Sports

Drewitt: Build the Stadium on West Harbour

By RTH Staff
Published July 19, 2010

Remarks by Kathy Drewitt, Executive Director, Downtown Hamilton BIA at media conference at West Harbour Site for Pan Am Stadium, Friday, July 16, 2010

On behalf of the Board of Management of the Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement Area and our 600 member businesses and property owners, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being here and for the media for taking the time to cover this important function as it pertains to the future of our City.

After council's decision last week to add another site on the East Mountain to the options for the Pan Am Stadium my phone has been ringing non-stop. My email box is full and I have been listening to many people, business person and resident alike (and not just from Downtown). Most if not all are very supportive of the West Harbour location to build the stadium as a way to revitalize downtown and connect it to the Waterfront.

The arguments for the waterfront site are all about the vision for the city - of building the stadium at a location that will enhance the city's image, and what more beautiful than overlooking our harbour.

It is about cleaning up a brownfield area with money from other levels of government. It is about providing an enhanced multi-use development as part of the footprint of the area and connect the harbour with Downtown.

This West Harbour plan will have visibility from Hwy. 403 just over there, and more than enough parking with the 600 spots on site, another 600-800 in a lot recently taken off the City's Sale list to be held back for parking for the site, and not to mention the 1200-1500 parking spots just on the other side of these rail lines at Bayfront Park. Not to mention the rest of the parking in the Downtown core area that is within an easy walking distance to here.

It is about easy accessibility with public transit, with GO Transit confirming a station within two blocks at LIUNA Station, and Metrolinx solidifying plans for a north-south route called the A-Line for LRT that will connect the Harbour to the Airport, and the B-Line which will connect Eastgate area with the McMaster University area - and it, too, will be within minutes of the proposed west harbour stadium location.

The BIA has been involved in this deliberation for several years and has looked at cities who have built stadiums in recent years. Many have located or relocated their sports facilities in close proximity to their Downtowns. They include:

And we all witnessed events at the recent Olympics in BC Place in Downtown Vancouver.

Some of the reasons why these cities are relocating their stadiums Downtown include a drop in attendance at events in suburban sports complexes, traffic jams due to limited road and public transit access, and loss of tax revenues from prime employment lands when suburban property is given up for public use.

We hope that Hamilton City Council does not make that costly mistake that others now are spending millions to rectify in their communities. We need to build the stadium on this site at the West Harbour.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 12:54:10

If it's a good deal for taxpayers, the city and the TigerCats, yes, build it at WH but if it can't work for one of those partners, then don't build it at WH. The stadium needs to be built so that there is some win-win for all major partners, not just one.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 13:34:41

Yes. If it doesn't work for the 'partner' who only uses it 10 days a year and who is only putting up a tiny fraction of the costs, the other partners must bend to their will and put up the lion's share of the money for a project that will harm them economically.

I wonder how far Bob Young would get selling a deal like that in the private sector.

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By F.Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 14:59:54

Good to hear from the downtown BIA. They seemed to be missing in action since the stadium site controversy erupted. Now to be fair to the BIA they were hoping for a site within the borders of the unofficial 'Downtown', but if I remember right didn't they promise some form of financial incentive if the stadium were to be built in the core. Well this might be a good time to 'Show your Cards', before this whole game sadly comes to an end. I might add that if no incentives are forthcoming they may want to propose a real compromise location in a 'Downtown' location that they could get behind. In doing one or the other they just might become the catalyst to a solution. I might be wrong but aren't Mr. Youngs Companies (including the Ti-Cats) part of the BIA. If so that should provide an opportunity to explore his 'unknown' Downtown locations that would work for the Ti-Cats. In all of this debate it is becoming abundently clear that political posturing and subtle threats will get us a overpriced 'BIG BOX' Stadium where the majority don't want it or a quick exit from these 'Pan Am' games altogether.

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By hammer4ever (anonymous) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 16:58:21

well stated highwater. those words need to get out to the media and in particular theSpec. Perhaps the Spec can make-up for their mistake by backing Dianni and the Redhill highway/waterslide and get onside for downtown renewal and WH. Bob Young got rich selling free software and now he wants to sell parking spots and tickets he gets for almost free. great business model

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 20:06:07

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Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-07-19 19:11:42

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By z jones (registered) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 20:32:40

Strawman much HamiltonFan? Most of us want Bob and the Cats to succeed, we just don't want to get shafted in the process.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 21:36:11

Fair enough. I guess since our great city shafted us building the huge arena of Copps - without even a team BTW - we don't want to see it happen from the other end of the stick now. Remember, it's all in the city's hands, all Bob is doing is making offers but it's the city who will make the final decision on this whole affair, all Bob does is own a football team really. And that team can play in Hamilton or wherever it makes sense to do so.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-07-19 20:36:51

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted July 19, 2010 at 21:45:14

HamiltonFan >>> "Obviously some of you guys who don't understand professional sports and the business aspect of it with cities don't understand that if you don't make it attractive for the private sector goodbye pro sports team."

There are way too many factors involved here - least of all being -- some abstract lack of "understanding of Professional sports and the business aspect of it"!

Some of these factors are highlighted here:

Field of Schemes is a play-by-play account of how the drive for new sports stadiums and arenas drains $2 billion a year [in the US] from public treasuries for the sake of private profit.

The Revenue Model: Why Baseball Is Booming by David Jacobson

Defining the Spillover Effects of Neighborhood Revitalization by Michael Collins

Sustainable Sport Stadiums: Integrating Development into the City by Jeremy Siegfried & Sasha Truong

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted July 19, 2010 at 22:44:22

What may be happening with the stadium debate, (as with the AEGD) - could best be explained by the "Dunning–Kruger effect":

"The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which an unskilled person makes poor decisions and reaches erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to realize their mistakes. The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority. This leads to the perverse situation in which less competent people rate their own ability higher than more competent people. It also explains why actual competence may weaken self-confidence: because competent individuals falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. "Thus, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others."


The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is - NY Times, June 20, 2010


Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2010-07-19 21:56:31

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 22:53:54

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 23:18:02

Ah, good work Mahesh, I'm very familiar with the Field of Schemes site. I'll have to check out those other papers.

And for the pro WH enthusiasts, here's an article in what seems a refereed journal, abstract only available free, that theorizes that CBD stadium locations may generate more money for the community:

http://edq.sagepub.com/content/15/3/255....

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By hamiltonvisionfuture (anonymous) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 23:20:34

http://hamiltonbay.blogspot.com/p/vision-for-future.html

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