Disappointment with the P.A.C.
Bait and switch?
Why do I feel like I've been ripped off? Promised a Cadillac, only to be sold a Lada (no offence to Russian car manufacturers).
First off, I must say this. I am in support of the new Performing Arts Centre for downtown St. Catharines. Alongside the rebuild & rebirth of the old Hair Cloth building and the new arena, this will drastically reshape the downtown, not just physically but socially & economically. I believe in the downtown because once we, as a city, finish building (and moving) out, we must move back in - and that's just a matter of time for St. Catharines. Downtown St. Catharines will flourish again in my lifetime, and I'm happy to be on the leading edge.
When the P.A.C. was proposed, I was excitied about the plans & drawings. Enormous glass fronts drawing eyes in from St. Paul. A lavish foyer worthy of a suit. Mabrle urinals - well, OK - the designs were never THAT great, nor should they be. But the P.A.C. was going to be an eye-catching build that would stop most pedestrians in their tracks.
Now, the lowest bid from the 4 potential contractors is $10,000,000 OVER budget - almost 25%. So, the project is going to be scaled down to meet budget. Just like the parking garage. Just like the arches over Queen St. in Niagara Falls (sorry to draw the honeymoon capital into this).
It's not the end of the world, but it's also not what I was sold. And it's too late to turn back. When we, as a city, as a community, backed council's vision for the P.A.C., it was not for a scaled down version of what was proposed - it was for WHAT WAS PROPOSED!
The problem is, I don't have a solution, just a bad taste in my mouth.
Should we throw more $$ at it to get what we were sold? Actually, that seems like the better option, but with so many expenses ahead, there's no way council can do that and expect to get reelected. There seems to be no way our tax base can support it either.
So without an alternate solution, I guess I shouldn't be too critical, just happy we're getting anything at all.
I guess I just hope the scaled-down redesign has as much cache as the original. Otherwise, it will be a $42,000,000 reminder of what we didn't get.
I hope we're better when it comes time for the arena - otherwise, we'll be watching the IceDogs play in a 2,500 seat modernized Jack Gatecliffe. Hardly what we were promised.
PS - I know I haven't been a regular contriubutor to 610cktb.com of late, but I hope to change that. Check back in the coming days for more of my blogs, and of course, feel free to comment here, send me an email, or friend me on Facebook - KJ