Special Report: Pan Am

Committee Of The Whole Meeting To Discuss MIP Site September 14

An important Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting will be held Tuesday, September 14 to discuss the recommendation of placing the Pan Am Games Stadium at the McMaster Innovation Park.

By RTH Staff
Published September 13, 2010

An important Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting will be held Tuesday, September 14 to discuss the recommendation of placing the Pan Am Games Stadium at the McMaster Innovation Park.

The meeting takes place at 9:30 am at City Hall Council Chambers. Please consider attending if you are able.

Here are the crucial facts about the McMaster Innovation Park (MIP) and the West Hamilton Innovation District (WHID):

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By cityfan (registered) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 20:02:54

It seems like, just recently in the Spec.com website, that city staff has suggested the steel shipping yard across the street from MIP where the CP rail yard is located as the only land to be used for the stadium and parking lot. This does propose an interesting situation because the Tigercats seem on board with this and it's an area that is visable by Bob from the 403 Highway and has lots of space for Bob World. Chris Murray, if he is responsible for keeping this alive, is a genius. But the details need to be heard.

Comment edited by cityfan on 2010-09-13 19:14:27

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2010 at 21:57:49

I wonder what opportunities exist to connect the rail yard with McMaster are? Seems like there could be uses for the stadium for Mac with this location being so close. Would have been a good spot perhaps, before Mac went and built their own football stadium, for a Maurader/Tiger-Cats partnership.

There is a lot of foliage surrounding this site both facing the highway and in the rear with the golf course. Still doesn't really bring people into the heart of the city.

CN tower and ACC are just off the highway, but so is their downtown. Lock Street isn't too far away of course, as is Westdale if we can build some sort of trail walkway where the rail deadends. A staduim doesn't seem to suit what is described above, but perhaps we could find arguments in all potential stadium locations.

There seems to be a lot of land by Burlington between Victoria and Wellington as well?

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By moylek (registered) - website | Posted September 13, 2010 at 21:59:34

The site doesn't have the charm or show-off-to-visiting-relatives appeal of the West Harbour, but ...

  • it has the obvious highway access which many people desire (and the apparent ease of access is more important than actual accessibility to many people, it seems);
  • it's super visible from the 403;
  • visitors from East, West and South could get there without getting the chance to sneer at our industrial East End;
  • there are parking options aside from the site itself: MIP, Westdale, Kirkendall;
  • there are several bus routes which pass along Longwood, Aberdeen and Main St West;
  • the proposed LRT could stop a five-minute walk (ten minute waddle; four minute scoot) away;
  • there is trail access for cyclists from the mountain, West Hamilton / Dundas, and downtown (well, Dundurn);
  • could there be a temporary or permanent Go line right to the site?
  • I can walk there :)

... and the West Harbour is left available for something other than a cold mass of concrete and steel.

Comment edited by moylek on 2010-09-13 21:05:37

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By Centrist (registered) | Posted September 13, 2010 at 23:57:26

I vote for no stadium. at all. this is such a fiasco.

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 08:14:36

"it has the obvious highway access which many people desire (and the apparent ease of access is more important than actual accessibility to many people, it seems)"

hwy 403: two lanes in, two lanes out
aberdeen: two lanes in, two lanes out
longwood: two lanes in, two lanes out

8 min walk to main and longwood (HSR routes 01, 5, 10, 51)
10 min walk to aberdeen and dundurn (HSR route 07)
15 min walk to aberdeen and locke / king and longwood

is it just me, or is this perhaps the most constricted site thus far?

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 08:21:29

Keep in mind that the 403 access only has one lane heading east and one heading west. Even if parking is allowed further down Longwood they'll still be exiting onto the same street that everyone else is exiting from, or, unless they know the city, trying to access the same constricted highway access as everyone else.

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 08:31:51

@ Brandon: You're right -- one lane for the 403. Remembered it wrong.

And as visible as it is from the highway, the site is easy enough to bypass as well. If you're rolling eastward, it's not a fantastic inconvenience, but if you're driving westward and you miss that ramp, your next stop is the Meadowlands.

@ moylek: "it's super visible from the 403"

More so if/when they clearcut that northern woodlot.

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 08:36:22

So now they're voting between a location that's been studied for 7 years and a location that's been studied for 1 day.

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By Recent employee at MIP (anonymous) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 08:53:55

I can't begin to imagine the traffic fiasco that awaits. It is already a long wait to get into MIP off the highway.

Personally I can see lots else that should be done with the money that is going to a stadium that the silent majority don't want or care about

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By arienc (registered) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 09:41:08

TartonTriton: is this perhaps the most constricted site thus far?

Most definitely. Not only is it horrible access via car...just think of someone trying to get to the site via transit or on foot.

GO Train users - currently Main/Hunter requires walk up to King B-line, hop on a bus (maybe in future LRT) and then walk about 1 km south from King on a sidewalk that is about 3 feet wide, right beside 2 lanes of jam-packed traffic on Longwood.

It would seem the only way anyone's going to get in or out of that site is via the rail trail. Could you imagine 25,000 Ti-Cats fans arriving by bicycle!

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:19:18

@ arienc: "Could you imagine 25,000 Ti-Cats fans arriving by bicycle!"

It would certainly answer the question of whether or not you can tailgate on a pannier.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:49:16

Any guesses as to what this parcel of land might set us back?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:50:24

I'll be surprised if CP gives it up easily, that site gets a _lot_ of traffic thanks to the Steelcare transloading facility there. You know all those trucks full of steel coil that drive through the city? A hell of a lot of them are getting the coils pulled off of rail-cars and onto the trucks at that location.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-09-14 09:54:18

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:32:20

I wasn't even aware of this land, interesting. Maybe WH is best with or without the Cats, I'm sure HOSTCO would provide a bit of funding anyways for a small stadium that can be used by the community that would be ok.

cityfan - "Bob World" - too funny!

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-14 10:34:10

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 12:57:37

@ Fred Street and Pxtl - Wonder is CP is trying to capatilize on a perceived sense of desperation and is looking for a sweet deal. After all, it was they, and not the city, that brought this site forward.

I still don't get the whole access and parking thing. That site is a restricted bottleneck. WH looks more accessible to me.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 13:02:29

Agreed about the parking challenges. I was at the Careport Centre last week and it was brutal; couldn't even make a left hand turn @ 4pm from the parking lot onto Longwood.

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By loveforever (registered) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 13:58:49

The Cats can stay at Ivor-Wynn ! I am sick about all of the stadium debate jumping around...WTH!

Comment edited by loveforever on 2010-09-14 12:59:11

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 14, 2010 at 16:22:09

@Tartan

@ moylek: "it's super visible from the 403"

More so if/when they clearcut that northern woodlot.

That would be a shame as that is what makes this a sort of attractive site. Lot's of trees.

I know many think Ivor Wynne is not an option, what I didn't like is them (HostCo) saying that Ivor Wynne wasn't the Legacy they were looking to leave. Really? I want to know if that's because the Cats want out, or if they actually meant what they said prior to that about funding 'the restoration and building of new sites'. Wouldn't Ivor Wynne fit into the 'restoration' category?

This latest statement from HostCo has turned me off this process altogether. Not becuase it's a loss for 'saveivorwynne', but because I think it demeans the value of IWS and the east end community who have embraced IWS for many generations.

To say a Legacy cannot be left there is blind. A Legacy already exists.

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By FeebleFred (anonymous) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 09:13:14

Fred E. wins another one...RTH scores big!

in your hands, we can't lose.

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By renegauthier (registered) - website | Posted September 15, 2010 at 09:55:25

Ok ok ok we get it. The loss of Ivor Wynne Stadium will be a sad moment, but its time has come. It's too expensive to renovate and maintain. The location is no longer convenient or visible. It has experienced too much neglect and the continuous band-aid work will not bring it back to life. The best thing that could be done for the stadium would be to put in new smaller stands and use it for high school football and other soccer events and to retire Brian Timmis. The field is still usable, but the stands need to be rebuilt. It will be sad to see it go, and hopefully it will be on good terms, but eras always have an end.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 10:05:59

I am still trying to get my head around what has happened since yesterday (at this late stage) and not sure I completely understand it...can someone help me out if I have this wrong?

  • Mac politely listened and then laughed and laughed and laughed at our 'proposal' to buy or swap land at the Innovation Park
  • the City is now looking at acquiring a new parcel of land from CPR - still on the Longwood and Aberdeen site at an undetermined cost -The cost to remediate the land is estmated at 3x the WH location (which we already own)
  • City staff have two weeks to build a plan and determine costs
  • the Ticats will not be financing the gap between the size of the stadium for the Pan Am games and the CFL use
  • there is no private sector money being injected into the stadium building costs
  • the City will be asking the Fed & Prov government for additional funding to cover the costs to make the stadium larger -the Ticats have still not provided a dollar value of their financial commitment to this proposed project -the WH site will be still be developed by a team of unicorns, wood nymphs and leprechauns?

Is this correct? It can't possibly be because it makes absolutely no sense....and it is making me start to side with Councillor Merulla and his very vocal oppostion to this whole mess.

Comment edited by Andrea on 2010-09-15 09:08:13

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By cityfan (registered) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 10:14:40

Not to say I want the Tigercats to go.....BUT,

When listening to a certain radio station in the west end, are you telling me that council should bend over backwards the Keep the Ticats! Give me a break! If you think that we can't live without the identity of the Ticats is worrysome to say the least. I am in my 30's and have lived in this city all my life. I'm upset and feel like I am being bullied by the Ticats and disrespectful to there legacy for not supporting them to make them happy with my tax dollars. I love amatuer sport and participated in national level athetics. I believe amatuer sport compliments education. I am very upset that we lost the track and field section of the games due to the Ticats new legacy. The Veledrome and the Pool however is a great addition to Hamilton. After reviewing this recent COW meeting on Tues, if we don't get a new stadium it's because we can't afford it at this time, Period! and apparently neither can the Ticats.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 15, 2010 at 10:50:16

what a tiring fiasco

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 15, 2010 at 11:00:02

What we are going through is normal for any municipality looking to build a facility like this. Competing interests, legacy concerns, cost concerns, location concerns, the usual NIMBY statements by neighbourhoods that don't want change or what they see as an intrusion into their lives.

I still believe the WH is/was the best site for the stadium. We know that it won't get built there now. Still the velodrome and other developments are clearly going to rise out of the rubble of the Rheem property and THAT IS A GOOD THING. There are influential people who now are aware of the potential and beauty of WH. It is going to get developed.

I sympathize with Mayor Fred. He put his all into WH. It is largely because of his determination and commitment to the site that we can be sure things will get done down there. But now is not the time to walk around with sour grapes. Fred needs to take a cold shower, get himself re energized and lead like he has for the last number of months. My read is that Chris Murray is a very capable guy. He seems more than buoyant about the CP lands. If he thinks he can get a deal done that will work, I would tend to believe him.

Mr Young for his part needs to come to the table with something substantive and a commitment to this city long term. I'm talking hard cash, not vague promises.

I have debated with myself whether or not I think this city needs a new stadium if it is not in the West Harbour and whether or not we need the Pan Am games. After reading this board for months now as well as letters to the editor to the spec, other sites etc. I'm convinced we do, if only to shed the shackles and image of a city that can't get anything done. It will likely cost more money yes. But its an investment in a new facility that the city will own. It may, likely will spur other development. It will be a symbol that Hamilton is back and moving in the right direction.

Comment edited by Shempatolla on 2010-09-15 10:00:44

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 11:21:44

My dear brother, I respectfully disagree with you. LOL
I don't believe we should support the Pan Am iniative 'at any cost'.
We can certainly discuss in greater detail over a beer, generously purchased by you.

The projected increases in cost for this newly proposed site make in no more palatable to me than the EM site. The Pan Am games were supposed to leverage off the Fed & Prov govt contributions for some new sports infrastructure, not create a taxpayer legacy for generations to come. Mark my words, your grandchildren will be paying for this nightmare. I also have concerns regarding the location in regards to traffic management.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 15, 2010 at 11:22:10

renegauthier Neglected? Yes IWS has been. A mere $9M has been spent on it since the 70's. Yes, $1.3M a year goes to maintenance, but I would like to see what it cost for maintenance for Copps Colliseum or Hamilton Place or the AGH.

BTY Group of Vancouver did a quick estimate of what it would cost (in Vancouver costs it seems), to demolish and rebuild in it's place, a new Ivor Wynne. $93M.

If we spent $20M to replace the south stands, that buys us 45 years with proper maintenance. Tear down Scott Park High School, build a parking garage, and we already immediately start to solve some of the (non)issues facing Ivor Wynne today. At least more parking money for the Cats.

Tear down Brian Timmis to create parking right in front of stadium, which also opens up Ivor Wynne for the thousands that pass by it every day; half hidden by the 16 foot fences blocking it.

Add some more seat backs. Give it a coat of paint to brighten it up, a new illuminated 'Ivor Wynne Stadium' sign, and what does that cost versus tear down and build new or build brand new for what, $200-$250 million by the time we are done? Anyone have an idea at what we might be looking at approximately realistically to build a new stadium?

Then we are left with a 25,000 seat stadium, 5,000 less than Ivor Wynne, on the side of a highway, not big enough to hold Grey Cups so we have to put in 20,000 temporary seats to host the Cup, our taxes go up, ticket prices skyrocket, and look, we have a nice shiny new stadium that many passionate fans can't afford to attend more than a couple games a year, so the people with money who make sports franchises sustainable, can fill the place.

That's a legacy? I already dislike professional sports more and more as I age. Ivor Wynne represents what football is about. The Tiger-Cats also used to represent that. The CFL used to represent that. This process changed all of that, or at least made the truth a lot more transparent.

Ivor Wynne is what I still love about sport, and I will fight for it, for what is left of sport at it's purest, until that final whistle blows on this Pan Am debacle.

HostCo is telling our city how to build our future. Whatever your feelings are towards Ivor Wynne, that is now the bottom line after yesterday's meeting.

After I delegated yesterday, Sam Merulla said that Ivor Wynne has always been the fallback. That's not what I wanted because a fallback, could still mean no Cats and an empty Ivor Wynne rusting into the earth like Scott Park School, would be a crying shame. That to me, is not a vicotry for 'Save Ivor Wynne'.

The removal of Scott Park should be a project all on it's own. It's been almost 10 years already. If it was only going to cost just under $2M I believe to tear down Ivor Wynne, I imagine it's close to the same for Scott Park High School.

As for residential. It's the best part. Florida Marlins are building there stadium in a mix residential/industrial area. It's quite a design.

If Ivor Wynne Stadium has failed in the eyes of some, it's becuase nobody has really been looking out for it. There is no HECFI type company managing it. It doesn't even have a website and there isn't a sign to be seen as you enter our city from all 4 corners, that there is even a football stadium in Hamilton. One little sign at Gage and Cannon is I believe all there is.

How do you make a success of something, the city has tried to hide for so long.

The Cats were happy with a restore scenerio a few years ago, as long as the stadium issue was addressed either way. Start them off with the $20M to replace the south stands, a new parking garage, and a citizens group that oversees the business and maintenance and promotion of the stadium, even the business of the Cats, and I think we can create something beautiful on Balsam Avenue North.

A couple of houses and a High School stadium does nothing, to replace the 250,000 people that come into our neighborhood every year. Not to mention the some 100,000 that attend the Festival of Friends over the course of a weekend. You might as well just turn the east end into the Red Light district. All you'll have left is big box Centre on Barton and Ottawa Street. Will Ottawa Street continue to thrive with all these changes?

I'll admit, my affection has grown substancially from living by the stadium. It has helped me see the true beauty and value of that place, when all the fans have gone and she sits quiet with all the ghosts of fans and players past, circling around the interior of the stadium.

Folks, love football or hate it, love Ivor Wynne or think it's a dump, Ivor Wynne is my Tivoli. It is my history. It has great value in my eyes and in the eyes of many. How many people think the Tivoli should just face it's final blow? Believe me, I am an artist before I am a football fan and I think the fact that nobody is stepping up to put big money into it to revive it, is a shame.

So those of you who are not football fans or only wanted a stadium built in the Harbour to clean up that neighborhood - nothing wrong with that, think of this whole debate for a moment, from the hearts of those that love Ivor Wynne the way you love places like the Tivoli.

It would probably cost s lot less to re-create the Tivoli somewhere else or build a new one, than restore it right? Just assuming there. I know Ivor Wynne is just concrete and steel, but building some big shiny new stadium, isn't Ivor Wynne. Creating a Tivoli-like theatre, isn't the Tivoli. Moving the Tivoli to another neighborhood, isn't the Tivoli.

Perhaps I am grabbing at straws here, but there is value on Balsam Avenue. Ivor Wynne is used by the community some 150-200 times a year. Put the Ti-Cats store there and how much more money does that generate on all those dates the stadium is in use. Many practices are open to the public. There is a schedule available showing the practices that are open to the public. Open a few concesisons, open the Cats store. Same for Highschool Football games. It's used every home game for Delta. Ivor Wynne is more than 10 dates a year, perhaps 11 with a home playoff game.

You can't provide that same sense of community off the side of some highway. That's the legacy Hostco says they want to leave. For it's community-use value to be maximized.

THe media (including that 'touching' Globe and Mail article and video), talk about Ivor Wynne's days being numbered. Don't buy into it. They are trying to sell us a new stadium like I am trying to selling you the old one. Excpet they have much more money and a broader network to get those messages across to everyone.

They won't publish the facts though so at least you can decide for yourself, whether Ivor Wynne can be or should be, saved at all.

You see value in restoring the Tivoli. I see value in restoring Ivor Wynne. They are different, but affections for them are similar.

What value is there in merging history, the arts, and football together? How do we make Ivor Wynne and the Tiger-Cats sustainable within, instead of having to build a highway accessible stadium just so people can see it when they drive by or because it makes it easier for people from out of town to get to without having to come into our city?

We already average 25,000 people a game now. How do we sustain that even when the team on the field is rebuilding? You go to a production that isn't good, you don't go back next week to see it again. That is a problem with sports. The team can't always be great.

I think you create an experience. I am not sure we have the money to create much an experience other than it's new, at a new stadium. Ivor Wynne is already an experience and I think we can build on that even more.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 19:47:22

Excellent read lawrence. I'm a football fan and I love going to IWS, it works for me now as it is and don't have problems parking about 20 minutes away for free and walking to the games. I hope and wish there were enough people like me to keep IWS going like this for me the football fan that doesn't really care about location, I'm there for the game.

I guess the question is does the city of Hamilton buy into a stadium to promote Hamilton apart from a football perspective? If they don't, but it seems they do, then keep IWS going until she falls down. But if they want a stadium to promote Hamilton from the outside it, get rid of IWS stadium soon and build by a highway showing something far different than IWS. I don't see it as a football issue really but more what the city wants out of a stadium per se. I'm happy going to games wherever but I'm maybe not the person the city should be thinking about in this debate, I don't know to be honest.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 16, 2010 at 10:17:55

Thanks HamiltonFan You are right. The new stadium should be completely different. They put a lot of thought and money into practically duplicating Yankee Stadium in New York, and even put it directly across the street to keep it in the same neighborhood.

No sense re-creating any of Ivor Wynne at a highway intersection in a totally different neighborhood. One thing I believe we will retain wherever it goes, is that closeness to the field.

I'll go to some games wherever they go too, HF. I'll walk in those doors with an open mind, grab a beer, take my seat, and look around. I'll probably site-see most of that first game. I'll think of Ivor Wynne surely. What we've lost. What's different.

It'll be something new/different in Hamilton, and I'll let time decide whether there is any affection to be gained from our new; not the heart that will always on some levels, miss the part of the history we wil have lost.

I know there is affection to be gained from new. The 'other' stadium in Hamilton that people refer to as a White Elephant, has held many fond memories. I was at the first ever hockey game played there. Met Bobby Orr that same game - he sat right in front of my dad and I. Seen my first concert there - Rush. Seen Rush twice actually there as well as many others including another life long favorite, Bruce Springsteen. I worked there once for an auto show, been to games with my dad, events with my sister and little Brothers when I was Big Brother. Took my grandfather to his first game there during a Bulldogs hockey game.

My first ever published article was the result of the largest crowd at an AHL hockey game - right here in Hamilton at Copps Collisum. The Bulldogs were the first and only professional team I have ever had season tickets for. The Bulldogs have been creating very fond memories in the hearts of Hamiltonians for 13 years.

What is a White Elephant to some, is hockey's Ivor Wynne Stadium to many. It's even named after a person.

There are memories to be made at a new arena/stadium. It's just a shame more people don't see the value in buying and restoring an old home.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2010-09-16 09:24:53

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 16, 2010 at 14:04:32

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