Monday, December 27, 2010

Asper speaks!

Kevin Engstrom published the following letter from one Mr. D. Asper in the Winnipeg Sun.

Dear Fans, I guess David is writing to a small minority of people here
The transition regarding the stadium is now complete as in, "Go away David. The public backlash against this whole deal is making a mess of things for us politicians"  and as we close out 2010, I want to wish all of you a great holiday season and a happy new year. Ideally, 2011 will be the year that Lords Grey and Vanier return to Manitoba! Yup. The Winnipeg battle cry, "Next Year!"
Throughout the twists and turns of the past four years, one thing has remained constant — Manitoba needs a new stadium to ensure the long-term viability of our Blue Bombers. Seems to me,  the club was a team holding it's own at this time. That might all change in the future though. I am very glad that the project will continue to completion and provide many added benefits for the Bisons, University of Manitoba and the entire community.
This outcome is precisely what I envisioned because the project is and always was about doing something to get a new stadium built. Not with his own money, not with any sort of honour or openness, even selling his soul to support the NDP, those things seem unimportant when viewed against the stated goal. Build it, and damned the cost.
There is an old saying to the effect that “you cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind”. But you can plow a field by talking smoothly to a neighbour, promise him you'll pay for your share of the plow, the horses, and the feed as well as the other guys time, get him to start plowing and then say, "Fooled you!"Someone had to actually start the process and it has been an honour to have been able to lead that charge.  Starting a process and digging a hole are not the same things.
I want to sincerely thank the thousands of fans who have given their support to our efforts. And what do you have for the tens of thousands who don't support your efforts, but will pay regardless? Even up to this day, people have continued to offer their personal encouragement and this has truly made the journey all the more worthwhile. When the project is finally completed, I know that all of us will share in the pride that it will bring to Manitoba. I don't see a lot of people from Dauphin feeling the giddiness David does... or Thompson, Churchill, Ashern...
I offer my sincere heartiest good wishes and encouragement to the team that will see the project through to completion. And the "best of luck" I hope. These guys had this dropped in their laps, and they know as much about building a stadium as you do David. Nothing. They should be commended for having the fortitude to stand up and be counted in responding to a need in this community. Or re worded, "Commended for making their desires known, starting a project under false pretenses, and having someone else finish, and pay for their mess.
Once and for all, it’s time to finally get it done! Go away David. Please... we can't afford your style of "getting it done"
David Asper RM

Ya, Ya, I know, "Bitch and complain". I've said before, I'm NOT anti-stadium. I'm BIG on invest money in our City. BUILD roads, bridges, invest in new infrastructure. I'm TIRED of seeing that the Louise and Redwood bridges are in better shape than Disralie. I'm tired of "piece meal" refurbishing of old buildings like the arena balcony we slapped in because "we" couldn't get our heads around building something world class. I'm the guy saying, "Put a roof on it". 
The "deal" stank from the opening coin toss. Sure, we hear about all the "personal wealth" of a certain "media mogul" family, but all I SEE is that family starting things that reach DEEP into my pocket, and the pockets of my children, and grand children.
Like any building project, we deserve that it be done RIGHT. Winnipeg does NOT have a track record for that.
Original plans for an inner city belt way had overpasses... we have lights everywhere.
Original plans for a subway were scrapped... we have diamond lanes so we can watch 6 people on a bus zoom by during rush hour.
Winnipeg Enterprises couldn't see their way to giving Shenkarow a fair deal at the old arena so they had an "interim operating agreement" that had people mad at the business man and not the stooges running the mess at WEC.
Instead of replacing both the antique bridges flanking the Disralie "freeway", we have a "new" secret plan we never saw before by "Plenary Roads" designed to keep traffic open during construction. 
We build a new airport terminal and blame the delays on "plumbing" so people don't find out the building sunk and the paid consultants screwed up the geo technical work.

Shall I go on?

We NEED accountability. Screw politically correct, screw covering everyones butt, and screw the deception that seems to lurk at every turn. I might have almost considered voting for someone like Just Judy if I thought she had any ability to run a city (or a hot dog stand), and I'll be working for the "official opposition" in the upcoming election (the first time ever) because I'm sick and tired of public policy being guided by special interest groups without consideration of how the masses are affected. 

Our un elected Premier makes decisions that will have far reaching implications for generations of Manitobans, and we have no way of stopping him for another year. (+/-) Bi pole III, east side sucks, "land that gives life", communities need an all weather road, and all.

So for all the criticism I offer up, here's how a simpleton thinks it should all work.

Stadium. Cost benefit analysis of maintenance and upgrades to a REAL cost of building new. That real cost can be obtained by having an RFP, with an accompanying fixed price for the proposal. Once it's decided which way to go, build it, and keep every one accountable. Sue engineers and consultants who screw up, forget things in their pricing, or "miss" specifications. Maybe even a "private/public partnership"? This has worked with bridges, and roads, why not a stadium. I imagine a contractor who will "own" the building and be responsible for major structural maintenance and repairs would ensure the best materials and engineering go in so as not to require too much work before the building is actually PAID OFF.

The mandarins at City Hall and the backroom deals at the Ledg are keeping Winnipeg a hick town that's hard on itself, not helping promote us as "One Great City".


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