Sports

Tell Council: Pan Am Stadium Still Hamilton's to Choose

By RTH Staff
Published January 07, 2011

Last summer, the Our City, Our Future campaign transformed the public debate over a Pan Am stadium location by giving citizens the ability to speak with a unified voice about our vision for a true public legacy that supports urban revitalization and generates positive economic spinoff for the community.

Against the full-spectrum campaign by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to build the stadium at a suburban site that served only their private business interest, a clear and vocal majority of Hamiltonians from every neighbourhood and all walks of life shared with Council and the Province their demand for a more visionary approach: that public dollars should have public benefits.

A huge rally downtown drew throngs of supporters and passionate speeches by then-Ward 2 councillor (now Mayor) Bob Bratina and then-Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

Council heard the message reaffirmed, once again, their choice of the West Harbour as the best place to advance the City's goals.

After that the stadium process went off the rails, with Council trying frantically to find an alternative compromise site that would be acceptable to the Ticats. None of those sites - which had, after all, been rejected as candidates for good reason - turned out to be viable.

Now that the hard February 1 deadline from Toronto 2015 is in sight, it is clear that no stadium location meets both the City's objectives of community building, brownfield remediation, economic uplift and financial viability, as well as the team's objectives of easy highway access and ancillary revenue opportunities through parking and entertainment.

The important thing today is that, despite the naysayers, a Pan Am stadium is still Hamilton's to choose.

Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop has explicitly told us that a scalable, 5500-6500 seat stadium at the West Harbour is a viable proposal if the City brings it forward. After all, the main purpose of the Pan Am Games is to support amateur sport, as Mr. Troop reminded us again this week.

City Council meets on January 12 to discuss putting Confederation Park back on the table, or potentially to withdraw from the stadium bid altogether.

So today, with just a few weeks until Toronto 2015 selects its Pan Am stadium site, we call on Hamiltonians once more to contact Mayor Bob Bratina and City Councillors as well as the news media and tell them we want City Council to say "yes" to a scalable 6,000 seat stadium and "yes" to bringing the Pan Am Games to the Hammer - where they belong!

Please take a few moments to contact Council and make your voice heard. We would also appreciate it if you post your letter in the comments as an inspiration to others.

22 Comments

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 09:16:23

You have my vote.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 09:42:13

quoting myself from another thread:

Troop was just on CHML and told Kelly that if Hamilton chooses a 6,000 community stadium at the West Harbour, it's ours. Game over. On to the next project. Hamilton only has 1 choice unless council wants to feel the wrath of it's citizens for making any other choice and putting us in severe financial straits with NO Ivor Wynne replacement.

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By LightSpeed (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 09:44:50

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:13:18

My letter to council. The odds of this formatting properly on here are slim to none. LOL

Dear Mayor and Council,

With the stadium saga finally about to end I wanted to send my sincere thanks to each of you who have spent far too much time and energy on this issue in order to make the most informed decision possible. Your service to us, the citizens of Hamilton, is much appreciated!

With recent revelations from The TigerCats that they had in fact already zeroed in on the Aldershot site back in June before sending Hamilton council on a wild goose chase around town to study site after site, along with recent statements from Ian Troop that the Pan Am soccer stadium is STILL Hamilton's to choose, (Troop was just on CHML this morning -Friday - and stated that if Hamilton chooses a community 6,000 seat stadium, it's ours)

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/2043/tell_council:_pan_am_stadium_still_hamilton's_to_choose

I feel that our city has no choice but to send our plan to HOSTCO for a 6,000 seat soccer stadium at the West Harbour.

I have arrived at this conclusion due to a number of factors that I feel are vital to share with each of you:

  1. The Cats have clearly made up their mind on the Aldershot site.
  2. If we say no to HOSTCO, we will be left owning an aging and expensive Ivor Wynne stadium with NO replacement.
  3. McMaster's stadium does not meet the needs of the 200+ community events that take place at Ivor Wynne annually.
  4. Hamilton's new 6,000 seat stadium at the Harbour can accommodate concerts (which have been banned at Ivor Wynne) and will add a new dimension of cultural life in Hamilton.
  5. Hamilton's new 6,000 seat stadium can accommodate a soccer team in either the NASL or USL leagues (immediately below the MLS). 6..We must build the stadium with the ability for future expansion to 20,000-25,000 in order to accommodate a potential CFL or MLS soccer team.
  6. We free up much of our future fund money which can then be spent on a world-class velodrome. See Chicago's velo-campus: http://www.chicagovelocampus.com/
    • please note the list of amenities. Imagine a beautifully designed 6,000 seat soccer/concert stadium and world class velodrome such as this at our west harbour.
  7. A well designed, mixed-use neighbourhood around these two world class facilities will have a massive impact on redeveloping our West Harbour lands with new condos, shops, dining etc..... prospective condo purchasers in other cities have proven that neighbourhood access to a top notch community centre and fitness centre is a HUGE draw in purchasing a new unit. The velodrome is a massive opportunity for Hamilton, enhanced by soccer, concerts and community events in a new stadium.
  8. We are able to demolish Ivor Wynne and build another new mixed-use community in the heart of our city. In a part of our city that desperately needs an infusion of 21st Century urban development. For example: http://blog.oregonlive.com/environment_i...
    • this is a brand new 'suburb' built on greenfield site in Portland, Oregon. Imagine a new street through the centre of the Ivor Wynne site acting as a new neighbourhood hub designed like this image. Top notch housing, grocery, pharmacy, cafes and neighbourhood amenities can draw people to move into this neighbourhood and continue with Hamilton's urban revitalization. Our future LRT line will run right along King making this a very important piece of property for us to develop properly and shake up the status quo type of development we see in Hamilton too often.
  9. The bottom line - money. My money. Your money. All of us are in this city together. If we tell HOSTCO to locate in Mississuaga or Brampton we are putting Hamilton taxpayers at risk of having to foot the entire bill for Ivor Wynne remediation and West Harbour development.

Despite the wishes of the Ticats to locate in Aldershot (which I'm personally fine with - many football teams play in the suburbs) we still have a great opportunity to do something spectacular at our West Harbour, and then in turn the Ivor Wynne site. Please do the right thing for Hamilton, as you have all along, and tell HOSTCO that we will glady take the 6,000 seat stadium and host soccer - the most popular sport on earth.

Thanks for your time, and again, for your service to our fine city.

Comment edited by jason on 2011-01-07 10:15:26

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:31:50

Jason: Thanks, your letter says it all, I support you 100% !!

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:39:54

That was a wonderfully ariculated letter, Jason. Thank you.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:41:10

Our land at the West Harbour holds so much more potential than a stadium, let's do more for our harbour.

The re-birth of Balsam Ave.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:41:14

I appreciate the comments...but don't tell me - tell council! LOL

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By dmont (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:50:32

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:55:32

don't click on it.

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:58:48

Just discovered that Councillor Brad has a motion for the GIC meeting on Monday, January 10, 2001 agenda item 9.2 that states;" that notice be given to Hostco that as there is no viable site at this time that the City of Hamilton is withdrawing from the Pan Am Games" http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/888B...

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:59:05

I wonder where my councillor (Jason Farr) stands on this one, with a Burlington stadium as unlikely as a Confederation Park stadium at this point. From a keeping the Tiger Cats point of view, the scalable stadium option is really the best because it allows the Cats to return under new management. No stadium means the Cats are out of options, period. Unless they can wrangle something out of the Plan B site, and I doubt Hostco would even touch that one.

Myself I'm not entirely sold on the idea. I'd like to go ahead with the west harbour just to stick it to current Ticats management, but that isn't necessarily a good use of city resources. The community use argument has merit, but we still don't have any figures for city versus provincial / federal contribution, or even the cost to begin with. Lets ask Ian Troop for some real numbers so we can make this decision properly.

Comment edited by jonathan dalton on 2011-01-07 11:02:30

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By The Guv'nor (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 11:35:48

Well, here's my letter I just sent:

Dear City Council;
I just wanted to email you and express my strong support for a smaller stadium in the West Harbour. Since Confed Park is dead, and Hostco has said no further deadline extensions, we cannot let the federal and provincial money slip through our fingers. A smaller, scalable stadium would a] remediate a toxic brownfield and spur the redevelopment of the West Harbour, b] be expandable for pro football, soccer and lacrosse and c] could be twinned with the Velodrome to create a world class sports hub. It would also host the more than 200 community events that currently use Ivor Wynne (where will they go once IW is torn down?)

We have no other options if we want to leverage this money. This is a once-in-a -ifetime opportunity. The Ticats are leaving regardless, and we cannot be left with an 80 year old stadium, no football club and no money to build a replacement Ian Troop has stated that the smaller stadium is ours if we want it. WE WANT IT!
Please, do what is right for us, the taxpayers, your constituents. A smaller stadium also means less of the Future Fund will be required, which means we can, in turn, use that money to further revitalize downtown.

I urge you to support the motion for a smaller scalable stadium at the West Harbour. Let's be progressive and do something special at the West Harbour. I'm in, are you?

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 14:12:27

At the end of Bill Kelly's show today he said that his sources in city hall are suggesting that many councillors will vote for WH next week when they meet. Let's hope so.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 14:20:48

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 14:25:26

Newsflash, Turbo. If they approve Clark's motion, we don't get the velodrome.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 14:29:44

@highwater only dirty urbanist hippies ride bikes anyway. :P

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 14:46:36

and pinkos

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 15:25:10

My email (stolen mostly from another commenter on RTH):

Councillor Farr & Mayor Bratina,

I know neither of you are too fond of the small stadium in the West Harbour, especially you Mr. Mayor. But let's look at the facts:

  • Neither Confederation Park nor Aldershot can possibly be studied and finalized in time to meet the February 1 deadline.
  • Toronto 2015 says a community stadium in Hamilton is viable and meets their requirements.
  • A smaller stadium will be tens of millions cheaper, and we already have all the funding we need from upper levels of government and may not even need the Future Fund.
  • A smaller stadium means more resources to make the Velodrome a permanent high-performance facility.
  • The stadium can be scalable: any small stadium built for the Games will support temporary seating to bring it to 15,000 seats, so the foundation for a larger stadium will be in place.
  • Some 200 non-Ticat-related events occur each year in Ivor Wynne that can happen in a smaller stadium instead, making citizens the legacy tenants of the stadium.
  • The Pan Am Games are slated to occur in Hamilton as well as the other participating municipalities.
  • We own the land where the stadium will go.
  • We've already done the studies: we know the West Harbour works and we can prove it to Hostco.

So let's go for the community stadium at the West Harbour. It's the only location that council has agreed on, and a small stadium works even better for that location than a large on would have.

Please, vote against re-opening Confederation Park, and vote for West Harbour.

  • Matt Grande, Ward 2 Resident.

Comment edited by mrgrande on 2011-01-07 15:25:52

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 16:44:55

My email:

To Members of Hamilton City Council,

I am a proud resident of Ward 2 who believes strongly in the future of Hamilton's downtown core, and am writing to urge you as our elected council to show strong, creative leadership in the ongoing stadium debate. I ask that council propose to the PamAm Host Committee that Hamilton build a small (5,000 seat) community stadium along with a Velodrome and associated athletics centre at the West Harbour location.

I believe this solution has strong community support and is an ideal solution for the following reasons: it will serve to remediate a polluted brownfield site and thus unlock potential for additional, private investors on the WH, it will benefit the entire community throughout the year and help encourage fitness in the local downtown community (thus contributing to the goal of making Hamilton the best place in Canada to raise a child), and it will attract high-performance athletes and athletic competition to our city even after the Pan Am games. I think this is a legacy that you as a council and we as residents of the city will be proud of for many years to come.

I think it is obvious to all observers by now that the Ti-Cats will only co-operate with the city on this initiative if they can accrue the preponderance of benefits for themselves. I never was in support of our city's Future Fund being used to spur the development of a privately-owned stadium parking lot and precinct. Instead, I would like to see my federal and provincial tax dollars, as well the city's Future Fund be used in a way that will bring maximum benefit to the residents of Hamilton.

I am a lifelong Ti-Cat fan, but if they think the solution to their woes is a suburban Aldershot stadium then I wish them well in their pursuit. I do believe most strongly that they need to use private funding to get it built. (And as this seems extremely unlikely perhaps the 5,000 seat WH stadium could be scaleable to a potentially much larger stadium while we are at it). The PanAm funds are for Hamilton and we should not throw this opportunity away and let this money go to Burlington.

Please make us proud, Hamilton council!

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 16:50:30

@jonathondalton - I live in Ward 2 as well and wrote Jason Farr this morning. I received a good response back, actually. He promises that he is committed to doing the right thing by this community, and is studying the matter carefully. He will not confirm if he is going to raise a motion to submit a bid for a smaller community stadium (as I asked him to do)... but the tone of his email is promising. Residents of Ward 2 should continue to engage him as this is an extremely important issue to our ward.

As for numbers for a small stadium... if you read some other threads on here, people have been posting some encouraging numbers. And Ian Troop seems to indicate that the savings in building a smaller stadium can be pumped into a more substantial velodrome....

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted January 10, 2011 at 13:00:39

Sent this morning

Dear Mayor and Councillors.

My name is Gregory Galante. I am a lifelong Hamilton resident. I am a home owner and business owner. I live in Ward 3, by choice. I am writitng you today to express my opinion and wishes for the upcoming COW meeting with respect to the Pan Am stadium issue.

I have followed the Pan Am stadium issue in the city closely. I have participated in community input meetings on it, attended COW meetings that dealt with it, attended rallies, written my councillor, been engaged in various media in support of the stadium.

My emotions on the issue have begun with optimism , became extremely optimistic when West Harbour was reaffirmed by council, moved to dismay at the actions of the Hamilton Tiger Cats in rejecting West Harbour at the eleventh hour, have swung to outrage at the continued attempt by that organization to hijack what was to be a public process. My feelings now are that of stoney resolve. Resolve that my elected officials refuse to allow a money losing private business to manipulate our City Council into spending taxpayers money to satisfy a whim. A whim that is based on obsolete sports management principles and one that will bring no benefit to this communtiy.

My hope is that council will vote to reaffirm West Harbour ONCE AGAIN, and elect to build a very modern, scalable stadium that at some point may be home to a CFL team (hopefully the Tiger Cats) and perhaps one day a professional soccer team. We must not forget however that this facility will also be home to over a hundred community events per year as well as provide the opportunity to hold concerts, out door festivals, expositions. We also have an opportunity to become home to the Canadian Soccer Association. These are worthwhile goals that will provide a lasting legacy to the community and help jumpstart development in the West Harbour area, including accelerating all day GO train service in the north corridor.

There has been an argument put for that Hamilton does not need a "small time" stadium. This is petty and regressive thinking in my opinion. The Hamilton Tiger Cats have played a game of brinkmanship, and emotional blackmail with this issue. They have done so without any real options to move anywhere. It is clear that they are looking to build a new facility on the public purse. Were this not the case Mr Young would have arranged his own consortium and built his drive way to driveway playland somewhere off a highway ramp near you already.

A scaleable stadium in the West Harbour allows Hamilton to take advantage of the Pan Am games to establish badly needed facilities in this city (including lets not forget a velodrome) , while also being able to develop a brown field area in this city. This has implications for LRT, residential and business development as well.

Hamilton has garnered a reputation whether deserved or not as a backward, regressive, rust belt, lunch bucket factory town. We have an opportunity with the Pan Am games to snuff out that mind set and display our city and our waterfront to the world and shed the shackles that identifying ourselves with the steel industry and the Tiger Cats for the last 100 plus years have placed on us. We are more than that. Lets prove it.

I implore and encourage all of you to vote once again for the West Harbour and a scalable stadium/velodrome/community facility for West Harbour.

Thank You

Gregory J Galante

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