Use this URL for your news reader: http://lvec.ca/KCalNewsAndArticles.XML
The site of the proposed LVEC is polluted, says this 8-page Executive Summary.
So we come now to walking distances. In a public meeting, a 600m radius circle was apparently based on the Corel Centre parking, which was presented as an example of potentially extreme but demonstrably tolerable sporting-venue outdoor walking distance in our climate.
It turns out that, at the Corel Centre, it's not 600m, it's 507m. Bruce Todd went to Ottawa and measured it.
We were blatantly lied to about parking, and now it's all coming out.
Without putting too fine a point on it, for most people driving to the LVEC will be worse than parking at an airport in terms of walking distances, the difference being that, at an airport, you're always (or at worse very soon) walking under cover, if not indoors.
This hidden cost on the benevolent customers of the LVEC is factored nowhere. The cost in attendance terms of lower turnout due to inclement weather, or percieved hassle, is significant. This is totally ignored by the LVEC planners, and the mysterious site selection process provides no supporting documentation.
So you pick a sub-optimal location in terms of proximate business benefits, then you burden most of your paid customers' ability to access the chosen location, and what do you get?What long term outcome can you realistically expect?This much is sure: the site-premium costs arising from the Anglin Bay selection are definitely substantial and long term.
The eleventh of Bruce Todd's exposure of gross incompetence and still more evidence of fudging by CastleGlenn Consultants who, we remind everyone again, were hand-picked by Don Gedge, without tender, to paper-over any and all traffic and parking problems with the Anglin Bay site.
The tenth installment of Bruce Todd's series on Traffic and Parking is online. This one deals with the inconsistent boundaries for various aspects of the study.
Today's letter from Bruce Todd discusses the raft of infrastructure upgrades and day-to-day management and coordination issues that would be required by the proposed Anglin Bay LVEC. All these are, so far, neither disclosed nor properly enumerated in plans devised by the project's planners. These include, among other things, the Wellington street extension which is otherwise not needed. Other things include major sidewalk upgrades, on both sides, all the way down Wellington street to Princess street, upgrades to numerous intersections for intense pedestrian traffic, and changes to Doug Fluhrer Park.
All things considered so far, what's unsaid on the topic of traffic and parking by CastleGlenn Consultants, Don Gedge's hand-picked problems-papered-over wizards, is indeed looking very significant.
Heh. Read the whole thing.
Dennis Brown's May 15th letter to the Whig Standard, about the absurdity of Kingston's Memorial Cup hosting prospects clouding the LVEC debate, was published earlier this week.
There may be reasons for building an LVEC, nevermind a waterfront LVEC, but demand for Frontenacs tickets, and Kingston's 2008 Memorial Cup hosting prospects, aren't among them.
The eigth of Bruce Todd's daily briefings on traffic and parking is now online.
This one is about the pretense displayed by CastleGlenn Consultants of proper measurement and consideration of the modes of transport used by attendees of the Memorial Centre for an OHL game on one night in December, and extrapolating that to all events, of all types, at the proposed LVEC location.
The seventh of Bruce Todd's daily briefings on traffic and parking is now online.
This installment is about gross overstatements in the availability of on-street parking, in the order of 90% in some areas. Bruce also alludes to the usual systematic understatement and shameful misrepresentation by CastleGlenn of distances to the proposed LVEC which, in addition to all these traffic and parking issues continuously reported by Bruce Todd for a full month already, still go completely unreported by Kingston's mainstream media. Not for much longer, we suspect.
The sixth of Bruce Todd's daily briefings on traffic and parking is now online. This one is about the Anglin parking lot, which presents special difficulties because of its layout, and because of the current configuration of Wellington and Bay streets.
Natalka Roshak sends us these notes from last week's LVEC open house meeting.
What is it with unctuous Ed Smith, LVEC steering committee chairman, lobbing powder-puff questions at public meetings?
Read the whole thing.
KCAL member Irena Manoliu recently sent this letter to members of council after attending a few of those public meetings that are part of the papering-over process to get the LVEC built before any modicum of accountability arises.
The fifth of Bruce Todd's daily briefings on traffic and parking is now online. This one deals with the obfuscation of data and diagrams arising from just plain sloppy work by Don Gedge's hand-picked CastleGlenn Consultants, specifically in the area of "unmarked parking" which is code for narrow residential streets with no marked parking stalls now being counted as usable. Much of the data and findings presented in the full Phase I Traffic and Planning Study is unverifyable, and what is verifyable is often in serious and rather obvious error.
One of the great things on the web is Google Maps, and the "local search" facility therein. We did a search on "restaurant OR bar OR hotel OR cafe OR store OR grocery" around the locations of the proposed LVEC, and the location of London's JLC.
Here's what we get at exactly the same level of size and scale:
Note that Google Maps' local search facility currently returns a maximum of ten items. Also note that Google's Canadian data is notably incomplete compared to American data.
Still, Google returned all ten hits within one block of London's JLC, whereas we had trouble squeezing seven hits within a 20-30 square block view of the proposed LVEC's location without having to zoom-out the view.
We can visually cross-check Google's Kingston results with our data taken from the Kingston BIA Website. We conclude that Google Maps is giving us very good data here, certainly good enough to draw somegeneral conclusions. Google's not perfect, but compared to other American offerings of Canadian small-city data, this is as good as it gets.
These results seem pretty clear: claims that London's JLC has helped proximate businesses in London, and therefore the same can be expected here in Kingston with an LVEC in the proposed location, are bogus.
The JLC's supposed benefits just aren't portable to Kingston because, clearly, there are no proximate businesses near Kingston's proposed LVEC site. In other words, to be blunt, what Mayor Rosen, the BIA, KEDCO, and Don Gedge are saying is poppycock.
The May 22nd installment of Bruce Todd's traffic and parking briefings is online. This one deals with pick-ups and drop-offs which, clearly, the proposed site cannot accommodate.
Quoting our volunteers, who worked tirelessly for several days, trying a variety of technical methods, to put the full report online for you:
Awesome. Read the whole thing :-).
We completely changed course with the Traffic study tonight. It was literally going to take until the end of time to proofread the converted text of the thing, not to mention leave us open to accusations of manipulating it, so we re-scanned the whole thing into Acrobat as page images. The full file's rather large at 12MB, but it IS 87 pages of text. I've broken out the executive summary and can certainly break the full report into smaller chunks if required.
The May 21st installment of Bruce Todd's traffic and parking briefings is online.
The May 20th installment of Bruce Todd's traffic and parking briefings is online.
Beginning May 19th, 2005, Bruce Todd, who is supposed to be retired from a 40+ year career in traffic engineering, but otherwise branded an "instant expert" by several pro-LVEC luminaries, none loftier than William Leggett, ex-principal of Queen's University, is briefing everyone about the field, pointing out "features" of the full Phase I Traffic and Planning Studyprepared by CastleGlenn Consultants, who were hand-picked by Don Gedge for their supposed expertise in the field of "distributed parking" around stadiums, and their supposedly " keen understanding of the Wellington Street Corridor"(pages 13 and 16 therein).
This is the first in a series.
Looking at this sewer diagram(and this one too) from this Utilities Kingston plan that started around October 1st, 2004, it's notable and surprising that a search for "LVEC" on the Utilities Kingston website turns up nothing.
Now you know another reason why there is so much rush to the LVEC project.
You also know that when you intertwine two large projects like this, you vastly increase the probability of coordination and execution (i. e. budget) difficulties.
From an information disclosure perspective, none of this makes much sense.
The DRAFT - Phase I: Traffic and Parking Viability Assessment Study (April, 2005)document that, incredibly, passed muster since council knowingly voted to proceed with the project based on it's erroneous findings, no longer appears to be formally linked on any of the City Of Kingston LVEC pages. The old linkstill works, however, but for how long?
Actually, CKWS-TV found and reported on the architectural fudge before the Whig did.
Today's Whig Standard has an LVEC article about how architect Jonathon Hughes made a boo-boo when producing the LVEC concept drawings. The building is, in fact, 5 feet taller than shown in the drawings.
To put that into perspective (pun intended), that's an 8% error in the most critical dimension of the building's rendering.
What is it about this project that makes the contract engineers so sloppy?First we saw grievous, unpardonable errors, some would call it a systematic fudging, of the Traffic and Parking study. Now this. Both these problems are easily detectable with technologies that predate Cristopher Columbus by several hundred years, instruments that school children carry around in their pencil cases.
Acting CEO Leger should make no mistake about this: the contractors he has working on the LVEC project are either showing questionable competence, or these contractors are simply producing what they are being asked: a papering-over of problems. Either way, it's not good. Not that the anyone else is really minding the store.
Mr Leger's candidacy for the position of City CEO hangs in the balance of all this, and the quality of his oversight, to say nothing of the respect being shown to him by consultants, is telling us that he's learning, expensively, on the job. Note to Mr Leger: focus on what's truly best for Kingston, and everything else will naturally take care of itself, and you'll long outlast this mayor. It's really as simple as that.
Is it a coincidence that all the errors curry the favour of the City and its LVEC officials, who are clearly just going through the motions with studies, following marching orders to build this LVEC in the park on Anglin Bay, quickly, and to paper-over any and all obstacles, even the common-sense signs that information provided by promoters and hired advisors is of such demonstrably poor quality.
If all the physical quantitative documents we've seen are in error by 8 to 17% in simple linear measurements, what does that bode for the quality of the mountain qualitative evidence we are asked to believe, about all the " benefits" (also here)that will supposedly accrue to Kingston that, bizarely, accrue nowhere else (also here and, more locally and very tellingly, here). We in Kingston are being explicitly asked to take a leap of faith that providence will be kind to this LVEC.
To quote Dan Barker:
Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits.
This is all very timely, considering the authors of this acclaimed book (Amazon #9 in sales), and this one too (Amazon #20 in sales), are making the rounds of TV and radio talk shows this week. We have a perfect example of it right here in Kingston.
Today's whig article about the Q&A last night is here.
Note the the irony that the City will be paving Douglas Fluhrer Park for a parking lot. The man was the Parks and Recreation Commissioner for years!
This link leads to a page on flickr.com where we've made available the latest LVEC site concept plan in a variety of sizes. The only genuinely usable image is the original, sized 4290 x 3054 weighing in at 3. 7 Mb in file size.
What a hassle it is to properly publicize this information!Why is the City not doing it?
See, the LVEC planners, who just got council approval for $500,000 (page 11)to fuel the runaway train, only made this and a lot of other crucial traffic and parking information available for viewing at their Midland street office. Want a copy?Sure, at $0. 21 per page.
FURTHERMORE, looking at this piece of Council Businessfrom May 17th, 2005, this is now standard operating procedure, and these people are compelled to only post executive summaries on the city website:
THAT studies that are submitted as part of the planning approvals process be made available to Council members and LVEC Steering Committee members on request as they are completed; and further,
THAT the normal process for making these studies available to the public be followed with copies available at both City Hall and the Planning Division Office (1425 Midland Avenue) for the public to view with copies available from the Planning Division at the cost of $0. 21 per page; and further, THAT information in the reports be summarized where possible in an executive summary and that the executive summaries be posted on the City's website when the studies are submitted as part of the planning process; and further,...
Not to put too fine a point on it, the City of Kingston should be ashamed.
We got permission to take the Parking and Traffic study for a walk to a copycentre, and we're still scanning our photocopies, hoping to put this atrocious piece of traffic engineering online. It's a lot of work. Stay tuned.
More concept images:
Today the zoning application signage went up at Anglin Bay.
Not that Kingston has anything to learn from Toronto about waterfront, but compare the way Kingston has allowed, and is encouraging, boxes to be built right on the water, compared to Toronto. (Drag the picture around, and zoom in. See for yourself. )
Kingston has historically done pretty well at isolating-away its waterfront, doing so with big buildings, and in the case of the proposed LVEC, one that will be deserted most of the time.
... but, on the inside, it's made largely from steel. This link (in French, sorry) shows pretty clearly that the price of steel has gone bezerk in the past two years, due primarily to demand from Asia (also here). People responsible for big construction projects are finding it hard to obtain steel in a timely and cost-effective manner. It goes like this: you plan a big project -- a new building, say -- you secure the financing, get the go-ahead, only to find out that the material costs are skyrocketing and, notably, so are the expenses (including penalties) due to delivery delays.
The LVEC business plan is mute on this whole issue, and Don Gedge's experiences with past projects may, in fact, be misleading us. Certainly the construction cost sensitivity analysis (which is notably missing) should reflect that buildings of this type are notorious for cost overruns, and the current international situation in construction materials makes overruns more likely today than in the past.
It's certainly a good thing for the Mayor and the projects proponents that the city's Capital Reserve Fundis magically elastic, and bottomless, in support of this municipal project geared to provide private-sector profits.
... in spring, summer, and fall. Here in Kingston, it's stunning that we're expected to be doing exactly this, in winter no less, in order to get to the proposed LVEC on Anglin Bay.
It is also a nightmare for the team when fans arrive and find the 800 remaining parking spots are full and the nearest public parking is almost a kilometre away.
Bruce Todd has six new failures to report from the proposed LVEC's Traffic and Parking Viability Assessment Study.
These are in addition to the 18 problems identified earlier:
(1) CastleGlenn did not include pedestrians in their analysis of intersections during the post-event peak period. This is a MAJOR oversight.
(2) CastleGlenn told Councillors and the Steering Committee, answering a direct question from Councillor Beavis at the April 20 presentation at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, that the survey of available parking stalls was done on a Thursday and Friday night, between 6:15 p. m. and 7:15 p. m. I submit to you that a Thursday night survey period would not provide accurate pre-event data since OHL games are played mostly on a Friday night, and concerts are usually on Friday nights too. As well, CastleGlenn did not do parking availability surveys on weekdays in the late morning, or on Saturdays, when Trade Shows and other daytime events would be underway after 10:00 a. m.
(3) CastleGlenn did not take into consideration a concurrent event with the Grand Theatre. And note that very few Grand Theatre patrons use the Chown Garage which is adjacent to the Theatre, because of the time it takes to get out of the garage after an event.
(4) CastleGlenn did not go far enough in analyzing the post-game operations at many nearby intersections such as Wellington at Barrack, where Barrack Street is the through east-west street.
(5) I believe the strategy of coning lanes for several blocks around the LVEC site into three-lane segments is convoluted and potentially dangerous and confusing, especially at night, where traffic personnel would be standing among the cones directing traffic. Also motorists trying to line up and get into the proper lane of a three-lane exit from the Anglin Parking Lot during post-event time would be very difficult and frustrating for motorists to do.
(6) I am concerned with the reliability of the on-street non-metered parking availability data in the spill-over areas obtained by aerial photography; did the consultant take into account the parking prohibitions, obstacles, etc. It is not clear.
Supposedly the Inner Harbour is currently a neglected area of town, so it's a good spot for the LVEC.
It's not. The park and Inner Harbour area are surrounded by modern new residential construction, as well as many recent and notable restorations, and parkland owned by the city and any neglect there is municipal. ; See for yourself. ;
As for the harbour itself, and MetalCraft Marine and St-Lawrence Marina, this is working waterfront, employing at least 50 people and, as such, generates between two and four times more payroll than the LVEC will.
Kingston This Week's Monday May 16th editorial argues that Kingston should make LVEC its number two priority, behind the multiplex facility, because the multiplex is a greater community need, and because the LVEC project could use the extra time to tie loose ends.
In today's Whig Standard, not otherwise online, is this story. You understand, the hundreds of thousands of premature project dollars need to produce something.
The city has issued a press release related to the LVEC official plan and zoning applications.
Get this: if you follow enough links to get to the Phase I Traffic and Parking Viability Assessment page you can read this:
The only thing available for download is an insipid "printer friendly" executive summary.
The entire Phase I Traffic and Parking Viability Assessment can be viewed at the City's Planning Division office located at 1425 Midland Avenue during regular business hours (8:30 a. m. to 4:30 p. m. ). Copies of the report will be provided at a cost of 21 cents per page.
Read the whole thing.
The LVEC area of the city's website has also been somewhat transformed, and now includes LVEC Questions And Answers for those still without rose-coloured glasses.
Robert Mackenzie sent this letter to The Whig on May 3rd. It's still not been published.
We hope to have much more to say about the proposed Anglin Bay site premium soon.
The LVEC Business Plan continues to use the concept of a signature building. What constitutes a signature building located on the Kingston Inner Harbour waterfront? The Business Plan speaks of a distinctive design and first class finishes but there is no specific indication of an "architectural premium" in its costing for the LVEC. What is the magnitude of the premium cost? Whatever the cost it should be specifically provided for in the total cost of the proposed LVEC.
Patti Arnold has some excellent, excellent points about the LVEC relative to the real needs of the community. These views are being ignored by the LVEC powers that be.
Today's Whig carries an inside page story about Kevin George's attempt to get the market study into the planning committee documents. No go.
For historical interest, and just plain interesting reading, here are the notes from a January 27 2004 meeting between the Kingston Frontenacs and the Mayor's task force.
Heh. Read the whole thing.
Councillor Foster asked what they as owners would like to see as no decision has yet been made. Public consultation is underway. User groups and potential users are being contacted. This meeting is held as the Frontenacs are a major user of the current facility.
Mr. Doug Springer advised that location is most important to allow fans to get in and out and to address the special needs for the hockey club. Wherever the building is located in the City, a new building is necessary. Mr. Michael Springer advised that Block D and downtown are not preferred. He noted that games are family orientated. In cities with new buildings, attendance tripled to become sell out crowds as the building becomes a place where people want to go. Mr. MichaelSpringer advised that what is best for the Frontenacs would be best for the community where the location is central, easy to get to and has adequate parking. A maximum 5-10 minute walk from parking is preferred.
Regarding the downtown area, Mr. Doug Springer advised they wouldn't be opposed to a strong voice for that location but would like assurances of the appropriate packaging of the facility. The Lasalle Causeway limits traffic and many fans come from Gananoque area and the east. Of 34 regular season games, 23 are held on Friday nights. Stores are open until 9:00 p. m. and bars and restaurants continue to be open. With little parking now, concern was expressed regarding increased parking needs as well as the traffic increase for 2000 more cars, noting someone would be adversely affected.
Councillor Foster advised the recommendation made will be for the location with the best opportunity and will not affected by lobbying.
Mr. Doug Springer advised the Memorial Centre site is central, has 22 acres, is City owned and has room for expansion and additional buildings. The site has worked for 50 years, would hold the least resistance from people who live there and would improve the area. Mr. Springer noted the Memorial Centre is downtown and is 4 minutes from the corner of Princess and Wellington Streets. Mr. Springer noted that cities with several ice pads have amazing synergy. An event like the Memorial Cup could bring $10 million to the City's economy in one week. On the other hand, a single event will bring people in but they will go home afterward. Many of the City's young people go out of town for activities and this benefits other cities. Special events like the Labatt event require many ice surfaces and people stay for the entire event. Kids for Kids has proven to benefit this community within the downtown area. Cataraqui Town Centre merchants recording their highest weekend sales and hotels were fully booked during this event.
Over the past while we've received a number of thoughtful comments.
CKWS has posted the text of this evening's story that intermingled Doug Springer of the Kingston Frontenacs with interviews with KCAL members Betty Harlow and Bruce Todd. This probably should have been presented as two separate stories. However it has sure helped the website traffic this evening.
Doug Springer is shown saying:
The Memorial Cup works like this: It comes to Ontario every three years, and the host city's team gets a bye into the tournament. In order to be awarded the Memorial Cup, the candidate city's team must therefore show championship form, or championship potential, or nearly so, in the period leading up to the awarding. For the 2008 Memorial Cup to come to Kingston, the Frontenacs need to rip up the OHL in 2006 and 2007.
"THE MEMORIAL CUP WHICH IS BEING HELD BACK IN ONTARIO IN 2008, WE DESPERATELY WANT TO GO AFTER THAT, THAT ALONE WILL BRING CLOSE TO 20 MILLION DOLLAR INTO THE ECONOMY. LONDON IS GETTING THE BENEFIT OF IT THIS YEAR AND LET'S PUT IT THIS WAY, WITHOUT THE JLC LONDON WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GO AFTER THE MEMORIAL CUP WITH THE OLD BUILDING THEY WERE IN. "
So if the 2008 Memorial Cup factors into the LVEC decision, the Frontenacs will have a difficult time rising to their end of the bargain. There are currently no signs that the Kingston Frontenacs have championship-calibre prospects, nevermind a bid committee that's paid its dues with prior sniffs as a Memorial Cup bidding city.
Mr Springer would surely admit that looking at the recent Memorial Cup attendance figures, we see that the 5,000-seat RejoovenEsence Centre in Kingston isn't particularly attractive given its size.
But more interesting is this:
Sure, for a while. But for now, a more pressing problem is this year the Frontenacs only sold 60% of of the 3,300 seat Memorial Centre, and moreover the NHL was locked-out all year.
"AND WE'RE ALSO RECEIVING A LOT OF PRESSURE FROM THE LEAGUE THAT IF THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN THAT NO MATTER WHAT WE WANT THEY'RE GOING TO FORCE THE FRANCHISE OUT OF KINGSTON. "
SPRINGER SAYS HE WANTS THE FRONTENACS TO STAY IN KINGSTON.
BUT IN THIS RECENT LETTER TO COUNCIL -- HE MADE IT CLEAR THE FRANCHISE "WILL NOT COMMIT TO ANOTHER CONTRACT WITH THE CITY IT MEANS THE TEAM MUST CONTINUE TO OPERATE OUT OF THE CURRENT FACILITY. "
HE SAYS A NEW STATE OF THE ART SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE WILL ALLOW THE TEAM TO ATTRACT BETTER PLAYERS -- HOPEFULLY IMPROVING THE TEAM'S ON-ICE FORTUNES -- AND ATTRACT MORE HOCKEY RELATED EVENTS.
There may be reasons for building an LVEC, nevermind a waterfront LVEC, but demand for Frontenacs tickets, and the 2008 Memorial Cup, aren't among them.
Bruce Todd sends this letter to all members of Council, plusDon Gedge (Director, Large Venue Entertainment Centre Project), and Sheila Hickey (Director Strategic Initiatives & Communications), about the pretense of a consultative process so far.
Derek Baldwin reports in today's Whig what little practical effect results from the amendments that mollified Pater, Sutherland, and B. George.
We've just received this draft copy of Item 65 of the May03 2005 Council Meeting.
On a motion heavily amended by Councilor Pater to "tentatively" accept the business plan pending, among other things, a marketing study from by an independent organization.
|Yeays (8)||Nays (5)|
|Mayor Harvey Rosen
Williamsville: Ed Smith
Pittsburgh: Leonore Foster
Sydenham: Floyd Patterson
Trillium: George Stoparczyk
Portsmouth: Beth Pater
Countryside: George Sutherland
Collins-Bayridge: Bittu George
|Loyalist-Cataraqui: Kevin George
Lakeside: George Beavis
Cataraqui: Sara Meers
Kingscourt-Strathcona: Steve Garrison
Kingstown: Rick Downes
Today, May 3 2005, Bill Hutchins, Lucy Nersesian, Chris Harvey and a CKWS-TV crew (RSS feed here) were on the LVEC site interviewing Mayor Rosen and Henry Copestake of MetalCraft Marine presenting the LVEC story prior to the meeting tonight at City Hall.
Someone ought to nominate CKWS for a news broadcast award for this story because it was an just an excellent, and extensive, segment.
In the background was this fireboat, a Metalcraft Firestorm 43, a fireboat destined for a Fire Department in Virginia. ; This boat is capable of 40 knots, and pumps 3,100 gallons per minute (50+ gallons per second). This line of fireboat does pretty well in the US market (see here and here). In late March we featured another Metalcraft Marine item featuring a 10-boat Kingfisher 29 order bound for Europe.
Thanks to Joché Katan for these photos.
Particularly unctuous comments are attributed to Concillor Ed Smith about the report. Mr Smith would be well advised to examine his own leading role in this whole fiasco before he dismisses, out of hand, a report that simply points out some of the possible problems and risks he and his committee was charged to mitigate.
Mr Smith, one does not write business plans for best-case outcomes. One writes a business plan to test the viability of the venture should some things go wrong, and to assess the sensitivity of the venture to known risk factors. According to the LVEC business plan, there is nothing that can go wrong that might make the LVEC a dodgy investment. Mr Smith, a business plan is something you iterate, not something that hatches perfect, like yours supposedly does. Criticism of a business plan is something every entrepreneur should welcome, for it is only at this juncture that expensive mistakes can be avoided with relatively inexpensive adjustments.
Shame on Ed Smith.