Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Finally, Canada's Top Athletes Will Be Rewarded for Their Efforts"

Posted December 14, 2007 in the Kingston Whig Standard

The headline announced "Money for Medals." It finally happened. Terrific!
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has at long last stepped into the real world of athletic achievement, joining many of the world's top sporting nations. France, the United States, Italy, Australia, Spain, Russia and China, to name just a few, reward Olympic medallists with money, apartments, family security and status. These are some of the countries whose athletes Canadian athletes compete against at the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games. They are among our toughest competition.
Starting with the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Canadian gold medallists will receive $20,000, silver medallists will receive $15,000 and bronze medallists will receive $10,000. An important aspect of the Olympic Committee's Athletic Excellence Fund is that in each of the three years leading up to the Olympic Games or Olympic Winter Games, athletes who place in the top four or five in the world will receive $5,000.
Olympic medallists are the best athletes from the 205 nations that participate in the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games. To get to this level, an athlete often trains for 15 years. Olympians start in their community, taking lessons for a few hours a week, and progress to virtually full-time training and competition on the international stage.
Aspiring Olympians are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. They are extraordinarily focused, first on being the best Canadian, and then on being the best in the whole world. To become an Olympic medallist, an athlete perseveres and suffers both euphoric success and unacceptable failure.
Providing a financial incentive for Canadian medallists sends a clear, powerful message, not only to Canadians but also to the world. The pursuit of excellence that results in Olympic medals is a worthy endeavour. Canadian medallists are remarkable examples for each of us. Canadians are formidable opponents. Canada honours its athletes.
The COC is best positioned to offer these financial rewards. Money in its Athlete Excellence Fund comes from sponsorships, licensing and investments, not from taxpayers. Through the Athlete Excellence Fund, all medallists are treated the same; if you win a medal, you will be rewarded. This principle is important, particularly for athletes in less-known or less- popular sports. Biathlon or luge medallists will receive the same reward as a 100-metre sprinter.
As cornerstones of the Olympic Games, swimming and track-and-field organizations attract sponsors, as do some of their athletes. The public profile of water polo or synchro or fencing or judo or nordic combined just isn't the same. And the road to a medal for athletes in these events is just as long, just as hard and just as expensive as it is for the 100-metre sprinter, curler or speed skater. Now, when athletes in these sports win a medal, they will receive the same amount of money as every other medallist.
The Olympic Committee's Athlete Excellence Fund acknowledges the tremendous human and financial cost of elite training and competition. Costs often include specialist coaches, choreographers, nutritionists, sport psychologists, equipment technicians, customized equipment (such as bikes), physiotherapists, national team fees, everyday living expenses and local transportation to and from the training venue. These latter expenses are necessary because in places like Kingston, facilities are often not available and our athletes have to leave the city to train.
Canadian support can be direct or indirect. Federal and provincial governments provide grants to national and provincial sport organizations, as well as direct athlete assistance. Some corporations sponsor athletes or sport organizations. Athletes and their families still need more aid, as evidenced by the existence of the Canadian Athletes Now Fund (CAN Fund) started by Jane Roos in 1997 to help with everyday expenses. More than 500 athletes have received cash from the CAN Fund, including more than 60 this year alone.
In the immediate future, however, three changes are needed. First, paralympians need to get the same reward for medals. Athletes with disabilities are not included in the Athlete Excellence Fund program because the Canadian Paralympic Committee is a different organization from the COC and currently doesn't have the money.
Second, the rewards should be larger. And third, Canada needs to provide facilities and programming for aspiring Olympians to train in their own communities. I want these young people to be seen training by every child and adult in their community, and that includes Kingston.
- Diana Davis Duerkop has been involved in amateur sport for more than 40 years. She is currently on the boards of the Kingston and District Sports Hall of Fame and Sport Kingston, and is a past vice-president of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Copyright © 2007 The Whig Standard

Wycliffe and the "Short Course'

You wondered about the piece about Elizabeth Wycliffe?
Well....times on short courses (25m) are different from times on long courses (50m). Times will be faster on a short course due to the turn at 25m...i.e. a swimmer "makes up" time on a turn because she can push off the wall.
We'll be cheering for Elizabeth at the Olympic Trials, which must be held on a long course, i.e. on the same length course/pool that the Olympic Games are held on.
It would be great to have a Kingstonian on the swim team at Beijing, so cheer her on!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Swimmer breaks records

From the Kingston Whig-Standard

Kingston swimmer Elizabeth Wycliffe had two record-breaking performances at the Bell Grand Prix swim meet that concluded yesterday in Toronto.
Wycliffe, a member of the Ernestown Barracudas, set the Canadian short-course record in the 200-metre backstroke at 2 minutes 7.5 seconds in Friday's preliminaries.
She later won the final in 2:13.50.
The weekend's competition had short course (25-metre) races for morning preliminaries and long course (50-metre) races for finals.
Yesterday, Wycliffe eclipsed the short-course meet record in the 100-metre backstroke, finishing in 59.85 seconds.
That time was just 52 one-hundredths of a second off Marylyn Chiang's national record that has stood since 2000.
In last night's final, Wycliffe clocked 1:02.62 to win the gold medal, 64 one-hundredths of a second ahead of Kelly Stefanyshyn of B.C.
Saturday Wycliffe added a bronze medal in the 200-metre individual medley.
Erica Morningstar of Calgary won gold in 2:15.70.
Wycliffe was third in 2:19.21.

Friday, November 16, 2007

An aquatics road trip; Kingston could do worse than to emulate these communities

We were a gang of 11 on a recent Saturday morning, setting out in the pre-dawn darkness on a mini-bus bound for Montreal. Among us were three city recreation officials, a city councillor, a consultant and representatives of local swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and aquafit interests. Longtime aquatics enthusiasts Alex Palilionis and I, acting on behalf of the Kingston Association for Aquatics, Recreation and Sport (KAARS), were tour organizers and guides.

Our mission, in the wake of city council's decision to proceed with feasibility plans for a new aquatics complex with a 50-metre pool, was to educate ourselves by visiting three such facilities in the Montreal area: in Pointe-Claire, LaSalle and Terrebonne. What an inspiring trip!

The first thing our genial host at Pointe-Claire, senior culture and recreation manager Gary Malcolm, did upon greeting us was to gesture to the "wall of fame." On it were mounted 25 bronze plaques with the names of the 25 athletes from the city's program who have represented Canada at the Olympic Games. Pointe-Claire has a population of 28,000.

The Pointe-Claire complex, composed of the original 50-metre pool built in the 1960s, a warmer 25-yard pool and a small wade-in pool for toddlers, was teeming with kids of all ages. That's to be expected on the weekend, one would suppose. But Malcolm told us the place is equally busy during the week with "the Arthritics," day-care kids (1,000 a week), those participating in "adaptive aquatics" for the mentally and physically disabled, gym and swim classes, adult swimming lessons, "aqua natal" courses for expectant mothers, the 3F club (fun and fitness after 50), weight training, competitive swim and diving club practices after school, "aqua percept" (non-competitive gym and swim), recreational swims, adult diving classes and much more.

Even though Pointe-Claire is surrounded by nearby communities with more modern and arguably better physical facilities, it is Pointe-Claire that is the champion by far in attracting users from within and outside its boundaries.

To what does this modestly sized town owe its outsized aquatic success? According to Malcolm, the secret is that from the very beginning, the community got behind aquatics. Originally, seven neighbourhoods raised the capital to build seven neighbourhood outdoor pools. They formed advisory groups for each pool and placed great emphasis on participation and programming.
Those outdoor pools are still running today and act as a feeder system to the indoor facilities, supplying users as well as kids who graduate to becoming lifeguards and instructors. The indoor aquatics centre also has a volunteer, non-supervisory board that has perpetuated the founding values of participation and outstanding programming.

Because of the success of its programs and resultant capacity constraints, Pointe-Claire is now embarking on plans for its second 50-metre pool. When the proposal was registered for public comment, not one objection was recorded. The city council voted unanimously in favour.

The next stop was another suburban centre, the LaSalle Aquadome. Here we were graciously greeted and given a tour by aquatics manager Raymond Kubiak. I had swum at this facility during my Montreal days and was eager to show off the leisure pool and its horticultural adornments to my companions. Our host, of course, saved that for last as we toured team meeting rooms, equipment lockers, changing rooms and even the bowels of the complex, "below decks."

Eventually, we surfaced to gaze upon a beautifully tiled 50-metre basin, one not as intensely populated as its Pointe-Claire counterpart but impressive in every other way. And then came the piŠce de resistance, just as I had remembered it: a warm-water "leisure pool," effectively an indoor aqua park, with fountains, hydrojets, a corkscrew waterslide, a gentle slope for wading in and out, big windows, deck chairs, a patio and real palm trees.

If you know anything about human nature, you will not be surprised to learn that the place was packed with happy kids, teens and parents. We even ran into a grandmother who had journeyed from Kingston to the aquadome to be at her grandchild's birthday party.

LaSalle has a population of 74,000 and, unlike Pointe-Claire, it contracts out the management of its facility, including the programming, to a private company. The community is not organically involved and, as a result, the aquadome's 50-metre pool is not the beacon of programming innovation and user demand that is the case in Pointe-Claire. LaSalle's great strength and lesson for Kingston is the heavily used leisure pool, as symbolized by the palm trees.

A parenthetical note: Pointe-Claire is exploring the possibility of incorporating aqua park-like features into its original 50-metre pool once the new one is built.

The third stop of a long day was the less-well-known suburb of Terrebonne, a half-hour north of Montreal. It has a population of but 84,000, and words cannot do justice to the scale of this community's recreational ambitions for its citizens. This past September, it opened an aquatics complex with a 50-metre pool 10 lanes wide (25 metres across) and a leisure pool with all the features of the LaSalle Aquadome's, including palm trees (plastic this time, but let's not quibble) and a pirate ship.

The scale of the entire complex, integrated with hockey rinks - the heat produced in cooling the ice is recycled to warm the pools - and a vast Olympic-style gymnasium replete with all the requisite equipment, was well beyond anything any of us had seen. Jaws increasingly fell agape, especially when we learned that indoor and outdoor soccer pitches and a football gridiron are still to come.

Our smiling host, recreation manager Sylvie Lussier, pointed out that while the care and maintenance of the physical plant have been contracted out to private concerns, it is very much the community and the city that are responsible for programming. Judging from the hundreds of cars we saw in the parking lot, and the happy faces everywhere throughout the complex, we'd say it is a formula that is going to work.

On the bus ride back home, we exchanged thoughts on what we had learned from our excursion. There was a clear consensus: if three communities smaller than Kingston can find the community spirit and the funding to invest handsomely in aquatics facilities (and palm trees), and then build successful programming around them, then so can Kingston.

Because aquatics is so universal in appeal and scope, we must not sell ourselves short when we draw up plans for our new pool complex in Kingston. Let's do it right, with a creative mix of leisure, therapeutic and competitive elements that will appeal to all sectors of the community.

As with Pointe-Claire, LaSalle and Terrebonne, it's an investment that will pay priceless dividends down the road.

- Christopher West has been swimming since he was in his mother's womb. He is a member of the Kingston Association for Aquatics Recreation and Sport (KAARS) and a former member of the Whig-Standard's Community Editorial Board. Swimming Canada, Swim Ontario, KAARS and members of the public generously contributed funding for the Montreal trip. If you would like more information on this story as it evolves, or more background, go to: www.ktownaquatic

Pointe-Claire pool facts
Population: 28,000.
Number of indoor municipal pools: 3 (including one of 50-metres).
Number of outdoor municipal pools: 7.
Number of Olympic athletes produced: 25.
Cost of 2nd 50-metre pool: $12 million.
New pool provincial funding share: 50 per cent.
Number of user visits annually: 475,000.
Daily average number of users: 1,300.
User fees: Low by comparison with other facilities.
Pool rental fees for clubs: Nil.
Operating deficit: $1 million.
Justification: "Our aquatics programs are why people want to live here. We want to maximize sport and wellness opportunities in the Pointe-Claire community."
Could the deficit be reduced or eliminated by increasing fees? Yes.

[Reproduced with permission of the author]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Committee ponders future of 50-metre Harry Bailey pool
Facility fails to meet international requirements

by Jill Smith
The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A city committee will decide this week what to do with the 50-metre pool at the Harry Bailey Aquatic Centre.

The public was asked what to do with the pool, in light of the Shaw Centre's 50-metre pool opening in the spring. The pool at the Shaw Centre will meet the international requirements to host competitions -- something the Harry Bailey pool has been unable to do since 2000 when new facility revisions were made.

"When people got the sense that this pool may close early on, a lot of people stepped forward," said Coun. Bob Pringle, who sits on the committee.

A report headed to the committee states there is "overwhelming support" for keeping the Harry Bailey pool open. In fact, no one who showed up at a public meeting held in March was willing to discuss the idea of converting the pool for land use.

"I totally agree with the public on this one," said Coun. Pat Lorje in an interview. "This is not the time to be closing down public leisure facilities in established areas of the city."

There are three options for the Harry Bailey pool, according to the report.
One option is to close the 50-metre pool and revamp the space to accommodate other land recreational and educational uses. But since no one wished to discuss this, administration found it difficult to decide on specific potential programs.
Another idea is to keep the 50-metre pool open and issue a challenge to the public to increase usage. Swim groups are toying with the idea of developing additional aquatic programs for inner-city kids, and pool administrators are planning creative draws like a pool party and battle of the bands, which they expect will attract about 950 people later this month.
The third option is also to keep the pool open, but to get rid of the bleachers surrounding the pool to make way for other recreational programs.
Many respondents to a phone survey conducted in March liked this idea.
Pringle says that option makes sense to him.
"It makes it more versatile," he said.

Whether it's feasible to keep both pools open remains to be seen -- which is why some people at the meetings suggested doing nothing for a couple of years after the Shaw Centre opens to see what happens to Harry Bailey usership.

Coun. Charlie Clark says the real question for him is, "Is it feasible to shut it down?"

"It's very expensive to replace something like that," he said. "Once it's gone, it's gone."
Several councillors say they expect the population to continue to rise in Saskatoon and they believe there will be a need to have both pools.

They added the Shaw Centre isn't as accessible to many people living in the core area.

"We need to plan for the day, but we also need to plan for the future," said Coun. Darren Hill, whose ward encompasses the Harry Bailey.

He says swim groups already predict scheduling issues if only the new pool is open.

The report states that in May 2006, council intended to close down the Harry Bailey pool "immediately upon opening" the Shaw Centre pool. The idea was to use the reduced operating costs from Harry Bailey to off-set the operating costs of the Shaw pool.
Although Pringle sees the benefit of having both pools, he's concerned about the cost -- especially since the building costs of the Shaw Centre have gone up since it was first approved.

"At what point do we put some of these public projects on hold and say we can't afford it?" asked Pringle, who added that project building costs and operating costs do draw from different areas of the city coffers.

Pringle says the cost of building the Shaw Centre pool has risen from the original estimate of $23 million to $39 million.

"We've been assured that that's the end of it," he said. "I don't believe that."

Pringle says the Shaw Centre pool will be a huge attraction for the city, adding that there's only a handful of pools like it in the world.

"I like that too -- if you can afford it," he said.

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bullying Won't Stop It

This evening at city council, councillors will once again discuss Queen's Homecoming, and the "party" on Aberdeen Street.

Let's hope that there are no comments like those made at earlier meetings, putting down Queen's students, accusing them collectively of being drunken party-goers, and "laying down the law" to the university.

One is reminded of parenting techniques. When a parent says "this is what you are going to do because I said so" the child immediately gets angry. It only takes a couple of times to say this, and smart parents figure out that this technique doesn't work; in fact, it often backfires.

Homecoming weekend is just a convenient rallying date for students who want to have this event. If alumni weekend were changed to a different, winter date, the Aberdeen event would still take place. It has taken on a life of its own, and will continue, irrespective of a different date for alumni weekend.

So, how should council and Kingstonians deal with it? There is no one, sure way; many small steps, changes in attitude, and less rhetoric will go a long way.

I don't like this party. But it is important to remember, councillors and citizens, that you weren't brought up in this generation. You (and I) don't see things the way a 20 year old does. We probably don't have the same attitudes that this lot of party-goers have.

Let's all, individually, show some leadership here. Councillors and the mayor can demonstrate leadership by doing a bit of reading and thinking about what LEADERSHIP is.

It's time for council and the mayor to offer vision, undertanding, a will to collaborate, a desire to short, leadership. There is always more than one way to skin a cat. Look for other ways to deal with this situation.

Many Kingstonians will be tuned in to Cogeco Cable 13 tonight to watch and evaluate.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

There Is A Reason.....

....that newspapers don't publish anonymous letters or alias "letters to the editor."

Anonymous letters and those signed with some supposedly "cool" handle, are written by crackpots, wing-nuts, and cowards who are unwilling to stand by their opinions.

Rants are meaningless.

Those letters go into the garbage because that's what they are.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Didn't Waste Any Time!

Considering that the intersection alternatives were presented to the public less than 48 hours ago, they sure must have had some blueprints in their backpocket! The intersection has mostly been torn up, gravel has been put down on the location that they will place a lane for traffic, and they have staked a second survey marker that they didn't know was there. It will definitely slow down their progress!
With another survey marker discovered, it is likely that a class 4 archeological assessment will have to take place.
And, of course, survey markers cannot be removed.
All this, and it is only 3pm, a day and a half after the public meeting for input.
Sort of confirms an earlier remark that the city just has these things to mollify the locals, and not to ask for any serious or well-considered, or thoughtful, or expert advice.

Curious Thinking

More on the October 30, 2007 meeting at City Hall regarding the intersection at Ontario Street and Place d'Armes.......
The most curious, and unbelieveable aspect of all this deliberation, re-deliberation, justification of a previous plan, is that when TSH was invited to "study" the intersection (apparently in the summer), they were not given the go-ahead to consider implications on the surrounding area, of ANY change at the intersection.
When questioned about the consequences of either plan "C" or plan "D" the consultant said that they were asked to limit their study to the intersection, and (this is the kicker) not to look at any other intersections because that would open it all up, and the study would be (and this is my word) gigantic.
Well, well! Imagine that!
It is beyone comprehension that a traffic expert could study only one intersection, then provide any kind of credible recommendation.
The configuration of this intersection has tremendous implications. Should there be a traffic light at King and Place d'Armes? How are employees in the OHIP building going to cross the street into Food Basics parking lot? (well, we know the answer to that. They are going to dash among the cars!) What is the REAL reason for putting a westbound left turn at Ontario and Place d'Armes?
If the intersection was going to be re-designed to "fit" the Downtown Action Plan (2003), why didn't the traffic people, various commissioners, senior staff, etc. tell the mayor and the former council that putting this monstrosity on THAT piece of land, with that orientation, was a stupid idea? The probable answer to THAT question, is: they did tell the elected officials, and the elected fficials went ahead anyway. "We know best." "We won't get the money from the BIA if we put it anywhere else."
Kingstonians should go to that intersection, and evaluate for themselves whether or not plan "D" was even possible. The city has spent much of this past summer on underground services in that area. There is no room to construct the 4 lanes that TSH proposed. Just take a look at the large utility/services box, the light pole, the property lines (DND property). Even a child could see that plan "D" was only on paper, and had no possibility of fitting into the proscribed area.
Of course, that left only plan "C", the one the city had in 2003 in the DAP.
Still, what will happen to traffic in that area of the city is yet to be determined. The consultant wouldn't even hazard a guess (isn't that what consultants are supposed to do?).
Once again, the city has dropped the ball. Not instructing TSH to study all that part of the downtown, consider the traffic problems, and propose realistic solutions is pure negligence on the city's part.
The most ridiculous decision that the city has made, probably ever, has been made; a consultant should have been given carte blanche to study traffic, and make recommendations. And the consultant should have come from out-of-town, and not have been one that has authored other studies for the city.
P.S. We would be glad to post the two plans that received most consideration, but they are not available on the city's website.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Best Question of the Evening

It came about half way through the almost three hour meeting.

"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?"

Six possibilities were presented. One of those was to do nothing. Two, alternatives C and D, certainly were the preferences of the consultant, Totten Sims Hubicki., and alternative C was their recommendation.

Alternative C is essentially the way the intersection was described in the 2003 Downtown Action Plan.

Now, we wonder: did the city just hire TSH to confirm its choice? It definitely appears that way. Give the several constraints (the city called them "principles") that the city provided to TSH, it's not hard to see how they came up with (surprise!!!) the same plan that the city had all along!!!

At a meeting at the public library several years ago, a senior staff member told me that since the DAP had been passed by council, city staff were free to execute the plan, and council would not be asked to review any of its details or comment upon any of its contents. Essentially a blank cheque. This intersection was the subject of my inquiry, and the staff person indicated that what was in the plan was what the city would get. So there. Tough.

The response to the question? A senior staff person last night said that comments would be taken into consideration. Well, everyone knows what THAT means. We've seen it for years. "Thanks for coming, but we know best, we've made up our minds, and we're going to do what WE think is best."

This attitude is passe. Look at Canadian businesses, at Canadian cities that are progressing, growing, serving their citizens. Look at the not-for-profit sector. This attitude is the downfall of any entity that continues to hold it. Let the mayor, council and city staff be on watch: Kingstonians are not going to stand for this "my way or the highway" attitude. This is our city. It's time to consult us, with honour and integrity, and with the intention of actually listening to us. There are more "experts" in this community than there are on staff at city hall, there are others preparing to take a run for the mayor's chair, there are citizens gearing up to run for council. All are watching.

The message? Consult before you make up your mind.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fixing A Mistake

Pretty well everyone knows by the time they become an adult, that if they don't consider all the implictions/consequences of a big decision, they'll have to live with whatever happens for the rest of their life. And, living with a wrong decision for 80 years is difficult.

Take the LVEC in downtown Kingston.

Having made a wrong decision to put it on its present location, city council is now faced with trying to make it work. And, in terms of traffic, there is no "good" solution. Actually, there's no even "acceptable" solution to the chaos that has now been created at the eastern entrance to this city.

Throughout the time leading up to initial decision-making about the LVEC's location, council and the mayor were told endlessly that downtown traffic and parking were issues that could not be resolved in a satisfactlry manner if the LVEC was put downtown.

Never mind, the mayor was determined to have it downtown, for reasons that have never been explained publicly. One day, however, Kingstonians will find out.

Consultants named IBI were hired to "study" traffic and parking, and not surprisingly, said that these two issues would not be issues. Considering the flaws in the premises on which they based their study, this is not surprizing.

When the citizens complained long and loud about traffic on the east end of the city, and the difficulty getting into and around downtown, a second consultant, Totten Sims Hubicki (TSH) was hired to determine how to make a silk purse out of this sow's ear. Tonight, they will tell us how this can be done. It will be an interesting, hot, firey meeting at Memorial Hall.

That morale is low and stress high among city employees who are tasked with carrying out a wrong decision, should be no surprise to anyone. The flack that traffic staff, accessibility staff, and project management have received is gigantic. To say nothing about discussions wiith representatives of the Kingston & District Sports Hall of Fame. One has to wonder if the Frontenacs had totally positive discussions about THEIR new rink, and if they autoomatically got everything THEY wanted. Somehow, most people think so.

But, back to traffic. Vehicles speed off the LaSalle Causeway this morning, apparently the trees on the little "island" have been cut down, residents who live in the complex north of the LVEC are disgusted with the traffic, and citizens who are experts in traffic, parking and recreational facilities are betrayed.

One wonders if the mayor will attend this evening's meeting. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

50m Pool Expedition, November 3rd

We are looking forward to a day-trip to Montreal to visit three aquatic facilities that include a 50m pool as well as other popular features. We look forward to having council members, city staff, and volunteers who are in-the-know about aquatic facilities go on the tour. And, our thanks to Alex Pallionis for planning the trip, and teeing-up senior staff at the facilities as well as senior staff from Swim Ontario and Swim Canada. Both these organizations are fully behind endeavours to bring a new, modern aquatic facility to Kingston.

Point Claire , LaSalle and Terrebonne aquatic complexes will be on our tour. All of them are popular with citizens, and all contain flexible 50m configurations.

To think that Kingston might expand its recreational/sporting facilities to include an aquatic complex, is exciting!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Contravention of the Noise by-Law in Kingston

It is just after 8.40am. Construction on the LVEC has been going on for over an hour.

EllisDon does NOT have an exemption from the city to start work on the building, at this hour, or at any hour on the weekend. [Yes, the Project Manager said on TV that they would be working SATURDAY. When did Council pass an exemption from the noise by-law? No, a Project Manager can't just say "they are going to do it" without Council's approval.]

This is unacceptable. How much are people in the downtown supposed to put up with during the construction of this thing?

Twice this fall I have called the By-Law Enforcement Office at City Hall, and made a formal complaint about work on Sundays (actually, one of the Sundays was the Sunday of Labour Day weekend!!). Twice, I have been given the "we'll check it out" bit, or "we'll ask Ellis Don to inform their subcontractors" bit. I have received at least one email from Project Director Lanie Hurdle; she didn't really say anything in it. [I could put it here, just to prove the point!]

People have been rather nice about this, so far. [It reminds me of the Homecoming Party approach. Some on council say that enough is enough, and it's time to take drastic steps. Two others say that the chatting must go on.] Well, in my view, we have done all the "nice" talk that we can about the city's lack of enforcement of the noise by-law with respect to buildng the LVEC.

It is time for the city to get its by-law enforcement officers out on Sunday mornings, and charge EllisDon for contravening the noise by-law. And levy a fine that will make them notice.

I intend to email my Councillor, Rob Hutcheson, copy the other councilors and Project Manager Lanie Hurdle. She doesn't seem to have any influence over EllisDon.

Citizens in downtown Kingstoon deserve to be able to sleep past 7.30am on a Sunday.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Kingston Prize 2007

There were over 200 submissions to The Kingston Prize 2007. Of those, just over 30 went to the 3 person jury. At the Opening Gala on October 5th, the jury met, saw the fabulous pieces, and celebrated the winner.
Artist Joshua Choi of Etobicoke Ontario won The Kingston Prize for "Emily," and the generous, supportive commitment of the W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
Honorable mentions were given to Miklos Legrady's "OCAD Student 2225233" and Jennifer Walton's "Self Portrait."
The Kingston Prize, Canada's National Portrait Competition, raises so many questions, chief among them is why the federal government stopped renovation of the Ottawa building that was to house a national portrait gallery. Clearly this federal government has no commitment to Canada's portrait heritage.
In fact, this federal government has as little commitment to Canada's artists, writers, and sport heritage as it is possible to imagine. Few members of these communities speak aloud of this government's commitment to "culture" for fear of being on the receiving end of the PM's wrath. The fact is, however, that Steven Harper is doing all he can to have less and less government involvement in what Canadians believe to be part of the country's "personality."

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Kingston Prize 2007

There's just one week left to see the 30 finalists in THE KINGSTON PRIZE, Canada's National Portrait Competition.
Staged at The Firehall Theatre in Ganaonoque, Ontario, The Kingston Prize 2007 is the creation of Julian and Kaaren Brown. With support of the Kingston Arts Council, the Browns and their many supporters, have brought the second exhibition and competition to life.
As testimony to their idea, work, commitment and belief in the need for and importance of Canadian artists producing portraits, the W. Garfield Weston Foundation has offered a first prize of $10,000.
Hours at 12 noon to 8pm daily. Visitors can make their favourite portrait known by entering the artist's name in the People's Choice Award, being presenteed Saturday Octoober 27th about 7pm at the gallery.
This exhibition is not to be missed!
More to come.....

Paying for Homecoming Party

The mayor of Kingston is interviewed this morning on CBC Radio. He says that negotiating with the university is still the best idea, and that eight councillors were just elected last year, and have no experience in this.
They all just came out from under a turnip leaf? Hardly.
Little of substance in his comments; same points repeated. We've heard it all before.
This council doesn't seem to be in a collaborative mood? Now THAT is a laugh. Does he mean that the previous council was more collaborative? What about the LVEC's location and process? There was NO collaboration between the city and the citizens on that. And there still isn't.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How Right He Is

Stephane Dion sure is right about this. Canadians don't want an election. He says he is commited to making Parliament work.
Well, he may be, but Steve Haprer sure isn't. He is doing everything he can to precipitate an election, and if he causes it, Canadians will show him the door. His tricks and schemes are transparent.
This PM is taking my country down a road that I and many others don't want it to go. Harper is insensitive to people who are unemployed, who are ill, who are aged, municipalities...the list goes on.
Arrogant, self-important, holier-than-thou, "I know what's best for you," all words and phrases that suit Mr Harper.
One day soon, he will get his come-uppance.

Queen's Should Pay

At last night's City Council meeting, councillors agreed that the university should pay the real cost of servicing the Homecoming Party on Aberdeen Streeet last Saturday night. This is to include police, paramedics, KGH costs. Most councillors (only the Mayor and Councillor Ed Smith voted against the resolution) felt that the time for talk is over, and Queen's must take strong steps to stop this.
With headline stories in The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail about this party, Queen's gets negative national attention.
Taxpayers do not want to pay the estimated $500,000 that this party will cost. It's time for the university to discipline its students, and to pay the costs fr the gathering.
And the police to lay more charges.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Second Speech from the Throne

This evening, the Governor General will deliver a speech crafted by the Prime Minister's office.

The PM should be aware that Canadians do not want a federal election. Ontario's citizens have had it up to their mascara with elections: two federal, one municipal, and one provincial, all since January 2006. Enough!

Not only are voters ready to enjoy an election-free period, but election workers are not in any mood to undertake that work again this fall. The PM doesn't know one chestnut about how elections are run, from the perspective of those on the ground. Not only are they costly (which he should know) but they are also wearing for workers. The PM would pay dearly in Ontario, if not other provinces, if he provokes an election. As one person said on TV last night, voters are not so naive that they will not recognize the PM's treachery; they will tell him at the polls.

That's just the practical aspect of elections.

Monday, October 15, 2007

More Aberdeen Street

Reports certainly are mixed on the Aberdeen Street party on Saturday evening/Sunday morning. Reviews oveerall seeem to be positive, if that word can be used!
Much more could be done by The Beer Store and the LCBO, however. If they sold only cans of beer in the 2-3 weeks leading up to Homecoming, things might be different. There isn't any good reason for selling bottles, and $$$ isn't a good reason.
Former VP George Hood was interviewed on the CBC just after 12 noon; he did simmer down by the end of the half hour, but he began in a rather defensive mode.
The university (and perhaps the police service) might talk to some people who aren't employed by the university, aren't students, don't live in the area, and find out what THEY think of all this. They might be surprised at what they hear. The circle of citizens consulted is too small.

The Cowardly Way

This blog is not a vehicle for anonymous bloggers to vent their opinions. Those who refuse to hide behind the shield of anonymity are welcome to comment.
If you comment anonymously, don't expect (ever, anywhere) to be taken seriously. There is a reason that newspapers refuse to publish anonymous letters. People who refuse to put their name to their opinions, should not expect anyone to listen.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Alumni Weekend, and Aberdeen Street

This is the morning after.
If reports of last night's gathering on Aberdeen Street are all like The Whig's this morning, we have legitimate reason to say that the newspaper is not contributing to a solution, but rather adding to the problem.
It's not helpful to use inflammatory language in reporting this situation. Many in the community believe that the local daily, The Whig, is not helping. Of course, a newspaper is supposed to "report the news." Just "how" it does that is the question. The headline says "the party" is just beginning, and later people "stumble" onto Aberdeen Street. Neither of these is necessary in reporting the situation.
Once again, we see the importance of more than one newspaper in a community. We saw skewed reporting all the way through the process (such as it was) related to the dreaded LVEC, and we continue to see skewed reporting on Queen's Homecoming. The Whig's monopoly is damaging to the community, and many citizens' efforts to build a positive, forward-thinking city that will attract people, business, and build tourism.
It would be great if citizens wrote to The Whig to express this commonly-held view, but we will never know if they have done this, as the newspaper decides what letters it will print, and whose views it will contain. It's no wonder that the university feels hard done-by in the paper; it is.
A sad situation.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Why Not This Way?

When looking at the (dreaded) LVEC, its placement, the troubles that have been demonstrated, one has to wonder why, if the mayor and council were determined to put it downtown, why they didn't place it on King Street, along side Food Basics, and aligned north/south. In other words, why didn't they consider placing it at running parallel to King and Ontario Streets?
Had they eliminated Barrack Street, and put it with one end near Place d'Armes, and the other end near Queen Street, they would have had far fewer prooblems, would have been able to include the amenities that would have made it attractive to a wide variety of activities, and would have ended up with something that had multiple functions.
And, the greatest error on this project because of its location and placement on one downtown block, is the blatent disregard for persons with disabilities, those with mobility issues, and those who desire to drop off their passengers. It is baffling that the province would allow a facility to be built with its money without all citizens being accommodated.
With a larger facility, they would have had meeting rooms, a large restaurent (they eliminated the 300 seat restaurent when they figured out that they needed more space for other things), more and larger athletic facilities, plenty of room for the Kingston & District Sports Hall of Fame that is being squished into the facility.
Let it be said that this idea WAS suggested, but, like most of the other suggestions, was given short-shrift.
And, while we're on the short-comings of the facility, there is wide-spread opinion that the design-build method for this facility was a big mistake. Already, the city is reaping the deficiencies of this method of construction. To keep it within the financial limitations given by council, a lot of short-cuts are being taken, and items either left out or of lesser quality.
There are a lot of people who are aching to get into the site to see what REALLY is going on.!

Kingston's LVEC: there is no "good" solution

The city has "postponed" a meeting scheduled for this evening; it was to be about the intersection of Ontario Street and Place d'Armes.
Citizens and tourists entering Kingston from the east, via the LaSalle Causeway, know what a mess the eastern entrance to the city has become.
Having decided, in error, to put the LVEC on a block that is far too small, the mayor and council are now forced to sit back and watch frustrated city employees make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Not only is this block too small for such a monstrosity, the streets in the downtown are totally unsuitable for dealing with traffic coming into the city (that is, just reegular traffic). Just think: the Downtown Action Plan, approved by the previous council, identifies Ontario Street as a "scenic drive." And, staff said that the intention is to have little traffic in front of City Hall.
This obviously meeans that since there are, and always will be, only 2 lanes of traffic going off the Causeway, there will be big problems moving the estimated 2000 cars/day into town at that location.
Locals who haven't driven on Place d'Armes toward Fort Frontenac, should do that. At the moment, the (dreaded) LVEC consumes what was an entire lane of the street.
Just how in the world can the intersection of Ontario Street & Place d'Armes be configured? It's no wonder that the consultant TSH needs more time, although the intersection was drawn and included in the 2003 DAP. At that time, design of the intersection was known, according to one senior city staff member.
Residents of Frontenac Village whose backyards face Place d'Armes, are going to find traffic speeding off the causeway (that's what is currently happening, and will continue to happen), travelling closer that 20' from their windows. This is disgraceful.
The city has treated citizens who live in the area of the (dreaded) LEVC with contempt and disrespect. The city should be ashamed. There are, in fact, city employees who are ashamed and who are embarassed by what the previous council has inflicted upon the city. It is they who are charged with finding "good" solutions to something for which there ARE no "good" solutions.
The city awaits the solution to an impossible situation.

Marion Jones: this is the best column

The author of Jones' book talks about watching her as a young star and his reflections on what might have made the superb athlete resort to performance-enhancing substances.

By Ron Rapoport, Special to The Times October 9, 2007

At the 2000 U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Sacramento, Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won the first women's Olympic marathon in Los Angeles in 1984, entered a corporate box above the stadium with her two young daughters and saw Marion Jones watching the competition on the track below. The girls were fascinated by Jones, Samuelson told a publicist. Would it be possible for them to meet her?Soon Jones was fussing over them, and Samuelson, beaming, was asking me how old Jones was. Twenty-four, I said.

Jones returns Olympic medals
"Twenty-four . . . 28 . . . 32 . . . Samuelson said, grinning as she ticked off forthcoming Olympiads on her fingers. "You know, [Jones] should compete in as many Olympics as she wins medals in Sydney. Maybe she could finish her career by running the marathon.
"With the image last week of Jones standing weeping on the courthouse steps still fresh, it might be difficult to recall a time when she was all but inescapable as the symbol of the possibilities, and the joy, that could flow from a life devoted to sport. Marion in a series of Nike commercials whose punch lines ("Where's the love? Can you dig it?") became national catchphrases. Marion on billboards scowling behind Jack Nicholson-like wraparounds for Oakley Sunglasses. Marion wearing a sexy tube top in an ad for TAG Heuer watches. Marion coming out of the starting blocks in a book of photos by Annie Leibovitz. Marion in fashion shoots for Vogue. Marion on the cover of Time and Newsweek at the same time and -- I swear this is true -- in a robotic diagram superimposed over her picture on the cover of Scientific American.
How she got to that point might also seem a little hazy now. Jones, whose nine state sprint and long jump championships and basketball prowess make her possibly the finest high school athlete, male or female, California has ever produced. Jones, who as a freshman was the starting point guard on North Carolina's NCAA championship basketball team. Jones, who in 1998 compiled the most astonishing season in the history of track and field, competing in 38 events on five continents and winning 37 of them. She emerged from that odyssey ranked No. 1 in the world at 100 and 200 meters and in the long jump, and I had seen enough.
Write a book with me, I'd asked her. I'll hang around next season and we'll get it out before the Olympics. Fine, she said. Let's do it.We talked about drugs at length and about the perception that her sport is full of cheats, many with Olympic medals in their drawers. She took it very personally, she said. It made every top track and field athlete a suspect, which wasn't fair. "All I can do is continue to be clean and to be around people who are clean," she said.
I would see those words plucked from the book and thrown back at her many times in the years to come.In the last few days, it has been said that Jones' admission of doping is a tragedy for her sport, and although that is certainly true it is also quite embarrassing.
The woman who finished second at 100 meters in Sydney, Katerina Thanou, was banished from the 2004 Olympics in her native Greece one day before the opening ceremony after failing to show up for a drug test. She came up with a cock-and-bull story nobody believed about a motorcycle accident, and her coach was later caught possessing large amount of steroids.
So the International Olympic Committee finds itself in the uncomfortable position of stripping a gold medal from one drug cheat and giving it to another.
But Jones' fall from grace is a tragedy for her too, particularly -- and here is where I go outside and start baying at the moon -- because it was so unnecessary. Jones says her coach, Trevor Graham, first gave her steroids in 1999.
But BALCO chief Victor Conte, whose interview in 2004 with ESPN the Magazine offered the first credible charges against her, says he didn't begin providing them until a year later, six weeks before the Olympics. He didn't even meet Jones, Conte says, until after the Games had begun. Whatever the case, there is no evidence that Jones took drugs until long after she had established herself as by far the finest female track athlete in the world.After the 100-meter final in Sydney, Sports Illustrated ran a picture of the race. Or rather, two pictures on facing pages. The page on the right showed Jones dashing toward the finish line. The one on the left showed the other runners almost comically far behind. Her victory in the 200 a few days later was by the largest margin in 40 years and her 1,600-meter relay leg turned a close race into a U.S. rout.
How many yards would you have won those races by if you hadn't taken drugs? I want to yell at her. What was the point? Why did she do it? One hypothesis, a favorite of amateur psychologists everywhere, is the bad-man theory. She put her faith in a manipulative husband/boyfriend/coach/trainer/lawyer/advisor, take your pick. It all goes back to her father deserting the family when she was very young and her search for a surrogate. I don't buy it for a minute.
Jones is a strong, determined, intelligent woman who took charge of every aspect of her career. Did she listen to bad advice? Certainly. Was she Trilby to some evil Svengali? Certainly not.But all right then, why? I think it was her determination to do something nobody else had done. I think it was those five gold medals she wanted to win.I think she and Graham looked at the Olympic schedule and saw that in a period of 10 days she would have to run three races at 100 meters, three at 200 meters, compete twice in the long jump, run heats in the 400- and 1,600-meter relays and then run the relay finals less than two hours apart. I think they decided she would need help. I think they bought into the widespread notion among athletes that steroids would help her recovery time.
And that is the real tragedy. If Jones had settled for less -- the sprints, say, and the shorter relay -- she would have ended up with so much more. Evelyn Ashford won an Olympic gold medal when she was 35 years old. Merlene Ottey ran in the Olympics when she was 40. Gail Devers beat an Olympic champion in an indoor race this year at age 41. Jones, who should now be in training for her third Olympics, retired a week to the day before her 32nd birthday.Look at her standing on the courthouse steps. Listen to her admission of guilt, to her apology, to how heartfelt her words are, to how perfectly her sentences are constructed. She is not reading from a script. She never does. I have seen her do this dozens of times -- to stadiums full of people, to clusters of adoring little girls and admiring men and women young and old, to news conferences before laughing reporters who are putty in her hands.She is as good at this as she was at running, and she could have made a life out of it -- traveling the world as a goodwill ambassador for track and field, returning to the Olympics as a television commentator and honored guest, speaking as a powerful advocate for women's sports, inspiring youngsters wherever she went. Instead, she's going to prison.Jones says those of us who admired and believed in her have a right to feel angry and betrayed, and I suppose I do, a little. Mostly, though, I just feel sad. Sad that smiling golden girl who was cheered on tracks all over the world has made such a mess of things. Sad she traded her future for two bronze medals.

Ron Rapoport was a sportswriter for The Times and a sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Los Angeles Daily News. He has written a number of books, including"See How She Runs: Marion Jones and the Making of a Champion."

Reprinted from the LA Times, October 9, 2007

Sunday, September 30, 2007

2008 NHL Season Underway

The future safety of NHL players looks grim.
The NHL levied a 20 game suspension to a player this week, for a hit on the head of another player.
Good on the NHL.
Hockey, even at the NHL level, is not a game to be played by thugs and violent offenders. It is not part of the game to mame a player, in order to get him off the ice. It is not part of the game to hurt the opponent.
The suspension should be the first of this season; if this happens again, levy a greater suspension, NHL, until players learn that shots to the head and attempting to mame, will not be tolerated.
You have plenty of support for this. Just do it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Rocky Start for the Frontenacs!

Well, the CBC interviewee slagged the Fronts this morning. "The Voice of the Fronts" on 960 Oldies said more than once that this is a "rebuilidng year for the Fronts."
One wonders how many "rebuilding years" there are in the life of a team, its general manager and coach.
There are those who say that a good manager and coach will draft well all the time, and seldom if ever have "rebuilding years." A coach/manager will also work on the "farm system" under their team, assisting to develop it in many ways so that athletes will 'graduate' to the higher team, and be a continuous feeder system.
Why do university coaches spend a lot of their time helping high school teams/sports? One reason is so that athletes will develop, and eventually graduate into the university's program.
One wonders how much time and effort the Frontenacs management and staff commit to helping local hockey teams develop. And, at the same time, find/scout athletes who are potentials for their team.
Imagine having a rink built 'specially for a team that so seldom rises to the occasion. Just imagine the 5500 seat rink filled with 600 fans.
Local fans are complaining already through letters to The Whig (as well as on the street)and the team has played just 2 games!!
The "rebuilding" excuse is always challenged. It wears thin.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Even the CBC Is on a Labour Day Vacation??

Here it is, almost 2 hours since the World Triathlon (elite men's division) Championships ended, and the CBC website still hasn't posted results.
Simon Whitfield, Victoria BC, native of Kingston, Ontario, qualified for Beijing 2008, placing 4th in a field of 82.
An excellent placing! Congratulations Simon!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

World University Games, Bangkok

The FISU Games start on August 8th, with a strong Canadian delegation. Athletes and staff are drawn from both the CIS and the CCAA. Athletes in the college system are eligible, and able to compete in the FISU Games. Another fine source of athletes! I see that there is one Canadian woman who plays in the NCAA on the volleyball team. Too bad we weren't able to keep her in Canada at university. Perhaps with the "new" rules about funding, athletes like her can stay here. Their education is as good, if not better, and some post-secondary institutions have better reputations in certain sports than others. And, of course, highly-educated and excellent coaches are a plus at Canadian universitites.

Follow the team at the url above.

The Canadian synchro duet and team placed second at the Pan American Games, and are now preparing for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Beijing April 13, 2008. The winner of each event at the PAG qualified for the Olympics, so the American duet and team have now qualified. There are pluses and minuses to this situation for Canada. The chief minus is that the during year till April the athletes won't know if they are going to the Olympics. Chief among the pluses is that at the OQT, Canada and the other nations that have NOT qualified will swim competitively in the Olympic pool with the Chinese fans in attendance. For those that DO qualify for the Olys, they will have had a competition pool experience.

We wish the Canadian synchro athletes well in their pursuit of an Olympic medal!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

So There We have It!

The world of pro sport takes the heeadlines once again. Alleged doping in the Tour de France, a basketball official who is alleged to have bet on the game that he makes his living from, and a football player who is said to quarterback a dog fighting enterprise.
There's so much more going on in sport! The Pan Am Games in Rio, track and field World Champinships coming up, Asian Games.....
Just feed the newspapers this cheating stuff, and they pick it up.
The last part of the PAG are well underway. Reports of bad food and poor transportation continue to dog the organizers. Rio's hopes for hosting the 2016 Olympic Games are dimmed somewhat by these organizatioonal snafus. And there are lots of them.
Diving and synchro are underway now. Canada's National Synchro Team and Duet can qualify for Beijing by winning the Gold medals...Silver won't do.
The Women's Water Polo has the long road to Beijing, not having done well. Swimming athletes have shown that they "have the right stuff." It's amazing what good, clear, positive leadership can do! We wish them well as they train for the Olympic Trials here in Canada. And congratulations to SNC for its determination and commitment to excellence.
More later on Canada's duet that starts today, and how the field shapes up. It will SHOULD be....a nailbiter for the medals, if officiating is well done.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lots of Agreement Here!

Copied in total froom The Star.
Broadcasters cut down on amateur hours - Sports - Broadcasters cut down on amateur hours
July 20, 2007 Chris Zelkovich
Members of Canada's Pan Am Games gymnastics team were talking with some TV production people in Rio de Janeiro this week and were thrilled to learn that many of them were Canadians.
But their excitement didn't last long when they learned that none of their work, and none of the athletes' performances, would be seen back home.
Not only is there no event coverage here, highlights on the nightly sports shows have been almost non-existent.
This comes on the heels of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, which received two 30-minute highlight packages a day after years of blanket coverage on CBC.
It's a trend that has amateur athletes and fans of amateur sports more than a little concerned. And so they should be.
The issue with the Pan Ams is a matter of economics combined with a poor selling job by Games officials.
CBC points to the low ratings the Games mustered last time around (121,000 during the day and 94,000 at 11:30 p.m.) combined with the fact that only two of this year's Pan Am events are Olympic qualifiers.
``We support amateur sport as much as we can and try to give it as much exposure as possible, but when you couple the costs of rights production with those kind of ratings it doesn't make much economic sense," says CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore.
Moore said CBC tried to get rights to some of the women's soccer games, since that tournament is an Olympic qualifier, it was told that partial packages weren't available. It was all or nothing.
The highlights situation is a strange one. The Score and Rogers Sportsnet say they haven't seen any on their services. Thanks to its relationship with ESPN, TSN has aired some but that's been rather limited since only a handful have featured Canadians.
The Pan Ams don't have a great TV history; there was no coverage available in 1991 and '95. But they fared quite well when Canada hosted them in 1999 and CBC paired with TSN to show 88 hours of competition.
But that, along with extensive Commonwealth Games coverage, appears to be a thing of the past.
The main culprit is a huge increase in rights fees for big-time sports. When CBC pays almost double the previous price for its NHL deal, something's got to give.
``Rights for major sports have gone up so much in the past decade, there's very little left for amateur sports," says TSN president Phil King.
But isn't that where the CBC should be stepping in, airing sports that lose money but boost our amateur athletes? Isn't this part of the CBC's mandate?
Apparently not. With all the government funding cuts, the CBC has turned to big-time sports as its lone cash cow. If it doesn't make money, odds are it's not going to get much camera time.
There is some hope for the future. Moore says the CBC is interested in providing more coverage from the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which makes sense considering it won't have the Olympics then.
But there's little doubt that the days of mass coverage for amateur sports are probably gone.
NO BECKHAM: If you want to see how David Beckham fares in his L.A. debut tomorrow night, you'll have to wait for the late-night highlights. The game's on ESPN2 in the U.S., but no Canadian network decided to pick it up. ... While there's less amateur sports coverage, there's never a shortage of hockey games on TV. Now there will be more. TSN, Sportsnet and RDS have teamed up to make sure nobody misses a game of the Canada-Russia junior hockey challenge Aug. 27 to Sept. 9.

Comment: One would think that the sports/teams that can qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics might get some attention from the COC. After all, if Canada is trying to get more athletes to the podium, then the Olympic Committee needs to get behind them when they have a first-chance to qualify. After all, those that don't qualify at the PAG will have a long, rocky and trying road to Beijing.

Come on, COC, help these athletes get some of the spotlight!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Very Busy Days in Sport!

Tonight is the first of two semi-finals of the U-20 FIFA Soccer Cup. The other game is tomorrow night and the final on Sunday at the new Soccer Stadium in Toronto. Great TV, and congratulations to the CBC for carrying so many games on the main network.

The Pan American Games are on in Brasil. And not one minute of TV for Canadian fans. Very unfortunate that Canadians can't see our own amateur athletees competing in a multi-sport environment. Not even the teams/athletes who can qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. That includes the Synchro Team and Duet. Both must win Gold Medals to get to the 2008 Olympics, as the best in the Americas. If they don't win Gold Medals, they will have to participate in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (what is called a "test match" in Olympic lingo, which means "testing" the facility for that particular event). The OQT for synchro is in Beijing April 16, 2008. We wish them well in Rio starting July 25th!!!

The PAG are a big test for Rio's hopes to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Reports to date aren't very encouraging, as there have been snafus at the venues (lighting), in transportation, in village operations. The PAG seldom are a well-oiled multi-sport event. The ONLY exception to this was the 1999 PAG held in Winnipeg. Going back to 1979, host cities don't really put the time, effort, and thought to making these games as good as an Olympic Games. They don't have to have as many bells and whistles as OG, but there is no excuse for not getting athletes to venues, for bad food, for not providing media with the tools they need to do a good job of reporting and/or recording events. Canadians always speak well of PAG organizers, but the reality is that the PAG experience is often one to be endured, not savoured.

It's quiet on the local LVEC front. Construction appears to be at least 2 months behind schedule at this point; the insiders say it is one month, but that's hard to believe, when one looks at the timeline that went to City Council before they even started the thing. Doubtful that ANY Frontenacs games will be held in the LVEC in the 2007-2008 season, even if the Fronts make it into the first round of the play-offs.

We are hopeful that Kingston will be the proud owner of a new aquatic complex in the foreseeable future. That's not tomorrow, but we sure hope it is on the horizon. Our councillors are considering what they hope to accomplish in the next 3.5 years. I hope that they will demonstrate a new approach to the city, one of "Yes, we can do that" rather than "oh, we can't do that." And let's hope that some of them turn into cheerleaders for the city and all it has to offer, and will offer in the future.

Smiles, and speaking well and positively, will go a long way in telling the province and country that Kingston IS a great place. Just look at the Canadian cities that are MOVING, and you'll see some great cheerleaders for their communities at the front of the pack.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Is He Still On The Deck?

Since Randy Starkman, The Toront Star, wrote in his column that a coach who had been forbidden to coach in Canada has returned to the pool deck to coach, the silence has been amazing.
Do the parents of the children he is coaching KNOW his past? If so, how disappointing that they still employ him to be with their children.
What about the values that Canadians say they espouse in sport: honour, integrity, fairness.
Should we add "medals" to the list?
Medals at any cost? Never.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

And This Exciting News!

Yes, the winds are blowing positively in Kingston! The track and field groups along with St Lawrence College, announced that an-all weather track will be built on St Lawrence Campus, at the corner of King Street and Portsmouth Avenue.

This is truly wonderful news!!

Our young people will be able to train and compete on a fine track, with the exceellent coaching that they presently have.

Congratulations to all the track crowd for making this happen!!

The Winds of Change

The winds of change are blowing gently through the city of Kingston. Do you hear citizens cheering???!

The Arts, Recreatin and Community Policies Committee (Councillors Garrison, Gerretsen, Glover, Mcleod-Kane and Osanic) met on Tuesday evening. Among the items was one related to the future of Harold Harvey Arena. City staff had recommended closing it, as did a consultant that was hired to recommend the future of this facility as well as Wally Elmer and Cook Bros facilities.

Needless to say, there was consternation among youth groups (and adult groups) that use these facilities, primarily because not only are they still useable, but opening the new multiplex will not do anything for the derth of ice in the Greater Kingston Area. These groups say that actually, there will not be more ice for sport when the new facility opens.

The ARC Policies Committee unanamously recommended that Harold Harvey not be closed, and that discussions get underway with the Church Athletic League (CAL) for them to acquire and operate it.

This action, i.e. recommending retention of the rink, by previous council would have been unheard of.

Newly-minted council members have a different attitude toward their responsibilities. This group seems to be acting in the interests of Kingstonians....the ordinary ones, the typical citizen, just every day people who have children, who run sports and rec programs, who coach their child's team, who shop at Food Basics, who want to enjoy their city and be proud of it.

This new, more community-focussed attitude will be welcomed by city staff, I hope. My experience has been that city staff (while over-extended) are generally a positive bunch who are keen to serve the citizens where they are. They just needed some councillors who had a positive, building attitude rather than the negative attitude that had prevailed.

I lived in a community in which the prevailing attitude was "Sure, we can do that. How can we work together to make it happen?" Perhaps Kingston's "No, we can't do that" attitude is gone.

Let's hope that the breezes of change continue, and become "the winds of change."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Very Disconcerting News Item

From The KingstonWhig Standard
Expert, city spar over rink; They pressured me: consultant
Jordan Press Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 00:00

A consultant hired to assess the condition of Harold Harvey arena says he was asked to amend his report and effectively condemn the aging structure. Gunnar Heissler told the Whig-Standard city staff requested he assess the refrigeration system at the rink as a risk to public health, which he considered outside the mandate of his report. "And that I couldn't do. There's no reason to condemn that facility," said Heissler, who inspected the mechanical portions of the arena on behalf of Ottawa-based consultant Morrison Hershfield Ltd. "If I had seen a leak or seen any evidence of corrosion, I would have said something different, but I didn't."
City officials say Heissler was never asked to change his views. Commissioner of corporate services Denis Leger said "no request was made from staff" to have the report altered. Staff asked Heissler to review the refrigeration system at Harold Harvey to assess the cost of replacing it.
Report omitted risk factor City staff wanted to ensure councillors understood the system could pose a risk and wanted that clear in the report, said arenas manager Kelly Williams. He said staff didn't clearly explain they wanted an assessment of the risk the unit poised. "We have some risk concerns," Williams said. "We have concerns about the fact it's very old and three, five years from now, what are we dealing with?" Williams said Heissler wasn't wrong in the conclusions of his report, but didn't include the risk factor in it.
Besides Harold Harvey, Heissler inspected the Memorial Centre, Centre 70, Cook Brothers and Wally Elmer arenas. City staff brought him in to assess the condition of each building as the city debates what to do with the old arenas once the multiplex opens next year. As is, the business plan for the multiplex would see Harold Harvey and Cook Brothers lose their ice to ensure the new $33.6-million facility meets its revenue targets.
In a report to councillors this week, city staff wrote that they asked Heissler to review the section of his report dealing with Harold Harvey's refrigeration system. Staff "expressed concern that the presence of the direct- ammonia refrigeration system had not been rated as a greater risk to public health and safety" in the report. They recommended in their report that the system be replaced for $1.2 million. Unlike other arenas in town, Harold Harvey uses ammonia to directly cool the ice. Other arenas use ammonia to cool brine that circulates under the ice. Heissler said while ammonia is one of the most toxic substances on earth, it also reeks. Even the smallest leak would be noticed immediately and people could be evacuated, he said. He wrote the added amount of the substance in the system at Harold Harvey doesn't make it any more dangerous than in the arenas where less is used. As well, being under the concrete slab means a leak "will develop gradually providing some time to implement emergency response procedures."
"Nothing was discovered during the site review that should be causal [sic] for alarm, nor were any technical issues in evidence that would justify a recommendation for the replacement of the system," the report said. His report suggested the city install proper alarms and dump valves. "Then it's a matter of due diligence," Heissler said. "It could go on [working] for 20 years, but it could fail tomorrow - but that applies to others."
Mayor Harvey Rosen said the system at the rink should be changed, but said he was sure staff wouldn't ask a consultant to change his findings. "People interpret inquiries in different ways," Rosen said. "I'm certain no staff member would ask a consultant to amend their report to reflect a particular point of view."
Deputy Mayor Steve Garrison said it would be unacceptable if someone in City Hall asked a consultant to change items in a report. Chief administrative officer Glen Laubenstein said consultants are asked to qualify or clarify statements to make things clear, but never to change findings. "You hire consultants to give you the brutal, hard facts," Laubenstein said.
It's a fact the Church Athletic League wants to continue using Harold Harvey for its games and practices after the multiplex is open. The league wants to lease the building and operate it at no cost to the city. League president Ken Ohtake said the report doesn't bode well for future talks with the city. "We are anxious to sit down with the city and see what we can do," Ohtake said. "Am I optimistic the city will sit down with us? ... I'm not. "Although if we can convince the councillors to take the word of the engineer seriously ...then maybe there's hope." The league's position is that it would take on the arena once the city brought it up to standard, Ohtake said. If that now meant replacing the refrigeration system, "so be it," he said.
The report The report about the condition of the five arenas will go before the arts, recreation and community policies committee when it meets today at 5:30 p.m. at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. The report is available online at l/committees/community/agenda/2007/ARC_A0607-SchedA.pdf.

This is a very disconcerting report. The City has used consultants for many projects, including a report on the city's need etc for a new aquatic facility, including a 50m pool. Some of those who support a new aquatic facility in Kingston now wonder what parameters were that the city gave the hired consultant. Did the city say, for example, "give us a report on building a 25m pool"? Did the city ask for a "needs assessment"? [we know that this was not part of the RFP because there were not broad consultations, public meetings, mail/telephone surveys of citizens in general. Yes, there were VERY limited user meetings, but no self-respecting consultant would say that what the city got was the results a community/area needs assessment, because there wasn't one]. Did the city ask for a report oon the need, potential inclusions in an aquatic facility? No.

An aquatic facility that will meet the community's need is so much more that a 50m pool.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No Pre-World Cup Games for Women's Soccer Team

Word has it that there will not be any home games for Canada's women's soccer team prior to the World Cup. The World Cup, women's version, is getting less ink in this country than any sporting event that matters.
The World Cup, in China September 10-30, 2007, is soccer's premier event. And Canada's National Team will play no games on Canadian soil before they leave.
And how much attention is being paid to the men's U20 World Cup being staged soon in Canada? Lots!!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Sad and Disappointing Day

Anglican Journal News: Synod narrowly defeats same-sex blessings
Solange De Santis, staff writerJune 24, 2007

Canadian Anglicans, meeting at their General Synod governing convention,voted by the slimmest of margins to defeat a proposal that would have permitted church blessing rites for gay couples.
Read this story online at

Both lay delegates and clergy delegates, in separate votes, approved blessing same-sex unions. but the Church's Bishops in a slim 21-19 vote did not support the proposal. This is most saddening. When the numbers aree put together, there were more votes in support of this resolution than in opposition to it.

Kind of like voting in Canadian elections, and certainly the recent vote for mayor in Kingston, where more citizens voted for other candidates than voted for the person who got the most votes of the three candidates.

Soomehow, this just doesn't seem right.

Friday, June 22, 2007

This is Disgraceful!

Yesterday, Randy reported in his column that a suspended swimming coach is still engaged by parents to coach their children. Here's his follow-up column, dated June 22, 2007 from the Toronto Star..........

Lifetime swim ban sinks like a rock

Coach Russell ignores it; officials at a loss as to how to enforce ruling

June 22, 2007 Randy StarkmanSPORTS REPORTER

There appears to be only one way Cecil Russell's lifetime ban from swimming can truly be enforced – parents must stop letting him coach their kids.
Swim Ontario and Swimming Canada officials held a conference call with legal counsel yesterday to plot their next move in trying to enforce Russell's lifetime suspension.
The lifetime ban was lifted in 2005, after he served eight years of it following a steroid-related conviction. But the ban was reinstated two weeks ago when an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled the 54-year-old purposely deceived an arbitrator when he claimed he was fully exonerated in an ecstasy trafficking ring.
Russell twice was convicted for his role in lucrative drug rings and testified to helping burn a murder victim's body in a silo beside his home.
Despite the ban, Russell has been seen on the pool deck coaching swimmers from his Dolphins Swim Club of Oakville. His lawyer says he's doing it in his capacity as a personal trainer. The Dolphins sent a letter to Swim Ontario saying Russell is now a volunteer coach.
Swim officials seem to be treading water in dealing with the issue.
"Some of the questions we were asking ourselves was, `Let's say the Dolphin Swim Club has five lanes and he rents lane No. 6, is it a breach?'" said Swimming Canada boss Pierre Lafontaine. "These are the little games that can be played."
Hilary Findlay, a lawyer and director of the Centre for Sport and Law, believes the group that holds the ultimate hammer in the Russell affair needs to step up and be counted.
"I'm not sure you can say the responsibility lies 100 per cent with sports officials and rules," said Findlay, an associate professor at Brock University. "I think at some point parents have to take some responsibility here as well in terms of their values."
Indeed, the one big question that seems to hangs over the Russell case for a lot of people is: What are the parents thinking?
"He has a strange power over a lot of people," said Olympic swim champion Anne Ottenbrite, a coach at the Pickering Swim Club. "It just blows me away. I can't fathom how these parents have their children in that program."
Paul Melia, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, which went to court to have Russell's reinstatement revoked, is equally mystified.
"In education, if a teacher is found guilty of misconduct and removed from teaching and loses their licence to teach, parents don't usually turn around and seek those people as private tutors," said Melia. "I guess this coach's record in producing champions blinds them to other things or creates more latitude in what they will tolerate."
Swim Ontario executive director John Vadeika said they are investigating allegations Russell is continuing to coach and will try to ensure the Dolphins Swim Club is abiding by the terms of Russell's suspension.
"You have to know what's being said, what's being done and under what conditions, because again Mr. Russell is allowed to carry on as Mr. Russell, Canadian citizen," said Vadeika. "He is not allowed to be a swim coach under the governance of Swimming Canada, Swim Ontario and its affiliate programs."
Bruce Kidd, dean of phys ed at the U of T, declined to renew the Dolphins Swim Club's contract to use the pool after the Star published a front-page article detailing Russell's past. They explored the issue of banning him entirely from the pool deck for any meet there but got legal advice against it.

What can YOU do about this? Express your opinion. Today is the day to start sending those emails:

Coaches Assoociation of Ontario CAO):
Coaching Association of Canada (CAC):
Swimming Ontario:
Swim Canada:
Editor, The Star:
Coaches of Canada (Professional Coaches Association):

Thursday, June 21, 2007

from The Star, by Randy Starkman, 21 June 2007

Ex-con coach back at poolside with kids - Sports - Ex-con coach back at poolside with kids

Despite his lifetime ban, Cecil Russell spotted at Burlington centre

June 21, 2007 Randy StarkmanSPORTS REPORTER

Clutching a stopwatch in each fist, Cecil Russell patrolled the pool deck yesterday like he owned it.
His intense gaze may have been borne of defiance: Russell is refusing to turn in his whistle even after his lifetime ban was reinstated two weeks ago.
Russell was convicted of involvement in two lucrative drug rings and testified to helping burn a murder victim's body in a silo beside his home.
Following up on complaints from parents who say they've witnessed Russell coaching despite his suspension, the Star caught the head coach of the Dolphins Swim Club of Oakville in action yesterday at Tansley Woods Pool in Burlington.
Swim Ontario executive director John Vadeika said he also has evidence of Russell coaching despite his ban and called the situation "very disturbing." Vadeika said he will be discussing the issue today in a conference call with Swimming Canada officials and their legal counsel.
Russell refused comment yesterday, but his lawyer Gary Boyd said the 54-year-old Burlington resident is exercising his right to work as a personal trainer and is not "coaching" the kids in the Dolphins Swim Club.
"Maybe we're splitting hairs to some extent, but we're dealing with someone trying to make a living," Boyd said.
Told that Russell could be clearly seen coaching about 15 kids from the pool deck yesterday, Boyd replied: "I suspect he has contracts with all of them. The Dolphins Swim Club has no rules preventing a personal trainer from being on the pool deck."
Paul Melia, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, which fought to have Russell's lifetime ban reinstated, isn't buying Boyd's rationale.
"It doesn't matter if you change the title from coach to personal trainer, Mr. Russell is not permitted to participate in any part of the Canadian sports system," said Melia.
Russell certainly looked yesterday to be fulfilling the same role of head coach he had when the Star visited one of his practices one year ago. He was clearly in charge as he gave out all the instructions, surrounded by a gaggle of youngsters at one point as he mimicked stroke technique.
One swimming parent who saw Russell coaching on Saturday at Nelson Pool in Burlington called it a travesty and questioned the ability of Swimming Canada and Swim Ontario to police the sport.
"It makes a mockery of all the police checks you have to go through to volunteer and to coach," said the parent, requesting anonymity. "This guy can have a lifetime ban and just swats it away. It sets such a bad example ..."
Vadeika, whose organization is ultimately responsible for enforcing the ban, agreed that Russell is making a mockery of the system.
"It's very disturbing," he said. "If people aren't going to follow the rules governing our sport, it means everyone can do whatever the hell they want."
Vadeika said they are trying to clarify just what Russell is allowed to do under the rules of a lifetime suspension. There is also some question about the ability of community pools to keep Russell out. An official with Oakville Parks and Recreation said they are waiting for a directive from Swim Ontario before taking action. A request for comment from Burlington Parks and Recreation went unreturned.
There was concern that authorities would have trouble giving the suspension some teeth when it was reinstated. While Russell was originally banned for life in 1997 for spearheading a lucrative steroid ring, he was seen still doing some coaching in Canada and abroad.
"We all saw it coming," said Vadeika. "We're trying to manage the situation the best we can and get the best interpretation (of the rules) we can."
Russell was reinstated in 2005, but that was voided this month when an Ontario Superior Court Judge ruled he purposely deceived an arbitrator when he claimed he was fully exonerated in an international ecstasy trafficking ring.
A story in the Saturday Star last July prompted an Arizona court to unseal documents showing Russell had in fact pleaded guilty in September, 2003, to conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute ecstasy. The U.S. authorities were concerned Russell was misrepresenting his case.


This is outrageous. Here's support for Swim Ontario, Swimming Canada and CCES for his immediate removal from the deck and contact with young people.
Thanks, Randy, for this column.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New Era of Governance

If you don't read Alan Abrahamson's blog and you are interested in Olympic things, start with his most recent piece.

Abrahamsoon is one of the top two Olympic commentators in the English-speaking world. He has the ear of IOC members, has viewed the sport world for many years, and knows the players well.

This entry, dated June 19, 2007 is about the *new era* in sport. It is really about conducting business openly, with transparency, and with honour. While it refers specifically to the international boxing federation, it could just as easily be referring to NSGBs/NSOs or proovincial sport organizations, or local clubs or municipal government.

The new era has dawned, and those who persist in conducting business the *old* way, will be pushed aside. It is only a matter of time.

A basket of miscellaneous thoughts.....

Back froom a vacation in Western Canada. My, those mountains look great, and the prairie looks even better!
From the runour mill, it seems that the track and field fans, coaches, and movers, are finally going to get an all-weather track in Kingston. Well, THEY made it happen!!! This is great news. It will be at the corner of King Street and Portsmouth Avenue. Our young people will be able to train and compete on a *real* track, instead of the slightly-better-than-cinders track at the university.
The next thing (after the 50m pool and related community services!!) will be a field house with tennis courts/badminton courts/field hockey surface along with an indoor track, jumping pits etc. Then our citizens will really bee able to "get active," become healthier, enjoy sport more, and build a stronger community.
Sport Kingston will be meeting in July to set a pro-active course for the next year. It's time! The city is developing a master plan for recreation and sport development, and Sport Kingston wants to be part of that.
Together, we can do more than we can separately. A lesson learned in the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where so much is accomplished by combining resources. The sum is grater than the parts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Aquatics enthusiasts in the Kingston, Ontario area are strongly encouraged to attend a meeting of like-minded citizens on Monday, June 25th at 6.30pm at Artillery Park Centre in Kingston.

At that meeting, disucssions will take place about what might be included in the proposed new aquatic facility in Kingston. Many aquatics fans would like a pool that has a moveable bulkhead and that can be set-up for training/competitions that meet international standards. A 25m, short-course pool will not allow our children to train at the highest levels, nor will it allow Kingston to host national and international competitions.

Get to the meeting, and help us develop an aquatic facility that will be versatile, flexible, and highly useable for everyone from cradle to grave. Babies, seniors and everyone in between can be served by a new and future-looking facility. For this kind of money, we need to be sure that in 35 years, the facility will still serve the community (unlike the new KRSEC that is being built downtown in Kingston).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Is this a Game?

The NHL minds probably don't wonder why their viewing numbers aren't constantly going up. If they DID wonder, though, there are a lot of sports fans who would tell them two things: violence on ice isn't what we want to see, and the present game isn't interesting to watch.

Let's just get rid of the Chris Prongers of the game. Last night's elbowing incident is his 7th flagrant foul. That is seven too many. The game can be played with finesse and skill, and there are times when he has shown both. But 7 incidents like this in about 12 years is just too many. A one-game suspension is ridiculous.

Out for the rest of the season and a hefty fine might be sufficient deterrent for others to think twice about trying to mame another player in order to get him out of the game.

If the NHL REALLY cared about its players, and cared about the fans (real and potential), they'd get tough.

Oh, yes...and the other reason the fan numbers are down? Who wants to watch "dump it in, chase after it, smash bodies on the boards" ? Not a game. Not sport.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Swim in Lake Ontario!

Considering how much water there is close to or in Kingston, it's amazing that there is almost no place to swim in the lake or river. One can go to Grass Creek to swim on a nice sandy beach, but people without vehicles can't get there.

We need a swimming place along the city's waterfront. The location has to be central to citizens, and served by public transit. Children and their parents need to be able to hop on a bus, and get there easily. And we need it soon.

Richardson Beach would be a great start! Yes, there are issues that would have to be addresssed. Let's ask the people! What would they like? Where? How can we overcome some issues around Richardson Beach? Is that the best place for a "swimming hole"?

Talk is easy. Act. Set a date. Go for it.

Wading Pools

It's good news that the Arts, Recreation and Communitiy Policies Coommittee (ARC) of the city of Kingston is going to take a careful look at the city's paddling pools (aka wading pools),spray pools etc.

There's nothing like a wading pool for little people! Yes, it is necessary to have supervision when there is water in the pool. One of the positive initiatives that the city could take is to ask the community what hours it would like the paddling pool open, then do as the people want! This will likely be a juggling act because staff work eight hour days, and finding the "right" eight hours might be difficult. They could hire 2 people, and have them share supervision duties at 2 or more paddling person start at Ron Lavallee at 9am, and another person start at another paddling pool at 1pm and share duties. Not difficult to arrange, if the will is there.

Let's hope that the wading poool in Ron Lavallee park will be open for business in 2008 for local children.

Cities are meant to serve the people, so let's get that pool open for the children and parents to use and socialize around.

Thanks to Counsellor Steve Garrison for taking this step!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Another Great Kingston Blog!

If you are a local baseball fan, check

"Coach," the blogger there, keeps fans up-to-date on his site.

Know any other Kingston-related blogs? Let me know, and let's get connected! Just think how well-informed Kingstonians would be if they check blogs, really got a handle on what's going on, and current opinion. The Whig prints only a smattering of letters it receives, so if you want your views known, check the blog, and be a contributer, not just a whiner!

On this blog we deal with sports, local, national and international.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Time to Step Up!

It's time for Kingston's bloggers and webmanagers to step up, and get their efforts publicized!

There are several great bloggers in the Kingston area. Drop over and start reading and contributing to these blogs, share the information that they contain, and support all of them!

Most are dedicated to a particular feature, issue or activity in the area. All are interesting and informative!

The most informative website that is dedicated to something in Kingston is KCAL's. There the web manager posts items related to the construction and all-related issues of the downtown Kingston Regional Sport & Entertainment Centre (KRSEC), also known as the LVEC. This website is factual. While there is script that accompanies newspaper articles and television reports. Read this website, and be informed.

Kingstonians should visit to keep up to date on what's happening on and adjacent to the many kilometers of waterfront. Not all of what's happening is good, but judge for yourself.

Check out this blog for fabulous info and underwater pictures taken mostly in the Kingston and Thousand Islands areas.

And, celebrate Council's decision to continue investigating an aquatic complex with a 50m poool at
Now THIS is an exciting development in Kingston!

Do you have a Kingston-related blog? Let us all know!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Saskatoon's Blairmore Centre

Saskatoon is building ist SECOND 50m pool, plus many of the bells and whistles!

Follow this link

Note also the Public Consultation Process, the on-going community input, the widely publicized info on the website for everyone to see and keep-up-to-date on!

Download the newsletters too!

Kingston City Council Goes Ahead!

City council has forged ahead to investigate the feasability of an aquatic complex that would have a 50m pool in it.

This is cause for celebration in Kingston, where swimming should be second nature to every citizen, considering that the city is virtually surounded by water! The Cataraqui River, Lake Ontario, the St Lawrence River!

It's important to keep an open mind about what this facility might be like. It is NOT just a 50m swimming pool. Yes, we will be well-served in many ways, by having a 50m pool in eastern Ontario. We can host competitions in aquatic sports at the provincial, national and international levels. What an opportunity!

Let's include options that virtually every pool built in the last 10 years has: play features, warmer "family" type pool, zero entry pool, hot tubs, perhaps slides, a shallow toddlers' learn-to pool...there are so many possibilities! It is exciting!

Check out

where you can see many possibilities for an aquatic complex, albeit one that was built for the 1985 Jeux du Canada Games. Read all the info on the site, and play the little short video that talks about the wide variety of activities that happen in this 20+ year old complex.

Not only is it exciting that the city council enthusiastically supported this initiative, perhaps, just perhaps, it is a sign of things to come. Perhaps it is a sign that this council will be open to new ideas, and say, "Yes, let's investigate this idea!"

Previous councils have been so NEGATIVE, portraying their "No, not us, not in Kingston" mentality.

I, and thousands of residents hope that a new attitude will prevail. An attitude that "we can do this" rather than, "no, it's too hard." That negative attitude does not convey support for the community, an eagerness to get the city on the map, a positive, upbeat style of leadership.

There are up-beat councillors now on council. Let's support them in their efforts to change the mentality on council and in the city administration.

It's time to talk about Kingston, time to offer to lead, time to be proactive. Moving forward on an aquatic complex is a small but extremely signficant step. Kingstonians applaud!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Kingston & District Sports Hall of Fame & DREAMS

Last Friday evening, May 4, 2007 was the induction dinner for the KDSHF at the Ambassador. There were many wonderful and memorable moments, but the ones that stood out for me were remarks by swimmer Karin Helmstaedt. She came for the induction from Germany where she now lives, quite a tribute to the Hall.

Although she doesn't know it, her swimming career and my sport admin careers are intertwined. She competed at the World Aquatic Championships in Madrid, Spain in 1986 where I served as the Assistant Chef de Mission for the Canadian Team. She competed for Canada in 1987 at the Pan American Games in Indianapolis, USA. I was the Assistant Chef de Mission of the Canadian Team at those multi-sport Games.

To get back to her comments, though. She had a distinguished swimming career, and now has a distinguished journalistic career. Karin went to U of T and swam for the university's team coached by expert Byron MacDonald. One of her memorable observations was this: if there had been a 50m swimming pool in Kingston, she would not have had to leave Kingston to continue her swimming career.

An athlete who wants to swim on the national/international stage for Canada, cannot stay in Kingston and train in a 25m pool. It is just impossible to become a Pan Am Games swimmer or Olympian without regular, on-going training in a 50m pool. Wouldn't it be great to have our young swimmers training here in Kingston, then going on to a Canada Games, a Pan Am Games then an Olympics! Wow! What a great thing for other young people to see and strive for!

Not only will a 50m pool allow our swimmers to stay home, an aquatic centre will be a centre of activity for everyone in the community! It will be a gathering place for young parents and their small children (and babies!), offering them the opportunity to become comfortable in and around the water, and learn how to respect the water. Kingston is perfectly located for water sport activities, and respect for our rivers, lakes, ponds is essential.

Additional activities available to citizens will include diving, water polo, underwater hockey, scuba diving training, synchronized swimming, inner tube basketball (you haven't tried THAT? great fun!!), winter kayak training....Red Cross and Royal Life Saving Society lessons and diplomas, fitness for seniors, hydro-therapy for persons with disabilities or injuries of some kind, .....the list is endless!!

I wonder how many little Karins we have in Kingston, wanting to follow their dream of becoming an Olympic swimmer or diver, and not able to do it.

The new Aquatic Centre will be an exciting, state of the art facility for every Kingstonian to use, and will give those little Karins an opportunity that isn't available now.

What a thrill!