JWs Unhappy with Convention Facility

by Scully 5 Replies latest social current

  • Scully

    Hamilton Spectator article, March 3, 2006

    PDF view of newspaper page (I'm not sure how long this will be available - if you want to DL it, do it soon!)

    Church unhappy with Copps

    'Inadequate' conditions cited
    By Peter Van Harten
    The Hamilton Spectator
    (Mar 3, 2006)

    The Jehovah's Witnesses are warning they're unhappy with the "inadequate" conditions at Copps Coliseum.

    And that's alarming Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc. as it prepares to negotiate a new five-year deal with a customer that has brought millions of dollars in business to the city.

    In addition, the city's own public works staff has decided not to hold its 2006 staff Christmas party at the city's convention centre because of the extra costs of parking.

    The deteriorating condition at Copps and the loss of money-generating functions and events have become a major concern for HECFI.

    The city-owned complex of Copps, Hamilton Place and the convention centre had a $600,000 deficit last year. Officials are seeking a $2.6 million subsidy this year - a 5.1 per cent increase at a time when the city is limiting subsidies to 3 per cent.

    In a letter to HECFI, Jehovah's Witnesses spokesmen say they have "reservations" about holding more conventions at Copps because of leaking pipes and broken seats. They point to a first aid room that can't be used because of mould and repair problems. And they note having to buy and put aluminum plates over stair floor openings on mobile seating.

    Although assured some of the problems have been, and are being, dealt with, HECFI board members have reacted with alarm to the potential loss of Watch Tower conventions and to the issue of parking.

    The Jehovah's Witnesses bring 11,000 to 15,000 members to Copps for three-day conventions, usually twice and sometimes three times a year.

    Since 1986, the church has held 35 three-day events at Copps.

    "We bring in millions (of dollars) to the city," said Paul Kikot, a convention negotiator with Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Copps is not just an area, "it's our place of worship" said Kikot, who added that's why volunteers diligently clean the seats, washrooms and other parts of Copps at their conventions.

    He stressed the Watch Tower Bible Society is very pleased with its reception each year at Copps and the efforts of its staff "whose hands are tied, to an extent. We hope to continue to come."

    David Adames, Tourism Hamilton CEO, says the Jehovah's Witnesses are an "important" convention customer with a substantial impact on the city's economy.

    "Every time they come, they fill up a number of hotels and restaurants," he said.

    Anna Marie DiPronio, one of the organizers of the Hamilton public works staff Christmas party, said they considered holding the 2006 event and meal at the city convention centre "because we are all under the same umbrella and should work as a team."

    But with the 225 to 250 guests already being charged $25 each to attend, the additional parking authority charges were too much to bear. "It's unfortunate," she said.

    Mayor Larry Di Ianni, a member of the HECFI board, has told HECFI staff that board members need to be regularly updated on concerns raised by clients and the progress of any repairs. And he's concerned that charges at the Hamilton parking authority garage are a "deal breaker" for attracting functions.

    Duncan Gillespie, the chief executive officer at HECFI, says maintenance problems are being dealt with. But he agreed there is no denying the upgrades needed at Copps and challenges facing HECFI.

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  • purplesofa

    This makes me think of a beautiful new arena in our area that the witnesses will not use because of the parking issue. I think the most you will find to pay is $20 a day. Three days $60.

    But here, they would rather go to a run down place as it has free parking.

    Maybe the society fears the donations for the convention would go down because of the parking charge.

    I still think about the articles and experiances they give of witnesses in third world countries......that walk for days......crossing rivers, and other hardships, how they stay in tents......sew their clothes before the convention from the damage done during the trips.

    For most of us, we drive in air conditioned cars, have a nice cooler for our foods, get to stay in hotel, shower........put on our pantyhose and heels and new dress..........and bitch about a few hardships.

    On one hand they want humble people, with meager jobs...........but on the other they scrimp and haggle over things like this.

    Did anything I write make sense!!!!

  • Scully

    This is so typical of negotiation processes.

    The JWs don't want to fork out extra money for parking facilities. The way things are set up now, they can't get JWs to buy parking vouchers because they would have to report this to the facility and reimburse the money. That takes away from contributions.

    I remember having to sweat out 3 and 4 day conventions in buildings that had A/C because the cost of running the A/C was $3000/day. Even when the brothers volunteered to pay the extra money the A/C wasn't turned on. That means the extra money went straight into the WTS's pockets.

    And I seriously doubt the claim that they bring in "millions of dollars" for tourism. Most conventioneers live in the immediate area. And with the WTS's instructions to JWs to not leave the convention facility for meals and bring their own lunches I highly doubt that the revenue they create is worth the trouble.

  • blondie

    I didn't think any facility could be bad enough if the price were right.

    I can remember a brother from the KH platform telling the audience that in Africa the JWs sat on logs and had no air conditioning and had to walk 15 miles to the convention.

    I knew he would never sit on a log, sweating, after walking from his house to the convention 5 miles away (he lived in the convention city).

    I will say that when I was growing up in a family with an abusive, money-controlling father, $60 would have been hard to come up with. But then maybe we could have walked and saved the parking fee.

    I think it boils down to the fact that they WTS is low on cash, more money has been going out than coming in over the past 15 years and they are starting to feel the pinch. I think they would take the facility if they were given a reduction in price. We know that the "privileged" brothers won't be sitting on the broken seats; they will be sitting in the cushy places reserved for dignitaries to that facility.


  • sf



  • Big Tex
    Big Tex

    Have no fear. Administration of the convention will be kept comfortable, dry and the air-conditioning will be set to "frigid".

    At least that's how it worked in Dallas. Damn cheapskates.

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