More Taxpayer Rape: Abbotsford taxpayers fork over $1.76 million to AHL Heat

Abbotsford taxpayers fork over $1.76 million to AHL Heat

By Glenda Luymes, The Province November 1, 2012

Abbotsford taxpayers fork over $1.76 million to AHL Heat

The Abbotsford Heat have a 10-year agreement to play home games at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre until 2019.

Photograph by: Ian Lindsay , PROVINCE

It’s make-it-or-break-it time for the Abbotsford Heat.

On Wednesday, the City of Abbotsford announced a $1.76-million subsidy to make up for poor attendance at the Calgary Flames farm team’s games over the 2011-12 season.

It’s the third year the city has been forced to help out the Heat as part of a 10-year contract guaranteeing the team break-even revenue of $5.7 million to play out of the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC).

Since the contract began, Abbotsford has paid the team, which is owned by the Calgary Flames, a total of $3.58 million, including $1.3 million in 2010-11 and $450,000 in its first year.

Opponents of the contract, as well as those who can’t see past the team’s affiliation with the Flames, have been vocal since the start, questioning a deal where taxpayers are on the hook for a hockey team’s financial troubles.

Now, some of the team’s strongest supporters are also beginning to question the situation.

“This year is probably the litmus test,” investor Lane Sweeting told The Province on Thursday.

“If we can’t make strong progress this year with the NHL lockout helping us, then the city and the team will have to get together and seriously ask if this is working.”

Sweeting, who is part of a group of local businessmen who operate the team on behalf of the Flames, said there are a number of reasons attendance was poor last year.

The AHL is a relatively new league in the West, he said, and home games are played back-to-back — usually on Friday and Saturday nights — against the same team, making it difficult for fans to attend both.

Sweeting admitted the Flames affiliation doesn’t help, either.

“We know that if attendance doesn’t grow this year, we need to go back to the table. So far this is not working for the taxpayer, and that’s not fair,” he said.

City manager Frank Pizzuto said the city is “concerned” about the situation, especially in light of the increasing size of the shortfall.

“We did expect improvement.”

But the city manager said the city expects to honour the 10-year contract, which expires in June 2019. Breaking the contract has never been discussed, Pizzuto added.

Both Sweeting and Pizzuto pointed to the hiring of Ryan Walters as team president and the NHL lockout as factors that could make this the team’s breakout year.

After four games, including two against the Vancouver Canucks farm team from Chicago, the Heat attendance numbers are well above the break-even mark.

Many will be watching to see if that lasts, as about half the crowd at the last two games came to cheer for the other team. The Edmonton Oilers’ farm team will be in Abbotsford next week, bringing many of the NHL’s top draft picks.

But critic Lynn Perrin said the quality of the hockey is irrelevant.

“Public taxes should not be going to a private hockey team,” she said, pointing to programs and improvements the city has been unable to continue because of a lack of funds.

“We had a community pool that had to shut down because the city couldn’t find $1 million to repair it.”

Perrin feels it’s very simple why the team has been struggling to fill seats.

“People in Abbotsford are Canucks fans, and you’ve got their number one rival’s farm team playing here,” she said.

gluymes@theprovince.com

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COMMENT:
Hmmmmmmm.
Sometimes the first emotion is to ROTFLMAO….and then “cry”. By that I mean…another predictable and ili advised Local Gov’t public/private venture blows up in their face…but then its our comrades elsewhere …the lowly taxpayers,  that ultimately pay.
NOTE: I have to keep this confidential at this time , but I know  a party that has been digging into their own Local Gov’t boondoggle and is simply waiting for the right time to expose an incredible paper trail, the corruption is mind boggling. The end game is not just a bad political decision……its far more corrupt.
The above article is quite cut and dry….even without the actual contract which is probably kept away from public under the auspices of it involves a private company…even if it involves the taxpayer ( the old  “confidentiality” scam that exists all over ).
Lets try to establish some givens:
The majority of your average Local Gov’t Council is populated by “useful idiots”.  The behind- the- scenes power structure is usually the CAO (Top Civil Servant), Head of Planning….usually the Mayor… one or two Councillors….the rest just fill the required quorom and are like power groupies….Usually groomed from being a School Trustee ( ie toad to the Teachers etc. ) or other community groups.   You may get the odd “speak -their- mind” independent , but that is getting very rare.
What usually happens is the UNelected CAO is the “walk -on -water” boss….who the Elected Council rely on to keeps things in order, major ass -kiss of CAO in perpetuity. There will usually be some purges…..senior staff the CAO does not get along with will get fired….until  such as time as the RIGHT toadies are in place….and the agendas move forward like shit -through -a -goose. 
Again, City Hall =  a cabal of senior staff with a minority of Council members and whatever vested interest..usually Developers run the City. The other “useful idiot” Council members don’t dare question or stir the pot….this would expose their ignorance or else to look useful they make big issues out of insignificant ones. Hence they ALL put on a  facade that they are on top of everything…that what they are doing is part of the natural order and in we, the citizens,  best and better interests.
Actually, what is happening is a number of parastical predators circling these clowns and the taxpayer piggy bank at your local City Hall .
Do you recall the movie “The Thing” (1982) . (I Loved it). A creature invades a remote  outpost and begins to take over the resident humans …invading their minds and bodies and taking control .   
Is this symbolic of what is going on a City Halls …Invasion of “body and booty $$$ ” snatchers ?
At various City halls…the Senior Staff and Councils are allowing parasitical outsiders to attach their tentacles to the Taxpayers Wallets….and sucking it dry. These alien parasites wine dine and lobby Local Gov’ts to enter these sorts of public-private ventures . Ohhh…..To be a fly on the wall and listen in on these closed meetings where these deals are negotiated.  Seriously…… WTF is a Local Gov’t doing signing a 10 year deal that guarantees that taxpayers  to subsidize losses. The losses for Abbotsford are increasing each year, we are heading into tough economic times, which implies lower discretionary income,thus even  fewer fans thus higher subsidies.  Of course, their excuse was some bogus spreadsheet with highly optimistic projections..combined with Calgary Flames ( in Canucks country ? ) doing cartwheels having reeled in a sucker, the City of Abbotsford.   The sad thing is, I do not believe these types of deals are isolated, but various Local Gov’ts DO have similar deals ongoing or in the near future, they simply have not been properly disclosed yet.
It’s not rocket science…if its such a good idea…then the Private Sector does not need any Public subsidy …..PERIOD.
All it would take is a few pissed off citizens to perhaps request an RCMP investigation…given this deal absolutely REEKS …….if nothing else than to bring these clowns back down to earth by making them shit their pants.
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