Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Go get lost

You can't force arts and culture - it either happens or it doesn't. Alas, we live in London. The JLC continues to burden taxpayers:

The crowds produced revenue of $12.3 million, a profit of $600,000 to the London Civic Centre Corp., a private-sector partnership that leases the facility from the city.

The city received $150,000, but pays about $4.5 million a year on the debt for the $42-million facility.

"My first reading of it (the city's share of profit) is that it's pretty light," Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell said yesterday.

"But it's difficult for me to determine if it's a good rate of return on our investment. I think it's time for a review. When you're paying out that kind of money, we should be trying to find a way to increase our cash flow."
Should have thought about that before you built the money pit. Surely the city knew, when it arranged the partnerships, what percentage of the profits it would receive. Considering that revenue was greater than expected, the share of the profits must be greater than expected too.
One option being considered is a surtax -- likely $1 -- on tickets, excluding London Knights games, that could produce up to $300,000 a year.

City staff recommend that if a surtax is added, the proceeds should be used to support arts and culture groups. An existing surtax of $1.25 will be put into a reserve fund for future capital expenses.
Living in London, we come to expect this sort of twisted logic. Wouldn't take the sensible route and pay of the debt. Let's build more stuff! I am sure Mr. Creative City Gord Hume supports this recommendation. But it's not their money and when we are all living in cardboard boxes, the councillors can move onto to another city. Let's hope it's not yours.

I got a better idea: short of demolishing it, cut your loses and sell it. And fix the potholes while you are at it.
London Chamber of Commerce general manager Gerry Macartney -- usually an outspoken critic of council spending -- declared the JLC a success, not only in providing world-class entertainment, but in giving London a higher profile in the country.

"On balance, this was a pretty good investment," Macartney said. "If you want to look like the 10th-largest city in the country, you have to have this type of facility."
I wouldn't want this guy handling my investments. London's going to be one of the poorest cities in Ontario if it doesn't stop stealing our money for massive capital projects. If the JLC was such a grand idea, then private investors would have pooled their money together to embark on the project. Of course, such idiotic business decisions would be impossible without the trough money to fund them.
"And we would never have guessed that we would see that kind of world-class entertainment."

Among those who have performed at the JLC are Cher, Rod Stewart, Shania Twain, David Bowie, Bryan Adams and Nickelback.
For the most part, washed up antiques that most of us don't care about. I resent part of my money being used to bring Rod Stewart to London, twice at that! I don't care about any of the venues whatsoever that take place at the JLC. This is my personal preference and I don't begrudge others partaking of these venues, except when I'm helping, against my will, to finance the whole scheme.
Revenue: $12.9 million, compared to original estimate of $6 million.

Expenses: $10.95 million

Profit: $750,000

City's share: $150,000

1 Comment:

EclectEcon said...

If the JLC is such a great investment for the city, I wonder if the city would guarantee me a return of, say, 10% if I were to offer to take it off their hands.