Those Canada Day cycling races – the elite championship event – Iffy, iffy. Promoter has lost the confidence of police and city staff.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON April 26, 2010 – We are going to continue to work with the promoter and develop a safe plan for this event.

Problem is that the promoter of the event is having one heck of a job getting all his ducks lined up and can’t provide some of the plans the police require because he doesn’t have the information he needs from different municipal departments.

The Halton Regional Police Service is going through the motions but they have lost patience with Craig Fagan of the Mid week Cycling Club – that happens when you bounce a cheque payable to the police.

At a council committee meeting last week the police asked if it were possible to have the date for the delivery of Event Traffic Plans and Mitigations Plans brought forward to May 2nd – arguing that they needed time to ensure they could bring in the support they needed from neighbouring police services to man the roads on which the cycling races are to take place. It looked as if the police wanted to bring the “withdraw support date” forward from the 16th of May to the 2nd because they sensed that Fagan was not going to be able to meet the required commitments.

Fagan, according to the police had yet to meet any of the committees by the due date however, after prodding the documents or data the police required got to them. One had the sense that the police were just fed up and would cheerfully walk away from the event and that city staff were of basically the same mind.

Everyone was clinging to the hope that Fagan would actually deliver and that he races would be a huge success – but that is looking les and less likely – which will put a huge crimp Burlington had in developing a ‘sports tourism’ business for the city. The geography is almost custom made the this kind of business and the business community is certainly onside – having gone to the effort to obtain a waiver from the Business Holiday Act that would allow many of them to remain open on Sunday.

Fagan who has yet to be really effective at a city council or committee meeting, claiming that he is not really getting the kind of support he needs from the police services, does appear to have the support of the business people and is said to have made a very strong presentation to the Burlington Downtown Business Association.

Fagan has to come up with very close to $100,000 (by certified cheque if you don’t mind) by noon of May 18th or the police services will with draw their support and will be followed by the city of Burlington.

It took Fagan much longer than he expected to get his agreement with the city in place and without the agreement with the city he couldn’t accept registrations from elite riders. No registration money and no funds to pay the police.

Signs for the event actually taking place are not all that good at this point – seem to hinge on a ‘hope and a prayer’.

Signs for the event actually taking place are not all that good at this point – seem to hinge on a ‘hope and a prayer’.

Because of difficulty with getting Fagan to meet deadlines the police and the city put him on a short lease and required him to report every three weeks. The police would have liked it to have been an even shorter leash. HRPS Deputy Chief Bob Percy had hoped that perhaps the Canadian Cycling Association would guarantee payment of the bills.

If Fagan is depending on registrations and the registrants for the Time Trial portion of the Canadian Road Cycling Championships that had to be moved to the Belfontain-Caledon area are any indication – then folks, there is trouble in paradise – because the registration web site for Ontario Cycling, the organization that handles registrations and fee collection, doesn’t have a single registrant shown for the three different sets of Time Trials. There are maps and course details and where to drop off and all kinds of data for riders – but no registration names.

The HRPS are being pretty tight lipped about everything. When asked to explain just what a Mitigation Document was Inspector Ivan Lortie, the point man on this file, said the police would rather not say and wanted at this time “to work with just the organizer” so it is difficult to know if Fagan’s argument that the police are being onerous in their requests for information and detail has any merit. Whichever, it has become a dysfunctional relationship and one doesn’t build community that way.

Fagan does not respond to telephone calls or email requests for information or confirmation. He apparently doesn’t show up for meetings either.

At an earlier Burlington council committee meeting there was much concern over whether Fagan could actually pull in the registrations. He assured Council he could do that once he had an agreement in place. He has had his agreement in hand for more than a month but at the Council Committee meeting last week no one asked what he had in the way of registration.

High noon of May 16th – Craig Fagan has to deliver a certified cheque to the Halton Regional Police Service for close to $100,000 or they withdraw their support and the city will do likewise.

And a great opportunity will have been missed. Great idea – but the wrong person was leading the parade. We’re going to have to hold our breath on this one and maybe our noses as well.




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