“What do Mississauga, Vaughn, and Hamilton know that we don’t? Or what do we in Milton know that the others don’t?”
A friend of mine asked me these questions as we waited for a Special Council Meeting to begin on the Velodrome. We didn’t know the answers then, but they’re starting to come out now. Last week Paul Henderson- Olympic Sailor, and lobbyist for Toronto’s failed 1996 Olympic Bid, came out with a warning that he thought the Games would come in over budget. He is now among critics who think the Games’ budget could come out over its $1.4 billion budget.
Milton has definitely done its homework on this project. My guess is Town Staff has checked the numbers many times trying to figure how this would work without impacting the tax base. And it likely will work with the support of Mattamy and their private partners. But just because Milton has done its homework, and due diligence in having a project that won’t impact the tax base, doesn’t mean other levels of government have done theirs.
And perhaps that’s what Mississauga, Vaughn, and Hamilton know that we don’t. Maybe they’ve realized that a certain provincial government having trouble balancing its books, hasn’t. Maybe the other municipalities have realized the province has failed to take into account the need for extra public transit between venues, or venues that have been moved, or roads that need to be built/ closed down for transporting the athletes. And they want no part of it; who can blame them? Usually when the Province errs, it’s the municipality that ends up paying the price.
I’m still in favour of the velodrome. I support it as an idea that would turn the spotlight on Milton in a positive way. But when someone like Paul Henderson with his credibility says the Games could turn out to be over budget maybe we should pause and listen. Maybe it’s time to question the Province on its finances for the Games; How are we going to pay for the additional transit? (Milton still only has rush hour Go service), Are you going to be able to afford the needed university campus? and if so will it be “shovel-ready” by 2015. What about the cost to provincial roads? Has that been taken into account?
Henderson’s comments on the Pan Am games make me wonder if the Province has done its homework on its portion of the budget. I think the time has come for someone to ask.