Monday, May 31, 2010

WHY? Humboldt, SK to Host RBC Cup in 2012.

Hockey Canada rejects Kingston's bid to host 2012 RBC Cup
Humboldt, Sask. gets the nod over Kingston and two other cities

from The Kingston Whig Standard

The Kingston Kimco Voyageurs will not be hosting the 2012 RBC Cup.
Hockey Canada awarded the national junior A hockey championship to the Humboldt Broncos of Saskatchewan on Sunday at its annual general meeting in Montreal.
Kingston, Port Alberni, B.C. and Fort McMurray, Alta. were the other cities bidding for the event.
"Our committee did an exceptional job on our bid," Voyageurs owner Gregg Rosen said. "There's nothing more we could have done to secure the 2012 tournament. Hockey Canada has made its decision and it's the goal of our organization to get back to the RBC Cup and hopefully have an opportunity to host it down the road."
The Vees advanced to the national final in 2009 in Victoria, B.C., finishing fourth. Under Rosen's ownership, the Vees have led the Ontario Junior A Hockey League in attendance the past two seasons.
It marks the second national hockey championship setback for Kingston this month. Earlier in May, the Kingston Frontenacs lost out on their bid to host the 2011 Memorial Cup, which went to Mississauga.

It's easy to underestimate Humboldt, the Broncos, and the support the team has.

Humboldt is not some hick town on the prairie. It is near Saskatoon, it's people travel and work throughout the region.

The Broncos have been a strong team for...well, perpetually. They play good hockey, they have strong management, they have excellent fan support, they have excellent media coverage.

Media coverage of the team would definitely be one factor taken into account. The Broncos get regular, in-depth coverage from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. Coverage is about the athletes it is positive, it is human-interest related. The placement of articles is superior to the layout and placement of articles in The Whig. Compare this to the sort of coverage that the Vees get in Kingston. Not even in the same league.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They Made Two Decisions!

Maybe it was because the TV cameras weren't on councillors last night at their Special Meeting, maybe it was because some of them came to their senses, but amazingly, city council made two right decisions.

They will accept the federal government's offer of property along Highway 15 to build affordable housing, and they will proceed with the second stage EA for the third crossing of the Rideau River.

Kingston needs affordable housing. No one disputes that. People make unwarrented assumptions about the way of life of those who will live there. Not much charity shown.

And, all the questions that councillors were asking, particularly Councillor Schmolka, will be answered in the 2nd phase EA. Why councillors kept asking questions that the consultants said would be answered in the next phase, is a mystery to most of us.

Now, if council were to re-visit the S&R decision, and accept Mr Doornekamp's offer, citizens might think that council was acting in our best interest.

It's still difficult to see where this council will get all the money that it has committed to projects in the last year.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Outer Station, Kingston, Ontario

Montreal Street, en route from Highway 401, one of the routes used by tourists to enter Kingston!

Kingston's Outer Station, today

Now, this is another embarassment.

Another Goes Under

You have to wonder when the councillors of Kingston will figure out that their stewardship of the downtown is AWFUL!

Another store, Sir Gawain, a women's and men's wear shop, is closing its doors (announced this morning) It is located at the corner of Ontario and Princess Streets. Well, it's located there right now, but come July, it too will be gone.

And to think that these same councillors have decided NOT to buy the S & R building, that would have had quite a bit of pedestrian traffic, perhaps people going in to pay their parking tickets or property taxes........

Someone recently commented to me, "I can't wait to get rid of these people." There are a lot of citizens climbing onto that bandwagon.

One has to feel for the fellow who is trying to make an impression on the local market with his excellent (yes, I have had them, bought them) take-home frozen dinners, across from the Lone Star that has been closed for almost a month. On Ontario Street. The Lone Star must be crying too, since a lot of its trade is on the patio, summer-time.

What do the other owners/renters of property in the downtown think of all the closings? Do they wonder how long they can hang on?

There are over 40 vacant storefronts on Princess Street between Division and Ontario Streets. Why is this? One of those who knows, from experience, says that the rental rates in the buildings are astronomical. This person decided (without much contemplation) to take the business off Princess Street, to an adjacent street, and even then the rental rates are almost choking. Why? City taxes? Greedy landlords? Both?

Council doesn't address this in public at all. One has to wonder if they are oblivious to this, or if they don't care, or if they think it's just a passing aberration, or is there some other reason?

Kingston's downtown is in crisis. The citizens know this, why don't city councillors?

Too bad the Special meeting of Council tonight isn't being telecast on Cogeco 13. It sure would be nice to see if even one councillor tried to put this critical situation on the agenda.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

S & R for City Staff

And, while we are on the subject of bone-headed decisions....a quick look at the suggestion that the city purchase the S&R building, all renovated at the developer's expense, and ready to move into.

They said "NO."

Most children in grade 7 would be able to figure out that if the city is paying about $500,000/year to RENT an inadequate building, they will pay $5. million for a 10 year rental. And still nOT OWN the building.

The city has over $14 million in the budget for new digs. They would have to come up with $5 million more to get into the S&R building. This is chicken feed, considering how they just, without comment, gave $600,000 to fix up the Sir John A locomotive.

One has to admire the city staff for their "no comment" stance on this decision. Anyone who has been involved in any sort of organization, knows that with consolidation of staff comes greater co-operation, collaboratiion and efficient use of time. Just ask someone who does organizational development!!!

Kingston's Council is Treading Water

How right Councillor Steve Garrison is!

City council is doing nothing these days.......oh yes, they did do something this week.

After about 2.5 hours asking questions of the consultants on the Third Crossing (cost of moving to next phase is about $650,000) they left the item.

They went next to an item about the locomotive Sr John A that is sitting in Confederation Park in front of city hall. The engine needs work.

They passed, WITHOUT COMMENT, a request for over $650,000 to restore the locomotive and put it in some kind of enclosure.

This is ridiculous! It is the same amount of money they squabbled over about the Third Crossing!!!

Work on the next phase of the Third Crossing will take several years (most guess at 2-3 years) and that is just for the required studies!!!!

That's not even deciding to actually build the crossing!

These people have their heads in the sand. Whenever they stand up, it's to posture for the up-coming municipal election in October.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Queen's: The Invisible University

CIS-SIC, the governing body for Canadian university sport, released the list of universities bidding for various national championships between now and about 2013.

Sadly, Queen's University, with its new Activity Centre has not bid for even one national championship.

This is amazing!

What could possibly be reasons? A short list........
1. Not proud of the new digs
2. Not enough capacity to put on a national championship
3. Difficulty getting a team together, or perhaps get consensus on the package
4. Lack of support form the university administration
5. Infighting about which sport to bid for
6. Lack of money

More to come......

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cut from the same cloth

There is a piece of cloth....
Juan Antonio Samaranch and Gary Bettman were cut out of it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So, What Does She Know?

Wondering how I know ?
A history in bidding, and multi-sport games.
Served on the COA Site Selection Committee to choose the site for the 1999 Pan Am Games. COA chose Winnipeg add to the PASO list. Winnipeg won.
Many Canada Games, Pan Am Games and Calgary Olympics.
Spend much time studying and communicating with franchise holders.

City Council's Lack of Vision

Kingston was one of four cities bidding to host the 2011 Memorial Cup.

Not surprisingly, it didn't win.
There are a lot of reasons why it didn't win, some of which are written about in the Whig Standard today.

The winning bid from Mississauga guaranteed $3 milllion. It is highly unlikely that Kingston made a guarantee of this size.

This from the Toronto Star, this morning, by Kevin McGran:
The selection committee — featuring a Toronto-heavy board that includes Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, former NHL executive Frank Bonello, NHL senior vice-president Jim Gregory, and NHL director of central scouting E.J. McGuire — concluded Mississauga could put on the best show.

That, despite the fact the Majors have only 1,000 or so season ticket holders at the 5,501-seat Hershey Centre while teams in the other three cities play to packed arenas.

Mississauga owner Eugene Melnyk reportedly guaranteed a $3-million return for the OHL from the event, $1 million more than Windsor.

“What you hope from this from the Majors’ perspective is you hope there will be carryover,” said OHL commissioner David Branch. “You’re going to introduce (junior hockey) to fans in this area who maybe haven’t witnessed OHL hockey for a long time or ever. They’ll see what a great quality product it is and they’ll come back.”

Branch said his only worry is whether the Hershey Centre is big enough.

“Toronto is a special events city and that alone will put it over the top in terms of it being a complete sellout,” said Branch. “There are no concerns at all. The biggest problem we’re going to have is maybe the arena isn’t big enough. There are so many OHL centres with an hour and a half of the GTA that many will undoubtedly want to come and watch the games.”

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion said the city is willing to spend up to $2 million “in kind” to help promote the event that is expected to generate up to $15 million in economic benefits. Melnyk, who also owns the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, was behind the bid but missed the news conference due to illness.

The ticket campaign begins Tuesday with “Dave Keon” packages beginning at $699 for a Majors season-ticket and tickets to the Memorial Cup. The “Frank Mahovlich” package begins at $899.

The return of the Memorial Cup will end at least one long major championship hockey drought for the Greater Toronto Area that dates back to the 1960s. The Memorial Cup was last played in the GTA in 1966 when the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Oshawa Generals at Maple Leaf Gardens.
The loss of the bid comes from several factors, but knowing sports organizations, I am quite sure that it was the guarantee that did it.

Two other factors include the lack of a significant fan base for the Frontenacs and the fact that the team doesn't play very good hockey.

The Whig Standard article cites a very significant factor: city council's lack of vision. The way Ken Wong sees it, council was pretty cheap in its contribution to the event. That is certainly true. With great reluctance they offered sortof "discounted" price ice time and few other throw-ins.

It is these "throw-ins" that an organization will look at; they are the hidden factors that the bid committee can fall back on, add to as the process evolves and make the city look good.

Council's lack of vision is one way to put the factor. My view is that Kingston is so parochial, so stuck on itself, so fixed on navel-gazing. Council cannot look out, it cannot see forward, it thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread.

Not only does council have aa "small town" mentality, the lack of leadership from the mayor holds the city back. The mayor of a community is its chief cheerleader. The mayor gets out there, speaks well of the city, talks about what it can do, what it is where it is going. The current mayor does none of these things. His lack of enthusiam is palpable.

So....why did the city lose the 2011 Memorial Cup? No big buck guarantee, the cheap mentality of council, a mayor who sat in the weeds, once again.

And the really unfortunate part of this is that no one will tell council and the mayor that they are responsible, that they are holding the city back, that they are creating a negative climate. It's a small town, and citizens fear retribution.