News

A Chance To Ask Bratina Questions At 11 AM Today

By RTH Staff
Published September 01, 2011

The Spectator is hosting Mayor Bob Bratina on the Spec Live today at 11:00 am to discuss preparations for the Pan Am Games.

Click here to submit a question and join the discussion..

With controversy and uncertainty swirling around the velodrome, the sudden change to Ivor Wynne plans from a partial rebuild to a completely new stadium, and ongoing accusations of secrecy and backroom dealings, there is certainly lots to talk about.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 10:11:43

aka 'Elevenses With Bratina'.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:05:20

This has begun, but apparently it takes five minutes to get a response to a question.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:17:16 in reply to Comment 68860

Yup, 4 questions and answers in 13 minutes. Might be only 9 questions in total at this rate!

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:12:09

Wow. Waiting for a reponse is like watching paint dry. As a side note with regards to Brian Timmis (I wish he would stop correcting people - just correct the spelling in your response), I sent a message to the Stadium and District committee, asking them to address the loss of BTS sooner than later. Why couldn't we just find some space within the community, and transport the grandstands and goal posts, to another location? Here is a quick proposal I put together as an example.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-09-01 11:16:31

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:14:03

Related: Still no sign of Bratina audio from yesterday's first hour of BKS. They've apparently hopped over his segment.

http://www.900chml.com/Station/BillKellyShow/Audio.aspx

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:27:23 in reply to Comment 68862

His audio is now up -- just as the Q&A is closing. Go figure.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:20:26

Listen, it takes a few minutes for the q's to be posted, then for Bob to read them, then for him to type it up on his BB (small keys!) to send to Peggy, then for Peggy to go through her "approved talking points" crib sheet, then for her to write up a response and send it back to Bob for transcription.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:22:26 in reply to Comment 68864

It's not like he's on CHML, "Hamilton's loose talk leader."

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:30:54

Yay realitystar!

Mayor Bratina - who is the small group of "dissidents" you speak of? Shouldn't every citizen have a say in what is a pretty big deal in terms of city building? Hasn't council learnt anything from the past disasters of urban renewal - pushing mega-projects through in record speeds does not make for an engaged or happy citizen base. These are not "vigilantes" as you have stated in the media - these are concerned and informed taxpayers.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:38:45 in reply to Comment 68867

And the response?

BB: Everyone has a right to their opinions, and some opinions are dissident when measured against the broad public expression. I am always in the public and constantly hear positive endorsement of how we're making progress in the City. My record on past disasters is clear, that we need a new approach, and so far in a few short months Hamilton has seen the beginnings of a true renaissance.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 12:37:51 in reply to Comment 68870

Really? In a few short months we've done nothing but continue on some of the projects from the previous administration and work at killing 3 of the most important projects from that administration - LRT, Gore Pedestrian Plan and West Harbour development. Safe to say the definition of a 'renaissance' isn't quite what it used to be.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:43:59 in reply to Comment 68870

Read: "My friends, supporters and yes-(wo)men tell me everything is a-okay. Anyone who says differently isn't giving me a free ride, and I desperately deserve one of those, like the one I gave the Ti-Cats! Everyone has a right to their opinions, but dissident opinions are just plain wrong, and probably mean you're a communist or terrorist."

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:37:35

An image of the LA Velodrome. LA Velodrome

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-09-01 11:38:11

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 12:27:41 in reply to Comment 68868

Hamilton could have been such a centre for cycling had we leaders of any vision in this city. My parents are from The Netherlands, where both cycling and speed skating are absolutely huge spectator sports. A velodrome would have attracted high-profile events and athletes to our city, like the speed skating centre did in Calgary. I did not see ANY good studies or business cases to prove this, despite our mayor claiming that they've done everything they could.

NOONE on this council has done anything to inform the community on the benefits that a velodrome could bring to this city. In fact, very few of them even know themselves.

Our mayor is lying to us and our council is negligent to their duties as our representatives. And yet there seems nothing we can do.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 13:34:13 in reply to Comment 68878

Someone made the great point (can't remember where I saw it) that if the velodrome is such a great thing, and will be so beneficial for Canadian cycling, why aren't the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Feds chipping in? Why are Hamilton taxpayers being asked to shoulder the entire burden when the direct, local benefit is minimal, or at least intangible? I'd be alot more supportive of this thing if the people who are going to derive the most benefit, ie, elite national athletes, were paying at least some of the cost, and if it were located where it would provide the most benefit for the poor saps who are footing the bill, and not just the convenience of cyclists who think the West Harbour is 'icky'.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 15:33:11 in reply to Comment 68894

That's a good and very valid point. Unfortunately I have become so cynical re: the Hamilton city council that I feel like they have somehow neglected to even reach out to the proper stakeholders and get this thing done. But in fairness I spoke to Brad Clark about the velodrome late 2010 after a council meeting and he indicated to me that some of the community cycling stakeholders were refusing to consider the West Harbour, and were pushing for a Dundas location. He said that's why he was hesitating to push the velodrome discussions further, as he did not want another WH debate until the community representatives became more reasonable. Sad that all this information is off the record - we'll never really know the truth.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 12:51:11 in reply to Comment 68878

NOONE on this council has done anything to inform the community on the benefits that a velodrome could bring to this city. In fact, very few of them even know themselves.

Mr. Greg Mathieu of the Canadian Cycling Association gave a very strong presentation at the GIC meeting on Monday...even though it would have been better done years ago. Still, you're right. Especially on your second point. Which you could connect to my article this week.

Our mayor is lying to us and our council is negligent to their duties as our representatives. And yet there seems nothing we can do.

Town hall meetings. I'm just sayin'...

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:43:32 in reply to Comment 68868

Thanks for posting this lovely photo, Lawrence.

Velodromes are things of beauty.

And looking at this photo makes me feel all the stronger that of the two events/facilities that were options to us, we should have gone with the velodrome alone.

Because it's clear to me we're not getting it.

I'll be interested to see what municipality does get it, and if their path to making it happen is as convoluted and as ugly as ours has been.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 12:35:44 in reply to Comment 68872

I don't know. I just have this feeling that we are going to get this Jellodrome.

That one comment on The Spec live drives hard about the LA Velodrome and no facility like it in Canada. You telling me Hamilton is going to pass on that?

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 12:38:45 in reply to Comment 68879

Yes. We're too busy giving away money to the TiCats.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 12:51:36 in reply to Comment 68881

To whom we are apparently indebted, going back to the 1800s.

I imagine that the Young Family must have held back demons at the gates of hell way back when, and now the grateful modern taxpayer owes their heir a $100M+, no strings attached gift.

Comment edited by Borrelli on 2011-09-01 13:12:13

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2011 at 01:47:08 in reply to Comment 68885

My Father's family came to Ontario in 1814. (I think that predates the figure given here for the Young family by 20 years.)
No one has even offered me a 1 way bus ticket back to Pennsylvania or 80 bucks for the passport.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 16:44:25 in reply to Comment 68885

thanks .... that was awesome ! i dont why my family ever left england ...we'd been there since 1066 imagine the payout !

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By Art Brut (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 11:56:18

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zekiZYSVdeQ

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 12:19:27

Just read The Spec Q & A with our mayor. What is UP with pointing out that the Young family have been in Hamilton since the 1800s? Does this mean they are our betters, and the "dissidents" in Hamilton have no right to question them?

When Bratina was my Ward 2 councillor I wrote him an email and was taken very sternly and strongly to task by the lack of respect I was showing to him. (I was questioning his flip-flopping positions on the West Harbour, but my email was polite enough).

This is the overall impression I have of Bratina. A well-connected old boy who is geniunely shocked and confused that he and his cronies are being questioned in any way. He seems to think that if we just let the "elite" have their way, they'd soon get the city of Hamilton back to its glory days.

It is not a small group of dissidents that are the problem for this city. It is a small group of entitled, corrupt throwbacks that see progress as regressing to a mythical past.

Comment edited by Zephyr on 2011-09-01 13:12:28

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2011 at 01:49:54 in reply to Comment 68876

Thank you, Zephyr. It needed to be said!

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 12:47:55 in reply to Comment 68876

This is the overall impression I have of Bratina. A well-connected old boy who is geniunely shocked and confused that he and his cronies are being questioned in any way. He seems to think that if we just let the "elite" have their way, they'd soon get the city of Hamilton back to its glory days.

It is not a small group of dissidents that are the problem for this city. It is a small group of entitled, corrupt throwbacks that see progress as regressing to a mythical past.

Well put.

He tends to be...with his own brand of 'charm'...patronizing and dismissive.

And his ramble to his quarters this week post-GIC meeting kinda showed this in action.

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By Arroganti (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 13:01:30

This mayor takes the cake for arrogance and non-truth telling.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 13:44:05

This whole exercise felt like a sham to me. It was a Q&A from behind a protective screen. The mayor didn't have to deal with difficult, probing follow-up questions that occur naturally in a one-on-one interview. His statements didn't have to stand up to any scrutiny in the moment. The time limit allowed for delaying tactics to limit the number of questions he could face.

Trust and credibility are hard to earn in the political world. This format didn't generate those feelings in me for this Mayor.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2011 at 13:48:33

I managed to miss the entire QA session, so I'm glad of the transcript. One bit jumped out at me:

BB: The clean-up costs of West Harbour have been given as a range of between $3 million and $37 million dollars.

I was curious as to where the Mayor got this price range, especially after extrapolating on Monday's Bill Kelly show that it would cost $35-40 million, based on what the Waterfront Trust paid to remediate a different property.

After a bit of digging, it looks like the Mayor is citing a preliminary estimate from early 2010. From a Feb. 19, 2010 Spec article:

A preliminary environmental assessment showed cleanup costs could range from $3.3 million to $37 million.

However, more detailed study subsequently brought the estimate down to $3-5 million. From a May 8, 2010 Spec editorial:

(it's worth noting that remediation costs, initially feared to be as high as $37 million, will be more like $3 million to $5 million

I'm trying to figure out why the Mayor, who was actively involved in last year's stadium debate as the downtown councillor, would be citing the preliminary estimate but not the more recent one.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 14:02:08 in reply to Comment 68899

I'm trying to figure out why the Mayor, who was actively involved in last year's stadium debate as the downtown councillor, would be citing the preliminary estimate but not the more recent one.

I don't think you have to be a cynic to conclude that he is citing any available information that supports his (new) position.

By muddying the waters with such a large range, his answer germinates further doubt in skeptics and the tax-conscious: "Could the final cost be so high? Better err on the side of caution and avoid WH."

It's totally disingenuous to be citing such a large range, given that it has been narrowed, and patently hypocritical given the MASSIVE uncertainty around the cost of the IW-redux that he actively championed last year.

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted September 01, 2011 at 14:09:06 in reply to Comment 68900

I know why.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 02, 2011 at 09:52:31

I spoke with some people last night who were furious at cyclists because "they" would be costing 20 million dollars to innocent taxpayers for "their" velodrome.

This city has a serious communication problem.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 08, 2011 at 11:53:45 in reply to Comment 68948

JUst had a look at your forum, Sean. Have you talked to Ryan about grabbing it and having it as an adition to Raise the Hammer? One person commented on an article yesterday stating they didn't know where to post the comment but added it to the discussion anyway. Your forum perhaps would be a perfect spot for off-topic discussion for RTH users.

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By So Steel City I Rust (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 14:10:16

Montreal had a velodrome built for the . It is now a Biodrome, they couldn't get it to work there, why would it work better here?

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 03, 2011 at 13:47:45 in reply to Comment 68978

Montreal had a velodrome built for the (Olympics in 1976). It is now a Biodrome, they couldn't get it to work there, why would it work better here?

This is where details get lost in the discussion: despite being constructed for the Olympics, the velodrome in Montreal wasn't of international competitive standards. And Mr. Greg Mathieu of the Canadian Cycling Association explained this at the GIC meeting on Monday: bad planning had resulted in there simply not being sufficient room to build an 'official' oval. So the actual indoor cycling events had a slap-dash feel to them. Post-Olympics, the facility didn't pass muster, so it was eventually disposed of. (Imagine building a 325m running track for an event. Would you feel inclined to keep it afterwards? When you couldn't have sanctioned events there?)

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