To my wonder and delight, the Herald published my last article in the paper today. It was rather shocking in that I was not contacted, or, they tried to contact me while I was on business in Boston and never got a hold of me. It also comes two weeks after I wrote it, so some of the facts and suppositions are no longer completely accurate.
Tomorrow, I think it likely that there will be a letter written by a partisan of HRM, the Trade Centre Ltd (TCL) or someone from Events Halifax in the Herald. The letter will be written in a pitying and superior tone, and will attempt to make me look stupid. I look forward to it.
Let me predict and refute some of the points that will be made.
1 â€“ They say the show made a profit – Had the Herald gotten a hold of me, I would have added these sentences. â€œSure, the event is reported to have made a $100K profit after $240K of taxpayers money was invested. In business, we would call that a $140K loss, but I am sure the government has a better idea about that than business does.â€ As a point of information, the show promoter Events Halifax is operated on behalf of Trade Centre Ltd. TCL operates the Metro Centre, which is owned by HRM and the Province, and the World Trade Centre, which is owned by the Province.
2 â€“ They say the show had a huge economic impact â€“ A $12 million is if you use the big international multi day impact multiplier and apply it to the total attendance. Seeing as most of the people who were there were from Nova Scotia, and would have spent their money here anyway, AND Events Halifax are including the $3-6 million that DKD, Michael Cohl and the Stones took away with them to Bermuda or wherever they (don’t) pay taxes, this statistic can only be considered suspect.
3 â€“ I have already been told that the Province announced its investment in the same timeframe as HRM â€“ sure the Province said it was supporting the show, but the Province did not announce the dollar amount until they were caught by allnovascotia.com.
4 â€“ They have been saying that people who speak out against this show have no vision/are stuck in small town thinking/hatefull â€“ the thing is, I am pretty sure that the Province of Ontario did not cut a cheque to the Rogers Centre/Skydome to host the Rolling Stones. The band just played a show. Vision is what Moncton has, where they have a site, and a plan, and a long term strategy. Big towns get big bands without direct government intervention.
I will say that apparently I was wrong in one regard. The concert apparently paid for all policing on the peninsula in addition to regular deployment. My friend Councilor Younger insists that no additional expenses were absorbed by the city, and I take him at his word.
With all this in mind, what gets me most peeved is that we, the people decided to not do ticketed events on the Common, with the Halifax Common Plan in the mid 1990s. I actually think the Common is great site for a show! Lets build a big stage, power, support buildings. Lets do shows there every Friday (but not, you know, as big).
To do this, we need a budget that lets us do it right. We need a plan. Do not build concrete pads, but nice cut granite and cobble stone fixtures that can be used at other times for other stuff. We would need to have the money to open a couple other replacements ball fields up on the Mainland Common or over in Dartmouth. We need the staging and other stuff to be architecturally attractive. Most importantly we need extensive public input into a long term usage plan.
If at the end of the day the Common will not serve, then Shearwater, Shannon Park, the Mainland Common, these could all potentially be developed for a large concert site. But only, only, only if we have an actual plan.