Revitalization

Bratina: Consider Full Costs, Benefits of Pan Am Bid

By RTH Staff
Published February 17, 2009

Ward 2 Councillor Bob Bratina sent a release to local newsmedia arguing that citizens and politicians should not write off the city's Pan Am Games bid until making a full assessment of the potential costs and benefits, including possible funding provisions.

He is asking the Mayor's office to consider funding options that may entail "a lottery, a casino, and extra taxing powers such as are available to other municipalities.

He notes that the city of Seattle, Washington is considering paying for a light rail transit expansion with a small increase to the sales tax, noting that the Municipal Act allows for similar initiatives in Ontario cities.

He concludes:

Council's consideration of the Pan Am games proposal should be focussed right now on an evaluation of what they could bring to the City, what assets would be created, what future events, games, concerts, celebrations, etc. Only then can we honestly consider their value, and therefore the price we should be willing to pay, before dismissing the games as "unaffordable".

That decision should be properly made in consideration of all funding sources. It is incumbent upon us then to make those inquiries as soon as possible. It may well be proven that we can't afford NOT to support the games.

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted February 17, 2009 at 16:44:45

Are we not to consider the possible long term benefits of increased population or decreased population. Increased because a city offering more facilities is a more desirable place to live. And decreased for the opposite reason, no facilities, no people. If we hadn't built Copps Col. we wouldn't have had the years and years of world class entertainment in this city, not to mention the spinoffs from such.

I'm tired of the lack of common sense in this city and maybe that's why our population remains fairly stagnant. Who wants to live where all the good opportunities are overly scrutinized and usually defeated. Why can't we look long term. Short term thinking has caused more trouble for this city, province or world in general. Think, think, think!!!!! I love Hamilton, but am growing tired, very tired.

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By A-idiot (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2009 at 17:58:06

Woody, if you want this city to thrive, why don't you fund it yourself so that I can benefit when my property value goes up?

Thanks!

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 17, 2009 at 18:45:33

um , A-Idiot, that's exactly what is happening. We're joining funding with other levels of government for something that will benefit our city. Something that benefits the city, increases all of our property values and makes this city a more desirable place to live (thus, further increasing property values). You sound like one of downtown Hamilton's long-term property speculators who will sit on their rotten properties till kingdom come, but are hoping that someone else will take a risk and invest in the area (like Stinson) so that they're values can increase (even though not one of them deserve a nickle for all the crap they've put this city through over the past 3 decades being slumlords).

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By A-idiot (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2009 at 18:50:43

Why should the taxpayers fund it? Let the athletes and spectators fund it! They are the ones using it! If it's an economically viable idea, then the free market will take over and make those risk takers into millionaires! And then my property value will go up! When will you freeloaders stop leeching off of me?

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 17, 2009 at 18:54:25

so, I presume you sit in a dark hut somewhere and never venture out?? if so, then you can honestly preach about not freeloading. otherwise almost everywhere you go and everything you do was/is funded by tax dollars. Athletes and spectators are taxpayers.

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted February 17, 2009 at 19:07:02

Why not let the people vote on it, every person gets a vote and if the majority comes in that a stadium is to be built so be it, if the majority says no, well then we can move on to other things. It should be the "people" that decide.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 17, 2009 at 19:45:08

Yea, I just clued into that about 2 wasted posts too late. Lol. It probably is ASmith.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 18, 2009 at 09:21:50

Gotta love that Spec headline today:

'No Hamilton Stadium in PanAm plan".

Lol. Anything to sell a paper.

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By Aerial (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2009 at 14:57:42

If this city says no to the possible funding for an event like this, this city has no balls to move forward and be the great city it should be.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2009 at 10:01:19

Our stadium was built for the last commonwealth games, in the 1930s!

How can we justify having such an old stadium and calling ourselves a city of a half a million people! It's embarassing!

I think someone said it best yesterday on the news, she said something to the effect of "if Hamilton doesn't want to be on the growth bandwagon that's fine." Which it is. But Hamilton can't pass up opportunities for free money for a stadium like this and then complain we don't get enough money from governments. Everyone is in this bid together, and Hamilton would hold the second largest number of events after Toronto. Why are we not all over this?

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 19, 2009 at 13:07:09

I hate to say it, but the public is to blame for the stuff we get out of council. We continually vote these same guys in over and over again.
You get what you vote for.

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted February 20, 2009 at 14:07:24

I really have to wonder if the new stadium location will be suitable for non-sport events like concerts. If not, to my mind, it will be taking up a lot space (and $$$) for very little. Take a look at the Dockland troubles in Toronto and compare the location there to what we are looking at. For that matter, recall that Kingswood --- once at Canada's Wonderland of all places --- was shut down, in part, when it raised the ire of local residents who had sensitive ears (a lot further away than what many will be to our new proposed facility). Does anyone know if noise impacts, etc., have been considered in the site selection process and what importance music events are being given in the cost equations for the stadium???

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By Also Hopeful (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2009 at 14:51:42

Hopeful has it right. Ivor Wynn has not hosted a rock concert since residents complained about problems after one such event back in the '70s. Yet the only places the Pan Am Bid Folks can think of are out in the sticks (no nearby businesses to benefit) or plop in the middle of another residential district (one that has been in "recovery" since '60s urban rewnewal). There are better central city locations, but they're deemed too complex for local "leaders" to utilize. If it's worth $100,000,000 to put this in the wrong location, why isn't it worth $150,000,000 to put it in the right location? If it's not worth doing right, then it's better not done at all.

North enders are already complaining about traffic heading into the waterfront area through their residential streets. Expect more of the same if twenty thousand people are projected to attend sporting events and concerts every summer weekend, and every highway, rail or rapid transit stop is at the end of blocks of recently renovated houses. This will not work for the residents. Property values will decline in an area that has enjoyed considerable public and private investment in recent years. This will not work for businesses who seek to hold events in the stadium. Generally it is not good for a business to alienate potential customers before the business even opens its doors. Why pit the interests of citizens against each other when there are better alternatives?

Though it is doubtful a new stadium will provide a financial return for the city, it can be a public asset if built in the right location. All the better that the loss is shared with other levels of government (though it's all tax revenue.) Another, bigger pool at Mac? Good place for it. A bike track near the west harbour? The neighbourhood could probably handle that, and might even make use of it. A big stadium in a residential neighbourhood? Troubles ahead.

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By A Robot (anonymous) | Posted February 21, 2009 at 02:02:02

It's a shame that any velodrome will likely be only temporary and torn down after the games. The nearest velodrome is in London, but it isn't championship legal since it isn't big enough. It's still enough to attract amateur and rec cyclists from across Ontario. Forget the stadium, if you want to invest in something unique that could really attract new events and a decent sport, build a permanent velodrome.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 21, 2009 at 14:03:27

actually, the velodrome proposed will be a permanent one, built with the stadium.

I know some of the north end neighbours will complain about this plan, but let's keep in mind that as far as vehicle traffic is concerned, most cars will use Bay St from downtown to the stadium at Barton as well as the 403 and York Blvd.
As much as some of the folks along the west harbour wish they could put up big walls preventing the rest of the city from enjoying the waterfront, they need to remember that it was city tax money that was spent to clean up the waterfront. The entire city has a right to enjoy it. The rapid transit stops at Barton/James (A-Line) and King/Bay (B-Line) are mere minutes to the stadium. I know some people in the north end who didn't like Mr. Turkstra demolishing an old, run-down house and building a monster home bigger than anything else around it. Kind of hypocritical for him to now complain that old warehouses might be torn down and replaced with a stadium which is larger than other buildings in the area.

The traffic calming plan, 30k speed limit and physical changes to the roads in the north end will help mitigate traffic concerns in that area. I live in Strathcona near York/Locke. Our area is WAY closer and will be WAY more impacted by this stadium location than someone at Burlington St and James North. And I'm all for it. I realize that the status quo is simply not acceptable in this city. I look forward to the day when thousands of people come into the area and into the downtown core on a regular basis.
Sadly, some folks in Hamilton want their own little slice of paradise and then have no problem telling the rest of the city to get lost and stay dormant/depressed. Humans are selfish. I shouldn't be surprised.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 21, 2009 at 23:30:12

a friend of mine mentioned to me that I sounded critical of Turkstra in the above comment. Just to clarify, I was mentioning the above info about him as I heard it from some north end friends who live near his home. they weren't saying it critically, just musing about how the stadium idea is really no different than what he did with his huge house. As far as I know, they think he's a great asset in their neighbourhood and community leader. Lord knows we need more citizen involvement in this city. I happen to disagree with his opposition to this stadium, especially since it's not in the north end. Pier 8 was once an option for the stadium, but it was scrapped during the Setting Sail plan. I realize that not everyone will like the stadium location, regardless of where it goes. I think that this location is best for the city, downtown and spinoff effects, far more than out by the airport in no-mans land. Sorry for the wasted post, but I didn't communicate clearly in the last one.

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