Saturday, November 7, 2009

Some good news


Toronto has won the 2015 Pan Am games. Like the Olympics, this draws in crowds, and media attention. Also like the Olympics, this has side effects attached to it.

This is good for the economy. People debate weather the games "cost" more than it "brings in" but these are false options. The "costs" often include construction, and the spending on that (by the government) goes to corporations and individuals. The economic benefit is therefore not cost minus 'profit' but cost plus 'profit'. The only one that stands to 'lose' is the Government's chequebook; and since the 'profit' of the games is not taxed at 100%, the games would 'lose' money regardless.

Being Mayor of Toronto, and to a lesser extent, Premier of Ontario, and Prime Minister of Canada in 2015 suddenly has become more important. We will have one provincial election, two municipal elections, and one, two, or more federal elections between now and then. The job of Mayor becomes much more sexy with this on the table, and it may give big names like Tory and Smitherman more of a reason to run. This would also give Harper and McGunity, presuming they get re-elected, a good 'break' and 'excuse' to leave.

This likely means much better public transit for Toronto. One of the big things that governments spend money on when they win bids such as this one is building a better and better public transit network to move around all the visitors to the games. Toronto has some great plans, but with the recent economic troubles, it became possible that like other past good ideas that have been proposed for public transit in Toronto, that this one could just become a "what could have been". My personal worry was that this recession would either directly or indirectly kill some of the great plans for transit that we have. Personally, my fear levels have been reduced, and I feel much more confidant about our future.

This is something that will pop up repeatedly, especially locally, again and again between now and 2015. Congrats to the committee who won us this bid.

Sorry, no extra data today!


Chris said...

Let me be the first to burst your bubble. I was in Winnipeg for the '99 Pan Am Games (I even volunteered at the beach volleyball venue). The Pan-Am Games aren't nearly as big as the Olympics. There weren't any transit improvements in Winnipeg - hopefully Toronto does a better job of this. And I don't think there were a lot of economic spin-offs. Did you even know Winnipeg hosted the games?

I'm also living in Vancouver now, and we're already having an Olympics hangover. A lot of what was originally promised wasn't delivered (social promises, environmental promises) weren't delivered on. Now we're seeing laws outlawing homelessness. The police are harassing downtown prostitutes. Freedom of speech has been severely curtailed.

Don't let Toronto make the same mistakes.

nixtuff said...

I'm not suggesting that new proposals for transit will be built, but rather that the ones we have now will not be cancelled.