Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young argues that Hamilton's choice of a Pan Am stadium is not between the East Mountain location and the West Harbour location, but between the East Mountain location and no stadium at all.
In an email sent yesterday, Young stated:
[T]he risk your campaign to improve Hamilton is taking in lobbying for the West Harbour is that you will win. If you win you will commit Council to a path that will ensure nothing gets built anywhere in Hamilton for the Pan Am games.
Young's argument is that his team's analysis concludes there is no way for the Ticats to run a successful business at a West Harbour stadium. Because the Province has clearly stated it will only fund a Pan Am stadium with an identified legacy use - i.e. the home of the Ticats - the team's refusal to commit to the West Harbour means the Province will opt to locate the Pan Am stadium elsewhere.
Young notes that the city has calculated it can only build a 15,000 seat stadium if private sector co-investors do not add to the Future Fund and Pan Am money. He adds, "the Tiger-Cats cannot play in a 15,000 seat stadium in the West Harbour. Without the Tiger-Cats, there is no legacy use for a 15,000 seat stadium at this location."
Young maintains that the team "will be able to attract many more events to Hamilton than just Ticat games" at the East Mountain location, thus providing a viable legacy use to satisfy the Province.
In rejecting the West Harbour, Young reiterated, "That does not mean there may not be downtown locations that do work for a stadium, but we have not been offered any."
He suggests that West Harbour supporters would be better off "lobbying for some third location that will work for a large audience event business, because a stadium without a tenant is a terrible investment of City resources."
RTH requested to see the team's business cost and revenue analysis of the two proposed locations so that Hamiltonians can better understand why the Ticats management does not believe the West Harbour is a viable location. Recent suggestions emerging from the Our City, Our Future campaign suggest some exciting possibilities for creative revenue generation there.
Young replied that the Ticats and the developers they have spoken with "have studied this for months now and we cannot find any 'exciting opportunities for creating revenue'" at the West Harbour location.
He added that the Ticats "will make public in the next week or so a more detailed breakdown of the problems in the West Harbour that the experts have been pointing out to the City staff behind closed doors since last November."
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