Comment 46518

By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted August 28, 2010 at 09:35:12

Many thanks for your thoughtful analysis of the Pan Am stadium situation, Mr. Crawford.

Now that the Pan Am stadium saga has reached five minutes to midnight, it is hoped that Hamilton city council carefully considers its options and avoids making any rash, extreme decisions that could hamper the city’s psyche and economy for the next 50 years. The following options are worth consideration by Hamilton city council:

  1. Half a loaf is better than no loaf. The City of Hamilton should accept the Pan Am Host Corporation offer to help build a 7,000 seat soccer stadium at the west harbour. For example, a $45 Million soccer stadium would cost the city about $20 Million. It can be designed to accommodate future expansion when warranted and feasible. This enables the city to cluster the Pan Am events and thereby fast track GO service to the James Street North station by 2015 and to begin to mine the city building benefits it seeks to achieve;

  2. The city needs to continue building its relationship with the Canadian Soccer Association over the next five years with a view to becoming a site for Canadian National Soccer team training and a venue for some of their international matches. Perhaps a club team composed of young free agent Canadian National Soccer players not signed by professional clubs could also be assembled for exhibition matches and/or a franchise in one of the professional soccer leagues.

  3. With a 7,000 seat soccer stadium, the city would have about $25 Million remaining from the $45 Million share of the Future Fund monies that were budgeted for the construction of the original 15,000 seat Pan Am athletics stadium. Perhaps these remaining monies could be reallocated along the following lines:

a) approximately $10 Million from the Future Fund could be used to make the velodrome a permanent structure to strengthen the branding of Hamilton as a Canadian cycling sport centre. It would become the only permanent 250 metre indoor cycling track in Canada and would attract athletes from Canada and the eastern United States for training and competitive events. Another important fact is that AEG manages the velodrome in Los Angeles. Their management skills could start the Hamilton velodrome off on the right foot in 2015 by attracting world class athletes;

b) approximately $5 Million from the Future Fund could be used to acquire staging, sound equipment and on-field seating to enable a conversion of the stadium to a concert venue when needed;

c) the remaining $10 Million from the Future Fund could be allocated toward the repair and/or upgrade Ivor Wynne Stadium for the Tiger-Cats between now and 2015.

There is no perfect solution but there would be something for everybody in this type of proposal without having to sacrifice six or seven of the nine development phases planned for the McMaster Innovation Park at Aberdeen and Longwood Road or using up 100 acres of prime employment lands on the East mountain and the full-time jobs that either of those sites will probably generate over the next 50 years. This approach would also provide a repaired, upgraded 29,600 seat stadium to the Tiger-Cats for the next 10 to 15 years. If Toronto goes on to seek and win the 2024 Summer Olympics (which seems to be why they are hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games), then the Tiger-Cats can take another shot at a new, larger stadium at that time.

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