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Thread: Sun editorial on Expo 2017

  1. #1

    Default Sun editorial on Expo 2017

    The Sun's take. By way of disclosure, I wrote it, so feel free to slag me on a personal basis.

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/comment/e.../15836826.html

    Expo 2017 is a laudable effort in almost every respect. But itís a pretty big almost, far too big to endorse the event as being in the general publicís interests.


    After a meeting between the Sunís editorial board and Expo proponents, the ďalmostĒ in this grand promotional vision remains the dollar-and-cents public impact. The math doesnít equal a net gain, no matter how you crunch the numbers.


    The expo expects to cost $2.3 billion (in 2009 dollars), with about $1.1 billion of that going to infrastructure costs. The infrastructure ó and the eventís promotional profile ó would be its legacy.


    But a quick look at the nationís most successful Expo, in Vancouver in 1986, tells us Edmontonís numbers do not make financial sense. Adjusted to todayís dollars, Vancouverís Expo had a net positive spinoff of about $5.3 billion, taking into account local economic activity offsetting the eventís $311 million deficit.


    It required 22 million visitors to generate that $5.3 billion, or about $240 per visit.



    Edmonton anticipates more than 5.3 million visitors from a base of 1.9 million attendees. Using Vancouverís gains, adjusted to modern dollars, we can expect a spinoff of about $1.4 billion for Edmontonís economy.
    With only about $227 million in anticipated other revenue, that leaves our Expo about $600 million in the red, even with economic spinoff taken into account.


    Consequently, the argument comes down to this: to accelerate the ability to get $1.1 billion in infrastructure money, mostly for the University of Alberta, out of three levels of government, are we willing for it to actually cost $1.7 billion?



    That, and the publicity, are what we get out of Expo 2017. Itís hard to see the PR hit as worthwhile, when $600 million will pay for a national T.V. networkís operating costs for an entire year and then some.


    Expo 2017 is a grand dream. But the people doing the dreaming are the political and business elite, all flush with cash of their own, never really worrying much about how to pay bills, how to keep their house in good shape, how to pay for their kidsí secondary education.



    They need to understand how much $600 million is in the real world, and how much good it could do for this community, rather than spending it on seven years of parties for politicians, in exchanged for some exceedingly overpriced real estate.

  2. #2
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    Jloome, I think you arguments about the cost of Expo 2017 are perfectly legitimate. Even with $1.1 billion in infrastructure money, the net cost will be $600 million. That's a legitimate concern, and a significant investment for what is the equivalent of promoting and marketing Edmonton and Alberta, and to a lesser extent, Canada.

    Given your arguments, I think the scope of Expo has to encompass the following:

    (1) The University of Alberta. The U of A has set the goal of achieving the performance measure of Top 20 of Universities by the year 2020. If the U of A is a key player in Expo, they could market the U of A to students, researchers and academics as part of the Expo package.

    (2) The themes of energy and environment. Given the public's perception of Alberta's oilsands (especially the latest incident with the ducks at Syncrude), our province has an opportunity to demonstrate that it is adopting new environmental practices (e.g., reclamation of tailings ponds and mining sites) as well as developing alternative sources of energy.

    (3) The opportunity for Alberta to participate as a leader in Canada's future. Alberta has gradually built its economic and political clout as Canada's fastest growing economy. Alberta has an opportunity to showcase its best during Canada's 150th birthday.

    Edmonton will be hosting Expo during the summer of 2017, a time when Edmonton hosts its festivals. The money spent on Expo will be a long-term investment for our city and province, and an opportunity to demonstrate that Edmonton's economy has grown on many dimensions. Like many medium-sized cities, Edmonton is well-positioned, as it will be a key gateway to facilitate northern growth.
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  3. #3

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    ^$600m is a lot of money though, if our City ends up that much in the red just to give UofA a hand up, and a one off promotion, we shouldn't do it IMO. We can almost get a low floor LRT line for that, or an Arena. There needs to be some sort of provincial or federal guarantee to protect city taxpayers if there is a risk of deficit on this scale.

    I realize people are probably going to bash the Sun now for being negative, but I'd be interested to learn more about their numbers, because I think what they suggest above is a pretty horrific scenario if it ends up off the backs of Edmonton taxpayers, there are better things for $600m of debt.
    Last edited by moahunter; 27-10-2010 at 10:21 PM.

  4. #4
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    I don't get the math. The way I read it, we spend $2.3 B, get 1.4 B spinoff, and 1.1 billion of infrastructure plus that .2B other revenue for a net positive of $400M assuming that the infrastructure is actually worth what we pay for it. I suspect that it will be worth it. For all we know it could include that low-floor LRT line or sports venue.

    On the other hand, I'm always skeptical of the real value, to citizens, of that "spin-off value".

  5. #5

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    What is the source of your numbers? I know there are researchers that study the costs/benefits of events such as these. Does the peer reviewed literature reveal a consensus?

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    For Toronto to spend $1 Billion of taxpayers for security at a G7 summit (BTW was useless) was acceptable.

    For Edmonton, spending $ 1B federal money for a legitimate function like Expo is outrageous.
    Also considering it's Canada's 150th birthday.

    It seems like when Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary need funding for a major event, the purse strings open. No questions asked.

    When Edmonton applies for a large-scale event, all of a sudden a CBA is required.
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    From my article, "World Class?":

    Broader, bolder leadership from governments is needed worldwide to reduce footprints and conserve energy, which is to say, doing more with less. It’s in this context that Edmonton’s proposed EXPO 2017 theme, Harmony of Energy and Our Future Planet, while well intentioned, seems vague and slightly off the mark.

    By sharpening the focus on sharing solutions, we could issue a 5 year challenge in 2012 to nearly five hundred cities with populations more than a million, inviting them to bring delegations of engineers, bureaucrats and politicians to showcase their greenest projects and proposals. Edmonton would then become an energetic nexus of cutting edge urban planning in the summer of 2017, when we would again be a logical host for the ICLEI World Congress, as well as other events like the World Social Forum. It’s against this backdrop that broader discussions of renewable energy, scientific research, technological innovation, as well as progressive provincial and national policy-making should take place.

    Interestingly, tourists won’t fly in from abroad to attend, as figures of potential visitors for events like it are calculated based on a 10-hour drive radius around the host city. People from Vancouver, Winnipeg and Spokane aren’t included in the attendance estimate of 1.9 million unique visitors. Less than half from out of province – which is to say, Saskatchewan.

    By sharpening the theme, we could increase the relevance of EXPO 2017 and get a practical edge against other bids. As entourages of architects, planners and decision makers from across the continent exchange examples, best practices and lessons learned, we can inspire the world to change. A more specific theme might influence this, such as Local Solutions for the Global Village, or even The Sustainable Urban Environment, to name two.
    Proposing solutions to problems that don't exist since 2007

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    For the Expo theme, how about:

    "New Ideas, New Energy, New Future"

    Also, I think Expo could have key sessions, based at the U of A, Shaw, Expo Centre, and possibly the downtown Arena, addressing new ideas for energy/environmental practices.
    "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    They need to understand how much $600 million is in the real world, and how much good it could do for this community, rather than spending it on seven years of parties for politicians, in exchanged for some exceedingly overpriced real estate.

    Really good article that raises some good points, especially considering that the Expo bid is still in the pie in the sky phase.

    Personally, I support Edmonton's Expo bid. I would like to ask you a question in regards to your final statement (as detailed above).

    I assume from the quote that you feel it would be in Edmonton's best interest if $600 million was reinvested into the city's core services in order to improve the quality of life for the average Edmontonian.

    I feel that this is a cyclical attitude that often dominates Edmonton's frame of mind. If a city constantly focuses on the basics and avoids risks (they may in fact lose money), it will slowly fall behind other regions that have taken such risks, improved their national/international profile, and subsequently attracted greater tourism, investment and human capital (educated/entrepreneurial individuals).

    Basically, if we constantly focus on the basics, we will slowly lose our ability to provide them.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    For Toronto to spend $1 Billion of taxpayers for security at a G7 summit (BTW was useless) was acceptable.

    For Edmonton, spending $ 1B federal money for a legitimate function like Expo is outrageous.
    Also considering it's Canada's 150th birthday.

    It seems like when Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary need funding for a major event, the purse strings open. No questions asked.

    When Edmonton applies for a large-scale event, all of a sudden a CBA is required.
    THANK YOU for this post...

    It's our turn.. Expo is more than Dollars and ballance sheets.
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    ^Exactly. In large part it's about the confidence it takes even to host such an event.

    And it's that kind of confidence that attracts further human contact (which is all business is).

    The Sun thinks they are arguing dollars and cents. Excuses! At hearts, the Sun's editorial wtiters are reveling themselves to be stuttering shut-in antisocial geeks. Abd are wishing the same on Edmonton as a city.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    For Toronto to spend $1 Billion of taxpayers for security at a G7 summit (BTW was useless) was acceptable.
    Will the Federal government be picking up the entire cost of Expo?

    What I would like to have answered is, "if there is debt from this event, will it be debt that the City of Edmonton will be burdened with"?

    I don't want to see the City go into debt if the only long term infrastructure that arises from it, is the promotion of the UofA's suburban sprawl campus. If City taxpayers are to support a university, I'd like it to be one that has chosen to instead expand downtown - i.e. Grant Macewan or even Norquest. In writing that, I don't think the City should be subsidizing any campus, beyond building LRT, which UofA already has.

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    ^I'm not sure how many people here remember the state of the city in the early eighties: a time after the boom but before the bust when a lot of activity had ceased, but there were not yet any particular fears that it had ceased for the subsequent two decades.

    At that time too, people worried about debt. Worried about it enough that when council in 1983 passed a debt-paydown policy many people, I certainly among them, thought it was a very good idea.

    But it wasn't. In the absence of public spending, Edmonton ground to a halt and stayed that way until the no-debt policy was abandoned.

    Just now we are in a slump that's gone on for about two years and whose end is not yet clear.

    The VERY WORST thing we could do, municipally, is to retreat into a debt-avoidance and debt-reduction mode. The chances are too high that would send us into another decades-long period of withering.

    Events like Expo announce that activity exists and that a place is open for business. Any debt to be taken on becomes rather easier to pay off on the basis of increased municipal levies.

    There may be reasons outside the city's immediate control, the creepy behavior of the federal government and the name it has given our county first among them, why we would not get the Expo.

    Still, we must do our best.
    Last edited by abaka; 28-10-2010 at 11:19 AM.

  14. #14

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    ^I understand the need to build infrastructure now, but I think asking who will bear the cost of any debt if this isn't a huge success, and what infrastructure we will get from this and who will benefit most from that infrastructure, are valid questions that must be answered before City taxpayers take on most of the risk (if that is what is going to happen).
    Last edited by moahunter; 28-10-2010 at 10:29 AM.

  15. #15

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    This article purports that EVERYTHING to do with Edmonton hosting an EXPO (including the infrastructure) is a zero sum game. Clearly, the infrastructure will have a net benefit far beyond the length of the exposition. It is not for a one-time use.

    And let's assume the article is correct about $600,000,000 to run a national television network (maybe in 1986, not in 2010 or for that matter, 2017) it's a complete apples and oranges argument. It's about the future potential of the city, not running a television network. If it's about getting a tv campaign for that kind of money, all the advertising in the world isn't going to make this a better place to live. It is spurious argument and tenuous example.

    So say it is a $600m deficit. It can't be looked at as a one time cost. You have to amortize it against the long-term positives for the city. You're not going to get a lot of people arguing against the net benefit of Expo 86 in Vancouver or even Expo 67 in Montreal. Both events transformed their city and it is impossible to put a price on it. There is no question that Expo 86 shifted gears for Vancouver in a very positive way.

    If Edmonton gets even half the impact out of Expo than Vancouver did (bearing in mind that was 24 years ago, two and a half decades) I'll roll the dice on $600,000,000. It'll be worth it.
    Last edited by PJC; 28-10-2010 at 10:34 AM.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercucio View Post
    So say it is a $600m deficit. It can't be looked at as a one time cost. You have to amortize it against the long-term net benefit for the city.
    So what will be the long-term net benefit? That's what I am asking. If we Edmonton taxpayers take all the risk, is the long term net benefit (infrastructure wise) a more built up south UofA campus? If that's what it will be, then the funder of the UofA, the Province, should be the one taking the risk.

    And no, the publicity value of an Expo is not worth $600m, it isn't worth an LRT line, just ask anyone on the street where the last expo was.

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    The city will get more bang for their buck by building a new arena downtown.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mercucio View Post
    So say it is a $600m deficit. It can't be looked at as a one time cost. You have to amortize it against the long-term net benefit for the city.
    So what will be the long-term net benefit? That's what I am asking. If we Edmonton taxpayers take all the risk, is the long term net benefit (infrastructure wise) a more built up south UofA campus? If that's what it will be, then the funder of the UofA, the Province, should be the one taking the risk.

    And no, the publicity value of an Expo is not worth $600m, it isn't worth an LRT line, just ask anyone on the street where the last expo was.
    Who cares? I'm sure the vast majority of people outside of Canada, and many inside Canada, don't remember that Expo 86 was in Vancouver. Nonetheless, Vancouver is a vastly different (and BETTER) city as a result of holding that event.

    What I'm trying to say is, you can't capsulize the event and talk about whether it runs a deficit or a profit and say the story ends there. It does not. Expo 2017 has the potential (just like Vancouver - and Montreal before it) to transform our city in a very positive way.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercucio View Post
    Expo 2017 has the potential (just like Vancouver - and Montreal before it) to transform our city in a very positive way.
    How compared to a downtown arena, or an LRT line? Exactly what in this Expo is worth $600m for City taxpayers? For per the plans so far, most of any infrastructure left over, is going to be in South UofA campus. Is that the best place for City of Edmonton residents to be taking on $600m of debt versus other investments?

    And no, I'm not saying Expo shouldn't go ahead. I'm just saying we need to better understand who pays, and who benefits, before just taking all the risk on the "hope" that it will work out for the best. I think the Sun should be commended for asking the questions.
    Last edited by moahunter; 28-10-2010 at 10:48 AM.

  20. #20

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    ^ I don't believe it's an either/or situation at all.

    Downtown arena? Bring it. Expanded LRT? The sooner the better. EXPO 2017. Yes.

    If I have to pay a bit more in property taxes for all of this to happen, no problem. My bet is that all of the above will contribute a great deal to making Edmonton a vastly different (and better) place to live in 2020 compared to 2010. We keep talking about the close to 30 years of neglect that needs to be undone. All of these projects accelerate that process big time. The three decades of neglect has the potential to be turned around in one decade and these initiatives are an incredibly important part of that turnaround.

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    On Expo as on many other things, I'm still amazed (though I shouldn't be) by how supposedly pro-business and pro-growth people become the strongest penny-pinchers when they are confronted with the awful fact a city is a public construction and therefore uses public money.

    There are risks in everything. Pinch pennies and leave the city where it is. Take a risk -- success and growth becomes possible. But the taking on of public debt is necessary.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mercucio View Post
    Expo 2017 has the potential (just like Vancouver - and Montreal before it) to transform our city in a very positive way.
    How compared to a downtown arena, or an LRT line? Exactly what in this Expo is worth $600m for City taxpayers? For per the plans so far, most of any infrastructure left over, is going to be in South UofA campus. Is that the best place for City of Edmonton residents to be taking on $600m of debt versus other investments?

    And no, I'm not saying Expo shouldn't go ahead. I'm just saying we need to better understand who pays, and who benefits, before just taking all the risk on the "hope" that it will work out for the best. I think the Sun should be commended for asking the questions.
    Rosedale will be the big legacy project actually. most of the buildings put up at south campus will be removed is suspect.
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Rosedale will be the big legacy project actually. most of the buildings put up at south campus will be removed is suspect.
    Which is fine, but what exactly? Lets see some scenario analysis on financial viability depending on the revenues / tourists. Who pays, who bears the debt if it isn't that successful, who gets the profit if it is, and what we get for it in terms of infrastructure. The Sun has had a go at that above, and their conclusion isn't pretty with respect to city residents (they may be pretty for other people). So, I'd like to know more if that's right or wrong, before we just sign on the dotted line.
    Last edited by moahunter; 28-10-2010 at 11:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    For Toronto to spend $1 Billion of taxpayers for security at a G7 summit (BTW was useless) was acceptable.
    Will the Federal government be picking up the entire cost of Expo?

    What I would like to have answered is, "if there is debt from this event, will it be debt that the City of Edmonton will be burdened with"?

    I don't want to see the City go into debt if the only long term infrastructure that arises from it, is the promotion of the UofA's suburban sprawl campus. If City taxpayers are to support a university, I'd like it to be one that has chosen to instead expand downtown - i.e. Grant Macewan or even Norquest. In writing that, I don't think the City should be subsidizing any campus, beyond building LRT, which UofA already has.
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  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    My friend, you have to spend money to make money.
    I know, but who is spending, and who is making?

    If people think $600m of debt is not a big deal for a one off event that barely ranks nowdays publicity wise (how many news articles were there on the Chinese expo, which was a bigger event?), then I can't really argue with that. Personally, I'd rather we attract another world games or similar if that will be the long term legacy.
    Last edited by moahunter; 28-10-2010 at 11:22 AM.

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    Taxpayers spend, taxpayers get in the end. (Capitalism 101).

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    Taxpayers spend, taxpayers get in the end. (Capitalism 101).
    OK, it doesn't matter what government spends money on then.... all debt is good debt our children will happily pick up the bill even if most of it was spent on parties / trips for politicians.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    For Toronto to spend $1 Billion of taxpayers for security at a G7 summit (BTW was useless) was acceptable.
    Will the Federal government be picking up the entire cost of Expo?

    What I would like to have answered is, "if there is debt from this event, will it be debt that the City of Edmonton will be burdened with"?

    I don't want to see the City go into debt if the only long term infrastructure that arises from it, is the promotion of the UofA's suburban sprawl campus. If City taxpayers are to support a university, I'd like it to be one that has chosen to instead expand downtown - i.e. Grant Macewan or even Norquest. In writing that, I don't think the City should be subsidizing any campus, beyond building LRT, which UofA already has.
    My friend, you have to spend money to make money.
    And you will never KNOW everything... there is a certain amount of risk.
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    And you will never KNOW everything... there is a certain amount of risk.
    But shouldn't those who have the greatest potential upside, take on the risk? Who is that here, politicians who will get wonderful parties from the event, the u of a that will see investment in south campus? I think that needs to be better explained, for $600m is not something to just "hope" is well spent, when you have to borrow it.

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    Taxpayers spend, taxpayers get in the end. (Capitalism 101).
    OK, it doesn't matter what government spends money on then.... all debt is good debt our children will happily pick up the bill even if most of it was spent on parties / trips for politicians.
    Lets get some perspective... we are talking about, as per this article, a shortfall of 600 million dollars. It's not the end of the world.
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Lets get some perspective... we are talking about, as per this article, a shortfall of 600 million dollars. It's not the end of the world.
    So provide the perspective please. What else has Edmonton city recently borrowed $600m for? What could we borrow $600m for? You do realize how much this is?

  32. #32

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    The debt will not fall soley on the city...

    It will be a provincial matter. Look at other shortfalls created by other events and where assitance for those came from...

    Common...
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    The debt will not fall soley on the city....
    OK, that's what I have been asking above, lets make sure the City of Edmonton ensures the Province and Federal government take at least 2/3rds of the risk/debt.

  34. #34

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    If we receive $2.2 Billion worth of infrastructure, tourism, and international promotion for from a $600 Million investment, I think we'd be stupid to pass it up.

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleisthenis View Post
    From my article, "World Class?":

    Broader, bolder leadership from governments is needed worldwide to reduce footprints and conserve energy, which is to say, doing more with less. Itís in this context that Edmontonís proposed EXPO 2017 theme, Harmony of Energy and Our Future Planet, while well intentioned, seems vague and slightly off the mark.

    By sharpening the focus on sharing solutions, we could issue a 5 year challenge in 2012 to nearly five hundred cities with populations more than a million, inviting them to bring delegations of engineers, bureaucrats and politicians to showcase their greenest projects and proposals. Edmonton would then become an energetic nexus of cutting edge urban planning in the summer of 2017, when we would again be a logical host for the ICLEI World Congress, as well as other events like the World Social Forum. Itís against this backdrop that broader discussions of renewable energy, scientific research, technological innovation, as well as progressive provincial and national policy-making should take place.

    Interestingly, tourists wonít fly in from abroad to attend, as figures of potential visitors for events like it are calculated based on a 10-hour drive radius around the host city. People from Vancouver, Winnipeg and Spokane arenít included in the attendance estimate of 1.9 million unique visitors. Less than half from out of province Ė which is to say, Saskatchewan.

    By sharpening the theme, we could increase the relevance of EXPO 2017 and get a practical edge against other bids. As entourages of architects, planners and decision makers from across the continent exchange examples, best practices and lessons learned, we can inspire the world to change. A more specific theme might influence this, such as Local Solutions for the Global Village, or even The Sustainable Urban Environment, to name two.
    Great ideas, thanks for sharing them!
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  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    The debt will not fall soley on the city....
    OK, that's what I have been asking above, lets make sure the City of Edmonton ensures the Province and Federal government take at least 2/3rds of the risk/debt.
    I think past examples speak for themesleves...

    no municapality in Canada has been left on the hook for any events such as this.
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    no municapality in Canada has been left on the hook for any events such as this.
    Wasn't Montreal on the hook for that ridiculously expensive stadium? I think they only paid it off recently.

  38. #38

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    Lots of great opinions here. Unfortunately, quite a few based on not having read the whole piece, as the math is explained in significant detail

    It's not a $600M spending to get infrastructure and spinoff. $600M is our loss on the whole thing AFTER spending on infrastructure and spinoff are considered.

    The infrastructure costs $1.1M. Our overall in-the-red bottom line based on (quite optimistic) visitors spending and economic spinoff is -$1.7 billion.

    Ergo, the equation is whether we want to spend $1.7B to get get $1.1 billion worth of infrastructure.

    Why would anyone say that comes under "spending money to make money?" As the math indicates, the $600M loss is what you're left with AFTER you've made the money.

    That, and the infrastructure.

  39. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    The debt will not fall soley on the city....
    OK, that's what I have been asking above, lets make sure the City of Edmonton ensures the Province and Federal government take at least 2/3rds of the risk/debt.
    I think past examples speak for themesleves...

    no municapality in Canada has been left on the hook for any events such as this.
    Why is it any more beneficial to offload the cost to other levels of government that are equally taxpayer funded? So other communities have to pay for our poor fiscal planning? That's not particularly decent or fair.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    Lots of great opinions here. Unfortunately, quite a few based on not having read the whole piece, as the math is explained in significant detail

    It's not a $600M spending to get infrastructure and spinoff. $600M is our loss on the whole thing AFTER spending on infrastructure and spinoff are considered.

    The infrastructure costs $1.1M. Our overall in-the-red bottom line based on (quite optimistic) visitors spending and economic spinoff is -$1.7 billion.

    Ergo, the equation is whether we want to spend $1.7B to get get $1.1 billion worth of infrastructure.

    Why would anyone say that comes under "spending money to make money?" As the math indicates, the $600M loss is what you're left with AFTER you've made the money.

    That, and the infrastructure.
    Expo86 lost money.

    Does Vancouver regret it? Well, does it?

  41. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    no municapality in Canada has been left on the hook for any events such as this.
    Wasn't Montreal on the hook for that ridiculously expensive stadium? I think they only paid it off recently.
    Montreal and Quebec get HUGE amounts of Public money... not the best example my friend.

    Try again
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  42. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    The debt will not fall soley on the city....
    OK, that's what I have been asking above, lets make sure the City of Edmonton ensures the Province and Federal government take at least 2/3rds of the risk/debt.
    I think past examples speak for themesleves...

    no municapality in Canada has been left on the hook for any events such as this.
    Why is it any more beneficial to offload the cost to other levels of government that are equally taxpayer funded? So other communities have to pay for our poor fiscal planning? That's not particularly decent or fair.
    Do you think that all of BC isn't tied to the health of its main cities....

    Do you know how much the feds take in from oil sands sales and developement? .. Nore do I but I know its A LOT...

    We don't live in a black hole... our success and growth is good for US, the PROV and the FEDS!
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

  43. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    Lots of great opinions here. Unfortunately, quite a few based on not having read the whole piece, as the math is explained in significant detail

    It's not a $600M spending to get infrastructure and spinoff. $600M is our loss on the whole thing AFTER spending on infrastructure and spinoff are considered.

    The infrastructure costs $1.1M. Our overall in-the-red bottom line based on (quite optimistic) visitors spending and economic spinoff is -$1.7 billion.

    Ergo, the equation is whether we want to spend $1.7B to get get $1.1 billion worth of infrastructure.

    Why would anyone say that comes under "spending money to make money?" As the math indicates, the $600M loss is what you're left with AFTER you've made the money.

    That, and the infrastructure.
    You're missing the point many of us are trying to make. There is no issue with your math. What you don't get is that it's not a zero sum event. There are many tangible (and intangible) things that come from having an event like this. Those benefits will continue for years - even decades - after Expo.

    For the sake of discussion, let's say the Vancouver Expo lost money. (Sorry, don't know whether it did or not.) The fact of the matter that the event transformed that city in ways far beyond the infrastructure investments and other costs for Expo. Vancouver would not be the kind of city it is today. Expo was a turning point in that city's development.

    My point is there are many INDIRECT benefits to an event like this. Thinking about from the perspective on whether or not an event like this makes money in and of itself does not seem particularly visionary.

    (And BTW, I now notice that Abaka made this argument with much more clarity and brevity in post #40...)
    Last edited by PJC; 28-10-2010 at 04:53 PM.

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    Expo 86 lost 311 million 1986 dollars.

    http://bobbea.com/expo-86/faq.html

    That's 551 million 2010 dollars (http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/rates/inflation_calc.html). Or, extrapolating the 2.41% average inflation to 2017, 650 million 2017 dollars.

    Anyway, exactly the same as what we are dealing with. Mercucio has argued the rest more eloquently than I could.

  45. #45

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    ^ And is there anyone who regrets that money being spent in Vancouver? It is so much more than "parties for politicians".

  46. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    Lots of great opinions here. Unfortunately, quite a few based on not having read the whole piece, as the math is explained in significant detail

    It's not a $600M spending to get infrastructure and spinoff. $600M is our loss on the whole thing AFTER spending on infrastructure and spinoff are considered.

    The infrastructure costs $1.1M. Our overall in-the-red bottom line based on (quite optimistic) visitors spending and economic spinoff is -$1.7 billion.

    Ergo, the equation is whether we want to spend $1.7B to get get $1.1 billion worth of infrastructure.

    Why would anyone say that comes under "spending money to make money?" As the math indicates, the $600M loss is what you're left with AFTER you've made the money.

    That, and the infrastructure.
    Expo86 lost money.

    Does Vancouver regret it? Well, does it?
    With local spinoff, Expo 86 MADE $5.3B in modern dollars. THat's the whole point of the editorial. with spinoff accounted for, we still lose $600M.

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    Read what the Financial Post was writing about Expo 86 in 1985:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+spinoff&hl=en

    They were already projecting a 300 billion deficit (fairly accurately) and were bloody nervous about what the spinoff would be. They were NOT talking about a +5B blowback.

    Yes, 2017 is a risk for Edmonton. I consider it a risk worth taking.

    And the Edmonton Sun a damnable bunch of small-timers. Grumpy hicks.

  48. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercucio View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    Lots of great opinions here. Unfortunately, quite a few based on not having read the whole piece, as the math is explained in significant detail

    It's not a $600M spending to get infrastructure and spinoff. $600M is our loss on the whole thing AFTER spending on infrastructure and spinoff are considered.

    The infrastructure costs $1.1M. Our overall in-the-red bottom line based on (quite optimistic) visitors spending and economic spinoff is -$1.7 billion.

    Ergo, the equation is whether we want to spend $1.7B to get get $1.1 billion worth of infrastructure.

    Why would anyone say that comes under "spending money to make money?" As the math indicates, the $600M loss is what you're left with AFTER you've made the money.

    That, and the infrastructure.
    You're missing the point many of us are trying to make. There is no issue with your math. What you don't get is that it's not a zero sum event. There are many tangible (and intangible) things that come from having an event like this. Those benefits will continue for years - even decades - after Expo.

    For the sake of discussion, let's say the Vancouver Expo lost money. (Sorry, don't know whether it did or not.) The fact of the matter that the event transformed that city in ways far beyond the infrastructure investments and other costs for Expo. Vancouver would not be the kind of city it is today. Expo was a turning point in that city's development.

    My point is there are many INDIRECT benefits to an event like this. Thinking about from the perspective on whether or not an event like this makes money in and of itself does not seem particularly visionary.

    (And BTW, I now notice that Abaka made this argument with much more clarity and brevity in post #40...)
    That's great. It's also entirely hyperbolic. In point of fact, it's very easy to find out what happened after Vancouver 86.

    1) The component parts of the expo venues were sold off and many are in use today. This is their equivalent to our infrastructure legacy.

    2) They got worldwide recognition. So will we. Is it worth $600 million? Consider how much actual worldwide PR you could launch for that debt.

    3) They got $5.9 billion in modern dollars in spinoff, countered by a $600M operating deficit, in modern dollars. So they made $5.3 B


    Yes, we get the reputation boost. But is spending $1.7B to get that PR boost -- which arguably won't even be close to Vancouver's giving we're half the size and expecting a quarter of the visitors -- along with $1.1B in infrastructure good value for money.

    Are there better ways to spend $600M to publicize our city, or is there too much risk that we'd never get the infrastructure money if we didn't go ahead with expo?

    These are questions based on realistic financial estimates and hard facts. Would it not be better to make the deicision based on those qualities than on the somewhat nebulous offering that it "transformed the city" in Vancouver, which doesn't even account for the obvious disparities between the two events and the two cities.

    As I said at the start of the editorial, it's a grand dream, and we need those. But not at the expense of ignoring our own best interests for intangibles.

    Let me put it to you this way, Mercucio: Do you think $600 million could be better spent, in terms of promoting this city, than an Expo? It's not an intangible. It's a sum based on actual returns from Vancouver.

  49. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    Read what the Financial Post was writing about Expo 86 in 1985:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+spinoff&hl=en

    They were already projecting a 300 billion deficit (fairly accurately) and were bloody nervous about what the spinoff would be. They were NOT talking about a +5B blowback.

    Yes, 2017 is a risk for Edmonton. I consider it a risk worth taking.

    And the Edmonton Sun a damnable bunch of small-timers. Grumpy hicks.
    Nonetheless, why would you aim to lose money without considering if there's better value out there first? That seems a little shortsighted.

  50. #50

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    ^^ Again, you are just taking the event into account. The economic spinoff for the transformed Vancouver since Expo 24 years ago is a lot more than the event-focused 5.3 billion. And you can't put a price on what it ultimately did for the city.

    Even if the EVENT loses money in 2017, the decades after benefits are well worth the $600m.

    Now isn't there a pothole to fix somewhere? Far be it that we get a $20 per month bump in property taxes for this...

    As Oscar Wilde said, "the cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing".

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    ^^To Jloome: Because a world-scale trade fair is exactly and precisely the way to let the world know there is business to be had in Edmonton. It is the best possible value for business development because that is its single purpose.

  52. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    Let me put it to you this way, Mercucio: Do you think $600 million could be better spent, in terms of promoting this city, than an Expo? It's not an intangible. It's a sum based on actual returns from Vancouver.
    I think events like an Expo, an Olympics, a Commonweath Games are the best way to not just promote a city, but also transform it.

    To that end, it could be argued that the Olympics was Calgary's TSN turning point in regards to the competition with Edmonton to be Alberta's major city.

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    Were the 1978 Commonwealth Games a money-loser for Edmonton? Did this event transform the city?
    The Commonwealth Games are small-fry compared to Expos and Olympics.

    My point: don't just compare past Canadian Expos, but past Edmonton big events.
    ďYou have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.Ē - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  54. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    ^^To Jloome: Because a world-scale trade fair is exactly and precisely the way to let the world know there is business to be had in Edmonton. It is the best possible value for business development because that is its single purpose.
    And I tend to believe $600 million could be better spent to promote the city. For cripe's sakes, the entire english-language TV network of the CBC only cost about $300M a year.

    It could also be spent in ways that didn't have "business development" as its "singular purpose." There are many aspects to Edmonton, to me, that trump business development. How does a singular focus on business development equate to good use of public money?

    I think part of the issue is that the public has been so shielded from the magnitude of waste -- both via government and private contractors to government -- over the years that people no longer appreciate how much money that is, and how much more we could actually get for it than a few weeks on the world stage.

  55. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    how much more we could actually get for it than a few weeks on the world stage.
    The expo would last for a good portion of the year, not just a few weeks.


    Like I said earlier, I think Edmonton would get $2.2 Billion worth of infrastructure AND world-wide advertising for $600 million. I don't think Edmonton could get $2.2. Billion worth of anything out of $600 million any other way.

    Some see it as a $600 million loss, I see that as a $600 million investment.

  56. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrOilers View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    how much more we could actually get for it than a few weeks on the world stage.
    The expo would last for a good portion of the year, not just a few weeks.


    Like I said earlier, I think Edmonton would get $2.2 Billion worth of infrastructure AND world-wide advertising for $600 million. I don't think Edmonton could get $2.2. Billion worth of anything out of $600 million any other way.

    Some see it as a $600 million loss, I see that as a $600 million investment.
    But you're not getting $2.2 billion infrastructure, you're getting $1.1 million in infrastructure, and posting a net loss of $1.7B after spinoff is accounted for (and incidentally, the Vancouver number accounts for YEARS of spinoff, not just immediate and direct).

    That means we get $1.1 B in infrastructure.....for $1.1B. The event doesn't somehow cover the cost of this, it's still just tax money.

    We then lose another $600,000,000 on top of that.

    And regardless of how long the Expo lasts, you only get a few weeks of PR out of it, unless something dramatically negative happens. That's an unfortunate media reality.

  57. #57

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    I like the delusion that this will get us world-wide-recognition-this-time-for-sure. Remember a certain set of summer games that garnered more world press for some British guy mocking the city than anything? At least those games had an international angle. Why on earth would anyone else in the world give two ***** about some vaguely energy centered event going on somewhere that is mostly attended by locals and possibly by those from the neighboring prairie jurisdiction?

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    Which is why Expo must aspire to a theme, not just a giant party. If Expo could be anchored by conventions on sites like the Shaw, Expo Centre, U of A and so forth, this could really fly.

    Perhaps student housing could be built at the Expo site that could serve as a site for various VIPs, and subsequently turned over to the U of A when it's done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    Were the 1978 Commonwealth Games a money-loser for Edmonton? Did this event transform the city?
    The Commonwealth Games are small-fry compared to Expos and Olympics.

    My point: don't just compare past Canadian Expos, but past Edmonton big events.
    I think the Commonwealth Games transformed the city. Venues like Commonwealth Stadium and Northlands Coliseum/Rexall Place meant that more concerts stopped by in Edmonton and Western Canada, rather than passing us by. Edmonton grew significantly in the 1970's.
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  60. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cat View Post
    Which is why Expo must aspire to a theme, not just a giant party.
    I disagree. I don't see why a theme would somehow make this event of interest elsewhere in the world? Hell, a giant theme party with a really silly theme would probably get more news coverage. I can tell that I regularly hear about the running of the bulls or that British downhill cheese chase (couldn't tell you where it takes place though...and it might be cancelled.) I can't think of the last time an Expo was international news other than maybe Shanghai's (and well...its in Shanghai...)
    If Expo could be anchored by conventions on sites like the Shaw, Expo Centre, U of A and so forth, this could really fly.
    Again, I'm not sure why having some conventions at the same time would be really big news? Maybe a small mention if something particularly interesting was first revealed there? Even then, Edmonton won't be the story.
    Perhaps student housing could be built at the Expo site that could serve as a site for various VIPs, and subsequently turned over to the U of A when it's done.
    What VIPs? Who would come to this who is actually very important and not just very important for the expo federation or whatever? I really don't understand who people think will be interested in this.

  61. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cat View Post
    I think the Commonwealth Games transformed the city. Venues like Commonwealth Stadium and Northlands Coliseum/Rexall Place meant that more concerts stopped by in Edmonton and Western Canada, rather than passing us by.
    So this is just a shameless bid for new infrastructure right? Trying to coerce the money out of the feds and the province with the promise of an event?
    Edmonton grew significantly in the 1970's.
    Yeah. That was oil an gas. Not the commonwealth games.

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    No Flex, anybody who remembers Edmonton before the major sports facilities will know that Edmonton wasn't large enough for an NHL team, or that Clarke Stadium was like many of the older CFL stadiums. Nothing special. Commonwealth Stadium will be packed for the Grey Cup.

    In any case, you're entitled to your opinion. I just think that Edmonton can re-brand itself with Expo.
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  63. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cat View Post
    No Flex, anybody who remembers Edmonton before the major sports facilities will know that Edmonton wasn't large enough for an NHL team, or that Clarke Stadium was like many of the older CFL stadiums. Nothing special. Commonwealth Stadium will be packed for the Grey Cup.
    No me what? What you have posted here doesn't have a connection to what I wrote? Please explain this comment because I really don't understand how this connects in any way with what I posted.
    In any case, you're entitled to your opinion. I just think that Edmonton can re-brand itself with Expo.
    I know I am entitled to my opinion. Thanks for confirming that? And I disagree. Its an event that even the organizers seem to admit will primarily attract people from nearby. The whole re-branding concept is so vague and unquantifable as to be of no value.

  64. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    Were the 1978 Commonwealth Games a money-loser for Edmonton? Did this event transform the city?
    The Commonwealth Games are small-fry compared to Expos and Olympics.

    My point: don't just compare past Canadian Expos, but past Edmonton big events.
    and look at the amazing stadium and LRT system we got from that one small event...

    How have these venues given back to teh city or how much money hase commonwealth generated over the years of its opperation? If it wasn't for the games our stadium would be much smaller much like calgarys.

    The benifits of expo do not end on closing day... This is a long term investment. You can't focus on the short term return soley.
    Last edited by edmonton daily photo; 29-10-2010 at 11:32 AM.
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    I think that the indirect benefits will live on. Vancouver certainly got the boost it needed from the expo. In just 24 years, Vancouver went from being a stale west coast City to be what it is today. Same could be said for Calgary with the Oly's.
    This is probably the best thing this City could do to raise our profile. It has to be done right and it has to be promoted properly and strategically.

  66. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Cat View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    Were the 1978 Commonwealth Games a money-loser for Edmonton? Did this event transform the city?
    The Commonwealth Games are small-fry compared to Expos and Olympics.

    My point: don't just compare past Canadian Expos, but past Edmonton big events.
    I think the Commonwealth Games transformed the city. Venues like Commonwealth Stadium and Northlands Coliseum/Rexall Place meant that more concerts stopped by in Edmonton and Western Canada, rather than passing us by. Edmonton grew significantly in the 1970's.
    Also three letters: L-R-T

    EDIT: Someone already mentioned it.

    And it's not just about "raising our profile" or "marketing the city", it's also about the post benefits of the transformation of the city. No one thinks about Vancouver as the city that had Expo 86; it's just considered year after year in many diffferent worldwide surveys and studies, as one of the most liveable cities on the planet. EXPO was the catalyst for that.
    Last edited by PJC; 29-10-2010 at 11:59 AM.

  67. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    But you're not getting $2.2 billion infrastructure, you're getting $1.1 million in infrastructure, and posting a net loss of $1.7B after spinoff is accounted for (and incidentally, the Vancouver number accounts for YEARS of spinoff, not just immediate and direct).

    That means we get $1.1 B in infrastructure.....for $1.1B. The event doesn't somehow cover the cost of this, it's still just tax money.

    We then lose another $600,000,000 on top of that.

    And regardless of how long the Expo lasts, you only get a few weeks of PR out of it, unless something dramatically negative happens. That's an unfortunate media reality.
    You chose to ignore the whole "world wide advertizing" thing that I mentioned.

    The rest of the world uses oil and gas and other forms of energy. They are using more of it than ever, in fact. Having their politicians and businesses (i.e. people in power across the world) come to Edmonton (i.e. one of the world's energy capitals) for an Expo is a good way to advertize and give us some much-needed good PR.

    This is on top of the immediate infrastructure gains.
    Last edited by MrOilers; 29-10-2010 at 01:15 PM.

  68. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrOilers View Post
    You chose to ignore the whole "world wide advertizing" thing that I mentioned.
    There will be some advertising benefits, but I think they will be quite local, if Shanghai is anything to go by. That was the biggest of the big expos, but how many people here knew it was on? Expo in Edmonton can be relevant to the energy sector, it can be I think, like a big business convention. It might also benefit from being the first expo in North America for a very long time. At the end of the day though, I don't think the general public really cares about expos today, it is more of a business trip / government bureaucratic trip type of thing.

    Hopefully the infrastructure will make this worth while, a new bridge, arts school at Rosedale, some LRT funding, etc. My fear though is it will be more about building a big suburban campus for UofA. Time will tell I guess.

  69. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrOilers View Post
    You chose to ignore the whole "world wide advertizing" thing that I mentioned.

    The rest of the world uses oil and gas and other forms of energy. They are using more of it than ever, in fact. Having their politicians and businesses (i.e. people in power across the world) come to Edmonton (i.e. one of the world's energy capitals) for an Expo is a good way to advertize and give us some much-needed good PR.

    This is on top of the immediate infrastructure gains.
    Why on earth would they come here for Expo? I think you are severely overestimating the draw.

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    ^They will come if the city and the citizens work at it.

    If enough of us have your attitude, they won't come. In that case we should not bid.

    But that would be a shame.

    Nothing personal (or everything personal, I suppose, if you insist), but the grumpy whining about how there is and can be nothing here becomes really, really tiresome.

  71. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    ^They will come if the city and the citizens work at it.
    No. They don't just come because someone works for it. That's a myth. A useful one to mobilize people but hard work on its own does not get the result even if it is a necessary part of getting to the result.
    If enough of us have your attitude, they won't come. In that case we should not bid.
    I agree. Let's not bid!
    But that would be a shame.
    No it wouldn't! It would be the opposite of a shame. It would be the sound of not wasting money.
    Nothing personal (or everything personal, I suppose, if you insist), but the grumpy whining about how there is and can be nothing here becomes really, really tiresome.
    I didn't say that there can't be anything here or whine about it. I like it here. I just that the Expo2017 bid is not worth the price to be paid, especially given that people have completely unrealistic expectations. I know you have to create an argument for me so you can tear it down more easily, but please don't bother.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^$600m is a lot of money though, if our City ends up that much in the red just to give UofA a hand up, and a one off promotion, we shouldn't do it IMO. We can almost get a low floor LRT line for that, or an Arena. There needs to be some sort of provincial or federal guarantee to protect city taxpayers if there is a risk of deficit on this scale.

    I realize people are probably going to bash the Sun now for being negative, but I'd be interested to learn more about their numbers, because I think what they suggest above is a pretty horrific scenario if it ends up off the backs of Edmonton taxpayers, there are better things for $600m of debt.
    ditto...a petition might start circulating to derail the Expo bid unless the backstop is the Province or Feds. An LRT line is a far greater value for my money. Perhaps the UA should sink in 300 Million from its Endowment funds...

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    "Backstop is the feds".

    Trudeau's hated government kicked in its share for Expo 86 in the 1980-83 period even though they had no hope of gaining seats in the West or winning the 1984 election -- and they did it because Vancouver's development is Canada's development.

    Likewise with many other such events.

    If the feds don't do their part here... I suppose Joe Sixpack's love for Harper &Co. will only increase.

    And that frankly discourages me most.

  74. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    "Backstop is the feds".
    Without the support of the Federal government, and without that support soon enough, expo 2017 won't go ahead. I understand this is what is being negotiated at the moment, it will be interesting to see how much support is provided.

  75. #75

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    jloome - once again, what is the source of your numbers, and the method you used to calculate spin-off benefits etc.?

    I presume from the non-answer that you didn't review the academic literature, which has researched events such as Worlds Fairs. If you're not prepared to do the necessary background research, preferably cited, I'm not prepared to put much stock in your methods, numbers, and, ultimately, your opinion.

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    I think one thing that would work in favour of Expo is showing the value added for facilities like South Campus and Rossdale. Many of the Expo facilities on South Campus could be converted to University use. Also, I think another avenue worth exploring would be finding ways to make this a
    sustainable development, similar to the proposed City Centre Airport development. Something like this could have solar, wind and geothermal energy, all renewable resources.
    "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    The Sun's take. By way of disclosure, I wrote it, so feel free to slag me on a personal basis.

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/comment/e.../15836826.html


    ...They need to understand how much $600 million is in the real world, and how much good it could do for this community, rather than spending it on seven years of parties for politicians, in exchanged for some exceedingly overpriced real estate.
    Coincidentally, some of said political types are off on one of these all expenses paid jollies this week for the closing of the Shanghai EXPO Ė in all honesty, did anyone even know (or care) that it was still open?

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    ^Yes.

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy8244 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jloome View Post
    The Sun's take. By way of disclosure, I wrote it, so feel free to slag me on a personal basis.

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/comment/e.../15836826.html


    ...They need to understand how much $600 million is in the real world, and how much good it could do for this community, rather than spending it on seven years of parties for politicians, in exchange for some exceedingly overpriced real estate.
    Coincidentally, some of said political types are off on one of these all expenses paid jollies this week for the closing of the Shanghai EXPO – in all honesty, did anyone even know (or care) that it was still open?
    I didn't know it was still going on. I probably wouldn't have known it was on at all if not for the local debate and bid. The worldwide PR is vastly overestimated. It just doesn't seem to have the same kind of impact in today's world as it once did.

    I have no idea what the theme was, or what inventions were featured. I'm more familiar with the 2009 Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change (and only because of the unveiling of the "Copenhagen Wheel", which plays into my own interest in bicycles), which I'd guess cost a fraction of what the World's Fair cost.

    I could get behind the bid if I could be convinced Edmonton could really do something special and noteworthy. Maybe our own version of the Copenhagen Wheel, where we unveil an invention with potential for long-term international implications that carries the Edmonton name with it. If it's just a bigger Capital Ex, then I can't support it. I have much different priorities.

    Instead of one big event with questionable impact, I'd prefer to see Edmonton host more focused international events that wouldn't require investing in infrastructure to the extent of the World's Fair.

    We seem to have some desperate need to show the world how great we are that goes well beyond PR, and speaks to a kind of sad insecurity. I personally don't have that problem, but, ironically, see that insecurity as one of the downsides of Edmonton. And there's no shortage of "boosters" (to use a hackneyed pejorative term used too often here that casts too wide a net) on this forum who have a spending addiction that cannot be satisfied, and who I've never heard express any thank you to the taxpayers. Usually quite the opposite. I just wish they'd concentrate on spending some of the money on far more critical issues like affordable housing.

    Instead of telling everyone how great we are, let's just use the same money to be great on our own terms.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 31-10-2010 at 03:06 PM.
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    I did see a lot of stories about the Shanghai "World Expo". It was visited by a reported 73 million visitors, more than double Canada's population over it's six month run. Pretty impressive, even considering most of the people were Chinese, leveraging their huge population.

    It also cost a reported $44 BILLION. USD. Yikes! No-one will likely ever do it bigger. Not even close. I can't see it as being remotely worth it to them. Not at that price. If it cost us 1/40th of that amount, it won't be worth it to us.

    But it doesn't need to. We're not in the same league, financially.
    aka Jim Good; "The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up." - Steven Wright

  81. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by mick View Post
    jloome - once again, what is the source of your numbers, and the method you used to calculate spin-off benefits etc.?

    I presume from the non-answer that you didn't review the academic literature, which has researched events such as Worlds Fairs. If you're not prepared to do the necessary background research, preferably cited, I'm not prepared to put much stock in your methods, numbers, and, ultimately, your opinion.
    My source for the Expo 86 numbers was their report, issued a couple of years after the event (and it's searchable. There are about 50 different reasonably trustworthy sources online with the same numbers. It's not a secret, because it was a comprehensive success).

    My source for the numbers here was the local committee's report, which they presented to us at the Ed Board.

    If you choose to discount the numbers because they don't fit your preconception, go ahead. But I'd like to know why you'd assume a predisposition of bias on my part, as I have no problem with spending public money when it's value is at least debatable. I'm giving people some hard numbers and so far, the only justification I've seen that's actually rational is the guy who said he though $600 million was worth if for the PR. I disagree with him completely, but at least he understands the math.

    By the way, I laid all of these numbers out to the Expo committee, too. They agreed they were accurate.
    Last edited by jloome; 02-11-2010 at 02:32 PM.

  82. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by mick View Post
    jloome - once again, what is the source of your numbers, and the method you used to calculate spin-off benefits etc.?

    I presume from the non-answer that you didn't review the academic literature, which has researched events such as Worlds Fairs. If you're not prepared to do the necessary background research, preferably cited, I'm not prepared to put much stock in your methods, numbers, and, ultimately, your opinion.
    And what if someone held you to that standard? Could you meet it?

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