Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Edmonton EX-PO 2017

We lost the expo bid. Edmonton went up against some pretty high-class European cities and we didn't fail against them, we failed because our government gave up before we started to fight.
Now, I don't care one way or the other. There was only a snowball's chance in hell I was going to spend my hard earned (sitting on my butt) money on something like an Expo, but maybe it would have brought in some more publicity, who knows? Grey cup has sure packed our city to damn-near the brim with people; I hear all our hotels are booked solid, which might also be due to the fact that there was a recent high-rise fire, forcing the tenants to move temporarily to hotel and motel lodgings. But the whole point is neither here nor there.

The thing that concerns me, that raises my eyebrows, was why we were denied. Budget, of course, was cited. Edmonton had planned on putting up several million dollars, but would have required the federal government to add around $700 million to complete the picture. The idea had been criticized by the Canadian taxpayer's association, but a survey taken of Albertans revealed around 80% supported the idea.

After a year of planning and organizing, Edmonton put forth the bid proposal to the federal government, who administered a quick double-tap to the back of the idea's head, while the majority of Edmontonians stood around, speechless. Except for Stephen Mandel, who proceeded to blow his Mayoral top all over MLA Rona Ambrose, saying that he felt she was responsible for the failed proposal. Bless him for being a politician who isn't afraid to speak his mind, which is mercifully not preoccupied with cookies.

The reason given is that it was too much money on too risky a proposal, given our chaotic financial times, especially focusing on the variable security costs, but in the canned speech we were spoon-fed, the fact that we have the oil-sands was brought up multiple times. I can see one of two reasons for this; feeling the economic pinch over in Ontario, the Federals are pissed because we're just doing better over here thanks to the oil-sand's revenue, so they aren't going to give us any money (especially when I hear rumors that the amount we have waived in royalties to keep the oil companies here is about equal to the money we requested for the Expo bid, not that we could hamstring ourselves permanently just to support a one-time party. I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying) or two, the security risk could be increased by the recent bad-karma and negative publicity that's been thrown around regarding the oil-sands, and with more radicals moving into Canada, like the Parliament-scaling Greenpeace, it's possible they don't have enough of a handle on the situation to know whether we should be bringing pepper-spray, guns, or tanks, which doesn't really look very positive from a security standpoint ("Hey, guys, should we be nervous?") Don't we have some form of  Canadian Rumsfeld? Somewhere?

Anyway, doesn't matter. We can have a super party and then not invite them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We dodged a bullet, thanks to the feds. Shanghai 2010 Expo was budgeted at $4 billion. Actual cost: $60 billion. Edmonton Expo 2017 budgeted at $2.3 billion. Actual costs, once ballooning security expenses added, god only
knows. And for what? A three month party at U of A South Campus that would attract few foreign tourists (less than 10 percent of Shanghai Expo visitors were farangi) and no international media coverage (this ain't the Olympics), and leave us with a few new U of A classrooms, but no new bridge over the river or recreational infrastructure in the valley as originally planned. All that was scrapped two years ago when the Bureau of International Expositions told Edmonton to consolidate its plans at a single site. Not that Mayor Mandel, the bid committee and their media cheerleaders ever bothered to tell us...