There are going to be more than a few people who won’t like what Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman has to say in this edition about the entertainment and sports centre, and the deal made with the AHL Heat hockey team.
However, his remarks reflect reality – which some critics have difficulty accepting.
Banman has come to the realization that the Heat team is here for at least seven years, and further complaining and recrimination won’t change that.
In fact, it will likely cost the city even more.
It is the task of Banman and council to guide this community to economic prosperity.
To that objective, bashing the Heat and criticizing the creation of the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre offers no positive solutions.
Once the decision was made to build the arena, it required a major tenant. A BCHL or ECHL team was not going to have the potential to generate the necessary revenue. As it turned out, the AHL squad is challenged in that regard as well, for a number of reasons, with a dramatic downturn in the economy chief among them.
You can say there were mistakes made in the past, and your new mayor has apologized for them – even though they’re not of his making.
Now, by moving forward he is taking the only logical option open to the city.
He knows the Canucks’ farm team is not coming here, he knows the Heat are not leaving, he knows an arena in the red cannot (and should not) be sold, and he knows that more fans is the only way to get the Heat off the city books.
That’s the way ahead.
Now let’s get on with it.