(WINDSOR, ON) – Mounting evidence is suggesting that taxpayers should give little to no credence to the myth of literally billions of television viewers standing by to watch the FINA short swimming competition set for Windsor in December of the new year.
The claim was made by ineffective councillor, and now interim mayor, Drew Dilkens. As is usual, he lathered the pretence on thick, but failed to provide any documented evidence to support his dubious claim.
This suggests, at least to those following his misadventure, it was all just a vain attempt by him to justify spending some $21 million to host the costly event.
It is hard to understand how he even got involved with this, considering it will be competing with a growing list of other prestigious international swimming meets, on the same weekend, in other parts of the globe. If nothing else, it questions the big assertion of the failed former city mayor Eddie Francis, reported by the local paper on December 11, 2012, of the FINA shorts putting, “… Windsor on the global sporting event map.”
With such a crowded map, it could be quite the challenge for Windsor to be noticed.
Some of the current events scheduled for the very same weekend include the Speedo Winter Junior Nationals. It is so big, it will be held concurrently in both Texas and Ohio.
Others include the Jaguar Aquatics Winter Invitational, at the historic Indiana University Natatorium, the International Christmas Cup in Greece, and the famed Duel in the Pool in Glasgow.
EventScotland talks of the Duel as the, “… Ryder Cup of the swimming world – this event provides spectators with the opportunity to see the best swimmers in the States and Europe go head-to-head.”
With the best from America and Europe in Scotland, from December 10 to 11, 2016, it can easily be assumed this will severely reduce the calibre of swimmers available to compete in Windsor. Without question the Duel, and the many other events happening that weekend, will surely decimate the interested audience in Windsor.
There are also doubts that a full-house of spectators will be on hand at the east end arena. The CBC reported December 11, 2012, about it attracting only, “… approximately 2,500 visitors, including more than 700 athletes, from around the world.”
This is half the capacity of the arena’s main bowl which will hold an expensive temporary pool.
Windsor could have avoided this cost if Dilkens was a better planner. He was in charge of building the downtown natatorium but made it too small for even a minor swim event; it doesn’t have enough spectator seating and is lacking a warm-up pool.
These are both realities Dilkens should have checked into before spending some $80 million on what is clearly a white elephant. Now, hard-pressed taxpayers are on the hook for additional millions of their money to stage a minor shorts event on a rather busy swimming weekend.
Supporting the assumption the arena could be half empty is the lack of spectators who attended this year’s Duel in the Pool, a few weeks ago in Indianapolis. It is one of the few swimming events to merit coverage by a US television network, albeit a week after it happened.
Viewers watching NBC’s package can attest to seeing a number of empty seats. The same thing happened in 2014 when the FINA event was held in Doha and its organizers, as Swim Vortex reported, bussed in school children to fill in the blanks.
Windsor students might get lucky and get a day off to sit in the arena.
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.