Monday 29 June 2009

We're all good now, right?

So Mr. Spletzer, I know we stomped all over your plans to build an apartment building on an old parking lot across from the Forks, but hey, here's this other vacant piece of land that you can use instead. So ... um ... we're cool now, right? We're all good?

Some people will look at this as a win-win: Rubin Spletzer and Crystal Developers get their apartment building, and the Friends of Upper Fort Garry get their world class interpretive centre. I'm not quite ready to call it even though, and not just because I'm desperate for things to rant about. I have real reasons!

First, the people of Winnipeg are still saddled with this money-pit of a mockery of 1/4 of a fort, and adjacent shrine to Louis Riel instead of a vibrant gathering space, market and park.

Secondly, there is the thing that we in economics call opportunity cost: yes, we're getting a much-needed apartment building downtown, but we're foregoing the possibility of getting two. If Crystal were allowed to build on the corner of Assiniboine and Fort, then this surplus land would still be available for another developer.

There is also opportunity cost in not being able to put this land up for sale. Sure, they say that Crystal will buy the land for "full market value", but this is the same kind of "market value" that David Asper is paying for the old stadium site. You know: the kind where the market is not allowed to determine the value. I don't know what went on behind closed doors that caused Sam Katz to cave in like a snow fort in July, or Rubin Spletzer and Crystal Developers to walk away from a lawsuit that was a guaranteed win, but I'm thinking that somewhere in there was a wink wink about getting dibs on an alternate piece of land for "market value".

Crystal may be satisfied with this arrangement, but the people of Winnipeg should not be. It's your tax dollars that are being wasted and it's your downtown that is not going to realize its full potential because of the games that are being by the cogniac-sipping elites in this town.

-- update 06/30 --

Predictably, Gord Sinclair is calling it a win-win and smugly reminding us that he suggested this last year. It's right after his hard-hitting commentary about how somebody lost a wallet and got it back. I would link to his column, but I don't have a shower near by to get the ick off me.


Anonymous said...

Ya, it sucks that things are done behind closed doors, but at least, "technically' we are getting 1.8 million, there are bigger scams in this City that have been allowed to go ahead. MTS Centre being possibly the biggest one.( and even the shadowy Chipman arena at Pointe West that slipped under the radar oh so conveniently )

cherenkov said...

I disagree, Mr. N. The MTS Centre is good for downtown, generates tax revenue, and does not consume tax-dollars to cover operating costs every year. Maybe we didn't cut the best deal possible, but overall I think it was a positive development.

Scott MacNeil said...

re: "to cave in like a snow fort in July"

Luv the analogy!

Anonymous said...

Sorry cheren, I'm not disputing if it was good or bad, just like you, the backroom "deal". You should take a look at how it was funded. The VLT issue alone is the continuation of the funding , and last I checked, that is tax dollars.

That being said, it should have stayed in the publics hands if we are paying for its financing.

Unless you have 1.9 million or better, for the land, I would have to say the deal is aboveboard, I don't know how long the surplus land was listed, but it doesn't seem anyone came up with the coin, or anyone with coin to dispute it.

cherenkov said...

@ Mr.N: $1.8 mil sounds like a lot until you consider that the corner gas station at Broadway and Main is being valued at $2.35 mil in the province's deal with Petro Canada, in relation to UFG debacle. 1.8 for prime riverfront property sounds pretty good now, doesn't it?

The fact remains that you're not going to get full value for anything unless you put it on the market.

cherenkov said...

@ FA: Thanks, I worked on it all night!

Anonymous said...

The Petro Can deal as you mention is brought to you by Doer, which does not represent "market Value '...more like inflated government meddling, like Centre Venture.

As i said before, no one else came forward with an offer / or disputing it. perhaps, its a fair price or close to it

And as you alluded to the MTS Centre bringing in tax revenue , this land will now bring in more tax revenue once the building is complete. Now that big a boogieman deal IMHO.

cherenkov said...

Nobody had an opportunity to post a competing offer.

Also, going back to your previous comment, how is VLT revenue a continuation of funding? VLT revenue was part of the initial deal, but operating costs are not supported by VLT revenue. According to the MLC all VLT revenue is provided to the municipalities and the Provincial Gov't for "which allocates it to priority provincial government programs that provide health care, education, community and social services and economic development for Manitobans."

Anonymous said...

Thats why i suggested you look up the funding for the MTS Centre if you wanted something serious to look at.\

As for the competing offer, since it seems no one with money is complaining, i would suspect, no one with money was interested.

Anonymous said...

And another issue you may want to look at that may get your nasal passages stinging is the leasing agreement for the 311 offices.

So you see , in the grand scheme of things, this is just another peanut.

PS: as per the report on the MTS Centre, all VLT rev's ( not sure if there is a guaranteed amount ) stayed with the owners of the MTS Centre.

But i may have missed read that

cherenkov said...

I spent 5 minutes on the internet trying to find a report on MTS Centre financials and was unsuccessful. 5 minutes is a whole month of research time for me! Hence, I will be unable to look into the 311 office controversy.

The thing that I find compelling about this (UFG) story is that A) it has a real impact on the safety and vibrancy of downtown. And B)the media's role in promoting misconceptions related to this project.

Anonymous said...

here's something to wrap/warp your head around.

More to come.

Anonymous said...

And here is the VLT info for you.

The province will also cause the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation to enter into a Siteholder Agreement with True North L.P. providing for fifty redistributed video lottery
terminals to the True North Centre. The revenue allocation formula will yield $1.8million per year for 25 years.

That 25 years minimum o0f 1.8 million dollar taxpayer nipple sucking. Dems alot of peanuts.

And here is some more peanuts.

As well, Manitoba has agreed to recommend changes to regulations under The
Municipal Assessment Act and if passed, True North Centre would fall into a property
class where the portion of assessment would be reduced to 10 per cent for the year
2003 and the subsequent 25 years. This represents a minimum $5 million per year
tax break for 25 years.

Now if we can find out what the 50 Million loan from the Credit unit costs them per year, perhaps the VLT number will cover that. Very nice backroom deal don't you think.

Anonymous said...

And the silence is deafening....this deal was so good, Taxpoayers are funding another 20 million to chipman for another, we are dolts.

cherenkov said...

Mr. N: that crocus link is interesting, but who the hell is writing it? Do you have a link for that VLT info? There is only so much outrage that I can unleash in a day, and today I choose to unleash it on the UFG scam. There may have been dealings with respect to MTS Centre and True North that were not in the public's best interest, but MTS Centre is good for downtown and its a done deal. The Upper Fort Garry thing is bad for downtown and it's not a done deal. On paper it is, but the ground has not been broken yet, hence it is more relevant to me. I am not going to get outraged over a mysterious Crocus blog and VLT funding for an arena that was built six years ago.

Anonymous said...

just sayin cheren, your outrage is misplaced. Both deals payback to taxpayers so they are the same.

As for not being outraged, well why not, not many people know that they are funding the MTS Centre to the tune of 45 Million in VLT revenue coupled with not getting 5 million per year or 125 million .

Why the silence / What , just bow down your head and keep taking the 2x4 across your noggin while the scammers make off with your cash.

Just sayin , thats all.

cherenkov said...

fair enough

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