Mayor Bratina said that your objectives in the Pan Am Stadium process are to retain the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and to avoid tax increases. I respectfully disagree: your objectives should be to fulfill the Pan Am Games mandate and to fulfill the Future Fund mandate. They are, respectively:
These objectives need to be your guiding principles - not a panicky "save the Ticats at all costs" reflex.
A 6,000 seat scalable West Harbour stadium fulfills these objectives, meets the Pan Am Games site criteria, and can be built for the $115 million already on the table. There may even be money left over to invest in a permanent Velodrome.
The West Harbour also has much more potential to catalyze private investment that will actually increase the property tax base, by remediating the Barton-Tiffany property and unlocking its neighbouring properties for redevelopment. Several developers are seriously interested in investing in the West Harbour, but the current brownfield contamination makes the cost and risk of property development prohibitive.
As for finding a home for the Ticats: the agreement from the City, from Toronto 2015, and from the Ticats themselves has always been that the cost to expand the stadium beyond what $115 million in public money can buy must come from the private sector - the Ticats, their partners and sponsors.
The Ticats have not stepped up with significant additional capital funding at any of the proposed Hamilton sites - though they have plenty of demands for the City to provide them with parking revenues, office space and so on.
As TO2015 CEO Ian Troop recently reminded us, "It's not about providing a stadium for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. If that's part of a solution, terrific, but that's not our mandate."
Nor is it yours.
A scalable new stadium at a premium location meets the Ticats halfway and provides them an enviable opportunity to buy into an exciting district with tremendous growth potential.
This is our chance to invest public money in a proud legacy that creates lasting public value. An Ivor Wynne rebuild that fulfills none of the Pan Am Games or Future Fund objectives and requires no contribution from the Ticats would squander that chance.
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