Commonewealth Games, Halifax

A positive report for Flabber…

Someone going by the nick “flabberghasted” commented on my last post on the Commonwealth Games bid that there were so few positive stories in support of the bid committee’s efforts. Well, he/she is right, and I would be negligent and unfair if I didn’t point out this article, which highlights the central possible positive outcome for Halifax should the Games be won: new athletic facilities in the city.

It would be nice indeed to build these facilities, however, as I’ve said before not at any cost. Do you think there are there any alternatives that could still get us such facilities without busting the bank on a “Halifax is world class” extravaganza?

I think there is.

The numbers that I’ve seen batted around for HRM’s contribution to the Games range from $300 to $500 million. How much would a top-notch indoor track and training facility cost? I betcha we can get one cheaper than that. Think of a grateful Canadian taxpayer saved the load of the $400 million federal contribution to the Games. Think of the poor Bluenoser in Cumberland County who wouldn’t have to pay the additional $300 or $400 million off of the provincial debt with their hard-earned tax dollar.

Hell, you might even get the federal and provincial governments to chip in a little to help defray the costs.

It’s a win-win situation (life isn’t always zero-sum!) – elite athletes would get a facility and we’d save a few bucks on an event that only real TSN fetishists or relatives of competing athletes actually pay any attention to. Seriously, did any of you actually watch the last Games in Melbourne? And who made the trip down? I mean, other than the bid committee who we, the ever grateful taxpayer flew down there for a two-week swan research trip.

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3 thoughts on “A positive report for Flabber…

  1. (posted in the original entry too)

    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 expected people here to be excited about an opportunity like this, with a certain level of questioning and skepticism underlying things. But the reaction has been more negative than I expected.

    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.

    The article you highlighted is exactly what I heard on CBC radio this morning – thanks for that. 🙂

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  2. Flabber: You’re a new Haligonian, as you say, so you might not be familiar with the local history. The fact is that between projects such as the Sprung Greenhouse in Newfoundland, and the Bricklin Auto Plant in New Brunswick, Atlantic Canadians have a long, long history of being sold a mess’o’pottage under the guise of ‘This will be the Economic Salvation of (fill in the blank), only to have it turn out as a financial sink-hole. Actually, the fact that there’s so much skepticism in the media is a good thing, traditionally the various provincial governments have been able to frighten the media outlets into silence by threatening to withhold government advertising contracts, so the fact that the local papers aren’t buying into it is heartening.

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  3. flabber: you’re welcome; I heard the same article and was glad they posted a written summary on the web. There are definitely some possible spinoffs that would benefit our fair city, but I would argue that we could get to some of those benefits on our own, and what’s more, by doing it on our own, at our own time table, we would be more likely to make sensible decisions that make a long-term difference.

    For example, I’ve seen stuff in the Daily News about a ferry terminal to north-end Dartmouth to make getting to Shannon Park easier. This would make getting to the site easier, but if we’re spending on expanding the ferry service, something to Bedford or maybe Herring Cove would make more long-term sense.

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