City debt continues to grow

Having visited the site of the old arena, one could only be dismayed by the struggle and Herculean efforts required to demolish the old arena thus creating enough waste, at great expense, to comfortably fill our garbage dump. However, all is not being thrown out. The new arena will incorporate the neon sign which “will serve as a backdrop to the memories and history that will be made in the new facility.” The recent historic borrowing binge by the city will certainly serve to provide lasting memories to Red Deer taxpayers that they well long to forget.

Having visited the site of the old arena, one could only be dismayed by the struggle and Herculean efforts required to demolish the old arena thus creating enough waste, at great expense, to comfortably fill our garbage dump. However, all is not being thrown out. The new arena will incorporate the neon sign which “will serve as a backdrop to the memories and history that will be made in the new facility.” The recent historic borrowing binge by the city will certainly serve to provide lasting memories to Red Deer taxpayers that they well long to forget.

If the old arena was in private hands it would have been repaired and maintained for continued use. The funds which have been committed to this new edifice should have instead been used to provide countless community recreational facilities for the use of all residents.

Ironically, we are told this is in an effort “to create a greener and more efficient operation and will be a host facility for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.” How green and efficient can it possibly be when we fill up our dump with waste from a legacy asset that refuses to die under the wrecker’s ball in order to create a boastful bauble for an event that will occupy only a couple of weeks of anyone’s attention?

We are told that this is a great infrastructure initiative that is coming in at a sale price because of the downturn in the Alberta economy. This approach is in accord with the “Happy Days” approach that dime-store politicians are selling these days. Why is is that after having saved cash, the city will have less money and bigger debt?

This council and administration promotes and participates in what is described as “the broken window theory of economics.” In their view, if a kid throws rocks through a window it creates a lot of economic activity for the glass manufacturer, the installer, the waste company, the police, and untold other benefits, including for the insurer who will increase insurance premiums. New areas are sale-priced and we need the economic activity. One wonders if one shouldn’t have built two or more arenas since they are on sale?

No one ever borrowed themselves to prosperity. The resulting debt is a gift which keeps giving and leads to negative multiplier effects.

Donald A. Petersen, Red Deer