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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 -- October 2007
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October 31, 2007

The Best Question of the Evening

The fallout from last night's so-called "public meeting" on the Ontario Street/Place D'Armes intersection, adjacent to the LVEC, begins with this from the WestSport blog: The Best Question of the Evening.

"After hearing comments and concerns from people at this meeting, and after the report of TSH, is anything going to change? Are you going to do what you planned to do anyway?"

Read the whole thing.

Also, here's The Whig's article: Consultants grilled on arena traffic plan.

Published: 10/31/07 04:38:55 PM
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October 28, 2007

Ontario St. / Place d'Armes Intersection: meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30 in Memorial Hall
Public meeting notice for the intersection adjacent to the Kingston Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre (LVEC)

In a move apparently designed to minimize publicity, and minimize public input, the City has scheduled a public meeting on very short notice at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30, in Memorial Hall, City Hall.

This meeting has been delayed before, presumably because the LVEC has created some tricky and embarassing traffic problems downtown generally, and around this intersection in particular.

This is interesting: this "Public Notice" was not placed on City of Kingston Press Releases page, where public meeting announcements are routinely found.

Also this "Public Notice" does not appear in the City of Kingston's RSS feed , where such notices are routinely transmitted to subscribers.

The kicker: there are no drawings, and no documents posted online, about the proposed design of this crucial intersection. There is no way for the public to gauge what's proposed other than to attend the meeting in person, and sit through it.

Does this seem like a genuine overture to the public about this vital piece of Kingston's infrastructure? What does this smell like to you?

Published: 10/28/07 11:20:10 AM
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October 24, 2007

Canadian Employment Law Today: Kingston CEO facing some tough charges in Bill Bishop case.

In the October 22 2007 issue of Canadian Employment Law Today: City executive gets fired after his salary report yields unpopular results. Apparently former City of Kingston HR director Bill Bishop claims that City CEO [sic] Glen Laubenstein didn't react well to a report that didn't fit his world view.

This is old news. Curious that article refers to "CEO".

Published: 10/24/07 12:28:29 PM
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An excellent post on the Limestoned blog: Got Coach?

From the Limestoned blog: Got Coach?

The organization fired Cassidy while on a northern road trip where they were beaten Sunday night by the league leading Sault 'Hounds before heading to Sudbury tonight to play the bottom feeding Wolves. Not that the Fronts are much higher on the food chain, but the interm coach stands a better chance to win his first game behind the bench against the last place team rather than the first place team.

Read the whole thing.

As it turns out, Kingston lost 4-0 in Sudbury.

Update : Here's related a post blog named "Out Of Left Field": FRONTS: MAVETY, SPRINGER THROW A NECKTIE PARTY FOR CASSIDY.

The Frontenacs have some nice players, but they are 12 games in and haven't won a game in regulation time. They are dead last in all of Canadian major junior hockey in goals scored and in goals allowed.

Read the whole thing; there's more, it's hilarious.

Published: 10/24/07 11:12:06 AM
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October 21, 2007

EllisDon in contravention of the noise by-Law in Kingston

From the Westsport blog: Contravention of the Noise by-Law in Kingston.

Noisy construction on the LVEC at early hours on Sunday mornings has been happening for quite some time. EllisDon don't have a bylaw exemption from Council for this, and City staff have done squat following numerous complaints about it.

Add this to the growing list of things for which Glen Laubenstein, Cynthia Beach, Lanie Hurdle, and many others deserve to be held accountable.

Published: 10/21/07 04:08:02 PM
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October 18, 2007

The Whig still not getting it

A brief LVEC-related item in today's Kingston Whig Standard illustrates what we've been up against since April 2004 when the LVEC saga began.

Fundraising for the sports and entertainment centre is just over a third of the way to its $2-million goal.

The $46.5-million project requires the money as part of its business plan.

According to the city's website, as of Oct. 15 the fundraising total stood at $630,072.43.

Evidently Whig Editors don't work on LVEC-related items. $630,072.43 is not "just over a third" of $2-million.

When it comes to the LVEC, The Whig has always been about overstating the positives, minimizing or omitting the negatives, to the point of apparent misrepresentation.

Published: 10/18/07 08:51:44 PM
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October 13, 2007

September LVEC project status report on Tuesday's Council agenda
Another illegible LVEC project schedule

There are several illegible or indistinguishable elements in the latest published schedule.

On Tuesday evening Council will receive the September 2007 LVEC Project Status Report from City Staff.

As usual, the report is in black and white, and buried with other documents in a PDF file with no table of contents. Note that this package is improperly collated: The report starts on page 39, but the report's introductory pages begin on page 89, with two unrelated documents in between.

A table of contents for these.PDF reports would not only be very useful for readers, it would also prevent collation sloppiness like this, which is a chronic problem: see here, here, and here.

The report includes 16 pages of detailed project schedule dated September 27th, 2007. At least Staff's submissions of six-week old project schedules seems to have improved somewhat; this one is only three weeks out of date.

Why does staff persist in submitting reports with formatting wholly unsuitable for black and white presentation? Maybe they really don't want people reading too closely? See also here.

In several places the report states:

Some activities are on schedule. Some construction activities behind schedule could have an impact on the critical path.

The unreadability of several critical elements of the published schedule sheds no light whatsoever on that.

Apparently on September 30th 2007, the project had received $619,672 in donations and pledges. Yet today, on October 14th 2007, two weeks later, the City's Latest Campaign Donors List shows only $618,937.50 in donations and pledges. Has the fundraising campaign gone $735 backwards over the past two weeks?

Let the record show that, four months before the LVEC's scheduled February 22 2008 opening, this City Staff report, like others before it, convey the distinct impression that everything is hunky dory with LVEC project finances. There is no expression of concern about the $2M fundraising campaign which looks to be falling absurdly short at this juncture.

Published: 10/13/07 12:38:50 PM
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October 12, 2007

Combined LVEC calendars of Mississauga, Oshawa, Guelph, and Sault Ste-Marie for Q4 2007
You are looking at the combined published calendars for October, November, and December 2007 for LVECs in Mississauga, Oshawa, Guelph, and Sault Ste-Marie.

Four comparable buildings to Kingston's LVEC, over a full three months. We've circled the non-OHL hockey events to get a sense of what else these buildings draw.

You are looking at just 23 planned non-hockey events into a possible 368 event-days. This includes:

Not exactly the stuff of 2,500 to 5,000-ticket juicy box office receipts like we've been told to expect here in Kingston.

The LVEC Business Plan assumes 97 events per year, 41 of which (including a wildly improbable 4 home-playoff games per year) are assumed to be Kingston Frontenac events.

Of the 56 remaining expected events, 11 are assumed to come from other hockey-related events and tournaments, and the 45 remaining events are assumed to be "Concerts", "Family Shows", and "Other Events" drawing, on average, between 2,500 and 5,000 people each.

In other words: roughly 12-15 big-revenue-generating non-hockey events per non-summer quarter.

Not bloody likely. That is roughly equivalent to the current performance of Mississauga's Hershey Centre and Oshawa's General Motors Centre COMBINED in a year that Mississauga hosts BMO Skate Canada (5 days) and Oshawa's schedule is padded with a Craft Fair (3 days) and other events that, clearly, we would host in The Grand Theatre.

See also: Combined LVEC calendars of Mississauga, Oshawa, Guelph, and Sault Ste-Marie for Q3 2007.

Published: 10/12/07 06:05:58 AM
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October 11, 2007

Recent LVEC-related posts on the WestSport blog

There are two recent LVEC-related posts over on the WestSport blog:

Related to this: nobody can say they weren't warned.

Published: 10/11/07 11:05:58 AM
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October 10, 2007

For the record: Ken Wong is "already there"

Last week the Whig Standard ran this ad for the LVEC fundraising campaign, part of a series in which Kingstonians who have donated briefly state why, and encourage others to do likewise.

According to Ken Wong,

It (the LVEC) enhances our ability to do so many things -- culturally, economically and socially. It can be a huge driver of our future.

Right.

Ken Wong has been a notable drum-beater for the LVEC. Here is a retrospective of Ken Wong's published views on the matter, with links to others' comments related to those views. Judge for yourself.

Ken Wong prior to the LVEC (prior to 2004)

Background: Prior to 2004 there was, among other things, a proposal by a firm named Kingston 2000 Developments Ltd to build a $200M arena and hotel on Block D.

Ken Wong in the LVEC-on-Anglin-Bay era (March 2004 - September 20 2005)

Background: The original LVEC plan showed it as occupying the Kingston Marina site on Kingston's Inner Harbour. This would have meant the relocation, at considerable expense, of MetalCraft Marine and its 70 employees, a locally-owned and internationally-respected builder of Fire, Rescue, Patrol and Work boats. Ken Wong was a member of the Task Force responsible for this idea.

Ken Wong in the LVEC-on-the-North-Block era (September 20 2005 - Present)

Background: When swing-councillor support for the LVEC's Anglin Bay location collapsed on September 20th 2005, LVEC promoters immediately concocted a back-room deal to move the project to the North Block, as if the waterfront location was the project's only notable dodgy aspect.

Two things are also evident:

  1. So far the marketing of the LVEC project has been an abject failure. Marketing is supposed to be Ken Wong's area of expertise.
  2. The lack of strong support from the Kingston business community towards the $2M LVEC fundraising campaign is extremely dissapointing.

What if Mr Wong's wishful predictions don't come to pass? What if annual taxpayer subsidies in the six- or seven-figure dollar range are required to keep the LVEC afloat, like has happened in London and Guelph and elsewhere? Consider also that the LVEC does not solve the Memorial Centre problem, which along with its annual taxpayer-financed six-figure dollar costs, remains with us.

So far most of the great things that were promised by arena promoters, like local benefits from construction jobs and "silent majority" support (also here and elsewhere), have not come to pass.

Published: 10/10/07 04:13:24 PM
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October 6, 2007

City: Public Meeting On Traffic Signals Has Been Postponed

Released Friday, Oct 5th:

A public meeting about the signalization of the Ontario St./Place d'Armes intersection originally set for this Tuesday, Oct. 9 (to start at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Hall at City Hall) has been postponed until further notice.

...

"Given the sensitivity of this area, we are being exceptionally conservative and cautious moving forward," says Malcolm Morris, Director of Transportation.

Possible translation: The LVEC's traffic and accessibility story is REALLY a mess.

Nobody can say they weren't warned.

When do you think was the time to be "conservative and cautious moving forward"?

Published: 10/06/07 01:31:15 PM
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October 4, 2007

For the record: Julia Kempffer is "already there"

Early last week the Whig Standard ran this ad for the LVEC fundraising campaign.

Writing teacher Julia Kempffer is looking forward to a world-class venue for large international classical and instrumental performances.

If we look at the full list of events hosted by the 10,000-seat John Labatt Centre in London since 2003, and the thin event histories of other OHL venues much closer in size to Kingston's LVEC, this donor is likely to be very disappointed.

Evidently hockey bowls aren't places where "large international classical and instrumental performances" are typically hosted.

There's more:

And she is delighted that it will also be accessible to patrons with special mobility needs.

Many people, it seems, are unaware of the the LVEC's accessibility disgrace.

What do you think of the rectitude of LVEC project management and The Whig who print and perpetuate these apparent misconceptions?

Published: 10/04/07 09:40:17 AM
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Ed Smith: you be the judge

According to an article in Today's Whig, Councillor Ed Smith apparently said this at last Tuesday's Council meeting:

Councillor Ed Smith said he didn't see anything that should prevent Homestead from receiving the exemption. He added that the company has made several donations to local projects and is a supporter of the city. Approving the exemption would send a message to the company and to other developers, Smith said.

"One of the things we have a reputation for in this city is not being very business-friendly," he said.

Ed Smith must believe we're all stupid.

Published: 10/04/07 09:01:57 AM
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October 3, 2007

Empire Life steps up for $50,000 towards the LVEC

Insurance Company Donates $50,000 To The Fundraising Campaign.

Great! Now we just need just 27 more like Empire Life and LVEC fundraising will reach its meagre $2M target.

Some would say that compared to $150,000 per year that naming rights are expected to fetch, Empire Life, a candidate for that level of LVEC support, disappoints greatly here.

Empire Life is one of the luxury suite holders.

Published: 10/03/07 03:43:23 PM
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Three LVEC-related articles in Tuesday's Whig

Three LVEC-related articles appeared in yesterday's Whig.

  1. A tangled federal funding trail -- Letters capture mayor's attempts to obtain money for arena from Ottawa, by Jordan Press, outlines Mayor Rosen's ongoing failure to sell the LVEC to the Federal Government for funds. Note how the LVEC is apparently being touted as a "recreation" asset, which requires the suspension of disbelief considering Kingston's real recreation infrastructure deficit, nevermind our general infrastructure backlog.

    Question: If most Kingstonians believe the LVEC is a boondoggle, why wouldn't the Federal Government be aware also?

    See what other communities are doing infrastructure-wise with their Federal funds from the same program. It would be a shame if Kingston didn't get more funding for real infrastructure because the Mayor and staff were apparently busy trying to save face on the LVEC's finances at the expense of other worthy projects that might benefit all Kingstonians.

  2. It's all business at seminar about the October 10th Chamber of Commerce LVEC business seminar.

  3. Tempers flare at debate about how the LVEC came up among local provincial candidates in a public debate.

    Liberal candidate John Gerretsen and New Democrat candidate Rick Downes clashed several times over a series of accusations Downes has levelled at Gerretsen throughout the campaign.

    Downes, as he's done several times during the last few weeks, blamed Gerretsen for allowing Kingston city councillors to spend money earmarked for roads and bridges, like the third crossing, on the downtown arena.

    An angry Gerretsen interrupted Downes, who had the floor, saying, "Not true, not true, not true. Get your facts straight." He was reprimanded by the moderator.

    Downes retorted, "I can understand why the sitting member is so sensitive about the issue."

    Indeed.

Published: 10/03/07 09:28:46 AM
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October 1, 2007

The Kingston Frontenacs: not the genuine article

Remember this, from June 17th? Frontenacs "Season Tickets Sales UP 41% from this time last year" !

Here's how that's actually playing-out so far:

Kingston Frontenacs
attendance after
3 home games
SeasonAttendance
2007-20086,017
2006-20077,143
2005-20066,292

These numbers are tickets distributed or sold. KCAL members attending these Frontenacs games report that the actual turnstile count appears to be much, much lower than the 6,017 being reported for the first three games of 2007-2008.

So, how much do you trust the people who own and run the Kingston Frontenacs?

At the urging of our stellar municipal staff, the City of Kingston signed a 30-year LVEC deal with this chronically underachieving outfit.

Related:

Sources:

Published: 10/01/07 12:00:40 AM
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Last Updated: March 3, 2009