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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 -- September 2007
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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
To: LFoster@cityofkingston.ca
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.

Cheers-----Leonore

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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Last Updated: March 3, 2009