Wednesday, February 20, 2008


It turns out that cab driver I had on my last visit to Kingston two weeks ago who was very certain the downtown arena would be open "next month" -- not Feb. 22, two days from now, as planned -- might have been right. It was apparently that obvious.

This is the risk when you contract a big project like this out to private industry. A lot of the oversight just gets overlooked. Also, Frontenacs owner Doug Springer talks a big game about this new building improving the team's chances of being competitive, but it seems like he didn't try to exert much influence in attending to the team's needs. How is that it seems like the primary tenant had no say in the construction of their dressing room?

"The central dressing area is covered in carpeting and rubber-like matting, to protect the skates of players.
"The adjoining bathroom, featuring a spacious shower for six and multiple sinks, is covered in greenish tile.

"Jeff Stilwell, marketing manager for the hockey team, pointed to the tile floor.

" 'How are they going to walk to the bathroom with their skates on?' he wondered.

"Some expletives flew."
-- Kingston Whig-Standard
It's curious how it's Stilwell and poor GM-for-life Larry Mavety were there to discover the sad news for the Frontenacs.

It wouldn't be the first time a building was opened before some of the finish work was completed. The real burn is that those nattering nabobs of NIMBYism who are just to the left of Ralph Nader end up feeling vindicated, even though their argument was coming straight out of Negativetown. Sweet fancy Moses, does big business always have to make it so easy for those guys?

Will facility open on time?; With just days to go, workers scramble to bring building up to code (Rob Tripp and Jordan Press, Kingston Whig-Standard)


Big V said...

When do you suppose the deadline is for deciding if they will actually play?

On another note... is anyone really suprise the rink is behind? This is the city of kingston afterall.

sager said...

It's in the story... probably noonish Friday.

By the way, apparently they would have had it done sooner, but the city of Ottawa was hogging the cement mixer.

Dennis Prouse said...

The arena opponents in Kingston didn't do much reading when comparing their building with Mile One in St. John's. It's apples and oranges. Mile One lost money on what is known as "purchased entertainment" -- in other words, the arena guaranteed a certain fee to an act, and then gambled that they could make it up in sales. They have now wisely discontinued that practice, but if you know anything about Newfoundland you could understand how this would happen - there is a lot of pride there, and a deep desire to show that they have arrived, so to speak. Therefore, there would have been a tendency to be overly optimistic in booking acts. Of course, because travel costs are so high, acts would be leery of going to St. John's without a guaranteed sum. It is the same vicious cycle the Newfoundland economy has been fighting for decades.

In Kingston, right smack dab in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal triangle, they won't have this problem. They will be able to co-sponsor events, or just rent the facility to the act and rake in the concession sales. No way will Kingston have to guarantee a certain figure to an act in order to get bookings. ("High School Musical" on ice, for example, will sell out every night). The City of Kingston is going to be able to keep some entertainment $$$ in town that were previously heading down the 401 to Toronto.

Oh, and I got a kick out of the spin the Kingston arena opponents were using. They weren't opposed to the arena, per se, just the process by which it was built. This is political activism 101 - don't attack the policy, attack the process, because it is usually a far more target rich environment. We heard the same crap on free trade back in the day. Free trade opponents said they didn't oppose free trade, just this particular deal and the process by which it was negotiated. It is disingenuous as hell, but often very effective.

sager said...

The arena opponents did raise some valid point about out-of-town contractors -- but at the end of the day, it's impossible to respect their stance, since they are coming from Negative Nellyville.