Commonewealth Games, Halifax

No details produces a fact-free discussion; who knew?

The strain appears to be getting to Scott Logan, head of the Halifax Commonwealth Games Committee. After running a campaign devoid of specifics aside from motherhood statements about a “legacy of fitness” and somesuch (bad for competitive edge, don’t you know), he seems somehow surprised that the local media has gone elsewhere to get their stories. When told “no story here” often enough by those that support the bid, why should anyone be surprised when those that are concerned with the effects of the bid get coverage?

In today’s Herald he simpers:

There is such speculation and such lack of factual discussion that is . . . almost front-page daily, and we haven’t even gotten to the factual discussion yet.

Uh, okay, then how about coughing up a few factuals for us to discuss. You know, basic stuff like “how much is this likely to cost me, the taxpayer?”

After continuing that in Scotland (land of Laphroig, Balblair, and Ardbeg, I will visit ye yet! (maybe to see the 2014 Commonwealth Games?)) all levels of government are “unanimously” in support of the bid, he concludes:

It would certainly be encouraging, as a bid team, to have more rational commentary and to have more informed commentary.

Tell you what, Scotty-boy – treat us like rational adults and don’t filter the scary numbers and we’ll give you rational commentary. Until then, shut the fuck up when we make up our own, okay?

Edit: Saturday morning I took my youngest to her dance class. The talk of the day among the parents was how much of a pain in the ass it was to try to get our kids registered for recreation programs like dance, gymnastics, soccer. You connect to a website with an arcane, no, byzantine system that half the time gets you nowhere, or you sit on hold for, in the case of one parent, two hours, only to be told that the program is already full.

If, as Mr. Logan states hither and yon, the purpose of these games is to get us off of our collective asses, perhaps simply expanding upon existing programs and facilities would be a better place to put our money?

Just a thought.

Oops Scott, sorry; am I fostering rumour? Seeding dissent?

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6 thoughts on “No details produces a fact-free discussion; who knew?

  1. Sounds like Mr Logan is learning some hard lessons in controlling the message. As nature abhors a vacuum, so do the media, and if the official sources won’t be forthcoming, the news media are forced to go elsewhere for the information needed by them to do their jobs. Just maybe the penny will drop for these guys and they’ll start informing us of their plans for our tax dollars. It’s the only way they can regain any input on the matter now.

    The people who write for our newspapers, TV and radio stations are not dumb. They know the difference between shit and shinola. Maybe that’s what the games organizers are afraid of.

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  2. You’re right, Alex, they ain’t dumb. And now, they’re adversarial, which doesn’t bode well for Logan’s project. (He types with fingers crossed – no easy feat!)

    From people that I’ve talked to about this, people are really anxious about this bid and what it will do to the city’s finances, something which Logan is not entirely to blame. If you keep getting told “no, we can’t afford that” and “the feds screw the cities so we can’t build that”, anytime someone comes to you with what amounts to a get-rich-quick scheme, you’d be an idiot to accept it at face value.

    This is Logan’s mistake – expecting us to accept this at face value.

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  3. It absolutely amazes me that Halifax and NS seem to be so negative when it comes to this project, and other large-scale projects. The figures can’t be released for a reason – there is a confidentiality agreement that prevents any serious discussion of numbers. And pulling numbers out of the air to guess what things will end up being is just fear mongering.

    CBC Radio this morning had a great response to all this negativity from the athletes who have chosen to stay in NS to train – with the games, there is a good likelihood that the facilities you’re bitching about needing repairs and upkeep will get those needed repairs, and new facilities will also be created to support athletes who might otherwise have to leave the province to train. Hard to represent a province when it seems the people who live there and should support your ambition and dreams don’t seem to give a shit about your athletic goals that might reflect well on the rest of the province.

    As for the media, I have yet to see one news story in any newspaper or television news report that highlights anything positive about these games and what they could bring to HRM and the province, to balance out the press the games bid is already receiving.. That’s something Scott Logan could be doing better with, or getting the supporting companies and organizations to speak out more on this side of things.

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  4. Flabber,
    There were loads of good press on the project, that is until Logan et al stopped answering questions. It seemed to turn pretty sour the moment the estimate of $785 million was blown away without replacement. If the committee did not plan to tell the people of the province anything about the potential cost of the project, they should have been better prepared to handle flack. Whining is not a good response. I’m sure that if the bid is not won in the end, they will walk away with the already-written story about how it was sabotaged by the local press.

    You make a very good point about the reluctance to support large-scale projects here, though, and I’m not against the idea of building the infrastructure for national-calibre training facilities. We already have some great lakes for rowing and paddling – developing on that strength is a great idea. Halifax/Dartmouth could be one of the best places in the country for rowing with the right investments.

    However, pressure-selling such facilities on the back of a billion-dollar-plus project is utter horseshit. If there is a need for these facilities, and a tangible benefit to the region and/or city can be made, then make the case for the facilities and let them be considered on their own. I could be convinced of the benefits of the Games if someone would show me how much was being spent on new facilities, how much on housing athletes, etcetera, but unfortunately I am getting nothing.

    Naturally, if HRM proposed the construction of a certain piece of gear or facility, it would have to compete for funding with other proposals, and with the Sackville curling club and the Dartmouth Sportsplex. There would be actual discussions about the facilities suggested and they would have to stand on their own merits against other projects and city maintenance and whatnot. Oh, that local democracy is such a bitch! It really would be easier in the long run to ram it through on the caboose of a big “world class” event, wouldn’t it?

    What really galls me about this is that HRM council nickel and dimes the taxpayers for everything to balance a budget and then turns around and offers to sign a blank cheque for a project like this. It is my money – if it is to be spent well, I have to have my say on how it’s being spent. This confidentiality agreement you speak of is a smoke-screen behind which people are talking about spending MY MONEY, and I’d like to see how that’s being done – it’s that simple.

    I would love to see athletes able to stay here to train, but not at any cost. I don’t suggest we build a great mountain in the Cobequids so that the Nova Scotia Canada Games ski team has a Whistler to train at, and I don’t support a mountainous debt so a budding track star doesn’t have to move to Toronto to train. I have heard it said that the Canadian government underfunds its athletes, and I’d believe it. However, I would not support that Haligonians should cough up $400 or $500 million to augment that support.

    To be honest, I’d prefer to see the money spent on bike paths, walking trails, and the like. Let’s raise the health and fitness of the average population first – if gold medals come from that, fine. If not, fuck it, we’re still the healthier for it.

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  5. Thanks for your response, kevvyd. I don’t think the games should happen at any cost either – there needs to be a realistic limit as to what all parties can afford. And I guess I may be naieve in my thinking that the scope of this project won’t be larger than can be handled or afforded. And being a new Haligonian (moved here from Ontario), I expect people here to be excited about an opportunity like this, with a certain level of questioning and skepticism underlying things.

    To be honest, I’d prefer to see the money spent on bike paths, walking trails, and the like. Let’s raise the health and fitness of the average population first – if gold medals come from that, fine. If not, fuck it, we’re still the healthier for it.

    But if the games don’t happen, the money won’t be there to be spent on anything else. But yes, those are definitely needed!!

    And yes, getting the health and fitness of the average Nova Scotian is very important and needs to be a priority!! That won’t win gold medals per se, but it’ll make a big difference in a lot of areas.

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