Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mayor should resign over backroom arena deal

Letter to the editor  in the Markham Economist & Sun

As the leader of our community who engineered the backroom, secret deal to approve the Markham arena, the mayor should do the right thing and resign. He has lost the confidence of the people.

Ego got in the way and he only looked at the upside of building a legacy for himself. What about the risk to the taxpayer?

If there is a housing downturn, where is the new tax levy going to come from to fund the arena debt?
Are they not shooting themselves in the foot with these new taxes?

Builders may go elsewhere.

What will happen if interest rates rise? What impact will that have on the new debt?  What about potential cost overruns?

Montreal’s Olympic stadium and Toronto’s SkyDome are examples— the latter $300 million over budget.
If you owned the Maple Leafs, would you give up territorial rights to a new team a few miles up the road?
Have they looked at the number of vacant dates at the Air Canada Centre, excluding the Leafs and Raptors?
How is it expected Markham, with a much smaller population, will have an arena that pays for itself?

If this deal is so great, why are private companies not paying for all of it?

How much extra property tax will we have to pay in a rising interest rate, recessionary environment for an arena that will probably be empty most of the time?

This will be valuable information for the likes of seniors on fixed incomes who may need to move out of town.

What is particularly galling is how this was rammed through council led by Mayor Frank Scarpitti under the guise that negotiations had to be kept private.

Does he take the citizens for fools?

They are scrambling after the fact to do public relations to sell this white elephant to the public.

It’s too little, too late. The mayor must go.

Ewen Mackenzie

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