Sports

Bratina Opposes West Harbour Pan Am Stadium Site

By RTH Staff
Published February 15, 2010

Ward 2 Councillor Bob Bratina posted a comment on the Skyscraper Page forum at 11:00 AM today, announcing his opposition to the proposed West Harbour site for the Pan American Games stadium:

After reviewing the documents related to a Pan Am Stadium site selection, I have to declare my total opposition to a West Harbour Site, and the creation of a "Stadium Entertainment Precinct". The site preparation costs look to be as much as $43 million prior to construction, and the notion that it can only work by cannibalizing existing bars and restaurants, especially downtown, is beyond ridiculous.

This exercise began simply to replace Ivor Wynne Stadium. The only reasonable approach for the taxpayers of this City is to locate that stadium on City-owned property, near existing major transportation corridors, and preferably not contaminated. Such sites exist. Such an approach would save the millions of dollars estimated for land purchase, demolition, and site clean-up.

Several other commenters responded to criticize Bratina's decision, suggesting that the only alternative is to locate the stadium near the Airport. Council has restricted its site choices to these two options.

Bratina logged back in to further explain his position, referencing a new study that pegs the cost of full site remediation at $43 million. The study is available for download (PDF link) on the city website Committee of the Whole agenda page.

Using similar logic to last November's RTH editorial, the study recommends the West Harbour location as the preferred choice, given the criteria of regional and local transit linkages, economic evelopment strategy, downtown revitalization, west harbour recreation master plan, tourism, provincial and municipal land use policies, and public services.

Bratina responds:

Familiarize yourself with the documentation, and the agenda that is being presented. There are a great many Ward 2 residents who favour this site, and I have not objected at any time to its being considered.

We now see the realities with respect to cost, and sustainability. The business case makes a whole group of assumptions, including professional soccer. It also calls for $500,000 annual contribution to Capital Reserves. If you're familiar with City business you'll know that the annual deficit for infrastructure maintenance is $145 million dollars, giving our roads and facilities a grading of D minus.

The population of Hamilton as stated in the Consultants report is growing at well below the Provincial rate...2.9 per cent vs 4.6, and in the lower City, in actual decline. The question has to be asked, how can we support a "stadium entertainment precinct" and not harm existing Downtown businesses? Read the report.

The hidden agenda includes the expenditure of over 80 million dollars to enhance the West Harbour area. Most visitors will tell you that except for perhaps a couple of restaurants or other affordable amenities, that area is functioning very well. The only situation that needs capital investment at this time is a deteriorating retaining wall near the Marine Police basin.

I have to simply dismiss the knee-jerk negative responses above, because those individuals have no clue as to what is contained in the Deloitte-Touche and Gowlings documentation. The Deloitte Touche information is available on the City of Hamilton Website under City Government / agendas / Committee of the Whole / February 18th.

The Gowlings document is still confidential, but I don't see anything in that which in my opinion should be held back from the public, especially the site preparation costs, which total as much as $43 million prior to construction. Arguments will be made that this figure can be significantly lowered by avoiding full remediation.

In any case, no funding source is given beyond vague references to Federal, Provincial and private participation. The naming rights to this stadium site are given as $5 million dollars.

Please inform yourself before launching into hokey anonymous tirades.

It should be interesting to see where this goes.

(Thanks to the intrepid RTH reader who brought this to our attention.)

71 Comments

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted February 15, 2010 at 17:53:44

I am not happy with the Pan Am games, as I feel that these dollars for an elite event, could go to other things that are much more needed. I mean we have people starving in our streets.

The area, the west harbor site, is an industrial waste land, which does need to be revamped, so I guess I do not really understand Mr Bratinas stance, that greenfield areas are better. Better for whom, not Mother Nature, when are covering up land with concrete and pavement, which starves the life systems such as water, which we all need and the fact that this land could be used to grow food, to feed those in our city that are starving.

Should we not be putting focus on cleaning up all these contaminated spots instead of destroying greenfields.

Comment edited by grassroots are the way forward on 2010-02-15 16:54:41

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By F Hayek (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2010 at 18:29:03

fiscal responsibility ftw.

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By concernedone (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2010 at 20:04:23

It's going to cost that much to remediate the site no matter what. So why not do it in conjunction with building a new stadium.

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By schmadrian (registered) | Posted February 15, 2010 at 20:12:24

"I am not happy with the Pan Am games, as I feel that these dollars for an elite event, could go to other things that are much more needed. I mean we have people starving in our streets."

This sounds like the 'Bread, Not Circuses' consortium in Toronto during the attempts to land the 1996 Olympics. They wanted the energies and monies that were proposed for the Games to instead be applied to the myriad extant social problems. (That would be at least partially be affected by the stimulation, the overspill from the Olympics, converted athlete lodgings for affordable living, etc.) In the end, this effort essentially torpedoed the bid.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying 'Athletic competitions at all cost!' I'm saying that wishing that we'd take care of our 'problems' first before doing anything like the Pan-Am or Olympic Games, that the monies 'available' should instead be applied to what grassroots has pointed out...wishing this doesn't make it happen. Life doesn't work this way. (And probably never will.) I want a better world, a more livable world just as much as the next person. But I can't get behind efforts that aren't grounded in reality...so I'm not convinced such wishing actually accomplishes much. The world can be changed. But not in the wholesale ways that some people seem attached to believing.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2010 at 20:39:46

The reality is that these are not our problems.

Hamilton has become a dumping ground for everyone else's problems.

Enough is enough. We are doing more than our fair share looking after those who have fallen on difficult times. Were it not for the absurd urban sprawl all around us we would not be in the impossible situation we are in. We would not have the crumbling infrastructure and rotting neighbourhoods that make it possible for Hamilton to be the dumping ground that it has become.

We all deserve better.

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By F Hayek (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2010 at 20:41:29

An interesting read on the economics of stadiums:
http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv23n2/coates.pdf

Roads and Facilities, Not Circuses...?

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 15, 2010 at 21:47:44

we all know that brownfields are expensive to clean up. That's why we have acres and acres of them scarring our landscape and contributing to our bad economy, bad image and less than vibrant (and less than functioning well) urban core.

A well designed stadium can be a huge boost to this area. The North End neighbourhood group did great work to have Pier 8 eliminated as an option. This current location is almost perfect. there's a few dozen homes nearby, but otherwise there's nothing other than crappy, ugly, empty land that will stay that way until the next stadium proposal in say.....80 years.

I've chatted with folks at some James North restaurants and they are hoping for the stadium and velodrome. Property owners along the west harbourfront towards Bay and towards Dundurn Castle have also announced impressive redevelopment ideas for their lands if the stadium moves ahead. As someone who lives a short walk from this area, I sure hope the city doesn't blow yet another no-brainer decision to inject life, commerce and well designed urban amenities into the downtown/waterfront area.

Here on RTH we used to talk about whether we were going to 'lead or lag' as a city. I'm way beyond that. I'm just hoping that we'll learn how to start following successful cities and see some of their success come to our city. I've given up on any hope that we'll ever lead. Let's just learn to follow the right cities...and in less than several decades full of useless studies.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-02-15 20:53:35

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted February 15, 2010 at 22:21:53

By schmadrian:

I watched the film Five Ring Circus, which is about the Olympics in Vancouver. Yes, it is the same words, that you are preaching here, the athlete villages will be turned into affordable housing but the reality is that they will most likely will not.

There was one point in the film were a gentleman who was disabled had been given notice, he would soon have to move, but move to where. This was the question, as the amounts received from disability limited where one could find affordable housing. The Mayor of Vancouver is disabled and that man seemed to be disconnected to those others, just like himself in his community that were losing there homes. But then the mayor does not live in poverty, so how can he really relate. This is the problem, when those who have, do not include those who do not have in the discussion period.

I seen the Mr Cooper from the Hamilton Community Foundation was giving a talk on Social Inclusion and I wonder how can that be, if those who are on disablity or even social assistance cannot afford to even go to a football game, many now cannot even afford to have their children go to the city pools, ice rinks, they cannot play hockey and many other sports. They are the forgotten ones.

We pushing toward one third of our population living below the poverty line. Makes you think right!

I noticed in the film that quite few seniors have participated in civil disobedience over environmental issue, they landed in jail. Is it really worth all the expense for the rich to have their two week party, while those who struggle are further disenfranchised, mother Nature is destroyed and never to be the same again.

How many of these corporate sponsors are the worst in environmental, labour and human rights violations. It seems like quite a few.

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By geoff's two cents (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 00:16:50

^I'm not rich, and I think the Olympics are a blast! There's a ton of stuff to do in the city that doesn't cost a dime, and I see I'm not the only one who isn't rich out enjoying the free pavilions and free big-screen live celebrations. Moreover, it's no secret that Skytrain is basically free (no one's checking tickets, according to Translink's CEO), thus taking care of mobility expenses, and the free washroom facilities scattered throughout the city mean that you don't necessarily have to be a restaurant customer to use one.

The Olympics have resulted in a massive boost in social housing construction in the DTES and elsewhere. Ironically, believe it or not, this has a lot to do with attracting (otherwise indifferent) corporate advertising dollars. Nobody wants to see the DTES on live international television as it was a decade or so ago; thankfully all three levels of government have responded with some impressive projects, some of which are only now underway. Housing won't solve the issue of addiction (what is often said to be the primary problem here), but it's a start. At least we have a mayor (no longer the wheelchair-bound fellow) who is dedicated to the issue.

I agree to some extent regarding the environment. I was disappointed to see a four-lane highway to Whistler instead of commuter rail service. The latter would have made it a lot greener and more accessible for everyone.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted February 16, 2010 at 02:01:04

My brother just moved to Vancouver for school and is flat broke but working hard to pay for it all -- he's definitely enjoying all the free events around the Olympics as well.

As my sister said to me yesterday, it's nice to have a a bright spot in the otherwise dreary West Coast rainy season she's endured for the past few years! We've been discussing a lot of the redevelopment happening around the Games - some good, some bad... certainly pluses and minuses on both sides, but a net gain is our small consensus.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 07:57:14

cool to hear about all the fun being had during the olympics. it looks like Robson Square is an awesome spot based on the TV coverage. Free skytrain? very good idea. That alone is one reason why a large olympic-style event wouldn't work in Hamilton. Here, we'd hire thousands of extra ticket police and just ticket the crap out of the visiting world. VanCity is so many light years ahead of us in so many ways it's crazy to think we share the same continent (or planet).

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 16, 2010 at 08:39:13

Some of his points may be valid but if we don't stop arguing and start working on the stadium soon, the pan am committee is going to throw their arms up and build our stadium on some greenfield in burlington or oakville. Let's just get down to it already.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 09:13:30

I respect Bratina's thoughts and his view on the harbour stadium. My only issue is this: The decision has been made, council WILL NOT revisit it, no matter how much Bratina disagrees. At this point his disagreement is not being constructive. He voiced his concerns and disagreement at the council table, and the rest of council considered his position and disagreed with him. Now it's time for him to man up and work with council going forward so that he can help shape the stadium in a way that is most beneficial/least detrimental to his community.

One of the first lessons you learn about teamwork is that while arguments and disagreements are vital to the teamwork process (so you avoid groupthink), at some point a consensus has to be reached and the whole team has to move forward together. One person hanging onto their original discarded view only hurts the team as a whole, and marginalizes that individual.

By turning himself into an outsider on this project I feel he's hampering his ability to provide meaningful input on a subject that he actually knows a decent amount about.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 09:34:09

^ my thoughts as well. I would have probably preferred a site right smack downtown like the SJAM site or Wilson/Catharine mega-slum lot district, but we already went through the selection phase and narrowed it down to the harbour or the -gulp- airport. In my mind we have two options - the harbour or the harbour. Let's get on with it and make it the darn best waterfront/stadium/entertainment precinct in the province instead of worrying about new entertainment/dining facilities poaching from existing ones. If that was the case then downtown TO would see a massive slate of boarded up buildings all along it's oldest arteries as new restaurants and cafes have opened over the years. It doesn't work that way. More options, more vibrancy, more restaurants, more patio districts, more fun places to be in the downtown will breed success for EVERYONE. Toss LRT into the mix and suddenly Hamilton is staring down an opportunity we haven't seen for decades - the ability to actually draw businesses other than pawn shops and money marts to our downtown neighbourhoods.

For all the people who want to close down Hess Village, I've always said the reason it is so crowded and can lead to some late night problems is because it's the ONLY place in the entire city that is COOL and worth visiting on a regular basis for locals and out of towners. This waterfront stadium site would be perfect for another patio strip and guess what - train tracks aren't going to complain about the noise!!! It's a win/win. Finally somewhere we can have more fun downtown, and without the hassle of transplanted suburbanites complaining that they can hear human voices on the sidewalks at night instead of just the car/truck traffic they desire.

I'm with Sean - let's get on with it already.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-02-16 08:36:08

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 11:07:38

What would be more expensive?

Remediating a Brownfield for a Stadium with potential economic spinoffs?, or Remediating a Brownfield for High Schoolers to spend day-after-day on?

Do we really want to stick our Students on a brownfield beside a Rail Yard?

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 11:14:11

I'd be stunned if the school board is considering building a new school downtown. They want to CLOSE schools, not build new ones (at least not in the city).

SJAM may not be perfect and the building may be ugly, but the surrounding freeways are the fault of the city, not the school. If the property and playing field are in a less than ideal place it's because the city insists on tearing apart our urban neighbourhoods with freeways.

Get rid of the freeways, fix up the school building and property so it's more enjoyable for the students and most of all, fight like heck for it to remain open.
There's zero chance the board is going to purchase the Rheem property and build a beautiful new school. Heck, they want their headquarters in an ugly stucco box on the Mountain and they have identified only 3 schools that won't be closed - all in the suburbs.

Finally, I don't understand why we can never build anything on an EMPTY LOT or brownfield in this city. Why must every new project involve demolition of perfectly fine buildings downtown???

We've always thought that developers had too much power behind the scenes at city hall. I'm starting to think the demolition companies are literally running the show.

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By frank (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 11:21:23

If Mr. Bratina is concerned about population decrease in the lower area shouldn't he be all for something that remediates and brownfield and creates an environment that attracts people? I think he's peeing into the wind...

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 12:42:28

NEN Opposes West Harbour: "Issues that have been brought forward and discussed are: before and after game “partiers”, noise, what the stadium will look like, what kind of use it will get, will it be a “wall” facing the neighbourhoods, how lights will affect neighbourhood and harbour, shading, traffic, parking, community use, how streets will be blocked off, which streets will become main arterials and more"

http://northendneighbours.blogspot.com/

-Partiers? 10 times a year? Heaven forbid people have Civic Pride a couple times a year! -Design? It looks pretty damn nice to me (certainly better than what's there NOW)

Next meeting is Tuesday March 3rd, and I believe they meet at Benetto Community Ctr. Other concerned North Enders (those concerned for the BETTER of our community) can Contact the NEN via http://northendneighbours.blogspot.com/p...

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By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 12:49:07

Choices:

1. Spend the money, remediate the site.

2. Don't spend the money, don't remediate the site.

At $42 million, the ONLY way we're going to get this site remediated is to pay for it publicly. No developer will ever touch it.

Unless he's got some other viable use in mind and a plan to make it happen, Bratina's sentencing this neighbourhood to perpetual tolerance of an unproductive brownfield in its midst.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 12:55:53

Really? Thanks for posting that info. I'm a huge believer and supporter of community and neighbourhood associations, although I've seen what can happen when they cross the line from good public discourse into the world of rejecting every idea that ever comes forth due to NIMYBism.

Durand is a great example of an association that receives info from developers and works to fine tune it and make constructive suggestions for their neighbourhood.

I'm not sure whether the NEN have become this or not, but it wouldn't hurt for some residents in that area to show up and offer some thoughtful support for the stadium. If you get boo'd out of the room then you know that NIMBYism has taken hold.... not to mention the fact that this stadium location is NOT in the North End.
Regardless, from some of the folks that I know in that area I think the association is pretty open minded, but again, until someone attends a meeting and reports back on the general themes/tones we won't know for sure.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 13:30:36

Plain and Simple: Do you want that polluted brownfield cleaned up? Yes or No?

This site will not be cleaned up if it weren't for the Stadium plans since 2003.

No developer is going to pay ~$43Million to remediate land a) in Hamilton; b) beside a Rail Yard; c) in a neighbourhood plagued with a bad rep!

This Stadium is more than just a Stadium! It's about showing the rest of the Province/Country/World (potentially) that Hamilton is progressive and can solve it's mistakes of the past with progressive, eviro-friendly solutions such as a Green Stadium! How about Hamilton becomes a text-book example as-to how to do something Positive for the Environment rather than being yet another example of an Environmental FAIL.

There are just so many WINS in the West Harbour, I don't understand how anyone could be against it!?

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 13:35:24

I don't understand how anyone could be against it!?

Spite.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 14:41:57

politics.

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By F Hayek (anonymous) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 14:43:38

@Ryan. The real question I'm wondering: Can the internet-informed urbanists of RTH create meaningful communication beyond just RTH and start to be in dialogue with real-world groups like NEN?

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 14:54:53

That depends on whether NEN wants to listen to RTH/Urbanists or not?

I guess we'll find out Tuesday, March 3rd @ 7:00pm (Benetto Rec Ctr)

Comment edited by Really? on 2010-02-16 13:55:45

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 15:17:50

Can the internet-informed urbanists of RTH create meaningful communication beyond just RTH and start to be in dialogue with real-world groups like NEN?

The real question for me is, why do you assume that 1) RTH isn't a real-world group and 2) people on RTH aren't also in dialogue with and involved in other real-world groups?

Comment edited by nobrainer on 2010-02-16 14:19:14

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 23:15:41

Please, Please ,Please, don't let us screw this one up. Build it there, please, please, please, don't listen to the minority yet again.

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By grass smoking is the way forward (anonymous) | Posted February 17, 2010 at 00:06:10

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 17, 2010 at 10:07:33

Mr. Bratina's comments make me wonder what special interest he is representing???

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:43:35

"The only reasonable approach for the taxpayers of this City is to locate that stadium on City-owned property, near existing major transportation corridors, and preferably not contaminated. Such sites exist. Such an approach would save the millions of dollars estimated for land purchase, demolition, and site clean-up"

So let me get this straight. Bob Bratina is dissing brownfields and plugging transportation corridors? Wasn't he against RHVP and the servicing of airport lands? Wasn't he the one telling businesses that THEY should be building on brownfields? I guess if brownfields don't make sense for the city then they make perfect sense for businesses, right Bob?

Bob, go back to calling ticat games, that is all you are good for.

Btw, Canada Bread just announced that they will be building their $100M facility on the N. Glanbrook business park. This is why I supported the RHVP. I would like to hear what Jason, Ryan, Grassroots and the rest of you RHVP deniers have to say about this.

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By Cut taxes now! (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:53:33

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 13:22:53

I was very excited about the Canada Bread announcement. Finally something other than low density sprawl housing being built up there.
I hope the entire business park fills up (and don't kid yourself, it WILL be truck-dependent businesses, as per urban planning principles 101)

As for urban planning, this is exactly what we should expect from business parks. No transit or walking/cycling will be an option for employees, but we all knew that.

If the entire park fills up it won't change our city's image or economic problems. If you don't believe me, go check out Detroit or Buffalo. They are surrounded with booming suburbs and jammed pack business parks.
Heck, Hamilton's 'tech park' in flamboro and ancaster business park are both filled up and last time I checked we are demolishing buildings in Hamilton, not building any.

The days of building a booming city around freeways and factories are long gone.
having said that, I'll gladly take 600 acres of factory over 600 more acres of debt-producing sprawl. I've said it before, and I'll repeat it - I wish the entire Linc was lined with buildings like Canada Bread instead of townhomes.

Hamilton is in a very easy spot - we have hundreds, actually thousands, of cities we can learn from in moving forward. Business parks are fine and hopefully will fill up, but until we clean house at the EcDev department and get some people who actually have a vision for the city and urban neighbourhoods, we will flounder and stumble along with a poor economy and miserable future.

The best case scenario is to focus on the city, and the enhanced image and quality of life will help make it much easier to fill up our business parks. Portland's business parks had no problem attracting major tenants....the city is desirable.
Hamilton isn't. Canada Bread won't change that, despite being a welcome piece of great news in that part of town.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-02-18 12:24:50

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 13:56:40

Linc/Redhill cost us $500,000,000. Canada Bread - the first business to locate in the RedHill Business Park (nice new name for Glanbrook BP) - will have 300 jobs. We could take the money we spent on the highway and pay those workers $50,000 a year -- for the next 33 years.

Course there will probably be other businesses open in RedHill BP sooner or later. Maybe if we're lucky it'll work out to a wash: dollar for dollar, public spending to private wages, on new jobs created because of the highway. Yay freemarket capitalism.

On the other side of the ledger the city loses money with every new suburban house built because of RedHill (like the billion dollar Summit Park, whose owners the DeSantis developers broke the law to make sure DiIanni had enough money to run his winning 2003 campaign).

And all those people are stuck paying whatever it costs to run there cars, since you'll never have good public transit with that low density. (We're still in a recession but oil is trading for $80 bucks a barrel.) And we're stuck breathing all the air pollution and paying publicly for the extra healthcare costs when people have heart attacks, asthma, emphysema etc. from the pollution.

And we're so broke from paying for RedHill that we can't afford other capital expenditures that might have a better ROI and encourage more sustainable lifestyles.

So yeah, AWESOME investment by the city. :P

P.S. All the stuff I just wrote is EXACTLY the stuff people who opposed RedHill were writing about ten years ago.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 14:02:41

"I hope the entire business park fills up (and don't kid yourself, it WILL be truck-dependent businesses, as per urban planning principles 101)"

Jason, of course it will be truck dependent it is a freakin' food processing facility! How else are they supposed to get bread to distributors? On bicycles?

"The days of building a booming city around freeways and factories are long gone."

Tell that to Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Vaughan etc etc. All of these cities are booming because businesses are attracted to the serviced industrial land located in their city limits.

Jason, you have absolutley no experience, education or other credentials to make comments regarding economic development or urban planning (if so I would like to hear them, however I have asked you this before and you were unable to provide me with anything). Yet you continue to pass yourself off as some kind of authority on the subject just because you ride the bus and live downtown. You wouldn't know economic development or urban planning principles if it bit you in the a$$.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 14:09:14

@nobrainer

You RHVP deniers used to harp about how the RHVP was a dud because there were no private sector businesses opening in the industrial park, but now that businesses are coming the road is still a dud.

Head you win
Tails I lose

You deniers are starting to lose your credibility on this issue.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 14:18:06

@Jason

"I was very excited about the Canada Bread announcement. Finally something other than low density sprawl housing being built up there."

Actually Jason, it is not all low density sprawl housing being built up there. You forgot to mention the church you plan on building on Pritchard ave. You know, that church to be located on low density suburban sprawl, lack of transit, gobbling up farmland.

Are you unable to spot the hypocracy here?

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 14:37:51

Let's make this easier:

Stop. and. read.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 14:38:13

I was very excited about the Canada Bread announcement. Finally something other than low density sprawl housing being built up there. I hope the entire business park fills up (and don't kid yourself, it WILL be truck-dependent businesses, as per urban planning principles 101)

As for urban planning, this is exactly what we should expect from business parks. No transit or walking/cycling will be an option for employees, but we all knew that.

If the entire park fills up it won't change our city's image or economic problems. If you don't believe me, go check out Detroit or Buffalo. They are surrounded with booming suburbs and jammed pack business parks. Heck, Hamilton's 'tech park' in flamboro and ancaster business park are both filled up and last time I checked we are demolishing buildings in Hamilton, not building any.

The days of building a booming city around freeways and factories are long gone. having said that, I'll gladly take 600 acres of factory over 600 more acres of debt-producing sprawl. I've said it before, and I'll repeat it - I wish the entire Linc was lined with buildings like Canada Bread instead of townhomes.

Hamilton is in a very easy spot - we have hundreds, actually thousands, of cities we can learn from in moving forward. Business parks are fine and hopefully will fill up, but until we clean house at the EcDev department and get some people who actually have a vision for the city and urban neighbourhoods, we will flounder and stumble along with a poor economy and miserable future.

The best case scenario is to focus on the city, and the enhanced image and quality of life will help make it much easier to fill up our business parks. Portland's business parks had no problem attracting major tenants....the city is desirable. Hamilton isn't. Canada Bread won't change that, despite being a welcome piece of great news in that part of town.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 14:39:21

ps, burlington, mississuaga, vaughan, milton etc.... are NOT cities. Hamilton, TO, Montreal, Vancouver, Boston, Halifax etc.... ARE cities.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 14:57:10

in response to Bratina suggesting TiCat Fans would not walk from Downtown to the West Harbour; all I have to say is HAVE A LIL CREATIVITY, Mr Councilor!

Check out this awesome, citizen-engaging, civic-pride building idea from Seattle:

http://www.soundersfc.com/Matchday/March...

-Tailgate at one of the empty mega-lots; -Get the Burlington Teen Marching Band to lead the way from Downtown to Pan Am Park via either Bay St or through Central Park (where Youth Activities can be held) -Fans Follow, Cars Do Not! Civic & TigerTown Pride lifts, PanAm Stadium get more butts in the seats due to the buzz these pre-game marches have caused.

This is (yet another) a Win-Win!

Comment edited by Really? on 2010-02-18 13:59:17

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 15:02:27

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 15:16:58

PS this article is about PanAm Stadium/West Harbour, NOT the RHVP!

Capitalist, if you want to go on about the RHVP, perhaps you should write an article about it and allow everyone else to comment (or dereail) your thread!?

Comment edited by Really? on 2010-02-18 14:20:01

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 15:20:37

yet another progressive idea from a progressive city. Shocking that Hamilton doesn't do this. b-b-but what about the trucks??

I'm stunned by the suggestion that nobody will walk to the stadium. Is there a huge underground parking lot at Ivor Wynne that I've been unaware of all this time???

York and Bay has a ton of lots...they always fill up at concerts. as does York itself. Bayfront Park and Pier 4 also have large lots. There is WAY more parking near the harbour land then there is at Ivor Wynne.

I wish we could elect non-politicians to be our leaders. Just get rid of politics altogether.

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By not moving (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 17:16:16

Whether they decide to build a stadium at the harbour or whatever it means nothing. I live on the site near the gas station and they want to demolish my house. Well approve the site or not I'm not moving. My house is not for sale.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 18:52:43

Capitalist writes: Jason, of course it will be truck dependent it is a freakin' food processing facility! How else are they supposed to get bread to distributors? On bicycles?

Well if one has to look at the future regarding peak oil, one also has to take into consideration that trucking could become quite expensive and could possibly become an obsolete form of transportation.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 18:58:30

Capitalist: Actually if we were to look at Burlington, Oakville or Mississagua, they are running out of room to further expand. Actaully at the discussion group last night, Mississuaga was brought up and well that community could be in trouble in the not to far off future.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 22:26:24

Mississuaga is going to get killed in the not too distant future. People who understand life cycle costs and infrastructure repair costs have been predicting this for years. A 7 year old could have run that town better than it has been for the past 3 decades.

As for the stadium, I'm glad to hear that the harbour site was approved, but somewhat perplexed by urban councillors voting against it. Do they really want it near the airport??? Surely they are aware of well planned stadium districts and spinoff businesses that they can bring.

Either that, or there is another downtown site they all prefer....but as usual, the citizens (the ones actually paying the bills) have no clue about that. Or much else that goes on in their 'closed door meetings'.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 23:06:09

Yes, well what bothers me is this report found in the Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/...

It is simply amazing that her sons legal bills could be paid by legal aid.

Comment edited by grassroots are the way forward on 2010-02-18 22:06:27

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 18, 2010 at 23:40:23

As for the stadium, I'm glad to hear that the harbour site was approved, but somewhat perplexed by urban councillors voting against it.

Apparently McHattie supported the West harbour location but voted against it as he is afraid the suburban councillors are going to put on a big push for lots of parking at the site. Not sure what he thought a 'no' vote would accomplish in that regard.

I think we all know why Bratina voted against it, and Merulla, well, he hates everything, but yeah, why vote against it? If you hate the whole idea of the PanAm games in the first place, why support the airport location which would make their impact even worse?

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By another capitalist (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2010 at 09:29:03

Great decision to OK WEST HARBOUR

Baltimore did it, Cleveland did it and Chicago stayed downtown which aided in a greatly improved south side.

For all these people complaining about parking, if I gave you Leaf tickets or tickets to Rogers Centre, you obviously would refuse them because there is no parking.

With the Canada Bread announcement, what a great day!!!!

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:00:10

Allow me to comment on the Pan Am Stadium.

I share Bratina's concerns about the cost of remediation. However, I think that the stadium would be located in a great location with the proximity to dt and the number of people it would bring.

Parking is not an issue. There is TONS of parking in dt that can accommodate spectators (there is likely to be alot of free on street parking as well just like Ivor Wynne).

I attend quite a few Ticat games. Many people walk one kilometre or more from parking to the stadium. Why would we expect it to be any different with this new stadium.

Also if you are taking transit, the buses take you very close to the stadium. If you are taking a bus to Gore Park (or the new mcnabb terminal) you could just probably cut through Jackson Square and you are at the stadium.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:10:46

Hamilton - "The city most addicted to parking in Canada...oh, and the best place to raise a child (we have to say that)"

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2010 at 11:10:56

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By Secret Decoder Ring (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2010 at 17:08:22

"Apparently McHattie supported the West harbour location but voted against it as he is afraid the suburban councillors are going to put on a big push for lots of parking at the site. Not sure what he thought a 'no' vote would accomplish in that regard."

The vote had a condition tagged on at the last minute. As voted on, it basically says Yes to West Harb but if there's any creepy crawly things we can still back out and look at dropping it in the boonies. THAT is what McHat was saying NO to.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 19, 2010 at 21:53:33

He was also saying 'no' to the suggestion from Lloyd Ferguson that we need a mega parking lot down there too. I received this email today regarding this topic from Brian's office. His comments on the vote:

Many of you have expressed interest in the Pan Am Games stadium location in the West Harbour (bounded by Barton, Queen, Bay, and Stuart streets) given its proximity to the Strathcona North neighbourhood just west of Queen Street.

Yesterday, City Council deliberated on the stadium location and received information on the costs and transportation plan for the area. The Transportation Plan was carefully prepared with a recognition that since the West Harbour site was within a neighbourhood, there must be a limit on the number of cars that could infiltrate the area. To this end, there were recommendations on the use of shuttle buses from downtown parking lots, improvements to walkability and cycling infrastructure to encourage pedestrians and folks to use their bikes, a discussion about the role of GO Transit and VIA Rail (with the new service planned shortly with a train station adjacent to LIUNA), no allowance of on-street parking during events (therefore spaces reserved for homeowners), and perhaps most importantly, a limit of 600 parking spaces in an off-street lot by the stadium.

Believing that the Pan Am Games were important to the City, and knowing that we needed to replace the aging Ivor Wynne Stadium, I went into yesterday’s meeting prepared to support the West Harbour stadium location and comforted that a well-thought out transportation plan would protect our neighbourhood.

However, as Council discussed the plan, it became clear that many wanted to expand the car parking to a higher number than the 600 spots. As you know the neighbourhood streets in Strathcona North are narrow and not designed for a lot of vehicle traffic. I believed that the only way a stadium would work was to keep most cars out, and bring people in for events using other modes of travel (shuttles, walking, transit, cycling etc.). Therefore I reversed my earlier thinking and voted against the West Harbour stadium location.

As you may know, City Council voted in the majority to support the West Harbour stadium location. My job now is to ensure that the original transportation plan is followed and that, among other things, there is not an escalation of cars allowed to park in the area.

I am writing you today because I think it is important for you to know why I voted the way I did. I will be holding a community meeting shortly so all of you have the opportunity to see the West Harbour stadium plans as I have, and so we can work together to ensure that there are no negative impacts on our neighbourhood.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 19, 2010 at 21:55:32

Council needs to get their heads out of the sand and quit worrying about parking - that's the ONLY thing that we dominate every other city at in Canada. More surface lots within a 10 minute walk of this site than we'll need.

Also, the velodrome needs to be by the harbour or downtown . I'm tired of this notion being circulated that the suburban parents are pushing the velodrome association to locate the facility in a suburb so they dont need to bring their kids into the scary city. We're paying for it. We decide where it fits best in our city.

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By suburban parent (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2010 at 13:21:36

Don't the people in the suburbs pay taxes to the City as well?

Jason, aside from stating that the velodrome belongs down at the West Harbour, you haven't provided any reasons why?

Have you spoken directly to the velodrome group to try and understand what is driving the project and how the velodrome will best serve the community?

Have you looked at any other models to support your position?

It is easy to make blanket statements, but not all facilities fit into the West Harbour model.

You seem to trumpet urban planning, but support the velodrome simply being plunked down at the West Harbour without any effort to focus on what will make the facility best work for the community.

Maybe you should let a proper planning process go forward and then pass judgment, otherwise your statements just look like an attempt to ram a square peg into a round hole.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 20, 2010 at 14:28:18

no, I'm not trying to ram it somewhere it doesn't belong. My point was merely that we shouldn't let a small group determine where it goes based on unfounded fears of their kids having to come into the city to use it. By all means we should make sure it lands at the best location that will work with the PanAm Games and then for the use of Hamiltonians for years to come. I'm simply stating that the main purpose of the facility is a combination of what works for the games and what works long term.
Someone asking for it in their backyard simply for selfish reasons doesn't pass as a reason worth considering for a single second. It may not fit at the west harbour, although I tend to like the idea of clustering the new facilities with Copps and easy access to one of our emerging tourist districts along the harbour and with good GO and HSR connections proposed.

I can't think of any good reason during the games or long-term to locate it out in the Meadowlands area. It's inaccessible during and after the games. Perhaps the velodrome could be located on our of many parking lots downtown, but again I'm not sure the PanAm people want to get into disconnecting these facilities. Perhaps a site near Copps would work??

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 20, 2010 at 17:20:02

"Why Should the Pan Am Velodrome be built at Pan Am Park?"

a) b/c it's located in a Central Games District within Hamilton; Stadium, Practice Field & Velodrome together, Copps a 2min shuttle ride up the street (note: Mac's new pool is only a practice facility and not an Events Venue) b) b/c it's located next to the proposed GO/Via Rail Stn (meaning Athletes can take one simple electrified rail link from their Downtown Toronto boarding room to Hamilton Pan Am Park in less than an hour) c) It creates an opportunity to re-adapt the Velodrome if Cycling doesn't work out for it (ie: Richmond Oval being converted into a huge Rec Ctr after the Games). A Velodrome can be converted into a Rec Centre or even a Concert/Entertainment venue, keeping in-stride with the whole plan for the West Harbour (Sports-Entertainment District) d) it's located next to a fantastic trail system (Harbourfront & Bayfront Parks), while still a 10-15min ride to the renowned Bruce/Rail Trail.

I could go on... but I'm late for dinner...

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By Velo (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2010 at 19:54:47

You don't have to convince us, but you might want to tell these folks

http://www.ncch.ca/
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=196187196662

The very people trying to put it out of reach of many Hamiltonians.

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By selfish? (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2010 at 21:56:45

If you want a concert hall or some other kind of entertainment facility at the West Harbour location, I would agree with you that this type of facility would definitely fit the model, but it has yet to be determined whether a velodrome is compatible within that kind of precinct. Isn't this why Council has decided to undertake the development of a business plan specifically for the velodrome?

Why is there no velodrome right next to the Sydney Opera House? Why is there no velodrome in downtown Manchester, Paris, New York, L.A., Moscow, Tokyo, or in almost any other major or minor City around the world?

The answer is land value.

Maybe Hamilton is smarter than the rest of these cities.

Maybe Hamilton can be the one city in the world that can turn a downtown velodrome into a profit centre that can be the catalyst for a city-wide renaissance and for urban renewal.

You are making the very typical mistake of trying to make a velodrome facility into something that it is not.

Perhaps a more realistic position would not set the facility up for long-term failure, even if it meant not having the three facilities adjacent to each other for the few days that they will be used during the Games.

The real contribution that a velodrome will make to the community will come from the daily use by youth, university students, adults, seniors, our high performance athletes and from the general community, who will utilize the non-cycling programs and amenities throughout the week after the Games are finished.

If it can be shown that the West Harbour is the best location for the long-term success of a velodrome, then it would make sense to support it. This has not yet been done.

The City also needs to ask whether the velodrome is the right fit for its long-term plans for a harbourfront entertainment precinct. You have already seemingly answered that question with your suggestion of a post Games convertion to a concert hall.

I'd like to ask where you are suggesting that the velodrome would be located so that it would be "out of reach" for many Hamiltonians?

And I'd also like to know the basis for the accusation that someone or group is trying to move the velodrome into their own backyard for selfish reasons. That's a pretty serious allegation that warrants at least some supporting evidence.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 21, 2010 at 09:01:51

Velo, thanks for the links. That would seem to be a good place to add suggestions and join the discussion on possible location criteria for the cycling facility. I've always liked the idea that it becomes a multi-purpose facility after the games and hope that council will ensure that it is put in the best possible location for the majority of citizens to easily enjoy and access.

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By Velo (anonymous) | Posted February 21, 2010 at 11:14:40

selfish? It's been said countless times by Andrew himself.

"To achieve maximum usage, planners must look at demographics and determine where the greatest number of identified and potential users are located and attempt to make the velodrome as accessible as possible to those paying users."

It's no secret that cycling is an expensive sport even at the amateur level. Bringing demographics into the plan is a bid to ensure it's nearest to the richest community in the City. Combine with this with the usual scary words around traffic and parking, and there's no denying the group's motives.

The group does not understand that placing it anywhere outside the urban area instantly negates the economic spin-offs that this facility will generate for the City. Removing it from the amenities of downtown will place it out of reach for many potential spectators.

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By frank (registered) | Posted February 22, 2010 at 09:18:11

"Maybe Hamilton is smarter than the rest of these cities."...

uuuuuuh what? Ya, that's what I was thinking. Tokyo with it's immense parking lots downtown! and Paris? what a bunch of urban planning fools! They should come to Hamilton to learn how to do it right!

You tell them selfish.... spread the word!

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By michaelcumming (registered) - website | Posted February 22, 2010 at 16:29:14

It makes most sense to feed a downtown stadium with high-capacity rail lines. Not much mention of when those will arrive. This is not the most obvious place to put a stadium for a city with limited transit. The site seems really small.

I'm glad we will live far enough away from the glare of the lights.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:38:58

Montreal was able to successfully convert their Velodrome into a Biosphere (very interesting, btw, you should check it out). It's probably the most successful re-use of any of the Montreal Summer Olympic venues. (Btw, I never stated that the Velodrome must be converted after-use in order for it to make sense; I was simply stating that other similar venues have been (ie: Montreal, the planned Richmond Oval asa mega-rec ctr, etc))

In fact, I would rather the Velodrome remain a Velodrome (whcih is why I'm a huge proponant of a PERMANANT structure over the planned temporary tarp structure). If you've ever used any of the Bayfront trails, you'll know it's PACKED with cyclists! And honestly, I don't see many cars with bike racks down there, which must mean cyclists are cycling to the Bay? So it seems, to someone who rollerblades these trails at least 3 days/week in warmer weather, that the demographics are here!

An area where it would be inaccesible to most residents? Besides the airport I'm not sure which other areas are being suggested, so I can't comment on that really? But the airport would indeed be the worst case scenerio. I wouldn't be totally against a Mac site, but that's kind of hidden.

Don't the cycling orgs in Hamilton want to raise a higher profile for Cycling within this City? Would a hidden velodrome behind Mac help that? Or would a structure beside a Professional Sports Stadium which has 10 Nationally-Televised Football Games/Year be better for exposure?

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:53:39

It's funny also that you go to a velodrome to cycle but can't walk 10 minutes from a downtown parking lot

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By Really? (registered) | Posted February 23, 2010 at 14:28:13

Funnier still; People walk 10mins from Main & Gage to Ivor Wynn, yet walking 10mins from Bay & King to Bay & Barton is unacceptable?!?!?! ...despite having wayyyy more parking than the greater Ivor Wynn area.

Comment edited by Really? on 2010-02-23 13:31:08

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By Andrew Iler (anonymous) | Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:45:22

I have been a long-time reader of Raise the Hammer and I understand, respect and support all efforts to build the downtown core of the City and make it a vibrant place to live and to work.

However, I do believe that there must be some consideration as to the type of facilities, businesses and services that are complimentary to the effort to renew, rebuild and revitalize the downtown core.

Based on real world models, velodrome facilities are not generally used for such purposes and urban planners have very rarely located velodromes in highly urbanized settings.

The West Harbour location presents some significant challenges to the long-term viability of a velodrome facility. For one, the potential cost of remediation and land acquisition will likely exceed the $11.4 capital cost currently established for the velodrome. Does this make sense when the projected lifespan of the facility is only pegged at 15-20 years? Wouldn't it make sense to invest at least a small portion of the remediation and land acquisition costs into building a more sustainable and long-term facility?

The other issue that will have an immediate impact on the velodrome at the West Harbour location is the push to have it function as primarily an event centre, rather than a community centre. The whole concept of the "entertainment precinct" is to attract events and large numbers of people. In reality, the velodrome will play host to 5-8 major cycling events annually. These events will include provincial championships, national championships, UCI sanctioned races, World Cup, World Championships (depending on the scope of the facility), and other events. There will be a push to make the velodrome a concert hall, convention centre, field house, or some other venue other than for its initial intended purpose. The strength of the velodrome is not in its event-hosting capacity. The real benefits associated with the velodrome will be found in its substantial community-based health, fitness and participation-oriented programming for both cycling and non-cycling physical activities. This is where the primary revenue base to support the facility will come from, not events.

Cycling in Manachester and the UK has developed into a high profile sport because of the massive growth of participation and due to the success of the British Cycling Team. This growth was supported by the development of community level youth and school programs, as well as general public cycling programs at the Manchester Velodrome. Yes, they have had events and yes, they have had lots of people come to those events. The velodrome is located on the edge of the Eastlands part of the City and just less than a kilomtre from the Manchester Sports City, where Manchester City stadium and the raquet and athletics centres are located. The velodrome is a stand-alone facility that does quite well financially and it does contribute to the overall economy of the City, despite its non-central location in respect to downtown Manchester.

Hamilton already has Hamilton Place, Copps Coliseum, the Convention Centre, Theatre Aquarius, soon a new stadium, the Westside Theatre, and many other venues for concert, entertainment and convention related events. If these venues were already fully booked and utilized, then I could see wanting to build another event centre. The last thing that I want to see happen for either the City or for the sport of cycling is an under-utilized downtown facility.

The fact is that Canada is the only G8 country that does not have an international standard indoor velodrome. Having this facility is key to all aspects of our provincial and national cycling programs, for road, track and mountain biking and for a broad range of community level cycling and non-cycling recreational activities. This facility MUST work for the long-term and every effort must be put into ensuring that the facility is given a fair opportunity to succeed.

Velo wrote,

"You don't have to convince us, but you might want to tell these folks

http://www.ncch.ca/
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=196187196662

The very people trying to put it out of reach of many Hamiltonians. "

Velo, please do feel free to contact me directly about the velodrome. My e-mail address is andrew.iler@sympatico.ca. I would be happy to discuss the work we have done to bring the velodrome to Hamilton and to plan for its future success, so that you won't misrepresent our intentions or make inaccurate speculations about our position.

Your final comment that we are trying to put the velodrome "out of reach of many Hamiltonians" is a ridiculous distortion of the truth and is not based on fact or reality. In fact, the opposite is the truth. Our entire intention is to make the facility as accessible as possible to the greatest number of people as possible. This is why we have supported City Council's decision to undertake a business planning process specifically in respect to the velodrome.

This is a very unique opportunity for the City and for the sport of cycling. We must make sure that we make every effort to set the velodrome up for long-term success.

I would like to thank Raise the Hammer for the providing the opportunity to discuss this and many other important issues affecting Hamilton.

Sincerely,

Andrew A. Iler

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:06:03

thanks for the well-informed comments Andrew.

I think the Manchester example is a great one to bring up and it's what I hope to see Hamilton work towards. The Eastlands development was a massive brownfield area that Manchester recognized would likely never be cleaned up without a massive games event such as Olympics or Commonwealth Games.
They intentionally clustered their various sports facilities into this area as a means of easy access to various sporting events and facilities for residents and visitors to Manchester.

http://www.neweastmanchester.com/project...

A new LRT station is due to open in 2 years in the eastlands sports district making travel to the area very simple.

As you can see, simply substitute 'Hamilton' for 'Manchester' so far and it perfectly describes the massive west harbour area and it's proximity to existing attractions and is an area that is already a massive draw for athletic and fitness conscious people with the thousands of cyclists, joggers and rollerbladers found in the area every year.

If we don't clean up these massive brownfields now, we probably never will get the chance to. Hamilton is a compact city. It is very common for folks from Stoney Creek or Ancaster to come to the west harbour for a stroll along the water or a coffee at Williams. Ditto for folks coming into the area for shows at Copps/Hamilton Place etc..... nobody is suggesting a far removed location such as the airport, which would be extremely inaccessible for most residents in the Hamilton/GHA.

I agree with you that a health centre, exercise/fitness/cycling centre needs to be a main part of the long term plans for the velodrome. Sure, concerts or other special events will take place, but athletics and sports should be a mainstay for this project.

http://www.manchestervelodrome.com/index...

As you can see, the Eastlands district has become an urbanized area with hotels, pubs, restaurants, cafes and many sports facilities highlighted by the City of Manchester Stadium.
If you read the various websites you'll find more info on paid parking, limited parking, special bus service to the area during busy events etc..... Manchester is a perfect model for us to learn from as we face this one-time opportunity to redevelop the west harbour brownfields into a vibrant urban district that will attract sports fans and regular citizens looking to enjoy time by a renewed waterfront with many shops and eating options that will be developed in the years ahead.

Cheers

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By Really? (registered) | Posted March 31, 2010 at 12:43:53

Looks like Winnipeg is getting their new Stadium... http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/03/3... once again, Hamilton lags... What a pathetic city we live in...

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