-President and CEO.

Therein, an oft-repeated beaut, followed by an extension of logic:

The economic benefits this project will bring have been conservatively estimated at $15 to $20 million per year. That is about a three-year payback of its cost to the community.

We'll soon see, won't we? But until then, what's behind this?

Bill Beattie was KEDCO boss in April 2005 when The KEDCO Report on the LVEC was released and thereafter widely cited to buttress the case for the LVEC.

Read what Stewart Fyfe wrote about the KEDCO report, and here is KCAL's item about the release of the KEDCO report, pointing some of its many omissions.

But there was never any real conversation about this keystone. The possibility that it may have been massively flawed never entered. KEDCO and the BIA bought a report telling them what they wanted to hear, and that's that, case closed.

In 2005, that is apparently all one needed to hijack the municipal agenda, raid the public purse, and make the taxpayer the guarantor of a 30-year debt for the sole benefit of those among us least in need.

Bill Beattie suddenly quit KEDCO in December 2005 after a year at his post. Less than a year after that, KEDCO was whipped during the municipal election campaign for, among other things, its performance, its evident and over-the-top Downtown Kingston BIA influence, its opacity, its blatant political partisanship, and KEDCO's obvious role in actively selling the LVEC to past City Council.

The KEDCO report, as far as we know, has never been updated.

Widespread concerns about its assumptions and omissions have never, ever, been acknowledged, nevermind addressed.

This doesn't stop LVEC proponents from quoting freely and often from the KEDCO report, complete with straight-faced pretense about its quality and its objective merits.

Published: 03/09/07 01:05:30 PM
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March 8, 2007

LVEC Naming Rights: city closing date is March 31st

The City of Kingston has published this Request for Expressions of Interest for LVEC naming rights. This is also in The Whig. Note the closing date: March 31st.

Published: 03/08/07 10:15:11 AM
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March 7, 2007

The blame game

Gordon has thoughts on the Memorial Cup blame game.

We know that Kingston's bid failed, and certainly would have failed, for a lot of reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with our current Council.

We can stop pretending otherwise, anytime now.

Remember this? This was bogus, and everybody knew it.

It's certainly bogus today. Could it be that public reckoning for bogus and inflated LVEC expectations is just now beginning?

Published: 03/07/07 08:20:40 PM
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March 6, 2007

2008 Memorial Cup shortlist announced (Updated)

Five of six teams in the running made the shortlist. The one city not making the shortlist: Kingston.

It is the opinion of the Memorial Cup site selection committee that five out of the six teams that applied to host the 2008 MasterCard Memorial Cup, have satisfactorily met all of the necessary criteria in order to be provided with an opportunity to make a formal bid presentation. The teams that will be presenting to the Memorial Cup site selection committee are the Kitchener Rangers, London Knights, Oshawa Generals, Saginaw Spirit and Sarnia Sting.

Mayor Harvey Rosen's worst-case nightmare scenario: Kitchener, and their 5750-seat Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, built in 1950, and renovated in 2001 for less than $10 Million.

Update: Not making this up: CKWS-TV tries to pin it on Councillor Schmolka. Heh.

Published: 03/06/07 02:24:37 PM
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Oh, sush!

In The Whig today: Councillor Leonore Foster, LVEC champion, gets her comeuppance. Get used to it, Leonore.

Get a load of this:

"Keeping the money in the capital budget to start moving on this project is absolutely essential and will not impact on the tax rate," Foster said.

Right.

She also reportedly said:

"I have never been on a city council that is so parochial and so narrowly focused in its approach to this city as a whole."

See Leonore Foster's voting record on the past Council and decide for yourself.

Published: 03/06/07 10:45:46 AM
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ANOTHER non-report for Council: $2M in LVEC Fundraising

Hey Taxpayer, want to download another LVEC non-report to Council by Cynthia Beach, Commissioner of Sustainability and Growth? Here it is: Fundraising Report for the Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre. It's three pages (two of them being cover pages) buried at the back of a 15-page document that, typically of Kingston, has no table of contents.

An Exhibit, Exhibit A - Final Report: Fundraising Strategic Plan for the Kingston Regional Sports & Entertainment Centre, is not online for the public. Project communications is apparently something that still needs improving.

Therein there's allusion to the hiring still more high-falutin' Toronto-based consultants. Apparently DVA Navion was retained on April 30,2006.

Funny, a search of the City of Kingston website for "DVA Navion" returns nothing prior to February 14, 2007, the very date of the snow-cancelled LVEC mea culpa briefing from Ms Beach and staff. Are you Surprised?

Back to Ms Beach's "report":

A fundraising advisory team was established to work with DVA Navion and included: Michael Davies, Alicia Gordon, Virginia Gordon and Marie Shales. The first meeting of the advisory team was held on May 23,2006.

Which, interestingly, is just four days prior to the release of 107 pages worth of reports amid drum-beating to sell our supine prior Council a $42M project to be approved just 3-days later. The pile of reports included, among other things, the Facility Operator agreement, selection of Ellis Don as builder, laughable (to KCAL) contingency, the agreement with the Frontenacs, $3M based on a wink and a smile from KAP, $3M from the BIA (which likely will be mostly escaped), the Feds promise which fell through, the civic misallocation of $4M from the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion, and of course this $2M fudge called "Donations".

We know today (as we all suspected then) the degree to which all of this was being clumsily improvised, packaged, hyped, railroaded, and subsequently mis-managed and covered-up.

"Donations", recent Kingston municipal history teaches us, is code for: "another reckless taxpayer-covered bet", or "raise what you easily can, sell-out ethically if it makes things easier, and don't sweat the rest. Here are your framed certificates of appreciation anyways".

As for LVEC fundraising, apparently that hasn't advanced much in the nine months since. And really, why would it? In modern day Kingston evidently nobody is accountable for what they promise about this LVEC.

But it's really much worse than the nine months just lost. Recall that $2M from "Donations" was the ante back in September 2005 18 months ago, when this was a $37M project, and that amount has not been raised, literally or figuratively, since.

Today we know that $2M in "Donations" is chickenfeed compared to what should equitably be forthcoming by LVEC project movers and those so-called "partners" who stand to reap all the benefits. As such the $2M target, even if reached, would be a spectacular underachievement, but that won't stop the collegial blue-blooded self-congratulations that are sure to follow a "successful" minimum-required-effort campaign.

Published: 03/06/07 01:36:28 AM
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2008 Memorial Cup Site Selection Committee will announce its "short list" today

March 6, 2007 - Memorial Cup Site Selection Committee will announce a "short list" of teams to be considered to host the 2008 Memorial Cup.

Note: we've also seen that date elsewhere reported as March 7th.

Stay tuned.

Published: 03/06/07 01:08:49 AM
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March 5, 2007

Sydenham District Councillor Bill Glover on LVEC

Here's a roundup of the interesting LVEC-related opinions and updates from Councillor Bill Glover over on BillGlover.org.

Published: 03/05/07 11:42:45 PM
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KROCK's Shadoe Davis lies to us. Again.
Shadoe Davis, K-ROCK's morning man and unabashed Downtown Kingston mouthpiece and LVEC booster, this week gives us another priceless fabrication of his imagination.

Read it.

The rule of thumb these days for a band the stature of say, Pearl Jam, Rod Stewart, The killers, Dixie Chicks et al. is they need a center that holds at least 6,0000 to be profitable and the amenities need to be fairly close to state of the art.

Oh really?

Let's quickly check the facts about recent activities of bands of "the stature of say, Pearl Jam, Rod Stewart, The killers, Dixie Chicks et al."

Here are Pearl Jam's 2006 dates (which we've preserved here) which clearly shows the sorts of venues they play. In Canada we're looking at venues like the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, more than triple the capacity of this LVEC.

Rod Stewart's Canadian and US Concert dates 2004-2005 Tour. Nine stops in seven Canadian Cities. The smallest Canadian venue is the John Labatt Centre in London, capacity 8,200 to 9,000 for an end stage concert, or 10,200 for a centre stage concert

The Killers 2007 tour dates (which we've preserved here). Nothing like 6,000-seat hockey bowls on this tour though they will play some of the more notable smaller concert halls, such as the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, a 2,362-seat auditorium, once known as the one-time home of the Grand Ole Opry. So much for "state of the art". Canadian dates are all in large venues such as Montreal's Bell Centre and Toronto's Air Canada Centre.

The Dixie Chicks 2006 tour schedule (which we've preserved here), the smallest Canadian venue is, again, the John Labatt Centre in London.

Kingston is Canada's 26th largest urban area. In all the examples cited by Mr Davis, they very rarely go beyond the top-5, certainly never beyond the top 10 or top 15. A 6,000-seat arena is just never going consistently to draw acts like those Mr Davis claims to be so excited about.

Were that not enough, the LVEC's operator, Arcturus SMG, has managed to book (brace yourself) these exciting events at the Dow Events Center in Saginaw and all these exciting events at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. Wow. Both venues are comparable to Kingston's LVEC, only bigger, with much larger catchment populations, and much better parking and accessibility stories.

Published: 03/05/07 11:35:43 AM
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March 4, 2007

Read what David Cliff writes about KCAL and its members

Read what David Cliff has to say today about KCAL and its members. How insulting.

Consider, though, that Mr Cliff is (was) A.K.A. "Exhibitionist" on Kingston Electors before being unceremoniously tossed from there sometime last year. He's been back for a while, however, now posting as "Dogma" on Kingston Electors. He is also the self-proclaimed "LVEC Educated" blogger.

It's also notable that Mr Cliff runs a display stand business named Exhibit House. He is therefore among the very few who stand to gain handsomely from this taxpayer subsidized LVEC turkey.

Of course none of that is ever disclosed by Dogma, Exhibitionist, LVEC Educated, or whatever Mr Cliff calls himself now or next.

Moreover the business address of Exhibit House, at 427 Princess Street, is just outside the boundaries of the Downtown Kingston BIA, so he's not on the hook for any of the BIA levy that's supposed to help fund the LVEC.

We look forward to seeing Mr David Cliff's name figuring prominently among the five-figure dollar donors for the LVEC. Putting his money where his mouth is, as it were, and demonstrating that he's more than an anonymous profiteer of taxpayer largesse.

Published: 03/04/07 03:16:49 PM
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Independent Voice: A revolting development

Don't miss the March 2007 Independent Voice article by Jamie Swift titled A revolting development - Big Rink boosters steam-roll over all objections to get it built.

Published: 03/04/07 01:53:52 PM
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