The likely tab for the Commonwealth Games, if won by Halifax, has been upped from $785-million to $900-million, with the federal government pledging as much as $400-million according to an announcement Thursday. The money is in the form of matching public funds, so the province and municipality will have to figure out a way to split $400-million, the remainder of the estimated public contribution. Where exactly this money is going to come from is anybody’s guess, but apparently it isn’t going to create a legacy, not debt – because politicians tell us so. The real budget isn’t due until the spring, but I’ll eat my hat if the real numbers don’t top $1-billion.
I’m not saying there will not be benefits to the city if they manage to win the bid, don’t get me wrong. As bestiality-proponent (he slept with a dog, didn’t he?) Peter Mackay says:
the Games would create infrastructure that would benefit Halifax long after the closing ceremonies. For example, Halifax would need to build many of the sports venues, including a stadium, aquatic centre and badminton facility.
Yes, Peter, it would be nice to play badminton, and we can certainly use more public facilities, but let’s get some cops on the street first so that we can walk the city at night. Maybe if walking was safe, we’d all get a little more exercise without plunging so much money in infrastructure that might or might not last and might or might not get used. Michael Hooper, the head of the Commonwealth Games Federation, re-iterates the sports development makes for better cities meme:
There’s regeneration of certain areas — isn-t that a good thing? Look at what it does longterm.
Again, yes, the city could use some sprucing up, and longterm development should definitely be on the minds of the Council, but I’d be willing to bet that if we gave some clever community organizations time to think, they’d come up with better ways to spend a billion dollars. Hell, I’d bet that they would stretch the $200-million or so that is going to be HRM’s contribution farther than the billion-dollar Games orgy that is about to occur.
If hosting the Commonwealth Games is really all about improving the city, let’s remove the middle-man (the Games) and just put money into improving the city. There are a myriad ways in which this could be done. You want Halifax to be a better city? Then let’s make it a better city for those living here now, instead of impoverishing them and future generations in the hope that tourists flock in 2014 to watch a competition that only the most ardent TSN-fetishists paid attention to last year in Melbourne. Hands up all of you that went down-under to catch some of the hot badminton action.
Yeah, thought so.