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That $135,000 per anum 10-year naming rights deal started just 13 months ago.
There's an interesting opinion column by Barbara Wambolt in today's Whig Standard.
Welcome to Kingston's new large-venue entertainment centre, The Millstone.
Sounds good, eh? It's time we called a spade a spade and accepted what we've all known and feared all along: that the downtown sports and entertainment centre is becoming a burdensome responsibility. Will its costs eventually be heaped on the backs of lowly taxpayers who probably won't be able to afford to attend events there, even if they were willing to freeze their arses off in winter while they walked the the facility from God knows where they finally found a place to park?
There is a telling small photo in a recent Kingston Frontenacs press release. Here it is the photo, blown-up somewhat in size.
The press release vaunts the Kingston Frontenacs LVEC seat selection for current season-ticket holders.
Each one of those dark spots is a seat taken by an existing season ticket holder. We know from the numbers on this diagram that each LVEC seating section contains between 270 and 370 seats.
Therefore we're looking at a thousand or fewer season-tickets carried forward to the LVEC from the existing Kingston Frontenacs season-ticket holders.
Consider that the cost of this seat-selection was zero -- these seats are for the last seven regular-season games and, given current trends, probably zero playoff games, for which current season-ticket holders have already paid. The selection of seats gives rights to these specific seats for 2008-2009 and beyond, but the incremental cost of these rights was zero at the time of seat-selection.
The KCAL grapevine at the Memorial Centre is very clear on this: a significant number of current season-ticket holders say they will not be renewing for 2008-2009 and beyond.
All told, this is quite a ridiculous underachievement by the Kingston Frontenacs. What's worse: taxpayers of Kingston are holding the bag on a 30-year deal with this chronically underachieving outfit.
The Blue Rodeo website indicates that the band will be playing at Kingston's "Entertainment Centre" on Wednesday February 27th.
Golly! The two-car tsunami of Kingstonians who would travel out-of-town to see Blue Rodeo now won't have to.
The schedule shows Blue Rodeo playing in in Cornwall on Friday, February 8th, and in Kitchener's 50+ year-old Memorial-Cup-2008-hosting auditorium on Thursday, February 9th. They are also playing in Belleville (date TBA).
Tickets on this hockey-bowl tour are typically in the $40-$50 range, and most of those receipts will be leaving town on the tour bus.
Judging from the venues where Blue Rodeo is playing, the Memorial Centre is where they would happily be playing if the LVEC wasn't there. This won't stop Kingston's self-congratulating LVEC-philes from back-slapping each other in toasting the great achievement that is attracting Blue Rodeo to Kingston to play in the arena's opening week.
Another act with a Kingston date so-far is the Harlem Globetrotters on Tuesday April 1, 2008 at 7pm. Presumably the Globetrotters travel with their own floor because the LVEC hasn't got a basketball floor and, even if it did, there would be no place to store it. Tickets for the Globetrotters in Ottawa on April 2nd are $17 to $96, and in London (April 5th) are $25 to $91. The Globetrotters routinely played at the Memorial Centre in the past, so this isn't an act the LVEC is attracting to town and, again, nearly the full gate leaves town on the bus with the team.
Don't hold your breath
Teen pop star Avril Lavinge, originally from Napanee, plays in Buffalo NY on March 29th, The Bell Centre in Montreal on April 2nd, Scotia Bank Place in Ottawa Apr 3rd, the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on April 7th, and the John Labatt Centre in London on on April 9th. Kingston's just not in this league, but if there is an LVEC stop, it'll be between April 4th and 6th.
The Foo Fighters, who play in Montreal on March 17th, Ottawa on March 19th, London on March 20th, and Toronto on March 25th, certainly won't be stopping here.
Monster Jam Trucks, in London on March 8th, won't be coming here. Some local wankers promised that Monster Trucks would come, but the awful logistics at the LVEC means that just isn't going to happen. If it ever does, it will be the only time.
On Tuesday The Whig ran this article about how the fundraising shortfall would mean "no new taxes", but the public purse -- in the form of reserves -- remains fungible to cover the LVEC's underachievements.
The article also mentions the possible raiding of a new Federal program for projects of "significant economic or regional impact", as if there wasn't already a long list of far better-suited and deserving needs in and around Kingston.
Evidently City Staff isn't much concerned with those. Amalgamated Kingston be damned, it's apparently still all about subsidizing downtown land owners and others who, in the scheme of things, are the least deserving of taxpayer subsidies.
So far the LVEC has scammed $4 Million from the province under the guise of "health promotion", $3M in development charges previously earmarked for increasing Kingston's woefully inadequate recreational square footage and now, apparently, seeking still more under the pretense of "economic development".
Hands-up if you think this had better stop, and soon.
The Whig Standard apparently needs a report from City Hall before publishing anything related to the scandalously underachieving LVEC fundraising campaign.
Ditto for CKWS-TV News.
Here's what's transpired in the past week:
All those yellow-green bubbles now report to either Lance Thurston (green, Community Development Services), Denis Leger (brown, Corporate Services), or Jim Keech (purple, Utilities Kingston).
Here's what's really interesting about all this: None of our local media have chosen to tie Mr Segsworth to the LVEC boondoggle in any way, even obliquely. On the other hand, all media tied Mr Segsworth to the Market Square disgrace, which saw its perpetual renaming to "Springer Market Square", bought by the Springer family for less than one-sixth the cost of one single renovation.
Apparently Mark Segsworth is getting a free-pass out of town, despite being the overseer of both the City's Transportation and Engineering departments during the entire LVEC fiasco.
In The Whig today: The Partners in Mission Food Bank is in tough.
One reason: competition for donations, which includes competition from LVEC fundraising.
Hands up, those who didn't see this coming.
The agenda for the Tuesday November 6th Council Meeting is now online and there's nothing LVEC-related on it.
Recall that, at the last Council meeting, Councillor Schmolka asked the Mayor for an update on LVEC fundrasing. The Mayor replied that he, in his capacity as fundraising campaign chair, would have a report for Council this week.
Meanwhile, everybody knows that $2M LVEC fundraising drive is, so far, an embarrassing disaster for the Mayor.
Bruce Todd has written seven letters to City Councillors and senior City staff about the traffic issues around the LVEC. This arises from the October 30, 2007 public meeting which, by all accounts, was a total embarassment. The meeting featured presentation by firm of Totten Sims Hubicki (TSH) about the Place D'Armes / Ontario Street intersection.
In letter #1 titled Peer Review, he wonders how a motion of Council calling for a completely independent peer review about traffic in the area of the LVEC turned into a report from a non-independent consultant (Totten Sims Hubicki) about just one intersection.
In letter #2 titled Availability of information prior to a Public Meeting, he points out the complete lack of information made available prior to the October 30th 2007 public meeting, and the lack of information available at the public meeting itself.
In letter #3 titled Telling the Public Why the Intersection has to be Reconstructed and Signalized, he bemoans that the public was never told WHY the intersection needs to be completely re-designed and rebuilt, what the costs were, what ancilliary impacts would be, and almost no information about options.
In letter #4 titled A conflict of Philosophies, Mr Todd points out the incoherence between policy and what the city proposes to do here.
Letter #5 titled Baffled by Words raises questions about how evaluation criteria were established, and why one percent of the intersections users are apparently driving the decisions about its design.
In letter #6 titled Road Reconstruction/Rehabilitation, he asks why traffic "moves" that weren't hitherto required are now proposed, and why expenditures on roadbuilding is occuring years before development has been agreed upon. He also points out that the citizens have been sold a bill-of-goods with a concept called "dispersed parking", which is a term undefined and unaccepted in the traffic engineering world. If you search for "dispersed parking" in Google, we see that the City of Kingston continues to own the top spot, having invented this notion, practically out of the blue, in the justification of the LVEC's location.
In letter #7 titled Impacts of Various Traffic Scenarios, it's clear that the consultants are making traffic recommendations while ignoring effects on both upstream and downstream traffic flows.
In closing, Bruce Todd states:
I am asking councillors to get us back on track and demand a peer review of the IBI Transportation Study in every aspect.
About that, see Bruce Todd's final evaluation and summary of the IBI Transportation Study, which have been known for over a year, in which Mr Todd concludes:
In summary, IBI has unprofessionally wriggled its way around addressing any problems with this project. IBI is proposing a parking scenario that is clearly in uncharted waters. And the city and the taxpayers are left to resolve their own problems.
It appears that The City of Kingston has now procurred for itself three embarassing traffic reports. What's worse is we're not being shown anything from the third one, by the firm of Totten Sims Hubicki.