Peeter Joot's (OLD) Blog.

Math, physics, perl, and programming obscurity.

Letter to Markham ward 5 councillor, re: proposed publicly funded NHL arena

Posted by peeterjoot on October 3, 2013

Here’s my minor attempt at playing the “democracy” game.  I don’t really expect this to have any effect, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to send in my 2c anyways:

Greetings Councillor Cambell,

I’m a resident and Markham taxpayer, living in Ward 5 at <address>

I have I’d like to express that I do not have any interest in funding an arena that is almost surely to end up as a new financial liability for current and future Markham taxpayers.

Given the historical failure of so many public funded arenas at profitability, an extremely convincing case ought to be required for this proposed project.  Additionally, all those that are lobbying for the project ought to be publicly identified, since they stand to benefit substantially from the proposed subsidies and hidden future tax incentives.  Those supporting those lobbyists in city council also ought to be publicly identified so that a future audit for potential benefits received can be performed.

We live in a culture that has a collective case of Alzheimers, so I like to point out that it wasn’t that long ago that Toronto’s Skydome failed spectacularly as an Ontario and city investment, eventually sold again and again at firesale prices until Rogers eventually bought it.  As Ontario tax payers, we are surely still paying for interest charges on the debt incurred for this project, despite the fact that it no longer provides any direct source of income to finance that debt.

I found the following relevant :

This last points out that the Montreal stadium took three decades to pay off!

An arena paid for using Markham city funds and tax benefits, is really an arena that will be paid with taxpayer debt servitude, directly or indirectly.  Allowing our council to fall for this sales pitch will mean that we will almost surely end up, like so many other municipalities, playing out the same old pathetic story of padding the pockets of commercial developers at the expense of the residents.

 For non-Markham residents, here’s a couple stories with some of the background.  Also interesting is the survey that can be found on the Markham council website, since it outlines some of the tax shelters that were being provided with the package.

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