Use this URL for your news reader: http://lvec.ca/KCalNewsAndArticles.XML
Today The Whig published this letter from Randy Cleary.
Read the whole thing. His praise for the rule of Downtown Kingston is, quite frankly, spectacularly over-the-top.
What's never said, though, is this: Randy Cleary is on the Board of Directors of KEDCO. That somewhat explains the excessive cheerleading and the collegial self-congratulation that permeates Mr Cleary's letter.
We're not talking about token stakes here. In the 2005 KEDCO business plan, we find $654,888 (!) allocated to creating or retaining 150 manufacturing, warehouse and distribution jobs. Note Randy Cleary is listed there. The average Kingstonian is rather more interested in real accountability, as opposed to blind and mindless self-promotion from senior members the KEDCO club, especially those masquerading as independent objective opinions.
Harvey Rosen's latest blog entry is up. Read the whole thing.
The thing Harvey Rosen doesn't get, and on November 14th he may wish he had, is if Rick Downe's LVEC referendum had been entertained, the LVEC would be a compartmentalized side-issue in this election, and not its uncontrollable primary issue.
We can say many things about Harvey Rosen, but saying he's political astute isn't one of them.
Unfortunately for the Downtown Uber Alles ruling faction of Council, two weeks from the election, it's not looking good for any of them. Here's how Council voted to quash the LVEC referendum motion that, ironically, may have saved many political careers.
Today The Whig published this article about the possibility of a 600-car parking garage behind the OHIP building. This would replace 225 existing parking stalls, for a net gain of about 375 stalls.
The most amazing things come up at election time, don't they?
Like an 8-story parking garage right on Kingston's waterfront is ever going to happen.
If the arena wasn't being built, waterfront reasons aside, this is not where you'd want to place a parking garage -- it's too far from the downtown core where most people work and shop. With parking garage stalls costing about $25,000 each to build, we're looking at $15million for 375 net new parking spaces, or $40,000 for each new stall. It doesn't make much sense and, if this goes ahead, the City will probably have to subsidize part of it.
We expect Harvey Rosen to tout this while being coy about the several million dollars this ersatz garage would add to the total cost of the LVEC.
It's not clear from the article where, exactly, the parking garage would stand. We're pretty sure some of the Whig's details are incorrect. Nonetheless, here's an aerial view of the general area, with a red outline showing where the garage might go.
Update: CKWS-TV reports that Mayor Rosen is applauding this news. Of course he is.
It's Bruce Todd vs Don Curtis in today's Whig Standard, side by side.
If you need someone to shill the party line, equate the acts that grace 10,000-seat arenas with those that ply 5,000-seat arenas, and shamelessly present the promises of stadium promoters at face-value, call Don Curtis.
Moreover, Don Curtis' recent freelance work for KEDCO is not acknowledged in the article.
Don Curtis is a former executive vice-president and managing director of a large communications agency. His experience handling tourism-related communications includes several government departments or organizations, such as the federal Department of Tourism, the Ontario Department of Tourism, Ontario Place, the Canadian National Exhibition and Canada's Wonderland..... and KEDCO.
Today Harvey Rosen, Kingston's current Mayor, serves us this. Read the whole thing.
There may be some way to salvage KEDCO, but something tells us this isn't it.
CKWS-TV News reports that work is proceeding on the contentious LVEC, and that foundations will soon be poured, regardless of the obvious uncertainty that permeates the atmosphere.
The lack of any broad public support for the project is increasingly clear. Today we face the prospect that few, if any, of the councillors who shilled the LVEC will be re-elected.
If ever there was evidence of lack of intelligence among senior managers at City Hall, this would be it. If the project starts in earnest now, then senior heads at City Hall will surely roll after the election. A conscientious manager would, instead, prepare the project for delay at best, and outright cancellation at worse. To blindly proceed now is ethically reprehensible.
Over at Mayor Harvey Rosen's blog, "Reality Check #8" was posted earlier today.
Yesterday's Whig reports that Mayoral candidate Rick Downes would, if elected, move the Arena to the Memorial Centre site.
This is a conversation Mayor Rosen should have initiated back in early 2004. He never entertained the idea, so now people will, one way or another, get their say. Rosen's not going to like the answer.
The Rosen campaign responds with this 3-page media release. Talk about the pot caling the kettle black.
The City probably thought it got something special when the Frontenacs conceded the LVEC's pouring rights.
What's the margin when four lads order one large pop and three tap waters with lots of ice? We're guessing it won't take long for the wise to figure out their pre-event routines.
Wood Gundy's Peter Kingston sent this letter to The Whig, which they published on Saturday.
Once elected, the process started with a group of people from the community being assigned the task of choosing the best location for an entertainment centre. Once their decision was made, the democratic process continued.We wonder what's so democratic about a hand-picked secretive task force mostly composed of Downtown Kingston sycophants who produced no record of any quantitative location analysis. That committee then submitted their report to a Council heavy with Downtown Kingston Uber Alles councillors, who approved a puppet steering committee chaired by a manipulative Downtown Kingston BIA board member, all of which leads to the predictable fiasco in which we find ourselves embroiled today.
The recommended location, Anglin Bay, was hotly debated by council. It was decided that the centre should be built on the North Block. Again, after plenty of lively discussion and debate, votes were cast to decide who should build and operate the entertainment centre. It is my understanding that the arrangement with the builder is a design-build contract that very much lowers the risk of going over budget.We wonder which city Mr Kingston has been observing. Anglin Bay was a done deal until KCAL dropped an 11th hour show-stopping 4,000-name petition on Council. New plans were quickly improvised, at the very last minute, and all subsequent plans and votes were all ridiculously rushed and compressed into last-minute stand-offs.
Also, it's shocking that someone from Wood Gundy would offer us such a shallow appraisal of the project's financial risk.
The simple fact is this: there has never been any evidence of broad support for building an arena at the sole whim of the Downtown BIA, and now that it's election time, this is increasingly evident to everyone.
It's pretty clear that the people of Kingston are seeing through transparent attempts to bullshit them into believing the LVEC process has been democratic, and that its benefits, assuming any beyond the Springer family, will outweigh its costs.
Downtown Kingston would be well advised to cease bluffing and recognize that they've over-played their hand. They should genuinely attempt to fix this problem before the election. Otherwise, what's coming is a well-deserved haircut that may leave Downtown Kingston without any meaningful representation on Council for the next four years.
In short, Downtown Kingston will either suck it up before the election, or do so for a long time afterwards.
Mr David Cliff, who once posted under the alias " Exhibitionist" on the Kingston Electors forums before getting tossed, continues to blame KCAL for the city-wide fallout arising from the arrogance of Mayor Rosen and his coterie.
We've posted the text of George Stoparczyk's letter to the Editor printed Saturday in The Whig.
Writing about Kevin George's pledge to re-open the arena project, Stoparczyk' says:
"I cannot find the people that are supporting this thing" is a statement that strains the credibility of the speaker.
Evidently George Stoparczyk doesn't get out much, and he's not paying attention to what everyone, city-wide, is reporting from the campaign trail.
George Stoparczyk is not running for re-election.
We've talked about Kingston's Memorial Cup chances here and here. The Memorial Cup comes to Ontario every three years. The host team gets a bye into the tournament. It follows that only competitive teams have a chance of selection -- ignoring that the successful bidder also needs a functional arena large enough to keep the CHL and the OHL in clover, which Harvey Rosen's LVEC most certainly isn't.
Not that any of this stops Harvey Rosen from continuing to insult the intelligence of Kingstonians with baloney like this:
We've just posted an interactive LVEC news item timeline. This is handy when you're looking for details a particular event in the past.
Click and drag to scroll the timeline left or right. Double-click on the lower band, and the timeline will automatically scroll to center on that date. Click on any item to see the news story.
This is what Floyd helped deliver in the last term...
- An unprecedented "Great Debate" affirmed our belief in the right to speak out and gave birth to the Kingston Regional Entertainment Centre -- a new home for our Junior B Hockey franchise and providing Kingston with a major entertainment destination
Floyd, what are you talking about?
As an elected representative who supported the LVEC without fail, lobbing ceremonial softball questions and accepting promoters' estimates at face-value instead of protecting Kingston's taxpayers from fleecing, Floyd Patterson doesn't seem to be up-to-speed on this dossier.
See also: Floyd Patterson: Mr Happy.
Mayoral candidate Kevin George puts the smelly fish squarely on the table.
As councillor for Loyalist-Cataraqui district, I work hard to keep myself informed on the attitudes and views of my constituents.
With this view in mind, I voted against the motion that Council approve a total project budget of $41.77 million. This motion was carried by a vote of 8 to 5.
As I continue to campaign throughout our City, the one issue that unites thousands of Kingstonians is their opposition to having the LVEC in a downtown location. I'm reminded of this opposition on a daily basis at countless doorsteps, in coffee shops, shopping malls, through telephone calls and in emails.
In view of the significant citywide opposition to the LVEC being in a downtown location, I believe that this issue needs to be re-examined and, if elected as your new Mayor, I will support any motion to do so by the new City Council.
More on the Steelback Centre at Wikipedia. See its underwhelming events calendar here. According to the Wikipedia article, the arena's naming rights were sold to Steelback for $135,000 per year over a period of ten years.
In contrast, Kingston's LVEC seats the same number of patrons, has a projected cost of $42 Million, and naming rights are expected to fetch $150,000 per year.
Vicki Schmolka reports an interesting comment from a potential voter in Trillium District.
A man with a young family told me that he believes that within a few years the LVEC deficit will be too much for the city, and the Springers will be buying the building for 20 cents on the dollar. (like Skydome)
Actually, given the fabulous 20-year deal cut by the Frontenacs (40 years of you include extensions) it's inconceivable that the LVEC could be sold to anyone else.
Here's a look back at one of Council's LVEC-related votes of September 20, 2005, the same night KCAL submitted its show-stopping petition on Council. Instead of realizing the LVEC project was rotten to the core, and ought to be completely re-thought, supine swing councillors including Kevin George, Bittu George, George Sutherland, and Beth Pater were lured into endorsing the North Block location that we are today stuck with.
Here's where council stood on the issue of seeking a broader consideration of locations for the proposed LVEC.
Category: LVEC pre-construction background data.
See also: The 2006 LVEC parking area fast food franchise index
Kingston Electors' Nancy Foster reports on yesterday's all candidates meeting in Trillium District.
Is this municipal campaign all about LVEC? How widespread and deep is opposition to LVEC? Is that all voters care about?Read the whole thing.
If this meeting is any example the answer is yes, the campaign is about LVEC and those who attend public meetings are overwhelmingly opposed to it.
Today The Whig reports what's plainly obvious to all who've seen the proposed LVEC location, read the evidently shallow and supine IBI traffic study (see also here and here), and seen the site plans: Getting to Harvey Rosen's Place Kingston Garnier Fructis Place de Kingston will be a zoo, especially of you aren't fully able-bodied.
The Memorial Centre is marooned, without any identified source of funding. The future costs of operating the Memorial Centre does not factor, in any way, into the costs for the LVEC. Such is Rosen-era project accoutability.
To March 31, 2006, the City reports LVEC expenses of $804,004.
To June 30, 2006, the City reports LVEC expenses of $453,175.
How is this possible? How can total spending on this project be decreasing with time?
Answer: the $504,100 the city blindly wasted on Anglin Bay isn't currently being reported as a project cost. In other words, the mismanagement and the mistakes arising from the blind, done deal, screw-everyone-else mentality that drives this project is being hidden away by the accounting staff at city hall.
What's more, it's not clear whether any of these figures include the considerable municipal staff time and other overhead allocations. We're guessing they don't. Another cost that's hidden elsewhere is the heap of money wasted on the boulevarding of Wellington Street.
One thing is certain: up to June 30th 2006, the official tally represents much less than half of the costs incurred so far.
The galling thing behind all this deceitful accounting: It's sanctioned by Council. The vote (see below) came down along the usual lines: