In this corner, wearing black and blue...the Great Canadian Casino!
In the other corner wearing, white and black hats and yellow trunks its Coquitlam city council!
The other night as I was getting ready for bed I flipped the TV on and as I brushed my teeth with one hand, I was channel surfing with the TV remote in the other. (Like you haven't done that!) Anyways I came upon the Coquitlam city council meeting and I left it there for the remainder of the night. No, I don't record CPAC to watch later in the day and usually council meetings are quite boring but this one had all the elements of a great movie. Good guys vs. bad guys, infighting and backstabbing put-downs and accusations....and that was just on the council's side. On the other side was Howard Blank representing the Great Canadian Casino and their plan to host an outdoor boxing match at the Boulevard Casino in Coquitlam.
Before I go any further, I will disclose the fact that I've known Howard for years. He is very good at his job and is well connected in the entertainment industry. The other thing you should know about Howard is he thinks BIG and he always does things the right way.
So there was Howard presenting his proposal to council, but what was so entertaining/frustrating was the council's discussion. I won't name names but there were some people in favour of the event and some who weren't. I can understand that. Years ago, I used to cover council meetings for radio and what I witnessed the other night was something I hadn't really seen since I covered council and district meetings in Nanaimo in the Joy Leach vs. Gary Korpan days. Cheap shots, in-fighting, grandstanding, not-in-my-backyarding and a lot of "I speak for the people" type of talk.
At the centre of the debate was "Is this the image we want for Coquitlam?"
With Ultimate Fighting on tv, and shows like CSI showing in great detail the inside view of a bullet ripping through vital organs, the fact that boxing was creating such a controversy seemed silly. Back when I hosted Classic Radio Theatre on CKNW, we had to spend a lot of time editing out the smoking commercials from the 1940's that ran in the old time radio shows. The ads would say something like "Four out of five doctors prefer the taste of Camels." Most everyone loved hearing them as it was funny to hear what was promoted back then. The reason we had to delete them was one person complained, thinking it might influence little Johnny and little Suzie to start smoking. Well, these shows used to air between midnight and 3am - if little Johnny and Suzie are up that late, they are probably already doing things worse than thinking about smoking.
This just in....boxing fans will be the ones going to see boxing at the casino and watching it on TV.
People who like to cook watch cooking shows. People who like to make home improvements watch HGTV and people who like golf will watch golf. Its no different. No one is forcing small children and homeless puppies to watch boxing. Self defense sportslike boxing, judo taekwondo and such are very popular in the tri-cities. One councillor opposed to the idea was quoted as saying "If I can save one person from becoming a vegetable, I think I've done a great deed to the community."
The second issue was how quickly this was being pushed through council. Now I can understand the desire to have more time but do we need to have public hearings for everything? Can't council just make a decision? Forward thinking, progressive decision makers in council could have wrapped this up a lot sooner. Yes or no? Move on.
Canada has become a country of hearings, reports and inquiries. Before, during and after. Costly, time consuming meeting after meeting. Where are the leaders? The decision makers? The people who will move our cities ahead to be seen as a "place to be" rather than a "place people come from". Some may already be on council. Some may lead Coquitlam in the near future and when they do I hope they see the opportunities - and act on them.
What do you think about council and the boxing proposal? I say "Bring it on!"
And on the undercard we could have the mayor and her council.