Comment 45307

By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 21:28:03

Mayor Fred Eisenberger and Members of Council,

Each time a municipal council spends public money, even on the most minor things, it’s making an investment in our community. That investment should always be measured by the value that taxpayers receive and whether or not it provides the most benefit for the most people. In short, is it being spent wisely, for the common good and in the public interest? For you, as a Councillor, fulfilling that measure is a public trust. On Tuesday August 10 you will be asked to spend tens of millions of dollars of public money and to choose between two proposed sites for a stadium for Hamilton. The decision you have to make is daunting but it is also defining; defining both of you and your vision and indeed of our city. It will undoubtedly be the most important decision of your political life and it will signal either Hamilton’s coming of age or its regression back to the failed ways of yesterday.

The differences between the two sites are stark-

One rehabilitates a brownfield; the other paves a greenfield.

One promotes various forms of transportation; the other is virtually exclusive to cars.

One will bring an LRT; the other will surely preclude it.

One uses city-owned land, the other takes tax-paying employment land off the map.

One expands our tax base, the other shrinks it.

One brings critical mass to our downtown; the other further sucks the life out of it.

One promotes our waterfront; the other takes people away from it.

One fulfils the intent and purpose of the Future Fund, the other does the polar opposite.

One comes in within budget; the other will cost an extra $50-80 million of public money.

and most importantly

One keeps years of election promises to downtown businesses, the other betrays them.

But if those differences aren’t enough to convince you that the West Harbour site is the one that provides the greatest benefit for the most people and businesses in Hamilton, ask yourself this simple question, which site does the LEAST harm to our city as a whole.

Hamilton is an emerging post-industrial city unlike any other in the Province. We are not Mississauga nor do we want to be. Similar cities in the United States, like Pittsburgh and Cleveland and Baltimore have revitalized themselves by doing precisely what we have an opportunity to do, what YOU have an opportunity to do; build stadia downtown, open up the waterfront and provide public transit. Only a West Harbour location lets you do those things while an east mountain location precludes them and is more expensive to boot.

The Tiger-Cat announcement of late today was as predictable as the sun coming up tomorrow. After being part of the Pan Am “team” and committing to “work with whatever site is chosen”, the Tiger-Cats have double-crossed you, as a Councillor, and us, as a city with a string of last minute threats, ultimatums and political interference, all designed to siphon the most public money into the fewest hands. Don’t let them do that.

The people of Hamilton know that the West Harbour would provide the Tiger-Cats with the newest and best stadium in the league and a site infinitely better than Ivor Wynne. And, unlike a lot of cities, they’re prepared to support that. But they also want as many people and businesses as possible to share in the benefit of such a massive expenditure, that is, essentially, a public subsidy.

They want you to honour your public trust and ensure that public money, their money, is spent wisely, on the common good and in the public interest. Only the West Harbour does that. It’s best for all of us, not just some of us.

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