News from the Hamilton Front

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Kyle Legate, Feb 19, 2003.

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  1. Kyle Legate

    Kyle Legate Guest

    First, some news from a City Hall meeting held to get public input, followed by a news article in
    this morning's Hamilton Spectator.

    This past Monday Hamilton City Hall held a public forum on the World Cycling Championships.
    While I had the date written on a slip of paper, I forgot to attend this one. There is another
    scheduled for March 4, which I have circled in red on a calendar and must not miss. I intend to
    grab the mic and address some points being raised in media, and educate the public on the
    logistics of the event. All the morons showed up for this meeting, it seems. The usual
    car-centric mob was complaining about the restricted access to roads. Some were concerned about
    disruption of emergency services and school closures that are planned (a massive overreaction in
    my opinion). What got me going was the business owners. One president of a car dealership
    (http://autonet.ca/HMP/Home.cfm) that is located right on the course at the Main/Bay
    intersection is planning a class action lawsuit against the city over loss of revenue and
    failure to consult them over course selection (mostly over his decision that he will have to
    send his employees home and close shop for the week). The suit is being spearheaded by Mike
    Dubois, please feel free to contact him at [email protected], and let him know that a lawsuit
    would be a mistake. Perhaps he should be made aware of all the free advertising he will receive
    for being on the course. Also maybe he should be reminded that his business has a back entrance
    that will not be affected by the race. Anyway, I digress...only two people at this meeting had
    anything positive to say. The meeting on March 4 will have at least one more. If you are within
    reach of Hamilton I would urge you to show up at the next meeting and show some positive
    support--I think the organizers need it. Here are the details: Tuesday March 4, 7pm at Hamilton
    City Hall. I think there's free parking around back.

    An article in this morning's edition of the Hamilton Spectator has an ominous feel to it. And
    imagine, Hamilton thinks they can handle the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Feh.

    http://www.hamiltonspectator.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=hamilton/L
    ayout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1045609309592&call_pageid=1020420665036&co l=1014656511815

    City balks at cycling bill Threatens to pull plug over costs By Ken Peters The Hamilton
    Spectator The 2003 World Cycling Road Race planned for Hamilton this October is in jeopardy
    over concerns city taxpayers may have to cover close to $10 million in costs for the event.

    Sources say councillors were informed yesterday that the city could be responsible for more
    than the $400,000 Hamilton has committed.

    Race organizers at this point expect the city to sign on for much more. That number includes a
    liability fund of up to $6 million to cover law suits and a possible $3.5 million for police,
    emergency crews and road closure costs.

    Taxpayers would be forced to pay that bill -- over and above the tax increases they are
    already facing.

    That bombshell convinced councillors to give city manager Bob Robertson two weeks to present a
    signed contract with the Hamilton 2003 race organizers that limits the city's financial
    exposure to $400,000 .

    And if he doesn't?

    Councilor Murray Ferguson said the odds of the world's third-largest sporting event running in
    October are "50-50."

    "No money, no go," Ferguson said of the possible consequences.

    Mayor Bob Wade was tight-lipped when he emerged from the briefing session on the $12.5-million
    (total) event.

    "Until the city manager comes back with a response to a number of
    questions that he has been asked to address, I'm not uncomfortable. On the
    other hand, I'm not as comfortable as I might like to be," the mayor added.

    The championships are expected to attract a worldwide television audience of 500 million. If
    the city says no, the Tim Hortons Road National Championships on June 27-29, which had been
    planned as a test run for the worlds, would likely be cancelled.

    Wade said cost concerns centre around what the city is expected to cover as outlined in
    reports in 2001.

    "There have been a series of reports that clearly identify the potential for the city's
    contribution but those reports were based on the city's costs being picked up by the cycling
    corporation and that's not part of their present budget as we understand it. That's one of the
    issues were going to deal with," he said.

    Wade said the city's contract with the local organizing committee hasn't been completed
    because agreements between the international, Canadian and Hamilton organizing committees were
    only finalized at the end of December.

    Neil Lumsden, chief operating officer of the Hamilton 2003 world cycling championships,
    confirmed the city has some cost concerns.

    "What I'm hearing is there are some specific costs that are running more than what they want
    to spend," he said, adding the specific costs and who is responsible will be clarified in
    the contract.

    "That's when the lines in the sand will be clear as far as what everyone's
    responsibilities are."

    Ferguson said the organizing committee has asked taxpayers for a "significant" increase that
    is not their responsibility.

    "We said bring back a contract that limits the city's contribution to $400,000," Ferguson
    said. "The city's position has been clear from the outset that $400,000 is the maximum
    contribution. The backers from the get-go have been the province and the federal government.
    Our position is that they are the ones to pick up the tab."

    The province is committed to providing $2.25-million with another $1.25-million expected from
    the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Heritage Minister Sheila Copps has committed $10-million from
    the federal government.

    Lumsden said the funding from the senior levels of government remains on track.

    Wade said the possibility that city taxpayers may be asked to pick up more costs for the event
    is crucial.
     
    Tags:


  2. On Wed, 19 Feb 2003 09:02:46 -0500, Kyle Legate wrote:
    >planning a class action lawsuit against the city over loss of revenue and failure to consult them
    >over course selection City balks at cycling bill Threatens to pull plug over costs

    Let's move the whole thing to Valkenburg.
     
  3. Gord Woolley

    Gord Woolley Guest

    Kyle:

    You should post this to the Canadian Cyclist Forum...

    > First, some news from a City Hall meeting held to get public input, followed by a news article in
    > this morning's Hamilton Spectator.
    >
    [snip]
     
  4. Kyle Legate

    Kyle Legate Guest

  5. "Ewoud Dronkert" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Wed, 19 Feb 2003 09:02:46 -0500, Kyle Legate wrote:
    > >planning a class action lawsuit against the city over loss of revenue and failure to consult them
    > >over course selection City balks at cycling bill Threatens to pull plug over costs
    >
    > Let's move the whole thing to Valkenburg.

    Leontien would love that!

    Bruce
     
  6. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    No surprise here for me Kyle. We live in the same general vicinity and I'm sure you've dealt with
    this attitude as long as you've been riding. We can't get an outdoor velodrome built in the GTA
    (population 6 million) but my hometown has 800 people in it and they have an indoor hockey rink. Go
    figure. Ever wonder where all that Lottario money ear-marked for "amateur sport" ever goes?

    Resigned,

    Scott..
    --
    Scott Anderson

    "Kyle Legate" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > First, some news from a City Hall meeting held to get public input,
    followed
    > by a news article in this morning's Hamilton Spectator.
    >
    > This past Monday Hamilton City Hall held a public forum on the World Cycling Championships.
    > While I had the date written on a slip of paper, I forgot to attend this one. There is another
    > scheduled for March 4, which I have circled in red on a calendar and must not miss. I intend
    > to grab the mic and address some points being raised in media, and educate the public
    on
    > the logistics of the event. All the morons showed up for this meeting, it seems.
     
  7. Just read this letter from Rob Jones on the Canadian Cyclist web site

    This kind of clears a few things up.

    February 23/03 5pm EST - Hamilton 2003 Worlds: - Miscommunication and Misunderstanding Posted by
    Editoress on 2/23/03.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hamilton 2003 Worlds - Miscommunication and Misunderstanding by Rob Jones

    "Are we having fun yet?"

    This was the greeting I received from an exasperated Neil Lumsden last Thursday evening as I entered
    the auditorium at Mohawk College in Hamilton for the 'Town Hall' meeting the 2003 Worlds
    organization was holding for local residents and business owners.

    Lumsden, the Chief Operating Officer for the Worlds, had reason to sound exasperated and put upon -
    less than 48 hours earlier a flurry of articles in the Hamilton Spectator had begun, with
    suggestions that the Worlds was attempting to squeeze more money out of the City for the event, and
    at least one City Councillor was quoted as saying that the Worlds had only a "50-50" chance of
    taking place in Hamilton this coming fall (October 6-12).

    Since the initial article, more articles have appeared in the Hamilton Spectator and the Globe and
    Mail (among others), and reports have appeared on local television. They have accused the Worlds
    organization of requiring City taxpayers to cover up to $10 million in costs for the event, while
    some local politicians, struggling to deal with an estimated $41 million budget shortfall, are
    stating that the event will not get "one cent more" then the $400,000 promised back in 1999. Add to
    this talk about residents and businesses being blocked out of their properties for a week, rumours
    of massive traffic gridlock and a possible class action lawsuit threatened by a car dealership, and
    "Are we having fun yet?" doesn't come close to describing the situation facing the Worlds
    organization with less than 8 months to the start of the first competition.

    We have attempted to sort out exactly is going on, and how much (if any) difficulty the Worlds is
    facing. First, the events of this week, and how they relate back to previous activities and ongoing
    operations with regards to the Worlds.

    On Tuesday (February 19th), Neil Lumsden and Event Manager Dana Cunningham were asked to attend a
    City Council meeting. "We were asked to give them an update on the whole event." explained Lumsden.
    "I tried to give a picture of where we stood with everything, and gave them a copy of our critical
    path analysis, which breaks everything down.

    When I finished, they asked questions and then the session went in-camera (everything previously had
    been open to the public and media), and there was general conversation around the event. When we
    were finished, we left and they continued in-camera with their council meeting."

    Back at the office later in the day, Lumsden received a telephone call from the Spectator: Would he
    care to comment on remarks by councillors that he had asked for an extra $3.2 million?

    First of all, Lumsden thought it was a joke, and then said that, no, he hadn't asked for that money.
    "Not only didn't I do it (ask for the money), I didn't even think it. It never happened."

    How about the unsigned contract between the City and the organization, were there problems with it
    and was the Worlds going to renegotiate it? "We received it on January 29th, and have done an
    internal look. I looked it over, and David (Braley, Chairman of the Board) looked at it and then it
    went to our lawyer, just as you would with any contract. We expected, and do expect, to get together
    with the City shortly to go over the contract."

    Despite this, the Spectator has been publishing a series of articles starting on Wednesday, stating
    that the Worlds are demanding more money from the City. Subsequent to that, the local television
    station made reports based solely on the Spectator article. In fact, the first time Mr Lumsden heard
    about the television report was at a Town Hall meeting, so they had obviously not even attempted to
    verify the facts with him.

    Then, there is the $400,000 figure that has been floating around, and the statements by some
    councillors that this is the total and final amount that the City is committed to providing the
    Worlds, with claims that it has all been given to (and spent by) the Worlds organization. The
    background on this money is as follows: In 1999 an agreement was reached with the City of Hamilton
    that the City would pay a sum of $400,000 for naming rights sponsorship, which would generated an
    estimated advertising value of $1.4 million. Payments of $100,000 would be made each year of 2000,
    2001, 2002 and 2003. If you look at the logo for the Worlds, you will see that it does, indeed, say
    'Hamilton 2003', and the official name of the event is 'Hamilton 2003 Road World Cycling
    Championships'.

    Frank D'Amico, the Ward 8 Councillor, has given a clearer explanation of the status of this
    sponsorship, admitting that the City has actually only paid $200,000 of the total amount, although
    he also pointed out that the City contributed $200,000 prior to the agreement as part of the bid
    process. Dana Cunningham clarified that the $200,000 for the bid was paid to GCG Management to cover
    costs related to the bid process, and the Worlds organization did not receive any of this money. She
    also pointed out that the sponsorship agreement itself did not have a contract attached - the City
    simply wrote a cheque to GCG with no signed document to confirm what they were to receive in return.

    So, it is this $400,000 figure that some councillors point to as the only financial commitment that
    the City is on the hook for. Which leads us to the $3.2 million, or $3.5 million, or $6 million, or
    $10 million amounts that are being bandied about (as an aside, D'Amico quoted a number of 22 million
    Euros (approximately $35 million Canadian) for the cost of the Zolder Worlds last year at the Town
    Hall meeting, eliciting gasps from everyone as he rhetorically asked who was going to cover the
    costs to meet this figure. He later admitted that he got this number from "asking people on the
    street" during a trip to Belgium...)

    These figures were presented by councillors for the following items: $3.5 million (or 2.5, or 3.2,
    depending upon whom you talk to) for police, emergency services, road closures, public works, etc.
    and $6 million for a liability fund for potential lawsuits (including the car dealership class
    action suit). So the latter figure is purest speculation to start with and, as was mentioned by
    Lumsden, "the City should already have its own liability coverage already, I would think."

    The cost for services is something more concrete, and here we do have some issues that have to be
    dealt with. Part of the problem is that much of the council, plus the Mayor and, indeed, the
    definition of Hamilton, has changed since the original discussions and working agreements. The
    provincial government pushed through their amalgamation program, which brought outlaying towns and
    regions such as Ancaster, Flamborough, etc. under the umbrella of Hamilton.

    The new mayor of the amalgamated Hamilton is Bob Wade, formerly the mayor of Ancaster. The former
    mayor of Hamilton, Bob Morrow, who was involved in much of the earlier work is out, after having
    been beaten by Wade. Many of the councillors on the new amalgamated council are also from outlying
    regions, and have little knowledge of the former process. To be fair, all are in favour of the
    Worlds, and see the value of boosting the region, but they are also concerned about budgets, and
    elections only a few weeks after the Worlds.

    Over the past few years, it has been generally acknowledged by the politicians and officials whom I
    have interviewed at all levels that the federal government would be committing $10 million, that the
    province would be expected to contribute roughly half of that amount again (they have actually
    committed to a total of $3.75 - more on that below), and that the City would contribute $2-$2.5
    million, primarily in the form of services, such as road improvements, police and emergency, City
    staff hours, etc. Other funds would be raised through corporate sponsorship, ticket sales,
    merchandising sales, etc.

    The Feds, through Heritage Minister and local MP Sheila Copps, have met their commitment. The
    province, after a long and painful process that involved the resignation (not related to the Worlds)
    of the locally-based Tourism Minister and a change in the leadership of the governing party has come
    in with a total of $3.75 million ($1.5 million is for a Trillium Fund grant for tourism activities
    related to the Worlds; the application is currently awaiting approval). The City, as anyone who has
    driven through Hamilton in recent months will know, has been busy repaving roads on the routes for
    the races. They have also had staff working on transportation, access and emergency plans (a
    separate story on these plans will be posted tomorrow).

    It appears, therefore, that everything is moving along as it is supposed to; so why the sudden
    explosion of accusations and dire threats? As noted above, much of this is certainly related to the
    fact that the City is struggling to meet its own budget requirements. In addition, the absence of a
    contract (related to the aforementioned provincial delay and the late official launch of the Worlds
    last November), might lead the cynical to conclude that bad publicity for the Worlds organization
    would certainly strengthen the City's hand when it comes to finally nailing down exactly how much
    money they are committing.

    Lumsden says that he will be "meeting this week with the mayor, and we will be able to move on from
    this. Mayor Wade is committed to helping to build the City, and they (City staff and council) have
    been supportive through the process so far. It will get sorted out. Our staff is just trying to stay
    focussed and move forward."
     
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