Partial contract was shown on City web

But here is the Full contract

“In 2005, the City of Abbotsford made the important decision to build an entertainment and sports centre. This visionary undertaking by residents and Council was an important decision in moving the City forward and bringing to the Fraser Valley an important dimension of entertainment, a community gathering place, vision, and visibility to the City. A growing City needs this type of facility as it becomes an influential centre in the Fraser Valley. The Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) was subsequently completed in the spring of 2009.”

The first paragraph in this contract (above) hardly represents reality.  Council used our tax dollars to jam this thing through.  The last figure was about $170,000.  – though no money was granted to the ‘No’ side.

Council flooded our City with advertising.  Huge billboards on the Freeway and Highway 11, full-page ads in media, children sent home with propaganda, local libraries, even ads on the Musselwhite graveyard fence.  Then city hall set up a phone bank to call residents – urging we vote ‘Yes’.

A number of us contacted the BC Ombudsman.  This was an atrocious abuse of the office of mayor and council.

The referendum passed by a squeaker. Not at all like the ….”This visionary undertaking by residents and Council”

In the following election I placed scrutineers right in City Hall, where the final votes were tallied, because I’d heard too many accounts of election fraud.  The machine-counting system put in by Bill Flitton was a dog’s breakfast.  He had people flown in to help him but by Monday morning the numbers on some candidates had shifted dramatically. The voting system was badly flawed, or badly run.

I rarely talked to anyone who voted for the mega-million dollar AESC, and whatever the truth of election day, I  simply never believed that this community  did vote for the glamour projects that mayor and council foisted on us.

I attended almost all meeting prior to the referendum.  Looking through the notes I took, this AESC, and this contract with the Flames/Heat looks nothing like the chatter we were given.  The building was to be shared with an ECHL team and made available for local use.  It was to be Our building.   However in reality, the building is not affordable or accessible to the community.  One of the few times this building was ‘ours’ to romp and play in, was when the CBC TV came, with big fanfare, and showed us all the happy children frolicking with their parents – in ‘our’ rec centre.

It was going to bring in money – much money. Oh and no mention was made about how Council and staff really were over their heads.  We’d have millions in add-on costs – – down the line.

The obvious moral here is that local governance should focus on local, communal needs.  They should not get involved with  anything more than that, but it is my contention that council has turned a blind eye to some serious by-law issues.  Abbotsford has not had an honest, level playing field for its citizens for too many years. The real work of running our city well took a back seat to glitz projects.

A year ago residents had to fight like fury to get the City to take care of ditching and draining in the uplands…..something the city had stopped taking care of.   Recently council decided we could not afford $500,000. to provide a bus route between Chilliwack and Abbotsford, though UFV students regularly commute between the two campuses.  But we throw millions into a privately-owned hockey team.

The AESC and the Abbotsford Heat are about BIG business, something our council was never equipt to manage.  Maybe if council got its head out of the clouds we could provide a city where honest dealings were the norm, and people wanted to settle here.  Instead we continue to pour millions into the foolish glitz aspirations of a council gone wrong. 

The contract with the Flames/Heat is approaching the mid-way point, when it can be re-negoitiated – or perhaps scrapped entirely.  Abbotsford needs to show a back-bone and demand an end to this very one-sided contract