Fixing ‘Boring’ Moniker Can Be Disastrous

Empty seats at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre during an Abbotsford Heat home game

By Mike Archer. Before anyone suggests we do something about the fact that the rest of the country considers Abbotsford boring (Dave Loewen’s pro-Abbotsford Tweets aside), let’s remember what happened the last time someone tried to fix the situation.

Rather than being less boring (an admittedly difficult, though much less expensive path), the brain trust at Abbotsford City Hall decided to spend half a billion dollars building a hockey rink and buying (OK leasing) a professional hockey team.

Partly in an effort to pay for that decision we have flushed $41 Million in infrastructure reserves (DCCs) down the proverbial toilet, increased taxes 50 percent, doubled water rates, brought building permits and housing starts to a standstill and we continue to hemorrhage tax dollars to the local owners of the Abbotsford Heat and the Calgary Flames thanks to George Peary’s Deal to have his friends and neighbours cover their losses for ten years.

All of this was ostensibly done to help us shed our image as a boring city.

Didn’t work.

Now we’re still boring … but also broke.

Councillor and former banker John Smith

Councillor and former banker John Smith

Former Councillor, Plan A architect, and Chamber of Commerce Director Bruce Beck

Former Councillor, Plan A architect, and Chamber of Commerce Director Bruce Beck

The fact it was a banker and an investment guru who championed the plan without taking compound interest, downside risk, decade long operating losses or the budgetary impact of not having a business plan into account is, though mind boggling, at least a sobering reminder to pay attention when we believe political slogans, but, more importantly it ought to serve notice on anyone intent on trying to fix our boring reputation again … please don’t.

It is much less expensive to accept the fact we are a boring City and put our efforts into licking our wounds, paying our bills and having our political class step back from the ‘borrow’ button, and the ‘giveaway’ button and stop spending money we don’t have.

If the cover photo (top right) of the attendance at an Abbotsford Heat game is an example of how exciting life can get when your spend half a billion dollars … let’s not do that anymore.

And there’s always the point of view expressed by the APD’s Ian MacDonald to Postmedia on the subject of being a boring city:

“In 2008 and 2009 we were named the Homicide Capital of Canada. So a couple of years of calm and flying under the radar is a good thing.

“A little boring isn’t the worst thing in the world.”

Abbotsford Tourism Executive Director Dan Stefanson

Abbotsford Tourism Executive Director Dan Stefanson

Addendum: We’ve always wondered why we spend so much money on Abbotsford Tourism when we are not a tourism destination – nobody comes to Abbotsford for the sites, the nightlife or the scenery. Mostly they come here because they have to.

What if we were to embrace our boring nature and do something exciting with it? Abby Tourism could organize tours of the most boring parts of town, sell tickets to the shortest, quietest and most boring city council meetings anywhere, run contests testing visitors knowledge of the things you can’t do in Abbotsford …

We could have different neighbourhoods paint the fronts of their house on different days so that tourists can come to watch it dry …


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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Rob B says:

    When are people going to learn. Boring and government intervention go hand-in-hand. The only way to vitalize any city is to let freedom go to work by getting Government Bureaucrat out of the way and thereby reduce regulations, thereby reduce spending, thereby reduce taxes and allow people to spend and invest their money back into the community. The amount of money the City spent on policing is ridiculous. The amount of money they spend on the war on drugs is mind boggling. There is so much tax money wasted on funding pet projects that never pay out long term, so why continue to fund them?

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