Laurier Brantford/YMCA Athletics Complex: Taxpayers Cannot Afford

It was great to see the Great One back in Brantford, Ontario recently to open the remodeled Wayne Gretzky Sports (“athletics complex”) Centre. 

Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre

Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre

While it’s a nice addition to Brantford’s recreation services, the issue of cost cast a large shadow over this happy occasion.  

In attendance were Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynn and federal Minister Gary Goodyear.  The Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre is a good reminder for them why Brantford doesn’t need another “it-would-be-nice” $60+ Million “athletics complex,” i.e., Laurier Brantford/YMCA Athletics-Recreation Complex.  

The current estimate of the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre reconstruction cost, originally budgeted at $37 Million (2007), sits at $64 Million.  The fund raising effort, which was contracted by the city to a consultant at $25,000 per month, is unfortunately not going well.  For this project, the Ontario and Canadian Governments each gave approximately $16 Million. 

The same governments have said that they will each pay $17 Million of taxpayers’ dollars, which neither can afford, for the proposed Laurier Brantford/YMCA Athletics-Recreation Complex project.  

With taxpayers on the hook for the Ontario debt (public-held) of $275 Billion*  and the Canadian debt of $618 Billion, will Premier Wynn and Prime Minister Harper show us that they now understand responsible fiscal management and reverse these unaffordable decisions?  Will they show us that they now understand the difference between a “it-would-be-nice” expense and a “must-have” expense?


*This may or may not include the $1.1 Billion cost to cancel the Oakville and Mississauga gas plants?


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