Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Very Sad Story...

Back when the City first built the Civic Centre I fought against the location, size and design but my pleadings feel on deaf ears... when the City had the 2nd opportunity (Cari Complex) to build a proper facility I went to numerous public meetings and I publicly promoted (complete with plans) a "Regional Complex" in a Retail location away from the University with a 5,000 seat arena.... and again City Council most of who still are elected wouldn't listen and wouldn't stand up to the Governments of the day and "demand" to do the right thing... the sad part of this whole story is now we're burdened with two money bleeding Complexes and in our current economy we can't afford to build what should have been done the first time around... City Council and the administration continue to lack leadership and vision and the proof is in the fact they are paying for a report that everyone knows what the outcome would have been... the report is nothing more than an excuse for Mayor Lee to try and find a scheme to build a bigger monument than Basil got in Summerside... what we need now is a report on how to streamline the City to run more efficiently and help ease the burden on our City taxes.... the saddest part of this will be watching the City’s continued lack of leadership on this issue.... and if you wanted to see an example of that you should have attended the “public meeting” on planning issues the City hosted on Tuesday night as it was quite a “Sad” show...
New report condemns Civic Centre A new multi-use sports and entertainment centre should include a maximum of 5,000 fixed seats within the arena bowl
The Guardian
The Charlottetown Civic Centre is a poorly designed, money-bleeding facility in need of replacement, urges a new report. “The opportunity exists for a new multi-use sports and entertainment centre (MUSEC) to serve the needs of the city and province as a whole,’’ IBI Group recommended in its report released on Monday. “The facility should include a maximum of 5,000 fixed seats within the arena bowl.’’ The estimated cost of such a facility, assuming a “moderately-high level of quality and functionality,’’ is $40 million excluding land. The report was commissioned by the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation (CADC) to undertake an assessment of the existing and prospective market for the Charlottetown Civic Centre (CCC) acting as a multi-use sports, entertainment and trade show venue. The report determined the existing arena has a number of deficiencies and the main drivers of revenue will continue to be jeopardized without significant capital investment in the facility. With municipal and provincial subsidy, the arena and trade centre create a deficit of over $600,000, excluding any debt payments. The report concludes that investment into the CCC is required. Adopting the status quo is not an option. “Our analysis suggests very strongly that maintenance of the facility in its current condition, with no plan of action in place to develop the strategic asset of the CCC, and the Civic Centre Arena in particular, is an option which undervalues the potential associated with the facility,’’ according to the 16-page executive summary. The report offered as alternative to building a new $40 million facility several options for major renovation/expansion of the existing Civic Centre Arena with costs ranging from $25 million to $34.4 million depending on the option. Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee doesn’t anticipate council to be in a big hurry to pump money into any option put forward in the report. He says council needs to sit down and discuss the report. He hopes the report doesn’t gather dust. He would like to see a business plan developed among partners like the CADC, Tourism Charlottetown, and provincial and federal government. “I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered,’’ he said. Lee says he would need assurances that a major investment into a new multi-use sports and entertainment centre would pay dividends for the city. He did concede that the Charlottetown Civic Centre falls short on several “We are looking on this exercise as one of the exciting pieces of a puzzle that eventually will become a redeveloped gateway for the eastern end of the city and the eastern anchor for ongoing development of the city’s waterfront,’’ he said. “I hope this report, and the information it contains, will generate some positive stakeholder and public discussion that will continue to inform the ongoing planning process.’


Anonymous said...

I can just see it. Banks would build such a complex in the middle of nowhere with a massive parking lot. This when sucessful complexes of this type are always located downtown in major centres where parking really is problematic. Think Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, New York etc.

craigmackie said...

I too bemoan the short-sightedness of councils that refuse to think much beyond their current mandate let alone what the citizenry might need as the population grows and demand for facilities increases.

I don't think we can expect recreational facilities to make money in the short term. Even in the long term they may not make a profit. But what are benefits to a healthier population? Less demand on the health care system is an obvious consequence. Surely that would save money. And healthier citizens are smarter and more engaged in sports, culture and politics; difficult to put a dollar figure on that.

CARI could have had a 50 meter pool and been both a short-course and long-course swimming draw for eastern Canada. A proper arena would have effectively replaced the Civic Centre freeing up valuable centre city land for development. The Charlottetown Curling Club needs a new home. Why wasn't it included in the CARI Complex?

But the larger question remains: Where's the Vision?