Sports

Council Rejects Confederation Park

By RTH Staff
Published December 22, 2010

Hamilton City Councillors just voted 9-6 against instructing City staff to study Confederation Park as a potential site for a Pan Am Games / Hamilton Tiger-Cats stadium.

Mayor Bob Bratina called today's emergency meeting after a staff report determined that the cost to buy the CP Rail Yard at Aberdeen and Longwood would be tens of millions of dollars more than expected, rendering that site unaffordable.

The Spectator's John Kernaghan reports that Councillors Jason Farr, Tom Jackson, Rob Pasuto, Lloyd Ferguson and Brad Clark voted with Mayor Bratina in favour of studying Confederation Park. Councillors Bernie Morelli, Sam Merulla, Chad Collins, Scott Duvall, Terry Whitehead, Judi Partridge, Russ Powers, Brenda Johnson and Maria Pearson voted against. Councillor Brian McHattie was absent.

After tempers flared among council members on opposite sides of the motion during the emergency committee meeting, Councillors decided to defer a final Council vote until January 12. However, this effectively kills the Confederation Park proposal, since a vote two weeks into January would not give staff enough time to study that site and address the potential issues before the February 1 deadline imposed by Pan Am Host Corporation.

The only remaining possibility would be for Council to revisit a site that has already been studied: West Harbour, the East Mountain, or CP Rail Yard. Council already voted to reject the East Mountain and CP Rail Yard after staff reports indicated that they were poor candidates.

According to National Post sports writer Mark Masters, Ticat president Scott Mitchell called council "dysfunctional" and that the Ticats will start looking at stadium options outside Hamilton.

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By JMorse (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 12:56:16

+1 for council, -1 for new mayor, and a big middle finger for Scott Mitchell! Merry Christmas!

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 12:56:31

great news! ...now spend the money on the velodrome instead!

JM

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:00:15

Goodnews story, the Ticats gambled and lost, taxpayers won't be left holding the bag.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:00:49

Looks like Bob Young's big gamble failed to pay off. Yes, it's too bad we lost out on the stadium - after all, we could have had this - but Hamilton has a lot more going on than the Ti-Cats and the (Toronto) Pan Am Games. On the other hand, the Ti-Cats have what...a losing team and a shortsighted owner?

This was the Ti-Cats big chance to get an amazing waterfront stadium, but they completely and utterly blew it.

Very nice to see Council making a wise decision on this, on the other hand. Does anyone have a breakdown of the yays and nays?

Comment edited by administrator adrian on 2010-12-22 12:01:50

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By Yo (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:01:48

The ticats played this whole affair like they play football - bad playbook, taking too many penalties for lack of discipline, making it up as they go along, and ultimately losing. Time for accountability - The City got its act together on a site and Scott Mitchell didn't get the job done and he should go!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:02:42

Does anyone have a breakdown of the yays and nays?

Yeas and neas are (unofficially) listed in the article.

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By PseudonymousCoward (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:05:02

Well, colour me pleasantly surprised.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:06:59

Adrian, awesome pic from Pittsburgh.
I'm glad we held off on this for now. The Cats will have a new owner sooner than later and we can do the right thing then (hopefully) I agree - spend the extra money on a world class velodrome. Most people don't know what they are, but do some reading about Manchesters and you'll see the huge benefit this facility will have to Hamilton. And of course, I think it needs to go at the WH as part of a larger development plan.
All is not lost folks. If anything, we just saved ourselves a lot of money and Future Fund money on city-building purposes.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:11:55

An RTH reader just sent me this article from Markham:

Markham is interested in Hamilton’s soccer stadium, but that’s about it at this time.

Following a press release this week from the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games that lists Markham, Mississauga and Brampton as interested backup contenders if Hamilton fails to come through by Feb. 1, Mayor Frank Scarpitti said the town has some number crunching to do before it can commit to the plan.

"All we've agreed to is we'd look at it," the mayor said.

Any other city that wants the Pan Am soccer stadium will have to kick in something like $20 million toward the cost. Seriously, which GTA municipality is in a position to commit that kind of money just now?

It occurs to me that a number of GTA municipalities participating in Pan Am are probably starting to feel that the "gift" of legacy funding from higher levels of government is coming with some uncomfortable strings attached.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:14:55

new Spec online poll has 50% saying to 'revive WH site' with 35% saying 'no Pan Am games'. The city should proceed with WH and if the Cats don't come on board, just build a soccer stadium and try to land a soccer team/tournaments and build the stadium with footings in place for future CFL expansion. That's what they did to Civic Stadium before the Cats moved there.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:16:55

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By legacy (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:17:41

excellent idea Jason. Build the 15K and if Ticats want more then they pay the extra (just like it was supposed to be). given that Hostco is considering towns that don't have pro football the legacy tenant need not be a billionaire owned company. It should be community and citizens of Hamilton. A much better legacy.

oh and put a track in it afterall.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:18:26

Tempers are flaring as the meeting adjourned. Bratina, Merulla, Ferguson all yelling at each other.

Twitter post from EmmaatTheSpec from just a minute ago.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:33:47

Do WH suppoerts really want a stadium down there, or just the site cleaned up? It's still residential and I know a lot of people don't want a stadium down by their homes. It's one thing to have a stadium grandfathered in to your neighborhood, but another to have one arrive in it.

The Cats had their chance to play/build there. Perhaps the Katz group will jump on board and many others, but I say remind the Cats of this statement from Mitchell. You said basically 'beggars can't be choser's'.

You had your chance with WH, now we are giving you an upgraded IW.

Cats, what do you need to turn a profit there, and how do we do it and at what cost. Really, at what cost. Not some magic $90M number. Especially if those numbers was actually from a report that stated $93M to tear down and build in it's place. Time to see some actual numbers for what is needed to make IW a viable option.

If BY still won't stay, a new owner (perhaps a citizen ownership even), will know exactly what they are looking at before buying the team. Free rent I would think is pretty good.

Than we can all go to bed knowing everything. We all need/deserve to know what our IW options really are.

Also, why couldn't the future fund money still go to an updgraded stadium? The entire $45M. It's still our tax money so what is the difference between tax money that is sitting there now, and tax money spread over a bunch of years? I know a parking lot and improved water and hydro services all bring money into BY's pockets so I can see that point, but it would have been the same at a new stadium. Or, reduce that amount a bit and tell BY Brian Timmis is his to tear down, pave over, and the revenues are his? Demo and paving at his cost as I think the Cats in this scenerio, should still put some money into IW.

Yes, they have already lost $30M over 7 years or whatever it is, but this $5M ontop of what we will put in to fix/upgrade the stadium, will all help IW create more revenue.

And now we talk two concerts a year there. A soccer team can play there. A local battle of the bands can be held there.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2010-12-22 12:41:06

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:44:32

Cats, what do you need to turn a profit there, and how do we do it and at what cost.

I remember at one of the council meetings, Scott Mitchell said that even if they sold out every single game at IWS, they wouldn't be able to turn a profit. Kinda makes you wonder how they plan on profiting at any location.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:46:23

Kinda makes you wonder how they plan on profiting at any location.

Parking.

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By JM (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:47:11

their plan isn't to profit from the games... but from taking everything from any form of business in and around the stadium. any money spent - to eat, to park, etc. - would go right to them (and only them). not some poor little entrepreneur who pays his own taxes.... and rent too!

JM

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:50:22

Why put it off until January 12. A responsible council should move on and be dealing with the budget and tax rates then.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:54:22

I don't think not turning a profit is as big as just not losing your shirt. But is there such a thing as losing your shirt on purpose to prove a point/get a new stadium, knowing how much the citizens love their sports team and don't want them to leave? Does Tigertown, MRX, et al all being grouped into one (I assume it is), fudge that $30M a bit? I know they are a private company and don't need to open their books to us, but they get free rent so perhaps that should change the 'hidden books' situation.

I want the Cats profitable too. You do have to wonder about the 'profitable anywhere' question for sure. Can a new stadium really make that happen, espcially with higher ticket prices for the new stadium, higher parking prices and probably higher concessions too.

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By told ya (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:54:44

No stadium anywhere. WH is a no go.

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By EmoCouncil (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 13:59:04

Is Hamilton the only city that waits to ratify votes because people's "eomotions are high"?

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 14:10:56

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 14:13:19

Is Hamilton the only city that waits to ratify votes because people's "eomotions are high"?

Doesn't this remind you of parents dealing with unruly children?

Unfortunately, while the analogy falls apart re: roles being played, if you step back a few steps, it is clear that the city has a maturity problem.

"How can I trust you with the big tasks when you can't handle the small ones...?"

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 14:26:16

If the TigerCats leave or fold, it gives me more reasons to save my money for spending money in Toronto or Halton, outside of Hamilton, when I go to games outside of the city which I may be forced to. But hey, that's what council wants, that's fine.

Enjoy your games. I'll enjoy the fact that the $60,000,000 of Future Fund money is actually going to be used to benefit the city and not just Bob Young.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 14:28:09

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 14:30:34

I'll enjoy the fact that the $60,000,000 of Future Fund money is actually going to be used to benefit the city

Here's to a top notch velodrome!

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By Georgie (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 14:40:44

Fer Gawd's sake, Hamilton Fan, put a sock in it!! We know, you're now going to be spending your precious dollars in Toronto...
Please, just shut up and stop polluting this forum with your inane drivel...it is literally doing my head in...

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 14:44:49

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By Policy Guy (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 14:49:27

The Future Fund resources, and Confederation Park, belong to us, not the Tiger-Cats or the Mayor. As a Cats seasons ticket holder, I would like to see a deal that works for everyone, but building a stadium at Confed Park is not the answer, and is certainly not an example of public policy that takes the greater needs of the city's people into account, nor would simply handing a blank cheque to the Tiger-Cats. Let's move on and look at Renoing IWS or re-visiting WH.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 14:58:05

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By SayItAin'tSo (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:20:09

Let me get this straight: council just decided NOT to even investigate Confed Park. This is a bad way for this group to start. It throws us right into the middle of the debacle we thought (or hoped) we left behind. I feel sorry for Bob Bratina. He asked a question without knowing the answer. Now Council cannot even reverse itself without a 2/3 majority which wasn't needed until this vote. If Bob was really interested in moving Confed Park into an investigative phase, he should have held off on a vote til he had the nubmers. Rookie mistake.
On the other hand, we are saving ourselves from another internecine fight and that might be good.

I fear that as Mississauga or Markham get the stadium and the rest of the games, Hamilton's reputation as the city that couldn't has just been cemented for another 4 years.

Merry Christmas everyone. Let's all have some eggnog!!

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By z jones (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:20:39

The city has given the Cats the green light to explore other avenues.

Oh, is that what they were waiting for?

LLOL (literally laughing out loud)

Hey, could the ward 2 councilor have had his head any Farr-ther up Bob Young's a** today?

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:28:44

Hmmm, Winnipeg Blue Bombers are paying half the cost of their stadium over the next 40 years and it's on a university campus with a golf course and practice fields next to it, along with the campus and a couple of small parking lots. Don't they know that stadiums are supposed to be in the middle of nowhere next to highways, big box stores and parking lots??

http://blueandgold.ca/

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:30:45

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:33:02

Hey, could the ward 2 councilor have had his head any Farr-ther up Bob Young's a** today?

Sadly, this confirmed my fears about Jason Farr's bias in this matter. He's focused on helping his black and gold overlords rather than doing what's best for his ward and city. Kudos to the 9 Councillors that called the Ti-Cats bluff; I hope Bob Young likes Ivor Wynne or is prepared to eat serious crow.

Comment edited by UrbanRenaissance on 2010-12-22 14:33:37

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:38:14

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Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-12-22 14:40:02

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:38:27

Two different cities and demographics and geographies and many other differences.

I know, I know. Same old story why Hamilton can't have LRT, two-way streets, vibrant neighbourhoods, urban revitalization, a good economy, a downtown stadium, more jobs etc......

The things that work in every other city won't work here because....it's different in Hamilton. Same response to everything by the squelchers and old boys club. It gets tiring.

I mean, the Spec even published a letter last week stating that we can't have LRT because of the escarpment. Like, does nobody travel or crack a book around here??? Google is a wonderful invention for learning and taking virtual tours around the world. I'm pretty sure Hamilton Mountain isn't the world's highest peak.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-12-22 14:40:05

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:40:44

Two different cities and demographics and geographies and many other differences.

What's so different about them? Similar size, both mostly white/christian, similar average incomes... What's so different about the cities that a Blue Bombers-esque scheme wouldn't work here?

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:42:09

jason, Hamilton is smack in the middle of the most densly populated part of Canada, or close to it, with Canada's largest city less than an hours drive away. That in and of itself makes this city very, very different from Winnipeg and that's just for starters. Buffalo is very close and many other large American cities.

Of course the Bombers are community owned as well which makes them a different kettle of fish than a privately owned team.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-12-22 14:44:09

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:48:22

Well, I just can't get too worked up over this. We were prepared to give the Ti-Cats a brand new stadium and they got a little too clever for their own good.

I was in Council Chambers until noon watching what was until that time a well-behaved group. Bob Bratina is doing his best to behave as Broadcaster Bob and play nice. Clark, Merulla and Whitehead all did their best to play along, although you could tell it was killing them. You just get the sense this isn't going to last.

And, although not a big deal but certainly inappropriate behaviour, when Rob Rossini took to the mike he said jokingly, "What's a few million amongst friends?" The chamber was silent. Ouch. I think it's time Dad (Chris Murray) took Money Boy (Rob Rossini CFO) aside an taught him some judgment. First he looked like he was best friends with Scott Mitchell during a couple of Council meetings, and now he thinks it's a good idea to joke about the millions taxpayers are being asked to pony up for a stadium. This guy is hilarious. He's appearing all year. Try the veal. It's excellent.

As I was listening to Jason Farr ask one inane question after another in his big radio voice, I realized we have two ex-big-voice-Ti-Cat-play-by-play-radio announcers sitting around this table about to cast votes on whether or not we investigate the Confederation Park site. Only in Hamilton. Let's take a break now for traffic and weather together....

One of the things that troubles me is I get the sense Chris Murray and team have spent close to zero of the 700 "man days" (as Rossini put it, as I guess it was men who did all the heavy thinking) focused on the velodrome. There is no site, no current budget, no scaleable plan for the facility. Apparently nothing. Murray said there "may be swimming" at McMaster. May be? Holy moly, I thought we might have had the easy stuff already nailed down.

We stumble from one screw up to another in this farce. Not to mention the fact that Murray has been preoccupied with the stadium site and likely has had very little time to focus on how we're going to hold property tax increases to a couple of percentage points.

I feel like I'm trapped inside an episode of Green Acres (a TV allusion that may be lost on many).

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 15:51:32

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Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-12-22 14:51:48

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 16:05:37

This guy is hilarious. He's appearing all year. Try the veal. It's excellent.

Graham, this is classic.

Did Farr always begin his comments by tapping his mic and saying "Hi Everyone, Jason Farr here".... lol

Ok, so onto the next step. Mitchell has made it clear that he's a 'take my ball and go home' kind of guy, but I can't help but think that Young is a little more pragmatic and wise than that. If I'm the city, I get the downtown development corporation to bring Frank Gehry and his group into a meeting with the Cats and show them some ideas for the west harbour. I'm confident the downtown corporation would be willing to kick in some money and let's face it, the Cats could end up with the coolest stadium in the country in a location that does wonders for the city.
Let's hope Young can see the many positives in this scenario and not just settle for Ivor Wynne again.

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By Space Ho (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 16:18:36

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 16:30:41

I feel like I'm trapped inside an episode of Green Acres (a TV allusion that may be lost on many).

LMAO

Beautiful.

(Where's Arnold the Pig when you need him...?)

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By Tecumseh (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 16:32:14

I always had the sense that Jason Farr was a meathead, and he just keeps proving me right. Here's a commitment from me to help with the Matt Jelly '14 campaign.

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By Simon (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 16:43:12

To a poster above asking how the cats make money if they can't make money at ivor wynne it's simple. -move out of a facility with ridiculous upkeep costs -move to a facility that provides a better game day experience they can charge more for -make more on parking -make more on luxury boxes and have more in an upgraded facility.

As much as alot of people hate the pro stadium lunacy I just ask that people also respect the common sense of tue other side. Please don't dismiss it completely.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 17:00:09

Is $1.7M a year a lot for upkeep on a building that size? A new stadium will require yearly upkeep too right? How many years before that upkeep is up around the same dollar value? What's Copps or The Convention Centre cost in upkeep taking into account in those equations, that IW only houses so many events, and a new stadium will only host a handfull more events perhaps than Ivor Wynne does. Less if the community ends up having no access to it.

Not saying you aren't right on your points Simon, just wondering logistically, how the numbers add up. Of all the upgrades that would be required at IW, will any of those lower (or significatnly lower), the annual maintenance expenses?

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 17:03:08

Great job Council! I'm happy and relieved by the outcome of the vote. I do, however, find it troubling that 6 people voted in favour of it and that they are going to take another vote in January. What happens if tempers get flared in January? Will they postpone the final vote again? Although I find the outcome encouraging and a relief, it seems like they still could demonstrate stronger leadership.

What if Bob Bratina decides that he wants to keep postponing things indefinitely, when a vote doesn't go in his favour, until he likes the outcome?

Comment edited by SpaceMonkey on 2010-12-22 16:03:28

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 17:19:50

Jason Farr should have declared a conflict of interest and NOT VOTED. The optics at the meeting were embarrassing when Jason talked ad nauseam about the Ti-Cats!

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By Simon (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 17:21:38

Lawrence before I reply I should mention I'm writing this from an iPhone so please excuse typos

It is my understanding is that the upkeep goes beyond simply the 1.7 million. The stadium is old. Really really old. If you look at renovations of major stadiums it is a massive undertaking akinto building a new stadium. Given the limited facilities the "bones" of the location allows there's a lot of practical reasons froma business perspective why a reinvestment in the property would be better spent starting from scratch. Just for starters the sidelines we all enjoy being so close to on gameday are a safety hazard for players. Any upgrade on the current facility would require those to drop back which would tear out more seats which would make the ticats even more in the hole then they are now.

The 1.7 is a year to year investment however this is a stadium that is in serious disrepair and frankly that 1.7 is basically a band aid from year to year. Get a structural engineer in there and they'll tell you there are way bigger investments on the horizon.

Just look at the metrodome. Surely how much in upkeep costs they require doesnt account for a snow storm causing a rip in the Teflon roof that forced the Vikings to move two games this year. An extreme example. I know. But hopefully you see my point.

Going a step further our current facility even hurts us when it comes to getting the best players possible. From a civic pride perspective it's easier to have a great team and ticat pride if you have a better chance of attracting the best players.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 17:38:20

Lawrence before I reply I should mention I'm writing this from an iPhone so please excuse typos

Epic iPhone post!

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 17:39:47

I can barely type my name on my iphone. Or I always have the stupid auto-correct changing my name to Jimson or some crazy thing.

That post was impressive.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 17:42:44

I can barely type my name on my iphone. Or I always have the stupid auto-correct changing my name to Jimson or some crazy thing.

That post was impressive.

I'm with you Jimson!

Comment edited by UrbanRenaissance on 2010-12-22 16:44:20

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 17:45:36

I'm not dissing on you, more just teasing... I couldn't help but think of the hilarious Macbook Wheel Onion Promo where the guy says "I like how it automatically says sent from a Macbook Wheel.. that way everyone knows you have one".

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 17:51:50

Farr lost a lot of credibility as a Councilor when he opened one of his speeches by cheer leading for the Cats. Maybe he can apply for Scott Mitchell's job when Bob Young makes him the fall guy and fires him.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 18:00:12

Jimson, check out the crazy things the auto correct suggests in the video I posted a link to. It sounds like you'll be able to relate.

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By Realist (anonymous) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 18:04:31

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By Simon (registered) - website | Posted December 22, 2010 at 19:19:07

I apologize if the post was a little long winded. I just wanted to make sure that people understand there are extremely valid reasons for wanting to leave Ivor Wynne regardless of where you stand on the stadium issue. It's not as simple as black and white. There are a whole bunch of shades of grey to this issue.

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By d.knox (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 20:30:27

I'm pretty sure we were all sympathetic to the state of IW and the costs of maintenance and renovation when we got behind supporting the construction of a brand-new, awesome, something for everyone, floats many boats, West Harbour location. The Tiger-Cats didn't want any boat but their own to float, but they don't want to pay for the water. That's the real problem here.

I'm sad as well as relieved. I want Bob to want to build at the West Harbour, and to love Hamilton. Why does that seem like wishing Santa Claus existed?

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 22:00:41

Maybe he can apply for Scott Mitchell's job when Bob Young makes him the fall guy and fires him.

Honestly, this would be the best move Young could make. He won't though. At least not now because it wouldn't look good. Young still strikes me as a classy, down to earth guy. Maybe he hired Mitchell to do his dirty work? Mitchell strikes me as a Toronto guy.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-12-22 21:01:02

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 22:46:05

haha...classic video.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted December 22, 2010 at 23:56:56

Here is the link to a good article by Stephen Brunt on the Globe and Mail website tonight about today's vote by Hamilton city council not to examine Confederation Park as a possible stadium site and the broader issue of Canadian municipalities contributing to build stadiums or arenas for professional sports teams in a difficult economic climate: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/fo...

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2010-12-22 23:02:06

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By cityfan (registered) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 01:02:55

I might as well say it now. Hey 'Katz Group', want to buy and manage a new West Harbour football/soccer stadium half paid for and Copps Coliseium hockey arena to revitalize so with both you can court an NHL, CFL, and a pro soccer team. We will even throw in other HECFI entertainment/convention facilities. Now is the time to buy for CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!!! we're listening.

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By I carry a lunchbox... (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 02:14:28

I still don't see how building a stadium is going to help taxpayers. It seems, under the proposed structure, this is going to cost us more and more each year... Maybe we need to put our money in community building projects like better transit, neighbourhood gentrification, school renovations and other such projects and let the FOR PROFIT crew build their own facilities!

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 08:59:33

The following is an excerpt of an article titled “City out of stadium options” by Emma Reilly in the Hamilton Spectator today :

“The decision to abandon the CP rail yards and Confederation Park also has Tiger-Cats president Scott Mitchell threatening to move the CFL team.

“We’ve acted with great integrity and great transparency and great integrity from the start of this,” he said.

“Professional sports has had a very tough run in Hamilton.”

Here is the link to Ms. Reilly’s article: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Compare and contrast today’s article with this excerpt from the Minutes of the February 23, 2009 Committee of the Whole meeting where Hamilton city council first voted to spend $60 Million on Pan Am facilities including on a multi-purpose stadium and a velodrome with the west harbour as the preferred site:

“5.6 Scott Mitchell, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The delegation outlined the overwhelming support for the city’s Pan Am Game Bid outlining the following reasons: Rare opportunity for Hamilton to work with Federal/Provincial Governments/sports organizations, CFL and other organizations; great opportunity for investment in the community. Ticats have invested financially in Ivor Wynne including scoreboard, audio system, digital signage, locker rooms, private suites in the Hall of Fame club. However, there is no appetite for long-term investment in Ivor Wynne Stadium; ability to host a Grey Cup with a new stadium. Mr. Mitchell further addressed the seating capacity of 22,000 needed at a minimum but ideally 26,000 to 27,000; more revenue would be had if there was a new stadium.”

Here is the link to the Minutes of the February 23, 2009 Meeting of the City of Hamilton Committee of the Whole: http://hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/A74BC236...

And here is the link to the Minutes of the February 18, 2010 Meeting of the City of Hamilton Committee of the Whole at which city council voted to confirm its $60 Million on a multi-purpose stadium and a velodrome with the west harbour as the preferred site. Mr. Mitchell did not address city council at that meeting: http://hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/26BB9E10...

Mr. Mitchell failed to inform city council, prior to the city committing $60 Million to the Pan Am Games in 2009 and 2010, that the Tiger-Cats would never play at a west harbour stadium and that the Tiger-Cats required the removal of the track from the “multi-purpose stadium” after the Pan Am Games were done. The city fought hard to win the Pan Am athletics stadium and to host the Pan Am flame. Mr. Mitchell's lack of public transparency has cost the City of Hamilton dearly over the past two years. Mr. Mitchell should apologize to the City of Hamilton for this instead of blaming the city in the local and national media.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 09:01:52

I like how the Ti-cats were so optimistic only two or three days ago when the CP site failed, and now suddenly they are screaming about the "dysfunctional council". I think council did exactly what a group of democratic elected representatives is supposed to do, they debated the matter, they each made a personal stand, and the majority carried the day. What more could we expect from council? True, Jason Farr's stance was a bit questionable, but I think it reflects some citizens of the city itself who hold the same position - so at least it's representative. I can't fault him for that. We'll see how the rest of his term goes.

Someone above me posted that no work has been done on the velodrome, my sense was that they had a list of sites they had studied, and were in the process of picking one, so that seems roughly on par with where they were with the stadium.

My biggest concern is that we mess this up and lose the velodrome. I really, really think that velodrome, and the city, have the potential to become a cycling attraction with our central location and mix of challenging terrain, the velodrome - one of only three in north america? - would be the missing piece we need to become a world-class cycling attraction.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 09:26:21

True, Jason Farr's stance was a bit questionable, but I think it reflects some citizens of the city itself who hold the same position - so at least it's representative.

Except he was elected to represent downtown, not the ticat fan club.

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By amateur (anonymous) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 09:33:14

Yes Robert D - and we could have been an even bigger World Class running attraction with the track. Together with our legacy tenant - the amateur runners of the Hamilton and Golden Horseshoe region.

But no the Ticats killed the track and the aspirations of thousands of amateur athletes.

A track and velodrome and pool are not only affordable 'fun' things but they are good to make the community have a healthier active lifestyle. Whereas as a football stadium with a chain link fence around it does nothing for the recreational 'legacy' of a community (how many football stadiums does a region need - it is a sport in decline anyway in Ontario).

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 09:52:57

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/1124/'we_will_make_it_work_whatever_the_site'

sorry, but for some reason the site isn't allowing me to post a clickable link today.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-12-23 08:54:20

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted December 23, 2010 at 10:05:22

Good read and not so bad from an iPhone, Simon. :) I am just going by what I have read in reports that say there is no reason Ivor Wynne cannot last another 45 years if they followed the 10 year plan to upgrade/repair what was in that report. And when I asked the Cats what some of the major issues, including why concerts couldn't be held at Ivor Wynne, I got that things like egress from the field (doesn't seem like a hard thing to fix but what do I know), water pressure and a need to increase the hydro feed into the building as well. Simple things like cooking a hotdog they said, can be a dificult task.

Ivor Wynne has been badly taken care of it seems, yet at the time of the report, it was only going to cost $20M to keep it safe and workable for another 45 years. 9 million I believe it is, has been spent on the stadium (outside yearly maintenance), since the 70's. That is peanuts. Probably why Copps is seemingly outdated and becoming a White Elephant. Poor management and no real forward thinking business plan for the facilities. As one poster (and some councillors) stated, it probably is time to get out of the management of sports and entertainment facilities. If Ivor Wynne was to get a green light approval from both sides, my stand would be to have a group of both football loving and community building minded citizens to properly manage it and make sure that it can be a profitable venture.

Our councillors have a million things to oversee. I know we do have building managers, but with a body of folks dedicated to certain entities, I would think would give these buildings more of a shot at survival with broader community output. Output from people who have both lived here their entire lives and understand the demographics of our 'Pardon My Lunchbucket' city, to those perhaps new residents and those that have seen how these business work in other cities around the globe.

I do get where you and many others are coming form Simon. I truly and wholeheartedly do. Ivor Wynne is just my dream and I think there are many reasons why it could work, but who am I to say it is the best option or not.

My biggest beaf, is that so many people will agree with us when we say Ivor Wynne is one of the best places to watch football and nothing says community than a stadium nestled amongst one. If there is a way to work with that (and I know we have been working with it for 60 years), then in these tough econimic times where ticket, concession, and parking increases may have a reverse affect with regards to what we want to achieve with a new stadium, sticking with what we know works on many levels, and tweaking it to work for those that can't see the forest for the trees, than can we save a boatload of cash and the team, and feel good about a community building project that includes our beloved, historic, 'I can build a scaffold in my driveway and see the game as clear as day' kind of a stadium?

If we even widened the sidelines just a bit (we would have to replace the south stands anyway), even if we lose a couple of thousands seats, why can we not in turn wrap the endzone around to meet the north stands? Why can we not wrap the north and south stands to butt up against the scoreboard? Really? I have seen similar such designs. I know the pricetag is going up here, but we could probably make Ivor Wynne 45,000 seats and Grey cup eligable, if engineers felt that that could be done. Replace the south stands and work on a new 10 year plan. A plan that would see a Grey Cup back in Hamilton again for the first time in many years.

Maybe these are all pipe dreams, but they are quesitons I just have to ask. Like I have said before, I am not a huge fan of the West Harbour idea but what I loved about that versus the East Mountain campaign, was that at least if Ivor Wynne's fate was sealed, yes, one community would lose a big part of what has made it what it is for the past 60 years, but another community would benefit from what such a venue could bring. But in saying that, does the West Harbor community (as I asked above), really want a stadium in their backyard? Don't we think that because of the exposure these lands have recieved over the past year, that deveopment of that area will now happen on it's own - without a 25,000 seat stadium and boatloads of cars and buses pushing in and out of your neighborhood every other weekend?

I will tell you there are many pluses like thousands of people being able to easily walk to the stadium which you don't get form remote sites like Confed or East Mountain, but somoene who lives right next door to Ivor Wynne, should sit and have a chat with the folks of the Harbor so they know what they would be getting yourselves into, before the Cats say 'okay, we'll play in the Harbor'.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted December 23, 2010 at 10:09:01

@Jason, that goes with the link I provided that says Scott Mitchell saying the same thing with regards to fix Ivor Wynne or build a new stadium. Whatever works, as long as we have some of our needs met. The link may not have worked because you had single quotes at either end of the article title in your link? I just took those out after I copied and pasted the link into a new window.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2010-12-23 09:20:27

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 10:22:57

sorry, was trying again.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-12-23 09:23:14

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By Simon (registered) - website | Posted December 23, 2010 at 10:55:03

Hey Lawrence, happy to be having this back and forth with you.

It is my understanding the 20 million your referencing is to keep it going as is. No new luxury boxes, no extra frills from the structure we currently have. From a business perspective keeping things as is doesn't make sense if your losing money on it.

I'm all for nostalgia, and trust me, I do love watching games at Ivor Wynne but keeping things the same will, well, keep things the same. I really really don't know where we could get an extra 15,000 seats from, and even still, the point of the new stadium was never to make it bigger than ivor wynne, but more modern and a more fun gameday experience.

With all due respect to the "broader community output" I disagree wholeheartedly. As they say, "a camel is a horse made by committee". I think a problem with Hamilton as a whole is there's a little too much weight given to the "keep things the same" camp. you even mentioned the "pardon my lunch bucket" mentality of the city. I think we can all agree that blue collar jobs are dissapearing from the city. Instead we're seeing the innovation park and other white collar opportunities starting to make their way in. Personally I'm thrilled by this. I hope the "pardon my lunch bucket" mentality soon starts transforming into a "let's do this ourself in an innovative way" mentality. We saw this sort of transformation take place in waterloo, where essentially a city driven by regional agriculture became the tech hub of Canada. Change is a good thing, and I feel this city has a habit of being paralyzed in the face of it by checks and balances to make sure the old ways aren't offended.

Bringing it back to the stadium issue. With a new stadium and new facilities Bob Young also promised to go after an NASL team. In fact this stadium issue has become a major issue in the Canadian soccer community, for example:

http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/conten...

Not only would an NASL team provide secondary entertainment, but also and academy system to help talented youngsters from the community develop a career in soccer. Vancouver was the first one to do it, Toronto and Montreal recently did it, and Bob Young has vowed to do it should he get a new facility.

you can check more on them here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitecaps_F... http://www.torontofc.ca/academy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Im...

To anyone who thinks a velodrome would provide more opportunity for community use, I would argue the complete opposite—that facilities catered to youth soccer would do a lot more. To anyone who thinks you would be able to show up to the velodrome any old day of the week with your huffy and peddle around, I think your sadly mistaken.

I understand I'm probably going to upset a lot of people with this post. I apologize if I do, I just hope you understand that there are opposing opinions to a lot of the popular ones on this board and consideration has been put into them.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 11:20:10

Simon, contrary to what it may sound like on the board at times, I think most people here have no problem with spending $170 million in public money for a new stadium AT the West Harbour. I personally believe ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8D... ) that if we're going to spend that kind of public money it needs to benefit the city. Giving it all away to an individual business for their sole gain reeks of corporate welfare.
I still shake my head when I think of the simple fact that we as a city, were willing to use $170 million to build the Cats a beautiful new waterfront stadium as part of a bigger revitalization plan with condos, restaurants and an entertainment district and they are willing to walk away from that because they want to own a parking lot on the public dime. We understand the value of the team and the new facility to our city, which is why most of us would love to see a great new facility at the West Harbour with considerable public money involved.
I'm sure the Winnipeg Bluebombers would love to have $170 million given to them for their new stadium project.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted December 23, 2010 at 11:37:26

Well said @Jason and @Simon. I think you proved yourself wrong though Simon with regards to public input. You have expressed some great insight and ideas both on here and through conversations we have had on FB. The recycle idea, whether it is viable or not I do not know, is a great one. It's the little things that could really make all the difference in the world. Who gave us the quote for building a new stadium? Could we get a cheaper quote? Probably and if 'we' had some input, we could ensure more accountability for the money being spent and to force them to look at ideas such as you have proposed.

I know if Ivor Wynne's ticket is punched, I would like all of us to have some major input with regards to the future of those lands and a stadium of some sort, I think should live there forever. Even if it's just a 5,000 seater for high school and other local sports - with a track around it. I know we have other such facilities (Mac and the International College just two examples), but sports has lived at 75 Balsam for a 80 years. I think there is something to that. Houses doesn't solve the problem with that area IMHO. We are looking at every possible way to create more of a tax base including ruining beautiful areas like Binbrook, when we should be looking at ways of curbing spending.

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By Simon (registered) - website | Posted December 23, 2010 at 11:47:37

Happy to be having these conversations, though you might be chatting with a different Simon on FB.

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 12:58:30

Tear down Ivor Wynn Immediately, build the free 5,000 seat stadium HOSTCO is offering and refund Bob Young all the rent money he paid for next season. Later on other sporting facilities could be built around the property like a decent baseball stadium, a pool etc. Maybe a partner in the MLS would expand the stadium. It could become the hub for amateur sports.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 16:44:14

A football stadium with a track around it makes the stadium suck for football. How far do you want to get from the game field? That WH rendering that's been floating around for years -- aside from some photoshop tweaks-- that has got WH supporters drooling, just has to be the worst field ever to view a CFL game, maybe worse than Skydome.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 23, 2010 at 16:54:38

@treyS - either way, that dual-use stadium's not going to happen... but the 10ish meter wide running track usually shown in those illustrations isn't going to destroy the view. Comparing that to the Skydome is ludicrous hyperbole. I'm sure they had plans to mitigate it anyways, like adding temporary seating on the track or something.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted December 23, 2010 at 17:13:12

dual-use? It makes mediocrity look idealistic. It does a halfway job on both uses. How can you say a 10m+ track around a football field doesn't take the spectators further away from the action? Again, another WH supporter that doesn't watch football games.

My comparison to Skydome is that it wasn't built for the CFL, it's a baseball stadium first.

But totally agree, it's not going to happen anyway. I'm just wondering why that was never brought up. Ivor Wynne is one of the best leagues' stadiums to watch a game live. It's just that it isn't located to make much profit from the region.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 23, 2010 at 17:23:55

I've never sat up close to any game of any kind. I guess at the good seats the 10 meters would make a huge difference, I wouldn't know... it just doesn't sound like it would be a huge deal from further back when you're already looking over that much of the crowd.

And I never said it would be nothing, just that the negative impact can't be compared to the Skydome. Trying to shoehorn a football game into a baseball stadium is a whole other ballpark of dual-use failure, if you'll pardon the pun.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-12-23 16:24:26

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted December 29, 2010 at 01:38:42

If you look at some of the old pics of Ivor Wynne, you will notice the track and stands. The stands front row is much higher and the reno just kept the same line down to the field once the track was removed. Same could have been in WH if the so called football men hadn't blown it.

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