So in the aftermath, are WTCC supporters cracking Champagne and the opposition crying in their craft beers?
Maybe, but not me.
When I wrote “Why We Fight” a month ago, my concern was and remains transparency – WTCC did not release the consultant reports until forced, there was never an open process for public and stakeholder input into facility design and how the space would be developed and used. (EDIT: by this I mean about the Convention Centre as a concept and a plan, not the building design review that is to come as would happen with any development proposal.)
For me, it was always about the process of the thing, so the fact that the building might be built is not the end of my world.
This process has lead to a moderately poor decision, with a project with some merits, an unnecessarily vitriolic debate, and a simply horrible funding model.
I think we need a new convention centre, and aside from the process, the tone of the debate was hard to take.
People I feel should know better defending the pro-development side lost a lot of my respect due to the shrill and dismissive tone they took with anyone who opposed them.
Those of us engaged in civil society for decades are not willing to fall in line behind a booster club that seems more concerned about the ends and not at all concerned about the means.
Being told to “focus on the big picture” and then being rebuffed for pointing out the big picture has to include our $12.5 billion dollar debt and our actual fiscal capacity was, well, breathtaking.
For me, the worst example was watching these leaders tweet dismissively about Dr. Heywood Saunders and his credentials. It was frankly just unsettling and tacky, evoking the worst of US anti-intellectual politics: shades of the Republican heartland.
I hope this was simply people new to social media, not knowing how to set an appropriate tone, and not a harbinger of the kind of contribution we can expect in the future.