Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Compare and Contrast

From March 21, 2005:

London's downtown cameras aren't bringing down the crime rate, a new study has found. And one of the downtown's council champions says it may be time to review the system.

[..] The $200,000, 16-camera system, paid for through donations, initially cost about $240,000 a year to run. It now operates on an annual budget of $117,000, using part-time monitors.

[..] Lindsey Elwood, chairperson of the downtown Business Improvement Area, agreed it may be time to review the initiative.

But Elwood said there's no need to abandon the camera program, especially since the cameras are paid for and in place.

[..] "I think it's more of a perception about safety," Elwood said. "Sometimes perception is not reality and I don't think it's an accurate perception. If I go downtown at 3 a.m., I don't feel threatened. I feel safe."
From today's LFP:
Downtown cameras could not shed light on who vandalized a military display with anti-war slogans, London police said yesterday. A camera pointing over the square at Covent Garden Market didn't belong to the city and apparently wasn't recording at the time. Another camera wasn't angled properly. Two green tents, an engineering vehicle and a vintage Second World War vehicle, were hit early Monday. The vehicles are part of a display for Memorial Cup fans
From yesterday's LFP:
The Memorial Cup crowd was swelling, the fans were buzzing and the Covent Garden Market was . . . closed?

On the third official day of one of the biggest events in London's history, the doors were locked and the lights were off at one of the city's downtown gems, leaving hockey-loving visitors more than a little surprised.

"I'm shocked. I want to go in there to eat," said Londoner Marjorie Quehl, who had tickets to last night's Knights game. "I can't believe it's closed."

Bob Usher, the market's general manager, said it was financial concerns that led vendors to close up shop for Victoria Day.

The thousands of hockey fans filling downtown daily haven't translated into major market business, Usher said.
Councillor Ab Chabar:
"Our economy for that period is going to be incredibly booming," Coun. Ab Chahbar said. "It's going to be incredible."
I unfortunately remained in the city over the long weekend and so witnessed first hand the empty restaurants and downtown stores. My bet is the hockey fans were either eating at home or at MacDonald's to compensate for the high price of beer.

But we knew it was all about the JLC in the first place, despite Anne-Marie's insistence that the tournament would be good for the community and downtown businesses. From March 27, 2005:
The committee organizing the Memorial Cup is trying to "maximize dollars" by holding a ticketed opening ceremony at the John Labatt Centre instead of a free parade, a prominent downtown business leader argues. "The Memorial Cup is supposed to be a community event. We've lost track of that," Lindsey Elwood, who chairs the downtown Business Improvement Area, said yesterday.

The committee's efforts to boost its profits take away from the community's involvement and "have left the business community out in the cold," he said.

[..] The BIA, with MainStreet London, paid $37,000 to be a Cup sponsor, based on a plan that's changed, Elwood said -- something he said was "inappropriate."

2 comments:

basil said...

Wow, $9.50 for a plastic cup of Interbrew (I mean Labatt) swill. This sports event was so popular that the JLC looked like a refugee camp with it's tents - they needed fences to control the influx of Londoners trying to escape their deserted city and climb aboard hockey buses for anywhere else. The police went so far as to provide the Ottawa team with a two cop motorcycle escort (perhaps that's why the police were too busy to watch the cameras on which military displays were being vandalized - where the hell are we, fucking Palestine?).
I can't wait for a new cultural centre - what a great opportunity for escapism from London. I relish the thought of otherwise unemployable folks (translate = artists) providing us with "culture" at inflated prices. Did I hear someone say the yogurt got left out over night?

Anonymous said...

Back in 2001 when the Guelph Storm bid for the Cup, the number bandied about in regards to the amount of money that would be brought in was 10 million.
Needless to say, that number was a bit of a pie-in-the-sky estimate.
The bitter truth is that fans who come in from out of town, or out of province, aren't "shoppers" in the strictest sense. They're hockey fans and the only money they shell out is for Tim Hortons in the morning, maybe a golf game at midday and beer at night.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

That said, as a Guelph fan I have to admit that regardless of what failures Londoners may see on the financial page, this tournament has been a dandy one for hockey fans.
*ahem* Go Sidney!