Will Windsor bid to host the 2025 FINA long course swimming championship? Its lack of success with the short course event will probably not deter city council from seeking another costly opportunity to welcome the world.
Those who make educated guesses are probably guessing the city’s councilors are seeking ways to prove last month’s swim meet was a bona fide success.; if only to impress FINA, a rich, foreign swimming outfit.
But, it might not be enough. The proverbial cat is out of the bag on a number of fronts.
First, the cost.
Estimates, based on news and reports from the city’s chief administrator, show a spiraling out-of-control budget, reaching close to, and possibly exceeding, $28 million. This shouldn’t be a surprise if Budapest is any example.
The Hungarian city is hosting this year’s long course. Its budget is reportedly over by hundreds of millions.
Too many empty seats; even with school children bused in.
If nothing else, this proves the city does not have the capability to promote such events. That’s a key skill if it wants to be a sports tourism leader. Unfortunately, its failure on this front was witnessed by the world or, at least, a small number of television viewers.
No doubt FINA will have watched as well and might be reluctant to hand over one of the biggest real events on the competitive swimming calendar. Although, that might be its bargaining chip to extract more from the gullible councilors.
To put on a long course event, Windsor will need to spend considerable taxpayer cash to build at least five new swimming venues, and all to world standards.
The long course is no minor event. It attracts almost all the superstar swimmers.
Windsor’s short course was marked more by which swimmers elected not to come to what is a minor, rather than must attend, event.
There are other factors working against the city including its Achilles Heel; a lack of hotel rooms.
Given the city’s inability to attract new development, this situation is not likely to be remedied any time soon. No hotel company will take the risk of building capacity for a flash-in-the-pan swimming event about every decade.
Hotel operators are not dumb. They know a periodic championship every 10 years, or so, is not sustainable economic development.
Despite this, Windsor’s council might push hard to bring the 2025 to the city for one simple reason. It would help it save face by closing its financially draining downtown waterpark.
All it has to do is convince taxpayers the space is needed for FINA. Taxpayers will surely applaud.
In this way, it could claim to be progressing while not putting to better use one of the grand failures of former mayor Eddie Francis.