Slip Sliding Away, Slip Sliding Away-hey…

Faced with record gas prices, the prospect of high inflation, the potential for an imminent, long, deep global recession, poor roads, and poor public transportation, Winnipeg City Council has taken decisive action!

Winnipeg city council has approved a $7-million subsidy for a new indoor waterpark.

Using public funds previously designated to improve public transportation, the city has given away $7,000,000 to millionaires! No doubt, without public funding, this project never would have happened. Nope. Not a chance.

In exchange, at least, the city did get something to help the poor pay the $20 – $35 admission:

 “In return for the subsidy, the city will get reduced admission to the waterpark for low-income families.”

Weee! What a deal! $10 discounts on tickets!

I have a question for my readers: Do businesses regularily give out discounts in order to attract repeat business as part of a mass marketing campaigns? If businesses don’t have things which I call “sales”, then the city is at least getting something back. If they do have these “sale” things, then how much did the city really get in the deal?

But really, who cares?! Water slides!!!!! Bread! Circuses!

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6 responses to “Slip Sliding Away, Slip Sliding Away-hey…

  1. Waverley West has a good piece on the MTS Centre for taxpayer fleecing. this and the Stadium will be no different.

    One step forward, take a dozen back.

  2. I agree there’s some reason to be concerned over this deal, but before everyone gets up in arms over this development project I’d like to point out some unknowns and counterarguments.

    The big one is that the city will easily get their initial investment back, and more, in economic spinoffs.

    However, donstreet blog makes a good point that we need to consider whether this project would have gone forward without public financing. Do we know for sure? Does anyone, besides CanadInns and the City, know for sure? If this project wouldn’t have gone forward without public investment, I think the city made the right decision. Of course, if this is just ‘corporate welfare’ this was probably not the best use of taxpayer dollars.

    Where did the $10 discount on tickets comment come from? The news article doesn’t mention how much tickets will cost. In fact, the article points out the the city will be negotiating wider public access to this facility. So there may be hope yet, unless you have no shred of faith left in city council…

    Right now I’m not sure if this was a good deal or not due to lack of details about the deal itself. I’m interested to hear what other’s think.

  3. The $10 discounts is not firmed up, but comes from Bartley Kives’ article in today’s Free Press, here. I should be careful to reference numbers like that better.

    As for the economic spinoffs, there are two large assumptions (one of which you mentioned):

    (1) That the building would not have gone ahead without the city; and,
    (2) That there are no other projects into which the $7M could go.

    #1 is known only to the Gods, though I would point out that CanadInns is spending $36.6Million of its own dollars on the project. Would they do so if they thought it a bad investment? If its a good investment at 36, is it a bad investment at 43.6?

    #2 is more subtle. If the city were to say, buy $7 million worth of buses from New Flyer, would that not also have economic spinoffs? Would they be greater or worse? For this, I’d say its a crazy assumption to say that the spinoffs couldn’t be matched or beat by other spending priorities.

    On this point, furthermore, I would say spending on public transport has greater economic spinoffs if only because our car-transportation network is essentially an import market (provincially speaking). We import oil, gas, cars, parts, and more. We send boat loads of cash out-of-province for this luxury good. Buses bought locally and produced by local workers would therefore have an additinal spin-off.

    Moreover, are the spin-offs from additional profits at CanadInns going to be spent locally, as would the additional salaries of New Flyer workers?

  4. If he had 36 million, I’m sure he wouldn’t need the other 7 million, except it may help with the banks.

    I don’t know how many more time the taxpayers get knocked in the head before they figure out they are being swindled.

    Aside from a few bloggers and Boosters, most people in this City like it just fine the way it is.

    Is that such a bad thing ? Trust me, it isn’t.

  5. Back to the point about would this project have gone forward without city funding. The Sun runs an article today that says:

    “Back in January, the city announced it would give up to $7 million to the best proposal for a public-use water park that could be operational by November 2009.

    The city got five proposals, and the public service eventually recommended a plan to build a $43 million, 66,000 square-foot park with 4,800 square feet of outdoor annex space adjacent to Canad Inns Polo Park, which will also add a new $13-million hotel tower added as part of the expansion. ”

    So what would have happened if the city never initiated that process? Perhaps a project would have occurred anyway… perhaps not. Perhaps they didn’t need to attach money to it. Again, who knows. My point is, let’s try uncover as many facts as we can before we rush to conclusions.

    Sun article – http://www.winnipegsun.com/News/Winnipeg/2008/07/17/6180021-sun.html

  6. Pingback: Pat and Tap « Don Street Blog

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