My Opinion

September 25, 2013 in Public Forum

Hello, I’m a management professional (34 years old) so my opinion is one of a taxpayer who has many years of paying taxes in Markham and I’m a hockey fan (play in rec leagues and attend games in Toronto, Ottawa and elsewhere).

It appears these are the initial stages of proposals and counter proposals.  The current proposal from Remington is weak and essentially seems like exploitation.  Even if they had a guaranteed NHL team this current proposal is still weak for the city.  The worst is that Markham would instantly take a debt position and then not be able to recover any revenue through land tax of the stadium itself.   The levy on new homes is a distortion on how tax is to be applied.  A tax is to fund something for the public good not a private for profit venture that would not do direct profit sharing with the city.

Maybe a stadium would increase the profile of Markham but at what cost?  Sounds like the story of the Skydome but without any major league team as a possible tenant.  When the Skydome was getting built, it was pretty much a guarantee that the Blue Jays and Argos would play there.  In the case of Markham, there isn’t even a prospect.  MLSE will ensure that its market doesn’t get diluted.  It doesn’t even want a team to go to Hamilton let alone Markham!

If you look at the area around Kanata (where the Ottawa Senators play) it doesn’t look like the product of “economic benefits” based on the arena being there.  Whenever I’ve gone to games there, we have dinner in Ottawa and then go straight to the game and then back to Ottawa.  Toronto is not far from Markham and is still the big draw.

As far as negotiations are concerned, my take is that the Remington group is leveraging the public’s interest in wanting an NHL team but the public in Markham is not naive.  It is time for the city to take a stand and put forward a strong counter-proposal on the table to see if the Remington group is serious about working with Markham as an equitable partner instead of a small city desperate to play in the big leagues.

Perrik Le Dreff