Special Report: Pan Am

Pan Am Solution: A Scalable West Harbour Stadium

It's time to bring this debate back to the original Pan Am Games opportunity - the chance to realize many of our city goals so that years from now, looking back, we will not be talking about the potential of Hamilton, we will be living it.

By Paul Shaker
Published December 31, 2010

With all the recent Aldershot discussion, the Pan Am debate has moved even further from its promising start as a once-in-a-generation chance to accelerate waterfront redevelopment in Hamilton.

This whole saga started out as a great civic opportunity that would advance multiple city objectives years ahead of schedule, with the advantage of senior government money. I'd like to suggest that when you strip away the distractions and focus on the facts, this can still be the case.

Further, no tortured discussions and council votes need take place as the solution has already been approved, accepted by HostCo, budgeted for, and land assembled.

Quite simply, City Council has already debated, studied, and approved the West Harbour location and HostCo has accepted that location for a 5000 seat stadium. The staff report from August 31 confirmed this and offered a solution for growth in the future:

Staff met twice with Host Corporation, on August 12 and 19 to discuss the Principles and Guidelines. Host Corporation indicated that should a sustainable plan not be developed for a 15,000 seat stadium on the West Harbour, that Host Corporation would be open to working with Hamilton on a "scaleable" stadium.

Under this scenario, a large stadium would be designed, including foundation and servicing, but that a smaller stadium, perhaps with 5,000 permanent, and 5-10,000 temporary seats would be constructed for the Pan Am Games. Host Corporation indicated that for Games purposes, a stadium comprising 15,000 permanent seats was not required. With the larger stadium design in hand, and the foundation and services built, a larger stadium (25,000 plus seats) could be built in stages at a future date(s).

In this light I propose a scaleable new stadium on a redeveloped West Harbourfront.

The Facts Today

With all the heresay flying around, what we know for sure is that:

No Votes Needed

As mentioned before, this solution does not require any more panicked debates. The decision has already been made and accepted by HostCo, backed up with study after study and hundreds of hours of City staff time and energy.

All that would be required is a phone call from the Mayor or City Manager to Ian Troop, reaffirming this decision of Council, and a stadium for Hamilton would be confirmed before the February 1 deadline, allowing us to move on as a community.

What about the Tabbies?

The Ticats will continue to play at Ivor Wynne under their current lease and will have to make some decisions about their future. If they wish to participate in an expanded West Harbour stadium, the scaleable design could accommodate this. Alternatively, they can look elsewhere for a home as they have already done.

The glaring reality is that their involvement in the current stadium planning process has taking us so far off course that it is better to forge ahead without them than fumble the whole opportunity for Hamilton.

The Bigger Picture

Sports infrastructure was never an end in and of itself - it was always a means to an end. Just as other cities the world over have used international sports competitions to retool parts of their city, so too is the underlying opportunity for Hamilton.

Moving forward, we should bring this debate back to that opportunity the Pan Am Games afforded us to begin with - the chance to realize many city goals we set for ourselves so that years from now, looking back, we will not be talking about the potential of Hamilton, we will be living it.

Paul Shaker is an urban planner and a co-founder of the Centre for Community Study, a Hamilton-based urban research organization.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 16:42:18

Paul,

This is far too reasonable, pragmatic and do-able... what were you thinking??

Seriously, this is a great article with some great thinking.

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2010 at 16:51:46

This kind of falls along the line of the city saying "Mr Young this is what we are doing. We would love for you to participate. But if you don't fine. Best of luck"

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 16:57:27

Well stated, Paul.

Hopefully, one of the Hamilton city councillors will bring a two part motion at the next city council meeting on January 12th to formally submit the scalable West Harbour stadium proposal to Hostco by February 1st and to immediately ramp up negotiations with the Canadian Soccer Association to have an amateur legacy and tenancy memorandum of understanding in place by February 1st.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2010-12-31 17:09:11

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By anothercapitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 17:02:27

Have to agree with this plan

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 17:14:57

This is along the same lines of what I proposed to my councillor in an email earlier this week. The response I received indicated that this was what a number of councillors are considering doing.

This would serve 2 purposes, it would end any talk of a stadium in Aldershot and it would serve Hostco's purpose. A decision like this would put the city back in the drivers seat in negotiations with the Ticats.

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By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 17:21:16

I think you have it right, Paul. As a proud citizen of a proud city we must do the best we can and we must live up to our Pan Am commitments.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 17:33:40

My exact suggestion as well Paul. Let's take the 6,000 seat soccer stadium and hope that in the future it will be used for concerts, MLS, CFL and other possible uses.
Council needs to take this option and end this entire process right where we started it.

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By george (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 17:35:05

Absolutely the way to go!

Design it so that it can be upgraded to CFL standards when Bob Young or the next Tiger-Cat owner is ready to carry the torch for our beloved team.

As Sam Merulla said, the team is bigger than Bob Young, and even he himself has acknowledged the obvious fact that he won't always own the team.

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By Wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 18:47:37

What if the Ti-Cats don't get bullied by this move to make them go where they swore they won't? Won't we risk having an under-used 6000 seat stadium in West Harbour that is just another hemorging HECFI asset? Instead of something nice...

(Or maybe I'm getting excited about the possibilities for WH once all the dust settles next year.)

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 19:04:30

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Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-12-31 19:05:04

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 19:07:22

Wentworthst,

It wouldn't be underused. If we pull down IWS then we will need somewhere for all of the other users of that facility to play. Remember out of the 200 or so days per year that IWS is used 190 are by groups other than the Ticats. A small stadium would fill that need nicely and eliminate the $1.3 million needed to maintain IWS per year. The smaller, newer stadium would be much cheaper to operate.

Comment edited by bigguy1231 on 2010-12-31 19:11:59

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 19:11:26

Hamilton Fan,

What you fail to understand is if the city says yes to the smaller stadium there will be no other stadium built, unless BY pays for it himself.

We all know that he is not willing to pay a cent of his own money for a stadium here why would anyone assume that he is going to foot the full bill somewhere else. Your assumptions are flawed.

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By hamiltonfan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 19:20:04

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 19:35:00

HamiltonFan,

It has nothing to do with being Ontariocentric, it's reality. Half the English speaking population in this country is in Ontario. Without the Ticats the Argo's die and conversely if the Argo's die so would the Ticats. Without teams in Southern Ontario 25% of the population of this country and 40% if you include the whole province, will quickly lose interest in the CFL.

There is no other city willing to build a stadium for Bob Young to put his team. There may be some interest, but interest and actually putting their money where their mouth is are two different things.

Comment edited by bigguy1231 on 2010-12-31 20:46:19

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 19:39:26

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Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-12-31 19:39:57

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 19:39:39

@bigguy1231

I ask because I'm not out-right against this... I'm really asking. I was always a WH supporter-- on the election of Bratina, I accepted defeat.

Sorry-- I'm still fighting for our big dream-stadium and for all the jobs only that will create.

I certainly do not believe Aldershot Stadium is a last-minute threat or ruse, it was the best choice for Bob Young from the beginning. And he told us that... That location, in relation to Toronto, is viewed as worth it to them and HostCo.

In fact, if you told me the last whole last two years was all a manipulated, super-genius shell-game, just to arrive us all at the original Aldershot answer, I'd believe you.

Comment edited by wentworthst on 2010-12-31 19:40:31

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 20:41:54

Wentworthst,

I like you would like nothing other than to see us build that full sized stadium. But as it is right now that is not going to happen. If we allow this Aldershot nonsense to go on we will never have a chance of getting that stadium. The city by accepting that smaller stadium will kill any plans for the stadium in Aldershot. Hostco will only fund one stadium and we are the preferred location. It's our choice to make.

Because we are the preferred location, we will not have to go through the review process and compete with anyone else like the plan B candidates will. Accepting the smaller stadium puts this city back in the drivers seat, negotiation wise. If the Ticats want a new home in this area they will have to deal with this city or they will be out of luck, unless some private concern decides to build it for them.

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By geoff's two cents (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 21:45:38

Paul, thanks for posting. I held the same argument some months ago, but had no idea that Hostco itself had already provisioned for a scalable stadium in August! Good grief, where's the media on this?

Comment edited by geoff's two cents on 2010-12-31 21:46:36

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By mike_sak (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 23:30:17

OH MY GOD. why isn't the media focussing in on this?

...it just makes sense.

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By george (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 01:49:27

Breastmilk, Pitbulls and kittens.

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By Mark-Alan Whittle (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 08:05:25

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted January 01, 2011 at 09:53:04

Ron Joyce is a privately owned facility (McMaster University) with no obligation or mandate to provide community use. White Star owns land from Bay, west to Tiffany between Barton and Stuart I believe. The LRT system is not a one shot deal. Transportation systems never are. You either keep improving and adding to the system or what is the point, so of course at some point (perhaps even in the initial design phase) a waterfront loop or extension to the north/south LRT could be added/included.

Hamilton council has not screwed anything up ..........yet. Capitulating to a perenial corporate welfare recipient by reopening Confederation Park for development such as a stadium would be a GIANT screw up.

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By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 10:10:04

Ron Joyce actually cost $23 million to build and McMaster owned the land.

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By Boomer (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 10:27:13

Exactly right, Paul. We won't have to be "bullied by some person like" Bob Young, "believe you me. That will never, ever happen....remember Bob Young has enough money to talk to many communities outside of Hamilton. [He] will, and can, look elsewhere." And even though he has enough money, he still wants various levels of government (read: taxpayers, including Hamiltonians) to cough up $100 million for his private venture. Good luck Bob. You can move the team out of the city, but you can't move the soul or history of the team, so you may as well rename the team Burlington, or Aldershot.

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By kevin (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 12:56:40

What a nice start to the new year; a sensible, pleasant read.

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 12:57:25

In a MUCH earlier post in response to the Tiger-Cats' last minute double-cross, I suggested simply forging ahead with building the WH stadium with 15,000 seats on one side and let a future CFL tenant fund another 15,000 on the other. While the numbers in this proposal are different, the concept's the same; shape your own destiny, utilize the property we already own, provide a topnotch facility for both the Pan-Am games and our high school athletes and, if the Tiger-Cats would like to come along for the ride, great.

The greatest weapon the Tiger-Cats have is Council's indecision and lack of action. Move ahead! Disarm them!

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 14:03:26

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Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-01 14:04:30

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 14:15:13

you might be the only guy in Canada who cares or believes anything that Mark Cohon says. Is he going to be the commissioner of the CFL for the next 40 years?? He'll be lucky to make it another 4.

This isn't the same gamble as the NHL arena was. Paul is suggesting we take the 6,000 seat soccer stadium but build it with future expansion in mind. If there is never a need for future expansion, no probs. We aren't on the hook for anything. It's a win-win situation.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 01, 2011 at 14:18:33

Definately a good read, Paul. Just some questions:

  1. Would we not have to have a legacy tennant sealed in time to make our final proposal? Not just the desire to land a professional soccer team to provide a pro sports legacy?

  2. Since Bob Young has been talking to the folks at whatever soccer league he wants to bring here, I wonder if somewhere in these talks, he now has exclusive rights to bring a soccer team in Hamilton, possibly meaning he is the only one who can negotiate a team here meaning if he is still unwilling to play at the Harbour, we are SOl trying to bring one here on our own. Just wondering?

  3. So with a scalable stadium, we would obviously have a bunch of money left over from building a 5,000 seat scalable stadium, meaning we put the money aside to build the rest when/if the time comes? Obviously only if the Cats are willing to also contribute some funds to that project assuming?

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-01 14:49:05

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By george (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 14:35:42

@lawrence - Yes, Bob young has territorial rights for a NASL franchise in Hamilton.

There are many other leagues that can play soccer here though. Soccer has been played here for long time now.

It's not as if that league is major in any way.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 01, 2011 at 14:38:11

Thanks George. I wasn't sure how 'major' the legacy tennant had to be. Still don't understand why how much the community would use such a site, can't be enough to consider it a legacy?

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 15:06:11

lawrence,

If we build the smaller stadium there would be no need for a major legacy tenant. The legacy tenant would be the community users, just like in the other communities building facilities for these games. The way it is now, Hamilton is the only city that is required to have a major legacy tenant becuase of the size of the investment. A smaller investment would negate that requirement.

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By george (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 15:12:59

I think the whole "legacy" stipulation has been vague, and the lack of a definitive meaning has hampered the process so far.

I think it still is, somewhat.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 15:21:34

Here is an excerpt from an article by John Kernaghan in the Hamilton Spectator back on August 28, 2010, followed by a link to the article:

"Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association, said if Hamilton positioned itself well, it could serve as home to several Canadian youth developmental teams and Canada's Olympic team."

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Four months has passed since this article was published. Has the City of Hamilton done anything to follow-up with the Canadian Soccer Association on this opportunity? Mayor Bratina and city council and staff now have 30 days to find a tenant and amateur legacy partnership for a scalable Pan Am west harbour stadium. If they have not already done so, they need to enter into negotiations with the Canadian Soccer Association as soon as possible!

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 15:44:22

With the number being kicked around of 200 dates that Ivor Wynne Stadium is in use and only 10 CFL games that would mean 190 events having less than 5,000 take place. A small scale stadium at the west harbour makes much more economic sense. Property taxes collected once Ivor Wynne is sold would cover stadium upkeep costs.

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 16:00:36

@TomRobertson wrote...
"Property taxes collected once Ivor Wynne is sold would cover stadium upkeep costs."

Sorry to disagree, but from a Ward 3 POV, that's a sunny statement I wish I could believe.

Ivor Wynne isn't something you just toss up on Realtor.ca, in hopes someone has an interest in an 80 year-old stadium (with no tenents, currently a low-income area).

My top question during the election for Ward 3 candidates was:

"What will happen to Ivor Wynne if the Ti-Cats leave?"

Our biggest fear here is we watch it become yet another boarded up property. And, for the record, I didn't hear a single answer for that area that will not cost taxpayers $10+ million...

Comment edited by wentworthst on 2011-01-01 16:02:04

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 16:26:48

wentworthst...IWS only has a couple of years shelf life left before it will be condemned and have to be torn down.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 01, 2011 at 16:32:47

Our biggest fear here is we watch it become yet another boarded up property. And, for the record, I didn't hear a single answer for that area that will not cost taxpayers $10+ million...

I'm a bit confused; if we manage to build a stadium...assuming that the Ti-Cats either play there or elsewhere...why can't IWS be torn down and the land sold? Or at least part of it? Isn't there money to be realized from a land sale that could be utilized elsewhere?

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 17:25:25

Which is why we asked "And what then?"

The answers are not rosy; ANY developer is looking at building next door to... let's just say "an old neighbourhood with questionable housing conditions at this stage". The talk I heard is of buying up whole streets just to recover potential.

Can we not agree that "property opportunities"-- large & small--- are currently plentiful here in Ward 3? Because I can make a list for anyone looking to spend $1 million and up on a "waiting to be torn up or down".

Yes-- in an ideal urban environment, of course selling a large property might be a pay-off for the city. But is that how it works out in this city? And, I'm sorry, but IMHO, not in Ward 3 at this time; our real estate values are 1/2 to 1/3 the average across the whole painted "Code Red" zone now....

As we know, I thank The Spec in particular for making it twice as hard to get a mortgage or fire insurance here and while fixing nothing... It really hurt us here on paper. And its relevant because now, when outside interest looks at the area, they get scared off; too risky to lend.

Comment edited by wentworthst on 2011-01-01 17:26:07

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 01, 2011 at 17:37:36

@wentworthst

Thanks for the insight. Much appreciated.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 17:49:17

Yes, interesting insight mystoney with wentworths post. I'm not that familiar with all parts of Hamilton.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 18:07:15

As a Hamilton taxpayer I pray that this plan is not followed. Its a taxpayers nightmare

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 18:23:01

Please don't think this is a rant, just a report of experience.

We moved from an older area of Burlington and really do love it here... We found great people, and Cathy Wever is a fantastic PS (thank you to Tim Simmons, our HWDSB vice-chair).

But we discovered a semantical problem; people that could afford to live here, can't get a mortgage here.

19 out of 20 lenders turned us down. Most said, "its not you, its anything near Barton St in Hamilton"-- they advised we pick again, anything well away from Ward 3.

We found a loan-- took the hit on %, but the mortgage is 5-digits so not a big deal for us at year-end. Then we even struggled to close the deal because of Fire Insurance... Nobody wanted to write it; in the end we pay 2 to 3 times what we have in the past.

People with modest credit can look at Ward 3 and say what we did... The net hit on the mortgage rate is actually paid for by jokingly low property taxes. People with weak credit can't get approved; people with good credit likely don't want to live here... And that's residential, not $10's of millions to risk on commercial, which isn't beating down our door as it is.

IMHO, the social cost of the inner wards plus the property assessment is killing our whole city, at least budget-wise. We don't just spend more on the poverty that ends up here from everywhere else but we also extract nothing from it in taxes due to absurdly low property value for a Canadian city.

Why is this all relevant? Because all plans determine where the Future Fund goes and we should be considering how big a bill we will see for an Ivor Wynne clean-up, no matter what happens now.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 20:24:10

Here is the link to a statement made by Hostco CEO Ian Troop on the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games website on December 20, 2010 outlining the requirements for the municipal Pan Am soccer stadium and noting that Hamilton has until February 1, 2011 to identify a suitable location and a construction plan:

http://www.toronto2015.org/lang/en/news/...

And Burlington Ward 2 councillor Marianne Meed Ward made the following entry on twitter.com about three hours ago: "Pan Am official says "not so fast" to a stadium in Burlington. Still dealing with Hamilton on this."

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-01 20:47:01

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By bobinnes (registered) - website | Posted January 01, 2011 at 21:42:16

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 01, 2011 at 22:41:45

@wentworthst

Thanks so much for adding to the discussion. Your comment may have veered slightly, but its veering shone some light.

Clearly, we need to be reading more of your stuff.

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 23:21:12

Sorry-- I felt that veering sensation too; thank you for indulging me.

It was Paul Shaker's indifferent line...

"With no major tenant, there is no need to pump $20 million into Ivor Wynne to maintain a 28,000 seat stadium."

Yes-- we do know around here that this is yet another major historic departure for us and there is no interest in what comes next.

Its deeply saddening to lose Ivor Wynne, and I have to point out that our lack of property value here is everyone's tax problem. "Scalable for the future _____ team" does sound like another ongoing "troubled HECFI asset".

If Paul Shaker's idea of a WH scalable soccer-bowl ultimately calls for the use of the Future Fund, then it is wrong-- that is not what the money was for.


So Mr. Shaker..? Do you suggest we invest the Future Fund in this?

Comment edited by wentworthst on 2011-01-01 23:23:36

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 23:34:50

Amen amen amen amen wentworthst

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By mymy (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2011 at 04:39:39

If the Ti-Cats still choose not to participate at WH and the city proceeds with the above-mentioned option, I would like to see the funds HostCo is saving distributed to other venues. Since the savings would be coming from Hamilton by not building a 15,000-seat stadium, the velodrome should be the first recipient receiving the additional funding. Hopefully, in the amount necessary to enable this venue to become a world-class facility. With track and field gone, I think this is our Pan Am jewel and the one that best represents the legacy the games envision.

Since I am new poster, I am also adding my perspective on the stadium issue. As it makes this post rather lengthy, please do not feel compelled to read my remaining comments. This is based on HostCo apparently requiring a new stadium rather than a renovated IWS. Although, following the link under RenaaissanceWatcher, IWS would appear to fit their requirements.

I do not drive and my transportation means are my feet and the HSR (with the following exception). I enjoy the CFL and I am a Ti-Cat season ticket holder with no wish to see the team leave the city. While I usually get a ride with my neighbour (parking free west of Sherman, walking from there to the stadium), when that is not possible, I take the HSR to downtown and hop on the shuttle bus. If I had to pay half of a parking fee, I would probably be taking the bus exclusively. And no, not because I’m cheap. I’ve been unemployed for a very long time and don’t expect to work again prior to receiving my pension. That money would be better spent on groceries or utility bills. It is my understanding the Pan Am stadium is supposed to be multi-purpose and I do not expect a shuttle bus will be available for other than football games. Therefore, the stadium should be easily accessible for all Hamiltonians who receive HSR service. For me, it would take three buses to reach any of the east end options mentioned but not necessarily studied. I do not know the east end well, but I do not believe you can reach Confederation Park (seasonal bus only) or the Speedway site by bus today. In addition, HSR service on a Sunday or holiday schedule on some routes is once per hour, including mine. If you miss a connecting bus, you could end up taking longer to get to or from the stadium than the event itself. That does not seem practical if you live in the city where the stadium is located. Those who drive would not have the same problem reaching any of the sites that a transit user would/could entail. You have probably guessed by now that I favour a site close to downtown. Most bus routes go downtown. There also appears to be enough parking spaces to accommodate those who drive.

Even though the Ti-Cats say more than 80% drive to the game, they do espouse using the bus. I assume most using the mall shuttle locations are probably driving to the mall and I have no problem with that. Someone more computer savvy than I, will have to provide the link -- the following is from the Ti-Cat website under “TICKETS, HSR Ticket to Ride”:

“The Hamilton Street Railway in partnership with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is offering the Ticket to Ride program for all 2010 home games. This will allow loyal Tiger-Cats fans to board the HSR and DARTS vehicles FREE of charge with a valid game ticket on game days. DARTS clients must book their trip in advance.

Not only are you getting a FREE ride to and from the game and the chance to hang out with fellow fans - you are doing your part to help improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion by riding the bus to the game!”

Sorry, just have to mention one other thing which is off topic. I have noticed on my travels to various websites that there are many verbal fisticuffs happening. The phrase I really dislike on this site is “You are a moron.” Is there any possibility of elevating the phrase slightly to “Your idea(s) is(are) moronic.” Whether the person to whom this is addressed appreciates the difference is not your concern.

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By MyMyPoorHamilton (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2011 at 07:09:58

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 02, 2011 at 08:22:42

Here is the link to the January, 2011 edition of a newsletter titled "In Your Neighbourhood" by Burlington Ward 2 councillor Marianne Meed Ward informing her constituents about the Ticat/Paletta stadium proposal for Aldershot and other issues: http://mim.io/2c297

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-02 09:21:33

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 02, 2011 at 10:08:14

Well said @Wentworthst and @Mymy. It has been nice during my little plea to Save Ivor Wynne Stadium, to see there are others out there who appreciate both the history and the game experience at Ivor Wynne, and who also don't fully understand (or understand and just don't like the answers), why IWS is not suitable for the games.

Anyone watch the Heritage Winter Classic last night in Pittsburgh? Nice show. I love those outdoor games very much. The first one, in my opinion was best. Of course, it was in Canada. :)

Remember we had one during the lockout? It was also a rainy afternoon at IWS but what a blast to have those stars playing a charity game in our backyards. I didn't live in the area at the time but my friend lived on Melrose so we gathered for drinks at his house beforehand and walked the one minute over to the game.

Going back to Pittsburgh. Well it is a stunning waterfront venue as depicted in one of the recent RTH articles, and it was a successful event as always, but there was just something to the last two events held in 'Heritage' buildings such as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. Perhaps becuase cities like Chicago and Boston have chosen to embrace their heritage, all New Year's Eve Heritage Classic games should be swapped yearly between the two venues, or other such historic buildings.

After looking through the archive photos of Civic Stadium/Ivor Wynne Stadium at the Hamilton Public Library, we could have old photos on the wall all around Ivor Wynne and even statues like Joe Louis Arena in Detroit for example. Other than washroom lines for the men half way around the concourse at intermission, that is another amazing historic site - one of the last remaining if not THE last one in the NHL.

As for bus routes @mymy, I didn't go back and ad some of the local Church lots to this map that offer parking around IW game days, but where transit and getting to the stadium are concerned, this map shows just how accessible IWS really is.

As for the link provided by @RenaissanceWatcher, by all definitions there is no reason Ivor Wynne is not ready right now. Problem is yes, we have the stadium in place today and today we could host soccer, but it takes at least $20M to get the stadium to 2015 and if the Cats are a no go past the 2011 season when their lease I believe expires, we spent $20M on a stadium held vacant between 2012 and 2015, and thereafter. Unless we secure a soccer team I guess?

No secret what I want. If Hostco would just commit some funds (even of lesser value than new build funds), to cover the $20M south stand replacement even, but we need to secure a soccer franchise on our own. There has to be a legacy. Mac has the Mauraders, UofT has the Blues. We need a tennant at IWS to make this work, if the Cats are out.

I know I am being selfish when I say this, but I am not sure I want Ivor Wynne without the Cats though. North American football - Canadian football, is a big part of the heritage there. I have always said that for me personally, saving Ivor Wynne doesn't work without the Cats. The franchise. It doesn't mean it has to be Bob Young or Scott Mitchell's Cats.

Wouldn't it be nice if the citizens/fans could buy the team off of BY for $1? Wouldn't it be nice to know if 'we' could make it work - financially. Saskatchewan has done it. Would it be possible/as successful in Hamilton? From many of the comments I have read, many feel there are ways to make it work at IWS. What would owning our own team do for civic pride?

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-02 10:43:42

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 02, 2011 at 11:07:40

Really fascinating insight, Wentworthst. This is the kind of information that rarely makes it into debates about "downtown renewal".

It's really easy to blame people for buying suburban homes and not wanting to live in the inner city. Asking WHY this happens is another matter. When people are given this kind of power (bankers, insurance companies, city bureacrats), their prejudices become a matter of policy. And when these people have this much control over housing, these policies can devastate entire areas. Slums don't just "happen", they're created.

And as for the stadium, I'm really glad to finally hear some suggestions that might actually lead to a stadium that serves the needs of Hamiltonians. Kinda sucks that this is only possible without the Ti-Cats, but it's not like we didn't try.

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By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2011 at 14:13:25

'The Tiger-Cats' ownership has clearly abandoned 'The City of Hamilton.'...and to quote the author..."the glaring reality is that their involvement in the current stadium planning process has taken us so far of course that it is better to forge ahead without them then to fumble the whole opportunity for Hamilton."
With a Feb. 1st deadline looming our City Council needs to take possession of the stadium funding. Aldershot is no longer a part of Hamilton and we as citizens will be outraged when we are asked to take ownership or subsidize what must be a 'City owned' stadium to receive Hostco funding.
Confederation Park would seem to be viable, but with serious enviromental and traffic logistic issues and more importantly a looming deadline it's not doable without assuming a sizable risk.
A scalable stadium on a approved site at the 'West Harbour' seems to be the only option where we can secure some funding and put an end to the aspirations of the Toronto suburbs.
As of Feb. 2nd the biggest question will be the size of the Pan Am stadium.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 02, 2011 at 16:02:35

The Hamiltonian web magazine posted an article today titled "Perspectives-Predictions for 2011" containing predictions by various Hamiltonians, including Herman Turkstra, Larry DiIanni, and Marvin Ryder, on the stadium issue and the future of the Tiger-Cats as well as a number of other questions: http://www.thehamiltonian.net/

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-02 16:03:26

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By 500Bay (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2011 at 19:41:23

Lets be really pragmatic. Hamilton's official mission has as its first two priorities to be a good place to raise children and to engage citizens. Hamilton's north end residents were engaged with the City and spent three years looking at what to do in the Rheem area and both the citizens and the city agreed that housing was the preferred choice. A stadium there was specifically rejected. This decision was affirmed by Council vote three times. The dedication to massive government projects as drivers of community well being has history behind it as the pyramids and stonehenge will attest. But if you pragmatically want to build a great city in which to live, you start with building living spaces. Very few of the west harbour proponents have spent any time walking on the sidewalks around Rheem or in the living rooms and yards of the homes next to the suddenly favoured site. David Crombie, following on Jane Jacobs, demonstrated that vitality comes from people, not structures, and if we simply started focusing on increased housing and variety in housing and improved housing in the core, the rest would be simple. Its the stupid big stuff that always looks so simple, is always expensive and so rarely works. If anyone has any doubts about the folly of big dreams in Hamilton check the bottom line at Copps, Hamilton Place, the Convention Centre, the Football Hall of Fame, and most recently, the abject failure of the Sheila Copps Memorial on Pier 7. Start in the living rooms. Start with the children. The rest will follow.

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By Amen to That (anonymous) | Posted January 02, 2011 at 20:03:37

I have to agree with what 500 Bay just said. The problem is that Council doesn't get it and Mayor Minstrel is too busy entertaining the old folks and showing off his model trains as he did at the levee to lead. We are doomed.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 02, 2011 at 22:00:22

I really love the pyramids analogy. It's so ridiculous it's almost believable.

"Hamilton needs something that will put it on the map, create jobs, attract federal/provincial funding and generate economic growth - and our staff reports have shown that we face dire economic consequences if we do not build pyramids soon."

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 01:10:45

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 01:15:39

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 01:17:27

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 03, 2011 at 09:24:48

We are doomed.

That's it?

That's the best we can do? Does everyone get a sandwich board to stroll around town with?

So, if for the sake of argument we accept the notion that our Mayor doesn't have what it takes to lead us out of the wilderness (I'm not agreeing with this supposition, merely presenting it), then given that the next election is almost four years away, what do you propose to do to counteract this 'deficiency'?

Or does your nihilism feel too good to surrender? (And the sandwich board fits too well?)

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 10:03:41

The term "highest and best use" comes to mind. Surely, no one believes that the highest and best use of the Rheem property was a factory for building water heaters (whose production had moved south of the border in any event). And what about the land to the east? Surely no one thinks that it's best to continue using it as a scrapyard.

Proximity to the Bay provides Hamilton with an opportunity that numerous other North American cities have already used to their advantage. The days of the "rustbelt" economy are obviously over or at least radically altered. Some industries continue to need access to the Bay but those that don't are better located elsewhere.

The manner in which Hamilton transforms itself will affect us for decades. Go to Portland, Maine, a city almost identical to Hamilton, and see what they've done with their waterfront. It's truly a people place with a vibrant, adjacent downtown.

Plain and simple, the people of Hamilton deserve better than a 1920's industrial vision of a city and they deserve better than what the Tiger-Cats are demanding they accept (a publicly funded stadium without "spinoff" revenue for anyone else).

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 03, 2011 at 10:12:10

Go to Portland, Maine, a city almost identical to Hamilton, and see what they've done with their waterfront. It's truly a people place with a vibrant, adjacent downtown.

You're absolutely right. I was there two years ago, and it's wonderful. If RTH readers haven't gone to their site, they should: http://www.portlandmaine.com/ (I especially love their online motto: 'love.downtown.more')

However, it's important to recognize the difference in history as well as legacy land-use in both cities. (Or elsewhere, for that matter.) I'm wary of tossing around labels such as 'waterfront' without acknowledging how broad the spectrum is.

The bottom-line to me is that we have an enormous amount of potential in this part of our city. Untapped, entirely untapped. And as they're not making any more land anymore, it's only a matter of time before this potential is realized.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 10:18:33

Also, the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, SA is stunning.

http://www.waterfront.co.za/Pages/home.a...

I'd love to see us develop a great mixed use waterfront like this both at the Barton/Tiffany lands and along Pier 8. Housing, hotels, office space, tons of shopping, hundreds of patios, cafes, restaurants all right amongst a heavy working port. As you dine on your meal outdoors, large tugs and ocean-going vessels cruise by literally feet from your table. It's remarkable, and would be awesome in Hamilton.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 10:28:32

Portland Maine, all without a stadium. How is that even possible?

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By thehound98 (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 10:36:20

I wonder if Mssrs. Young,Mitchell,Cohon et al, tuned in to to the NHL Winter Classic on Saturday, played at Heinz Field. Those idiots in Pittsburgh were stupid enough to build their football stadium on the waterfront, DOWNTOWN. The baseball stadium as well as the brand spanking new puck palace are also in the same place. What FOOLS they must be in Steeler/Pirate/Penguin-VILLE.

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By Ty Webb (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 11:02:08

I've been to big-time sporting events in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, St. Louis, Seattle, Houston, San Francisco, Detroit all downtown in the city centre, many right on or near the waterfront. All with attendance double that of a Ticats game. Huge crowds filtering through the downtown, eating and drinking at nearby bars and restaurants and using public transit. The horror!

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 11:10:51

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 11:19:18

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By Ty Webb (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 11:34:39

Most of the newer baseball stadiums have capacities in the low 40,000 range. My point was that the accessibility argument doesn't hold water as crowds much bigger than CFL crowds have no problems getting to and from these downtown facilities.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 11:52:33

@told you so, you sound exactly like turbo aka allan taylor, are you one and the same?

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By Hipgnosis (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 12:37:59

I think that it has been proven many times over that the Cats do not actually care about whether it is easy to get to the stadium or not. They are interested in how much money they can make off of the parking.

The smaller, expandable stadium is the way to go and I would urge everyone who agrees to contact their council member and advise them of that.

I think that one of the difficulties that will be presented with Ivor Wynne is that if and when it is officially at the end of its usefullness what do we do? To sell it would be great but the city will not get the value that I think we would expect for it. The cost of demolition and remediation on that site would be considerable. Who would foot that bill because it would cut into any potential profit the sale of the site would generate.

In the end I feel that the decision has already been made. The Hamilton Tiger Cats will play out the rest of their contract at Ivor Wynne Stadium and unfortunately their history and legacy will move on. I don't blame council because I think that they were being given a decision that was impossible. They could not provide the Cats with a Stadium that they would agree on that would also fulfill the requirements to allow the use of 10's of millions of taxpayer dollars.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 03, 2011 at 13:34:11

@Hipgnosis, I believe the estimated cost when they had a firm out of Vancouver estimate how much it would cost to tear down much of IW and build a new facility at 75 Balsam, was $93M (escalated Feb 2010 dollars would be $97M and add ~ 3% for 2011)for the entire project, and $1.6M was to demolish a portion (not sure what portion or how much), of the stadium.

I did not post this report on my site because it states that it is not supposed to be shared on it? I got it from the City Clerks dept. though so it is public domain if requested. It's an Order of Magnitude Request dated Feb. 10th, 2009.

So if it was $1.6M 2009 price for partial, you are right. It could be costly for the whole thing and then add remediation on top of it.

The Cats talked of a fund they would create if things worked at CP, to help with West Harbor shovel ready and Ivor Wynne shovel ready land, or something to that affect. Not sure if the same fund would be on the table for an Aldershot or Confederation Park project? I believe part of the new stadium costs do include the land ready preperation of 75 Balsam for sale no? If not, it should be. A new stadium should not be errected, until the old one is taken down and the land remediated.

As I stated in my proposal to HostCo, if Ivor Wynne must come down, I would like to see the Pan Am dignitaries visit the grounds surrounding the current stadium in 2015, and see the legacy left by their games across our city. The amatuer sports hub that building a new stadium left behind on the grounds that have hosted sporting events since 1930.

Now that is a legacy.

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By whitehorse (registered) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 14:19:21

By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) Posted January 01, 2011 15:21:34

"Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association, said if Hamilton positioned itself well, it could serve as home to several Canadian youth developmental teams and Canada's Olympic team."


Yes! This is an excellent idea for our young Canadian people to participate in different kind of Sports when a stadium build at the West Harbour in Hamilton!

Bob Young & his team can stay put at Ivorwyn and stop bullying our city!

Comment edited by whitehorse on 2011-01-03 14:21:07

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By AmenToThat (anonymous) | Posted January 03, 2011 at 17:17:06

Why are people voting down TreyS? He makes sense. And yea, I wondered about that Chomsky dude too. He came to Hamilton and embarrassed himself a few years ago. Nothing but down and outers and freaks went out to hear him (and me too, of course) What does that make me? Oh well. Stop voting down good ideas just cause you disagree with them.

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