There seems to be a certain law, the Francis Law, guiding the city’s council. Although it is somewhat invisible, it exists to preserve the legend and legacy of the best mayor Windsor suffered through between 2003 and 2014.
The law is simple; no one can tamper with anything Eddie Francis did.
Because of this, as an example, the money-losing downtown waterpark will continue to bleed taxpayer dollars indefinitely.
Although the councilors know the law is to be abided, every once in a while a brave one of its members will venture forth with an idea to cut the city’s losses. One of them is Councilor Rino Bortolin.
The Ward 3 councilor thinks the excessive costs of running the Francis waterpark should be cause enough for a change in course.
In his mind, it might be better operated as a dry entertainment centre with things like zip lines and climbing walls. He says this because, as the Windsor Star reported December 31, the place is chalking up $3.5 million in losses annually.
This is largely because of, “… keeping the water warm and flowing and having to keep the facility filled with lifeguards.”
Dump the water and the guards and much of the expense could disappear.
While some commenters on the story think the concept has some merit, Bortolin, knowing the law, admits it is doubtful it will happen. This is reinforced by Council raising the park’s advertising budget by $50,000.
Apparently, this precise amount, added to the current spend of $150.000, will solve the park’s problems and cause people to flood the city from elsewhere.
In reality, of course, $50,000 more isn’t much and won’t do much. It is simply good money tossed after bad but, because of the law, efforts, however minor, must be taken to allow the park to continue along its merry money-losing way.
City councilors are expert at pretense and Bortolin is no exception. He tells the local paper that it is not possible to actually tell how much of that operating loss is the fault of the water park and how much is the fault of the Olympic-sized pool next to it.
Bortolin, who actually studied philosophy and is a cook with no training in engineering, confides to the paper about there being no reasonable way to, “… separately measure the costs of each side at the $78 million facility.”
Again, the reality is, as is often the case, much different.
Seasoned electrical engineers The Square talked with think he is wrong. That’s their professional opinions, based on years of experience, none of which was in the kitchen. Data, gathered to determine which side of the building is losing the most money, could help Council decide what to do with the costly mess caused by Francis.
However, such a study is not necessary.
The pool and waterpark will stay. It is the law. This despite the city wasting so much money on frivolities, like the park and FINA swimming meets, it now must burden residents with a tax increase.