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Finally, a Reason to Feel Good about $10 Beer


 

A tip of the hat to the much-maligned Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment oligarchy.

The proprietors of the rudderless, captainless, bound-to-be-winless Leafs, and the almost-as-hapless NBA Raptors, are giving back to the community, ponying up $1.5 million in partnership with Home Depot Canada to refurbish Toronto’s crumbling indoor and outdoor arenas. The corporate benefactors have vowed to repair a minimum of six rinks a year between now 2013, with MLSE (independently assessed value $1.5 billion, $383 million in revenue, 22 per cent profit margin) providing the cash, and Home Depot, the materials and labour.

All snarkiness aside, it is a gesture worth applauding.

But what truly is remarkable about this story is the fact that the country’s largest city has not fully funded the construction of a new municipal arena for 28 years. As the Star notes, most of Toronto’s 51 indoor rinks are now well past their best before date. This in a city with who knows how many active players, 100,000? 200,000? (Global estimates aren’t readily available, but the main minor hockey body, the GTHL had 36,447 registered players last season.)

It’s not like rinks aren’t being built elsewhere. And usually with a pile of federal and provincial tax dollars. A surprising amount of Ottawa’s much-vaunted $33 billion in infrastructure spending is going to rinks and rec centres, especially under the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund which is targeted at smaller towns and cities. Earlier this month, Chelsea, QC received $6.1 million from the feds and the province towards its new ice. Moncton, NB officially opened its new NHL-size rink in April, grace of $1.1 million in federal and $1.9 million in provincial funding. La Pocatière, QC is receiving $7.9 million from the two levels of government to make its hockey dreams come true. The list goes on and on.

The government of Ontario, which didn’t conclude an infrastructure funding framework deal with Ottawa until this past July, (the McGuinty and Harper governments don’t play well together) has nevertheless managed to find cash under its own $450 million Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative to help build or refurbish ice sheets in communities like Port Hope, Ignace, Kincardine, Manitoulin Island, and Pickering.

Toronto understandably has other priorities for its share of the cash—transit, roads, water and sewage. But it’s a hell of a thing when the self-professed Centre of the Hockey Universe is relying on corporate hand outs just to change the light bulbs and paint the dressing rooms. Maybe somebody should start a campaign to convince CBC to stage Hockey Day in Canada down the street from its broadcast centre.


 

Finally, a Reason to Feel Good about $10 Beer

  1. It seems that part of council’s strategy is to defund any useful or popular program or spending. They closed outdoor rinks just before Marc Break, the don’t fund recreation complexes, they don’t maintain parks. They built a new soccer field (more than $1.5M over budget) on former industrial lands but it still isn’t open do to contamination issues in the PARKING LOT. Yes they need an environmental assessment (which is 2 yeas late) to let cars park on an empty lot that is currently unremediated and leaking oil into Lake Ontario. Of course the project is 18 months late and counting, even though all construction if finished.

    Council is bound and determined to NOT provide any services to tax payers. They even specifically targeted parks in well off neighbourhoods to close the outdoor pools because residents could afford other alternatives. Toronto needs to lose home rule and be directly managed from the premier’s office.

  2. Feh. With the sweetheart deals at Lakeshore Lions, Ricoh and let’s not forget BMO, they can afford it.

  3. My keyboard hates me. Please insert or replace letters as appropriate.

  4. And Mr. Dowling is part of the most enthusiastic supporters of a Marxist council that refuses to do anything positive. Check his writings for evidence of his destructive impulses.

  5. hey – me a supporter of Hizzoner and his “can we meet in secret” cabal? Thanks for the laugh, I needed that.

  6. Toronto city council wastes enough money already.

  7. So depressing I want to cry, but instead ill vent! I am so sick an tired of this, it is now 1 YEAR, since this article was posted, and please tell me what has changed? Excuse me while I go cry in my $10 beer I can't afford!

  8. Your right it is very depressing , I've fond memories of places that are now falling into ruin whilst the council wastes money like it grows on trees.

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