Tuesday, March 04, 2008

No One Thought About the Equipment?

The first of what may become a series of "shows" is poised to play at the K-Rock Centre (still known to many locals, including media, as the LVEC).

For 2 days, staff of Disney High School Musical - the Ice Tour have been trying to unload their gear from what seem to be about 8 or 9 trailers. The unloading area at the LVEC is two back-in trailer spots, both of which can't be used at the same time, unless one tractor (the part that pulls the trailer) is disconnected.

Oh yes, they also unload into the large doors where the Zamboni is parked. This is off King Street, between Place d'Armes and Barrack Streets. So that block of King Street is unavailable to vehicle traffic. (Yesterday too, a van was parked on the sidewalk on this block)

Yesterday, there were 7 trailers parked on the streets around the LVEC, either unhitched or waiting (idling) with their tractors. Unhitched trailers were/are in the on-street spots on Place d' Armes at the corner of Wellington, on both sides of King Street between Queen and Barrack, on Barrack Street in front of the Food Basics, across the main Barrack Street doors of the LVEC, on the north side of the facility (where the team buses have been idling for extended periods of time).

To access the building's unloading area, these 18 wheelers drive into the stub of King Street north of Place d'Armes; they idle there till a worker comes from the lvec to "direct" them as they back into the building. As they back into the building, traffic coming off the Causeway piles up past Fort Frontenac toward the bridge.

It is doubtful that it will take long for word to get around the tour/business world that Kingston's facility is a nightmare for touring companies. There's nowhere to park trailers that carry the costumes, the sound systems, the on-ice equipment, and the unloading area is grossly indequatee. There's no waiting area, except on-street, in the vehicle parking spots. How many touring shows will come this way? If it's a problem to unload, will they come?

Oh yes, and once they get the trucks unloaded inside the facility, where will they put all the performers' costumes/gear? There is virtually no space under the stands; the Fronts have adjacent dressing rooms, so there is the visitors' dressing room? And one other?

Didn't anyone think about all the gear and equipment that shows bring with them? Didn't anyone realize that shows travel with LOADS of equipment? Yes, many people did. But those with the votes didn't hear.

After the 2 Disney shows on Tuesday and Wednesday, the trailers have to be reloaded, and (as often happens) wait to depart in convoy. What a frustration. Word will travel quickly, "Be prepared for a nightmare of unloading/loading in Kingston." And, we can guess what the promoters will decide.

What will be interesting to observe (along with the high staff requirement to make all this happen) is the 36 hour turn-around for the Friday night Frontenac's game. And then, gasp, staging for the 2008 Freestyle Motocross World Tour slated to start less than 20 hours after the Fronts' game.

The line item for "staff" on Arcturus SMG's LVEC budget will be gigantic. Will it seep down to Kingston taxpayers?

My objection to locating this facility on this spot always was, and still is, that there are few amenities in the building; meeting rooms, under-stands space, large concourses, dining areas, suitable coat-check...all these essential were erased from the plan when they decided the building had to go here. A tragic legacy for Kingston's City Councils.

6 comments:

Greg said...

I love the way you succinctly put it and couldn't agree more! I have been against many of the issues just as you have stated and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the long run. fewer events? rising labour costs? And let's not forget about traffic congestion which I experience everyday coming home that route.

Peg said...

My partner drives a cab here in Kingston. In a previous live, he used to do catering at Maple Leaf Gardens so he know a little bit about big tours and the space which is required to load in and out. One of his first comments about the centre, when they started the construction, was about just this issue. He came home last night and told me about the trucks lined up and how messed up traffic was. Thanks so much for a great post on what is going to prove to be a huge issue.

Anonymous said...

Whine Whine is that all you and the people in KCAL do. Give the place a chance to iron out all the bugs and get all the construction trailers and equipment out of the way. Have you never driving near A&P on Brock st when the tractor trailer is backing into a very tight loading dock. How about Wellington St when the tt's are backing into the Canada Post driveway. Congestion happens so breathe deep and relax. The KRock Centre is done, bring on the entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Hear hear! Stop your complaining KCAL.

All you guys do is criticize. I bet you are all enjoying the events that are NOW coming to Kingston too! Our city, once starved for any culture, now has some great events coming to town.

Grow up. Get with the times. Stop your whining.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work. I'll bet those who agree with you outnumber the trolls by a ratio of 5-1.

In reality, homegrowns aside, none of the "great acts" that grace Toronto, Montreal and, to a lesser degree, Ottawa are stopping in Kingston at the K-Rock Centre. Anne Murray? Englebert? Please!

We must really be liveing in a po-dunk town, and this K-Rock centre basically proves that.

Anonymous said...

I love how the guys telling everyone to stop complaining leave there names Anonymous. I actually work as a stage hand for shows at the arena. And believe me when I say this was a terrible Idea to put it where it is. The folding chairs that are floor seating for concerts and stage shows have to go somewhere but there is no storage for them. They get put on carts that stack on top of each other 3 high and the only place to put them is on one side of the loading dock. So 90% of the shows that come in only have access to one of the two docks. Also to get the chairs out of there is dangerous. We have to lift them with a forklift off the stack one by one and bring them up the dock. The hight required to clear all obsticles is crazy. After being in this new arena it makes even less sense that they choose this location.
Also another issue they have been having is power! Any big shows such as Highschool Musical or Avril have required a generator to ensure there is enough power for the show. This is unheard of in modern arenas and is unacceptable! Now I'm staying Anonymous because I'm voicing issues but I still need the work. But the issues are hard to ignore!