FINA Cost Taxpayers $25 Million


Tuomi-HeaderWindsor’s interim mayor, Drew Dilkens, has set the bar quite low for judging the Big Spend; the FINA short course swimming competition. He told the Windsor Star on December 12 that he will declare it a success if it inspires, “… one person to get in the water and train, then it’s worth it.”

Over the course of his tenure, Dilkens has been consistent in setting the bar low for his performance while splattering pretence on everything he touches. For example, telling the paper the city’s swimming facilities, “… are above anywhere else in Canada.”

He offered no proof.

Windsor’s downtown natatorium is no great pool. It was too small for the minor FINA event and is no match for Toronto’s Pan Am Games pool complex, or the three other new or refurbished pools in or near Hog Town.

As is the case, the local paper’s story was followed by comments from sycophants who, like sheep, bleat the official numbers from Dilkens. One, a Mike Sullivan, defended the city’s misadventure saying the, “… benefits greatly outweigh the cost to LOCAL taxpayers (which was not $20M).”

Another misinformed commentator, Paul Allen, weighed in saying, the, “… max on this was $3 million.”

Actually, the cost of the Big Spend is beyond $25 million, based on February and March reports in the Star and variously updated by city reports.

An imported temporary 25m pool and installation totaled $1.9 million. Initially, the budget for hotels, food, and beverages was $1.5 million, but the cost escalated because of Sunday’s snow storm. It closed the airport and required extra days of accommodation.

An estimate of the new bill is $1.8 million.

Some $7.5 million was invested in a permanent pool at the arena. Windsor Star columnist Anne Jarvis argued, March 10, that although it will be a, “… community pool … it originated and is still needed as a warm-up pool for the event.”

Whether is was used or not is in question.

A mascot cost $9,500. Opening and closing ceremonies tallied $595,000. Timing, scoring, technical officials, and lifeguards came to $600,000, with $425,000 for lighting, videos, music, lasers, and medal presentations. Security and anti-doping used up $330,000.

Airline tickets and ground transportation came to $1.8 million, including additional money paid to coach operators. A further $870,000 covered the time of senior staff, administration costs, and legal and insurance.

It is known $447,500 was paid out in salaries to Pam Mady, Milana McNamee, and Peter Knowles, the foreigner hired to run the event. He was also given a housing allowance of $62,400 and paid for his travel which, at March, stood at $42,000.

Consultants earned $454,600, including Kelly Stefanyshyn, Charles Thompson, and Melissa Williams, and others. Volunteer uniforms cost $185,000. Communications totaled $325,000 and Sponsorship Canada charged $80,000 to get sponsors.

In an attempt to attract the best swimmers, which didn’t quite work out, many of them passed on the competition, Windsor paid out $1.2 million in prize money. Everyone in the pool, including last place finishers, were monetarily rewarded.

There was also $200,000 in expenses to fund the city’s bid.

Wisely, knowing there would be limited media interest, the city set up its own broadcast studio with a price tag of $1.4 million and hired International Sport Broadcasting as host broadcaster for $760,000.

A million dollars was set aside for contingencies and a later report, noting the budget was set when the Canadian dollar was close to par, suggested a $3 million risk in currency exchange.

It adds up to $25,482,000.

Of this Windsor is on the hook for $17,682,000. This is after revenue and grants consisting of $1.5 million from FINA, $6 million from the Federal and Provincial governments, and $300,000 in ticket sales.

Advertising revenue has not yet been released.

Sullivan and Allen’s numbers are anemic.

Of course, as sycophants, they will continue their pretence, because that is what they do.

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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