(WINDSOR, ON) – Details of the costs and who will be doing what for the extravagant FINA short swimming competition next year suggests the FINA gravy train, largely paid for by local taxpayers, might not be making a stop in Windsor. It seems much of the economic benefit will be spread out around the world, which hardly helps a community with the highest unemployment in the nation.
It seems ineffective councillor, and now interim mayor, Drew Dilkens, in an obvious quest for global glory, has tossed aside his responsibility to build the local economy. He is the same mayor who thought it was good news the abecedarians at the local economic development office did not spend the money needed to promote the region.
Instead, which defies logic, they hoarded millions in a bank account.
Dilkens, by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on outsiders, might not know it, but he is sending a very real message that he doesn’t believe his city is worthy, or even capable, of handling a minor swimming event.
A rundown of who is getting the gravy starts with Ottawa-based HTG Management Group. It has been hired as the Accommodation Management Agency for the competition.
According to a report to Council, for its December 7 meeting, the company will take care of procuring, contracting, and managing, “… all the hotel accommodations requirements for the Event.”
Apparently, such expertise is vacant in the city common sense lost in the dryer, along with a few odd socks.
Then, there is Great Big Events International of Australia. It has been awarded a contract to provide sports presentation, as Council was told, at an upset limit of $203,840.
As odd as it might seem, city councillors had no input in this remarkable slap in the face to local event organizers. The deal was done by the city’s chief administrative officer. Under By-law 208-2008 she can do as she pleases without oversight by the elected representatives of taxpayers.
Another company from out of town, known as Experiential Marketing Limited, or Sponsorship Canada, your choice, of Toronto, has been given a monthly stipend of $6,000 plus tax, plus a 10% commission structure for providing services to maximize the value of the commercial rights available to the local organizing committee.
It will also look after providing budget reducing so-called value-in-kind services and supplies.
As part of its hosting duties, the city is building a new swimming pool in the east end, adjacent to the arena. The pool will feature Italian stainless steel and be imported from that foreign country, much like the downtown natatorium’s pool which, it turns out because of poor planning, is too small for the event.
The downtown facility itself was ill-planned and does not even include a warm-up pool nor, as The Square has reported, a warm-up area for competitors.
The United Kingdom’s Knowsport Consultancy is providing consultant Peter Knowles, who will serve as the event’s executive director. He will take some $145,000 out of the country for his services.
Windsor, it turns out, is so without capable hands that, as Biz X magazine reported in February 2013, most, “… of the FINA officials, timekeepers, etc, would be sanctioned from out of town.”
All of this should concern taxpayers.
A minor, second tier event like this could be an ideal opportunity to develop a wide range of local skills that could prove valuable in making the city the sports event magnet it hopes to be. However, the way Dilkens is spending money on outsiders, this will not happen.
Why he is fixated on benefiting strangers is an interesting question. Ratepayers might want to ask their councillors.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.