Comment 43431

By Mark (registered) | Posted July 15, 2010 at 22:58:36

"I believe the best economic choice would be a cleaned-up West Harbour site [...] a conversion of the site to a lower cost rejuvenation project (i.e., sculpture park, skate park, even just an urban meadow)"

You hit it right on the head. I do not support the stadium on the West Harbour, nor do I like the East Mountain site. But, in light of the fact that if we do not build a stadium, we will lose the Pan Am games to another city. The ti-cats are willing to put in a large amount of money towards the stadium and so are local businesses. However, if the businesses and the Ti-Cats do not feel that the location will help their respective businesses, they will not chip in. Therefore, the Ti-Cats and local businesses have the city by the balls.

As noted in the study above, there is no evidence that sports facilities (stadiums) and sport franchises bring in extra commerce to the city. Therefore, if the point of building the stadium downtown is to promote the local businesses, and if the study is right, there will be no extra commerce generated around the West Harbour. I will reiterate that the land at the West Harbour might be better used to extend the Harbour park or build a new separate green space.

Furthermore, the problem of transportation was brought up. People in Hamilton and from out of town will be driving to the stadium to see the venue. That's approx 7,700 cars. Pushing that many cars through small, one lane residential streets is a challenge. The only course of action is to enlarge streets, which is very difficult considering the dense zoning downtown, or to create temporary one-way streets. Neither of these scenarios foster any type of local commercial growth because neither offer suitable parking. As seen with Main street, King street and various other one-way streets in Hamilton, those types of streets actually devalue the businesses that reside on them. People are generally uncomfortable with stopping to enter those businesses because of the fury of cars travelling on them.

The East Mountain site has one thing going for it: the large amount of land. The land can be used to enlarge the adjacent streets and add an access to the RHVP or the Linc. The location is within a industrial/commercial zone which is away from residential housing. That buffer shields local communities from the noise generated by games, concerts and the like. If you do not believe that this is a problem, talk to the people that live by Ivor Wayne stadium. Their property value is nearly half of other neighbouhoods, just a half kilometer down the street.

However, the site does not offer a picturesque view of Hamilton, which is what the stadium is supposed to encourage. The Pan Am games will feature Hamilton and it's beautiful side. I would not be happy if our stadium was pictured with a large advertisement for "Super Sausage" in the background. But, the Pan Am games are going to last only a short time. In fact, it will be a small spark of time in the 20+ years that the stadium will be standing.

Anyway, that's my rant.

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