this blog entry has been updated
Reminding the Ti-Cats that they are "minority" partners in the stadium construction, the Mayor made it clear that with the city fronting most of the money for the stadium, the location must reflect what's best for the city as a whole.
I love the Tiger-Cats as much as anyone, and we want to make sure they are well-placed and looked after. But there's a bigger economic pie for the city we have to be mindful of
He added that a number of investors have been attracted by the potential of the West Harbour site - a potential that goes far beyond the marginal value of a sign visible from the QEW.
With a breath of fresh air in a city notorious for wavering, Eisenberger stated:
They've very keen on west harbour and see how important this is. We can't let them down by wavering on this.
A highway-accessible, suburban stadium location may provide economic benefits for the sports team owners, but represents an economic black hole for the city.
A self-contained facility surrounded by acres of parking does absolutely nothing to catalzye complementary development around it, whereas a compact, urban facility integrated into a neighbourhood actually generates some value through new tax assessments around it.
Realistically, a stadium will never be a big money-maker for a city, but with the right location and the right form, it can at least pay its own way and serve as a positive image booster. As Eisenberger put it:
People have judged Hamilton by a view from Skyway Bridge, now there's a chance to show the world a beautiful view of the city. West harbour does that.
The Ti-Cats recently sent what sounds a lot like a push-poll to their season ticket holders. With a focus on parking, 'tolerable' walking distances, expectation of 'parking experience', highway access and integrated amenities, the poll is a social scientist's nightmare of leading questions all pushing the respondents towards the foregone conclusion the Ti-Cats management have already decided.
It's interesting that the Ti-Cats would decide to get involved now, long after Council already voted to approve the West harbour site.
Our municipal government is not always very good at public consultation when developing a city policy. In fairness, they are getting better (though some departments are more enthusiastic about engagement than others), but there's definitely more room for improvement.
(Incidentally, it's also interesting that the Ti-Cats seem to think they would be entitled to the revenues from the naming rights, and not the partner that is putting up more than half the capital investment for the facility.)
I hope he's willing to make a final decision on where he can support a stadium location based on the extensive economic studies showing that urban stadiums are more sustainable and provide better value.
Update: here's a link to the actual survey:
Thanks to RTH reader "Vod K" for sharing the link in a comment.
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