Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good job, Brodbeck

Brodbeck wrote a very how-dare-ye-oppose-development column today. I might have been able to respectfully read and disagree with his column, except that I have a serious issue with it. He twisted and spun statements that I had made yesterday at the public hearing into a fabricated statement.

"Others thought the Ikea should go downtown. That's a laugh. Right, we're going to tell a multi-billion retail corporation they have to move into the old A&B Sound building on Portage Avenue. "

I will step forward and say both that I was the only person yesterday who said anything about downtown, and I was also the only person who made reference to the A&B Sound building.

Before you go to the "post comment" button and degrade any credibility I may or may not have, read on.

The following events happened yesterday:

1) I was the first to speak in opposition to the plan.

2) I spoke of downtown and the lack of focus on it. I was the only person to say anything about downtown.

3) I referenced the A&B Sound building as an example of vacant buildings as intense development happens on fringe areas of the city. I was the only person to reference A&B Sound.

4) Councilor Fielding was the only councilor to ask me a question. He asked me if I was suggesting IKEA be built downtown. I said NO. (In fact, I had never, ever, ever suggested that IKEA move downtown)

5) Nobody else following me who had to speak said ANYTHING about downtown. NOBODY else following me stated that IKEA should be built downtown.

So how does Brodbeck come up with a statement saying that people were there saying that IKEA should be built downtown, and specifically reference building it on the A&B Sound building?

Brodbeck's column is about people like me. How DARE we oppose IKEA! How DARE we! How DARE we question such a complex project that was rushed through the critiquing process!

Of course, the mood was much different, but Brodbeck failed to capture that. Most people such as myself were concerned not about IKEA, again, but the rest of the plan. The rest of the development. Not the IKEA store. I am confident none of us would have been there had the plan been JUST for an IKEA store.

3 strikes for Brodbeck:

- Made up information about people at the public hearing wanting IKEA to move downtown
- Did not listen to my answer to Fielding's question
- Did not approach me after to ask me any questions about my speech

Of course, he couldn't come and ask me directly afterwards. Otherwise he wouldn't have been able to make such a strong case against those of us pooh-poohing how rushed and quickly this plan has come to fruition without much consultation from anybody. He couldn't listen to my answer to Fielding, because I was the only one saying anything about downtown, and that fit his bill.

In my opinion, Brodbeck had already made up his mind about those of us in opposition before any of us opened our mouths. He wanted to write a piece about how ridiculous it was that people were opposing IKEA...conveniently stepping lightly on the fact that none of us in opposition were actually opposed to the IKEA store. Of course, such a piece would earn him roaring applause and no doubt generate comments and feedback about how ridiculous it is that "somebody" wants an IKEA on the A&B Sound building, and how DARE anybody speak against IKEA, don't people in this city want progress?

That "somebody" is ficticious. Nobody said that and, I reiterate, nobody said anything about IKEA going downtown.

In my correspondence with Brodbeck over this, he declined that he had actually quoted me and said that he didn't use my name, which is true. Based on this, he accused me of "making stuff up," and said that he never wrote anything about me wanting an IKEA downtown. When I asked him which speaker it was who said IKEA should go downtown, he did not answer.

Who's making stuff up, Tom?

We obviously don't see eye to eye on this subject, and I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is somebody taking my statements and twisting them into fiction to satisfy his own argument, and then not having the audacity to admit it.

That's low, dude. Low.


nick said...

hopefully you send mr. brodbeck a link to your post; i know i already have.

not that i expect any sort of apology from him.

jonathan said...

Tom Brodbeck makes Gordon Sinclair look like a Pullitzer prize winner.

Anonymous said...

I like Brodbeck but he was out of line. I think people who suggested IKEA downtown in past blogs or commentary suggested Hudson Bay, which could easily house an ikea for Winnipeg shoppers.

Couple that with a warhouse for shipping to the surrounding area by the "inland port " location, it wouldn't be that impractical.

Sorry that he took your words and twisted them to try and make a point.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, one more thing graham, perhaps the most disgusting part of this story is that...aside from the fact only one councilor had a question....

It is that a person can't make an honest statement or express an opinion without someone else putting it into print and take it out of context, which ridicules the one who made the statement.

I feel the pain man.

Dave Shorr said...

Your right on the money. I like most people have no problem with IKEA; we have an inferiority complex in this town and this retail symbol may be what we need to boost our fragile egos.

That being said...why on earth are we spending 10's of millions of dollars facilitating this? I understand the "we'll be getting it back in taxes" argument, but this isn't a matter of dollars and cents.

The core of our city is in a crisis, in absolute rot and decay. Every urban planning expert who has opined on Winnipeg has said that we are sprawling our selves to death. That 10 million could be used in some form or another to attract residential developers downtown which we desperately, desperately need.

I don't know that we could have an IKEA downtown, and I don't know that would solve the problems. However, the city's approach to a city in crisis is akin to treating lung cancer with a pair of fancy new shoes.

thebanana said...

I'm surprised that you're surprised. :)

Anonymous said...

Constructing straw-men is easier than soberly dealing with real complexity. That's the way of Winnipeg Sun comments. Don't expect anything of value from that waste of paper.

Fabio Rodela said...

Uhm. I've been away from WPG since 1978 (brief visit in 1987). I do recall that downtown had already started decline back in the early 80's, and many developments (Portage Place, MTS Centre, etc) have been built to try and bring life back to the heart of Winnipeg. High rise condos have been built in the surrounding areas, but maybe it's time to build some right smack downtown within the office complexes. Looking at satellite images of SW Winnipeg, alot of development is going on right now. Hopefully, new residential areas will pop up further SW (not including Waverley West) and I do hope that the properties will be a bit larger than what they've been in recent developments. Winnipeg might experience a little boom inside this recession, but I hope the city continues it's current pace, so not to collapse, just like many other cities have after their hoopla petro-booms (Edmonton-Calgary). Nice post Graham.
-Electrician, from the Sandbox.

Dave Shorr said...

Worth noting too is that Tom is a free market man, and has been the first in line to poo poo on other publicly financed entities, ie new football stadium. A true capitalist believes that you achieve personal gain through personal risk. It seems to me that IKEA is not exposing themselves to any risk in this business venture, never minding the fact that their own coffers dwarf our own city coffers.

Prairie Topiary said...

Donaldstreet nailed what I was hoping to say.

I've come to expect nothing better than this sort of sloppy work from Brodbeck, who never lets facts get in the way of a good argument.

Sorry to hear your good work and efforts were misrepresented.

Brad said...

I basically took my comment from the sun but I think it still works here.

"You know the Idea of an IKEA is great but not the "drive to shop" box stores that will be the result of the expansion.
My point is, IKEA should be out there at at Stirling Line because no one shopping there will be taking a bus. Putting the store downtown is foolish. The amount of big rigs and customers going to the store would make downtown inaccessible.

I want to see IKEA be built, I don't want us to flip the bill, and I DON'T want to see another "drive to shop" strip malls like we have at Kenaston. Come winter time it is a miserable experience to try to walk from store to store in - 15 weather. Good thing we live in Winnipeg where we don't get THAT cold... Good grief"

Anonymous said...

The amount of big rigs and customers going to the store would make downtown inaccessible.

I am astonished at the lack of creativity.

1) IKEA downtown at the Hudsons bay building would be exactly the type of catalyst the City needs.

2) Just because you purchase the product downtown does not mean you'll need a BIG RIG to get it.

3) Big Rigs can work during the 10PM to 6 AM time slot to fill the store.

4) Making use of the inland port ( maybe even get it built sooner ) would allow IKEA to warehouse the tons of material it will be shipping to internet and mail order clients that they have eyed in picking Winnipeg as their market.

5) Same warehouse can be used for locals to pick up large items in a convenient and efficient manner.

And all of this can be accomplished to satisfy a few issues.

That being said, it'll be built as specified. But we can still bullshit about it.

Brad said...

@ Nobody

I see your point it's all bs now because IKEA is said and done, but;

I can't see a store like IKEA not having a steady stream of Semi's going into it. Sure, you could force them to only come downtown at night, but I think it will be like the post office. Steady stream of them all day because truckers work on their own schedule.

Moving on to parts of downtown;

Maybe take A&B sound and turn it into a grocer. I've never found a shop where I can buy food after 6pm downtown, Want people to flock to the Core? Give them somewhere to live, somewhere to purchase food, and something to do after 6pm.

Anonymous said...


Grocery stores, "something to do" at night, and all the rest will come as a consequence of people living in the area, not the reverse. I'd be a terrible businessman if I opened up a grocery store where nobody lived in the hopes that this will spur development in the area. All sorts of small busineses will come to the area if their is a demand in that space for their services.

Perhaps I'm arguing for the chicken and you for the egg, but I do think that community, businesses, and all the rest are a consequence of people.


PS: What about Fredette's for groceries? Not the best prices, but they are open late enough for me. And the Fyxx is a great spot to read the paper, surf the web, and bring a scrabble or chess game. So, there isn't nothing, just not everything I'd hope for.

Brad said...

@ Donald.

Agreed, it's completely a chicken and egg problem. Maybe renting units with a grocery store plan could work hand in hand.

Oh and I just realized something brought up on Policy Frog. Maybe if you Graham can answer if that question was asked in the meeting?

Those rigs going to Ikea have to come from somewhere right? Where are they going to come from and how will that supply of trucks affect the roadways in that area? Wilks can't handle it, sterling line can't right now and Kenaston already has traffic problems with rigs.

I guess that's all in the "Plan"

Graham said...


Councilor Clement was the one asking most of the useless questions, and in that mess of said questions came something about where the trucks will come from and how they will get there.

I don't know why it's such a big deal, I mean, jeez, you need how many trucks a day going to what's already there.

Supposedly at some point Kenaston will be extended to the perimiter. Trucks coming off of Wilkes will of course go through the massive Sterling/Kenaston intersection.

I also remember hearing something about Lowson and Rothwell. If I remember correctly there will be an intersection at Lowson leading into the IKEA store.

Otherwise I totally agree with what you guys are saying about downtown. There's a grocery store in The Bay, but it's not big enough. I've always had the idea that the Bay building could become a multi-store building: grocery on the basement and first floor, something else on the second, the Bay on the top two. Something like that.

Anonymous said...

Boy you guys are a tough crowd.

Lets see, you get hung up on Big rigs, vs bringing a shitload of people downtown to shop. You get hung up on a BRT instead of bringing thousands of people downtown, Now you are talking about a grocery store or reading a paper at a drippy coffee house.

No wonder Clement looked like he wanted to smack his head against a wall listening to the presenters. It's like he was saying....and why are you wasting my time.....Why am I here ? I got serious big money things to talk about...can I go now.

Graham said...

To clarify, Nobody, the only person hung up on big rigs and loading docks was Clement. But I get your point.

To anybody who thinks like Clement or Brodbeck, yeah, we seem like wingnuts wasting his time.

Brad said...

I'm just pointing out things that are ideas and concerns people could have. If I took the time to form my thoughts in to a logical order I still think the council members would still have their heads spinning.

Also here we might not be as professional as if we had a mike in our faces. I just think there are so many problems and questions than there are solutions and answers to the IKEA question.

Anonymous said...

Hello Winnipeg Bloggers: Here's a bit of shameless self-promotion for Don Street.

The Elmwood prediction post is up and running. Come by and prove your predictive powers!


PS: The worst predictor will have the honourary title of "Brodbeck" for one month hence.

Jasonthepear said...

You can't build an IKEA at the A&B sound building, lol. That place wouldn't even be big enough for IKEA's cafeteria!

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