Comment 54703

By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:11:32

I wrote this letter to my Counciller (Jason Farr in Ward 2) yesterday morning before Mr. Mitchell's magnanimous offer to Burlington to build and operate a 29,000 seat stadium that would cost the taxpayers of Burlington absolutely nothing. At least that's what he said yesterday. The week is not over.

I copied the Mayor and all of the other Councillors. Judi Partridge has acknowledged receipt and thanked me for my comments. My own Councillor also responded in some detail, for which I thanked him. Let me add my thanks to Paul Shaker and to Ryan for keeping us focused on the highest and best outcome from our involvement in the Pan Am Games.

Good morning Councillor,

I'm writing in support of a grass-roots based proposal to build a scalable stadium/concert/public event venue in the West Harbour.

The Ti-Cats have been meeting since the summer with Mr. Paletta about building a stadium in Aldershot, this despite their "outrage" that the City of Hamilton met with the Katz Group during negotiations with the Ti-Cats. Enough of the crocodile tears. Clearly, they do whatever suits them. They question the integrity of elected officials who have the audacity to meet with potential investors on behalf of all citizens, at precisely the same time as they refused to tell us how much money they were prepared to invest in a stadium on a site that suited them. May I suggest that you take a long hard look at the facts, and leave emotion at the door, where it belongs? In my own business career, sometimes you simply had to stand up and walk away from a deal. It wasn't always easy to do so, but sometimes it was the best thing to do. I believe we are at, if not past, such a time.

The scalable solution in the West Harbour provides a legacy tenant - namely the citizens of Hamilton, including the citizens who organize, participate and attend the more than 200 non-Ti-Cat events at IWS each year. That legacy will not only continue but, in my opinion, will be enhanced. A creative, flexible and iconic design will ensure we can accommodate all types of events, including soccer, concerts, cultural festivals, etc., in the West Harbour, albeit on a smaller scale than a huge stadium. It also will encourage further mixed use development of lands currently owned by private interests in the West Harbour. The Witton Lofts on Murray Street, which are now sold out, prove that there is interest in living in the area. The scalable solution allows all citizens to access investment from two higher levels of government. We won't need to spend the entire Future Fund allocation if we take a scalable approach.

I'm sorry that the Ti-Cats feel they have to move, but it is their choice to do so. Their business model is broken, in my opinion. They cannot generate enough revenue to turn a profit from operating a football team. Currently, they cannot sell out the stadium we subsidize for them. You once told me your "heart was in the east end". Do you feel that it is the east end and the condition of IWS that are causing the Ti-Cats to lose money? I hope not. Certainly, I don't believe this is the fundamental problem.

It's time to move on from trying to accommodate the business needs of the Ti-Cats. They have made their views very clearly known through the media. Instead, it's time to try to accommodate the social and cultural needs of the many thousands of Hamiltonians who already use IWS every year for their events, as well as the needs of the many thousands of Hamiltonians who will attend new events hosted at a scalable venue in the West Harbour.

The Ti-Cats cannot see a future in Hamilton. Sadly, I'm forced to agree with them, given their recalcitrance to work in harmony with all of the citizens and elected officials of Hamilton. I did not want them to leave, but I will not be tricked into thinking we forced them out. We did not, no matter how much Mr. Mitchell chooses to spin it. They made the decision on their own, after many attempts, and after spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars in staff and consultants' time, to accommodate them. After all, you cannot force somebody to be your partner.

I ask that you spend our Future Fund dollars for the future of all citizens, and not just the Ti-Cats and their apparently declining number of ticket purchasers. It's time to get creative. It's time to make a bold decision. It's time to do what's right for most, and not just what's right for a few.

Thanks for your attention.

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