Sports Tourism Ignores Local Heroes

Header-image-TuomiBy Robert Tuomi

Adding insult to injury, Windsor’s flighty interim mayor, Drew Dilkens, is bound and determined to continue the pretence of the once rosy city being a top tier sports location. If only it were true.

Unfortunately, the glitz-obsessed, hapless mayor shows he has no understanding of economic development, with his latest misadventure.

Dilkens has hired baseball player Samantha Magalas as a sports tourism coordinator and has so much confidence in her abilities that he slights her. His cavalier attitude is most unsavoury.

He told the public broadcaster, January 21, that his new hire will, “… either bring the event or she won’t.”

Talk about confidence. But, there’s more.

According to the local paper, the self-absorbed mayor wants to build on the city’s so-called success as some sort of premier destination for sports events.

As usual no documentation is offered. Windsor is more laughing stock than premier destination.

When some kids from the world came a few years back, cosmopolitan Windsor had no kosher food. When Ontario came knocking, to have the city host its summer games, it had to settle for a less than premier event because the city did not have all the sporting venues needed.

But, what is most egregious, is Dilkens chasing the wrong end of the stick. His emphasis is on short and costly events.

He pretends it’s about economic development. He wants to fill hotel rooms and to birth offshoot business at restaurants, shopping, and elsewhere. The reality is, a few extra restaurant customers and hotel guests does not build an economy.

The city needs sustainable economic development, not occasional fits and starts. It needs to crawl before it walks by building a proper assemblage of sporting facilities.

Instead, it is actually removing amenities able to help grow local talent.

It is also spending some $21 million for a FINA shorts event. Imagine what that money could do to start constructing some real premier sports fields and accessories.

Luckily not all Windsorites are blinded by Dilkens’ pretence. Some can see right through the glitz-loving mayor.

Paul Bartolo, commenting on the CBC’s report, makes it clear that, “… until the city spends $$ on a new stadium with turf fields, we can only accommodate baseball (MicMac Park) and swimming venues (WAC).”

Robert Walker, a poster to the local paper’s story, really hits the nail on the head. He cuts to the chase with how terrible the irresponsible council has treated hard working Dartis Willis, the man behind the Windsor Express basketball team.

Dartis does more for Windsor in a day than Dilkens does in a century.

Walker makes a poignant point that all citizens should tape to their refrigerators. He adds up all the millions Dartis has invested but gets no support from Council.

When his team went before the wise men (and one woman) around the U shaped table to ask for a bit of a break on renting out our swamp arena … they flat out told him NO. So he pays and pays and pays to help promote sport and team spirit here in Windsor right out of his own pocket … REAL money, REAL losses. ALL the while the city would have the benefits on SO many levels if they would support a starting successful team.

The reason is simple. Dilkens can’t take any glory for the work of Dartis Willis so he and the council inwards ignore him. Willis should be celebrated as a local hero; a title more than likely Dilkens will never earn.

It is too bad Dilkens has no understanding of sustainability. He prefers to, as Walker says, “… sit some lady in an office at 350K over 3 years and tell her to produce ‘events’ and ‘sport’ when they can’t even support a proven winner? It’s insanity!”

Well said Walker.

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.

About the Author

Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi

2 Comments on "Sports Tourism Ignores Local Heroes"

  1. Our ineffective mayor has done it again talking through his hat as he has no idea what it takes to make a city a sports centre. What is more unbelievable we have a city council that is letting our ineffective mayor do as he pleases. We elected these city councillors in office to protect us the taxpayers from this kind of ridiculous spending, and they have failed us. I must agree with Bob that you need someone with a marketing and promotional background for this position.

  2. It’s an absolute shame that the Star & CKLW, our 2 biggest media outlets refuse to ask any tough questions when an idiotic move happens at city hall. Like : what are her credentials ? I played baseball & hockey. Does that qualify me for the job? What’s her marketing & promotional background to warrant that salary ( plus perks, no Doubt )? And on & on it goes. Just keep your heads buried in the sand people.

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