Has the City of Windsor finally admitted that the minor FINA swimming competition, at the east end arena next month, is no big deal? To combat an expected lack of people attending of their own volition, and the need to create the illusion of success, the Windsor Star reported on November 11 that FINA organizers agreed, “… to give a free ticket to each Grade 6 student within all the Essex County school boards.”
The local paper did not say how many children will be involved. There could be over 5,000, as a rough estimate, based on the number of children being taught by the boards, divided by the 12 grades.
Another revelation has the arena with only 2,500 seats available for sale each day. Although a temporary pool being installed has reduced seating, there is also the issue of the competitors and their hangers-on. Presumably, they will want to watch the activities.
In all, about 1,500 seats will be reserved each day for them.
The paper did not say if the city will be compensated by FINA, a wealthy foreign swimming outfit, to accommodate this block of unpaid spectators. Every seat given away reduces the city’s ability to recoup an estimated $22 million of ratepayer money being used to stage the event.
Event manager Peter Knowles, brought in at taxpayer expense from Britain, told the paper he was, “… confident we’re going to get full houses.” Of course these full houses are because the city will be pouring students into the seats to fill the gaps.
The budget for the event continues to balloon although, admittedly, details are sketchy.
Right now the administrators can spend at will, without City Council oversight, as long as no one item adds up to more than $100,000. Some of this spending has been made public by an odd transparency requirement in which the Chief Administrative Officer reports on his spending.
Of course, this is after the fact reporting.
It now seems Windsor taxpayers will be paying yet even more money to transport the visiting FINA swimmers around town. On November 4, the CAO, Onorio Colucci, executed, “… a revised agreement with Trentway-Wager Inc. (Coach Canada) for the provision of Highway Coaches for the FINA 2016 WSC (25m) event, to an upset limit of $351,500 (excluding HST) which is an additional $40,820 to the $310,680 (excluding HST) previously approved.”
This was conjoined with a, “… new agreement with Badder Bus for the provision of additional Highway Coaches for the FINA WSC (25m) event, to an upset limit of $124,400 (excluding HST).”
While the CAO has to report on his expenses, apparently he doesn’t have to explain why he is suddenly adding almost $165,000 to the cost of FINA or why more buses are needed.