Medical School Or An Arena
I watched Jo-anne Gignac on Face-to-Face last night. When John Fairley asked her about an arena in the East end in the Lear plant area, her face turned white. That told me that something was up. In fact her answer, when John talked about money to finance it, suggested to me that the City was going to pay for the whole shot for a huge multi-pad arena complex and not rely on private money at all! Jo-anne talked about local arenas being old and so expensive to run so we may see a few closures too that will help justify this. (Oh I can guess where some of the money will come from---look for the Casino to make a big "donation" to keep away competition from its downtown arena! We are closing the Cleary for them so that is the least they can do)
Here is the dilemma. Windsor only has a limited Budget and there are many calls on taxpayer money. Council will be asked to make a contribution to help out a project that is important to the Community. The choices are to make a contribution as part of :
- $50 million plus for an arena in the East End to help get Eddie re-elected and to help bail out the new owners of the Spits (so they won't be "the most foolish business men in the world" and because "the group also isn't in position to pour millions into the project") with the result being the possible closing of several local arenas, OR
between $3 million and $4 million for the expansion of the University of Windsor's satellite medical school that will help the entire community.
I would have thought that was a no-brainer. But it never is.
If you can believe this, Councillor Valentinis "predicted a "tough sell" for the medical school.
It would be a difficult decision because Windsor needs doctors, he said, but "the days of funding outside groups is something that is increasingly being put under pressure. We can't constantly be coming to the table when there's a new initiative."
And the Mayor waiting to see what the consensus in the City is so he can jump on board "The city has not been asked yet to contribute to the expansion nor has it offered, said Mayor Eddie Francis.
"Council has been very clear we have challenges, and we're trying to balance the needs of meeting our own priorities as well as other areas," he said."
So much for political leadership in Windsor. The choice is yours to make, dear reader. I know where I want my money spent.
Just so you do not think I am being harsh about the Spits' owners, I am not. If you look at the Corel Centre in Ottawa or Skydome in Toronto as precedents, when the arena goes into bankruptcy, they will be able to buy it for pennies on the dollar! Everyone wins but the taxpayers.
And just to top things off, here is part of a story I read about Skydome called "DOME TO NOWHERE" by Neil deMause
- By the time the government finally rid itself of its white elephant, the Ontario public had taken a $262.7 million bath.
Stories like this have become all too familiar in the sports-stadium craze that has swept pro sports in the decade since SkyDome’s opening. While Olympic Stadium may have set the standard for extravagence, there are plenty of other contenders giving the Big Owe a run for its money.
Seattle's new Safeco Field, originally tabbed at $220 million (U.S.), has already passed the $500 million mark on its way toward its July opening, the bulk of which will be paid by the people of Washington state.
Milwaukee's Miller Park, originally budgeted at $250 million, is likewise nearing the half-billion-dollar mark, even as its opening has been delayed from 1999 to 2000.
Then there's the infamous renovation of Yankee Stadium, which began in 1973 with a $19 million pricetag, and didn't stop until it had devoured $125 million in New York City money. Ask any stadium expert how much a new ballpark is likely to cost, and you'll likely get the answer: "more than you've budgeted..."
Perhaps most significantly, stadium builders tend to lowball estimates to get a project approved, confident that once a hole is dug and a foundation poured, no one will be willing to cut off funds on a half-finished project. One stadium consultant recalls researching costs for another architect on a publicly funded minor-league pallpark project, and finding that the team owners' exorbitant demands for luxury suites were driving the price up. "I suggested that he warn the political powers-that-be that there might be major problems with leasing that many suites in a small market.
He said, 'They really want to get this team. They're afraid the owners will walk, so they won't question that -- they'll find the money to build the suites.'" The architect added that strict economies were not a priority for this stadium, because "public projects are always better funded than private ones."