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The Limestoned blog has an excellent take on tonights "Free LVEC fundraising concert"
Here in the Limestone City, Corus Entertainment is hosting a free concert that is supposed to be a fundraising vehicle for the North Block Coliseum, with the proceeds of T-shirt sales going to the fundraising. Here's where it get's interesting - the T-shirts are emblazoned with the logo of FM 98 - a new FM station launched by Corus the other day. And newsprint advertisement in yesterday's Whig Standard announcing the concert never mentioned the fundraising end of it. So FM98 T-shirts will be for sale tonight in Springer Market Square for $7 and FM98 gets walking billboards for their cause - advertising their new radio station.
Who's dupin' who? At least the Mohawks are calling a spade a spade.
BEFORE YOU FOLLOW THE LINK: after two months of campaigning, guess how many "Fan"-level donations (0 to $99) the LVEC has received. 50? 100? 500? 1000? Make a mental guess before you check.
A page titled Latest Campaign Donors List is online at the City website.
More evidence of rookie project management: City staff are apparently pointing fingers for cost hikes to come. In fact, the LVEC project was obviously very late long before the strikes that made things just a little worse.
Heh. It happens all the time.
City CAO Glen Laubenstein must believe we are all stupid.
Right. Whatever you say, Mr Laubenstein. Whatever you say.
Chief administrative officer Glen Laubenstein said consultants are asked to qualify or clarify statements to make things clear, but never to change findings.
"You hire consultants to give you the brutal, hard facts," Laubenstein said.
CKWS-TV today reports that the LVEC's opening date is officially pushed back to mid-February 2008.
Strikes are blamed, but KCAL's take is the project was more than a month late before the strikes.
It looks like the hapless Kingston Frontenacs officially lose about half their 2007-08 regular-season LVEC dates. We aren't sure the Frontenacs will play any regular-season games in the LVEC in 2007-08.
The 5,100-seat Guelph Sports & Entertainment Centre, which opened in 2000, will be known as the Sleeman Centre through 2020. The deal, valued at $1.2-million over 13 years, runs from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2020.
That works out to $92,000 per year. The centre will sell only Sleeman draught beer, as well as local Sleeman brands sold in bottles or cans.
The city decides to delay LVEC-related construction near the LVEC until later this year.
The Ministry of Labour is probing another accident on the LVEC site.
The 2007-08 OHL schedule is out and the Frontenacs home schedule is back-end loaded, which is sensible.
Here are the games the Kingston Frontenacs are nominally supposed to play in the LVEC, which total 16 games from Jan 18 2008.
The project is late; start crossing out games. Four weeks late, which is what managers have admitted, means delete about 9 games. The project actually looks closer than 8 or more weeks late, and that's getting worse, not better. In that case, how many games remain on the list?
Total contingency for this loss of revenue for the LVEC: zero. Who's on the hook? Taxpayers, for one-hundred percent of it.
Fri. Jan. 18 Ottawa at Kingston, 7:30
Sun. Jan. 20 Belleville at Kingston, 4:00
Fri. Jan. 25 Niagara at Kingston, 7:30
Sun. Jan. 27 Windsor at Kingston, 2:00
Fri. Feb. 1 Oshawa at Kingston, 7:30
Fri. Feb. 8 Barrie at Kingston, 7:30
Sun. Feb. 10 Plymouth at Kingston, 2:00
Wed. Feb. 13 Oshawa at Kingston, 7:00
Fri. Feb. 15 London at Kingston, 7:30
Fri. Feb. 22 Belleville at Kingston, 7:30
Sun. Feb. 24 Peterborough at Kingston, 2:00
Fri. Feb. 29 Barrie at Kingston, 7:30
Sun. Mar. 2 Mississauga at Kingston, 2:00
Fri. Mar. 7 Oshawa at Kingston, 7:30
Wed. Mar. 12 Ottawa at Kingston, 7:00
Fri. Mar. 14 Sudbury at Kingston, 7:30
This from the Frontenacs website home page.
We know the lowest reported number of tickets sold in 2006-2007 season was 1788 on Oct 15, 2006 against Saginaw.
If we generously assume that ALL those were season tickets, then the increase in season tickets is certainly under 750. It's probably closer to 500 or less.
How pathetic is that? The Memorial Centre, whose average excess capacity was 1050 in 2006-2007 has ample space to host this turkey of a hockey team, one that's managed just one sellout in the past six years.
The Frontenacs sweetheart deal with the City doesn't scale downwards. The Frontenacs pay ZERO base rent, you see, and if nobody shows up they don't pay a penny. Nothing for the office space, nothing for the free run of the place, and nothing for the street-level retail shop they've been given by City of Kingston "negotiators".
The deal doesn't scale upwards either: whether the LVEC comes in at $50 Million or $60 Million, the Frontenacs don't pay a dime more or a dime less for controlling the place.
Plain and simple: The Citizens of Kingston are subsidizing, of all people, the Springer family. Moreover the Citizens of Kingston are assuming ALL the downside risks.
How revolting is that?
What's even more revolting is this council is still taking counsel from the same Staff who created this mess, and there's no chance of independent oversight.
Update: We've received feedback from season ticket holders that indicate that 2006-2007 season ticket numbers are under 1000, and that the early-bird renewal numbers are probably around 600. So a "41% increase" would indicate about 250 extra season tickets.
This is all speculation, of course.
More clear indication that the LVEC opening is going to be very, very late (starting on page 33 -- buried as usual). Count how many items are "behind schedule".
One clear and undeniable sign of rookie project management: Planning to catch up later. Another is denial.
From the City of Kingston website home page.
From the City of Kingston website home page.
National companies appear to be lining up to put their name to Kingston's new sports and entertainment centre.
From the June 12 2007 edition of The Heritage: Naming rights to LVEC won't be final until the fall, say staff
Kim Mitchell And April Wine To Perform Free LVEC Concert, Friday, June 29, 6:30 - 10:00 p.m at Market Square. Commemorative T-shirts of the event will be sold at the concert with all proceeds going toward the arena project.
It's concurrent with Fanfayre craft show, which runs Thursday through Saturday.
"WE REALLY SUPPORT WHAT THE CITY IS DOING. WE ARE REALLY PROUD OF THIS SPRINGER MARKET SQUARE AND WE ARE REALLY PROUD TO SEE THE LVEC GOING UP AS FAST AS IT IS. AND WE WANT TO SHOW OUR SUPPORT FOR THOSE THINGS AND THIS IS OUR WAY OF DOING IT.
... which, in hindsight, explains a lot.
One year ago here at KCAL.ca:
June 6, 2006: The first LVEC KPMG report is released just one week AFTER a critical May 30th 2006 Council vote on the LVEC. You'll recall a subsequent and worse LVEC KPMG report which was kept on ice for weeks, until shortly AFTER the November 2006 municipal election.
June 8, 2006: City of Kingston's statement of taxpayer immunity, an item that is no longer available on the City of Kingston website, knowingly removed (or buried) by Paul MacLatchy, P.Eng (Director, Strategy, Environment & Communications) despite protests from KCAL.
June 9, 2006: Entertainment facilities ineligible for development charges, where it appears that using development charges for financing things like the LVEC may be illegal.
Also in that piece, this snippet tells us a lot about the quality of project management at the City of Kingston. From the LVEC Design-Build documents (the Business Plan part deux) :
KCAL raised a stink about this inadequate contingency. It was later admitted that LVEC project contingency was determined by the available budget envelope, and not as the result of any sort of risk review.
Two years ago:
On June 9, 2005, the LVEC project was still on Anglin Bay, and there was a clear misrepresentation of MetalCraft Marine in a planning committee report to Council, which described it this way:
The central portion of the site is comprised of 347 and 349 Wellington Street. These properties are currently being used for industrial marine purposes, specifically boat repairs and maintenance.
... not that, at that time, MCM employed 50 skilled workers, and they continue to design, build, and export multi-million dollar fireboats and patrol boats, all of it from 347 and 349 Wellington Street.
Metalcraft Marine: "specifically boat repairs and maintenance". Can you imagine?
A public meeting on the LVEC was held June 9, 2005 in Artillery Park Gymnasium.
On June 10 2005, the next day, we saw Harvey Rosen talking about the possible expropriation of Metalcraft Marine on CKWS-TV news.
So things were clearly out of control in June 2005.
The budgeted cost for the LVEC was then still the $28.5 million estimate from the Task Force report. It wasn't until Sept 20 2005, three months later, that we learned the LVEC was supposed to cost $37.3 million.
Today the LVEC project has been sitting officially at $46 million for a while. We're overdue for a sharp upwards revision of that.
Today The Whig reports that Mayor Rosen will announce a LVEC fundraising concert on Monday.
Back in September 2004, The Tragically Hip, Mathew Good, The Hugh Dillion Redemption Choir, The Trews, The Sadies, James McKenty & The Spades, Chris Koster and host Dan Aykroyd plus about 600 volunteers raised $355,555 for The Community Foundation of Greater Kingston, the Joe Chithalen Musical Instrument Lending Library and Camp Trillium, all worthy causes, at the Across the Causeway concert.
If the latest reports are accurate, the mayor still must raise about $1.63 million to achieve his long-known requirement for LVEC fundraising.
In other words, he needs the equivalent of about five Across the Causeway concerts.
As countless serious articles and letters submitted by people raising real concerns and observations about the LVEC go unpublished, The Whig today features this fluff by Tony Houghton in its Forum section. Read the whole thing.
The headline, which we assume is coined by a Whig editor, implies the province-wide labour strike is due to some members of this Council.
A Kingston haunting; Work on the downtown arena has stopped - and it's all because of the boo-birds
More on the LVEC from Mr Houghton:
Spot a pattern here?
Incidentally, there's another bogus headline in today's Whig, on page 6, in a story about the recent $25,000 donation by Walter Fenlon to the LVEC. The headline implies that fundraising campaigns (plural) for City Projects have exceeded their goals. This is an obvious misrepresentation of the facts.
The Grand Theatre campaign jacked its fundraising goal after the project went several million dollars over budget. That goal has not been reached. The headline, in an article that refers to all the City's major projects, says the plural opposite. That's just dishonest.
See more past LVEC-related gross financial misrepresentations by The Whig from February 20th, 2007.
Today the City of Kingston trumpets a $25,000 donation from Walter Fenlon towards the LVEC.
So what's the total so far toward the $2 million required?
Fenlon's contribution brings the total raised during the current campaign for the Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre to $368,000.
Consider that $200k from Brit Smith, $50k from Bill Dalton, $50k from Harvey Rosen, and now $25k from Walter Fenlon, this means that the LVEC's fundraising efforts have so-far collected only $43k from the rest of the city combined, which includes all the Downtown Kingston movers who helped railroad this project.
There's more: Walter Fenlon is a leader of the Grand Theatre renovation project which currently has a fundraising shortfall of its own. Then there's the considerable Market Square fundraising shortfall and its bleak prosects resulting from its disgraceful dealings.
Back to the LVEC: All we need is the equivalent of just 65 more Walter Fenlons, or for 32 more Bill Daltons (who gave $50,000) to fulfill a requirement that's been known since September 2005. That's just for the LVEC.
Throw in the other projects' shortfalls, and the conclusion appears inescapable: Kingston's business community is evidently tapped-out, and apparently unable to rise to its own so-called "vision", unless that vision is "stiff the taxpayers" which, in that case, it is overachieving spectacularly.
There's more: just wait until acknowledgement of LVEC rising costs appear, and LVEC revenues don't fully materialize, and the phantasmagoric benefits of the LVEC don't, in fact, roll-in.
Is Downtown Kingston prepared for the city-wide fallout that's coming from all that?
It's becoming clear now, given these delays and the widening disconnect between published schedules and what's actually visible on the construction site, that the Kingston Frontenacs may not play any 2007-2008 regular season games in the LVEC.
The OHL regular season typically ends in mid-March, and the LVEC construction looks to be fully 8-weeks behind the plan that timelines to the mid-January opening target. As for April, the Kingston Frontenacs haven't played a home hockey game in April since 1998.
There's more: we're hearing from all quarters, and all the evidence overwhelmingly appears to support this: City of Kingston staff, from the CAO on down, apparently don't have what it takes to be executing this project.
Finally some recognition of the flawed way the LVEC has been "planned", and the shortcuts taken so far, especially with respect to traffic, which KCAL has been saying, with supporting documentation, for a long time now.
Our prediction: Council with Mayor Rosen chairing, inept meeting manager he's proving to be, won't get to this item this Tuesday.
It took less than one month for the City's feeble LVEC fundraising campaign to completely dissapear from the City Of Kingston's internet home page.
First the LVEC was rammed through with public consultation theatre and Downtown Kingston shenanigans, and now we're pretty sure we can say the same thing about the $2M fundraising effort. From its inception, this was horse manure used to sell this dodgy misguided project to former Council membere who, on balance, either got tossed from office or lacked the stomach to run again.
This council: a complete pushover. Taxpayers will cover the shortfall because Downtown Kingston doesn't have to. The whole project was done with a backroom wink and a smile. "Put down $2M for fundraising, that should do it".
Here's the list of the people and companies who contributed $125 or more to Harvey Rosen's mayoral campaign. We're interested to see who among them has, and who hasn't, stepped-up in support the money-Mayor's LVEC boondoggle.
Also, where's the big fundraising thermometer graphic showing us all how well it's going, the progress towards the Big Goal? Don't hold your breath.