Comment 58940

By rscheffler (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 17:28:28

Just got an email from Brian McHattie and in it this info:

Today, Council unanimously supported Ivor Wynne Stadium as the location for the Pan-Am Games. I wanted to let you know why, in the end, I also supported the Ivor Wynne location.

As you know, I have been very supportive of the West Harbour site from the very beginning of the Pan-Am stadium discussions (voting virtually alone several times against investigation of the east Mountain, McMaster Innovation Park and the CPR Railyard proposed stadium sites, always committing to staying at the West Harbour). Even today, I had prepared a motion to reiterate my previous motion on January 20, to submit a proposal to TO2015 for a 5,000 seat scaleable stadium at the West Harbour, if Council did not approve the redeveloped Ivor Wynne Stadium. As is sometimes the case in politics, at Council today, it quickly became clear that I would not have that opportunity.

Therefore, with much deliberation and soul-searching, I joined City Council in supporting the redevelopment of Ivor Wynne Stadium as the Pan-Am Stadium, which will be designed to be a FIFA-sized soccer field and a football field for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. As we have communicated throughout the Pan-Am discussions, I thought it important to outline my reasons and offer a comment on future opportunities for the West Harbour precinct.

The final cost and revenue arrangement for the Pan-Am stadium at the Ivor Wynne location is much more positive than it was last week. The cost of the rebuilt/new stadium is $152.1M. The City is committing $51.5M ($45M from the Future Fund and $6.5M from City Capital funds, monies that had previously been allocated to fixing Ivor Wynne before the Pan-Am Games was being considered). The contribution from higher levels of government is $91.6M. The Cats are guaranteeing $750K per year or $9M in total from stadium naming rights. There are additional commitments to improving the neighbourhood around the Ivor Wynne area such as a new recreation centre, and additional community use of the combined FIFA soccer/football field. This area is one of the Hamilton Code Red (poverty) neighbourhoods, so it is positive to achieve these benefits and city-wide focus.

In my comments today at Council, I reflected on Council’s original reasons for submitting a bid to be part of the GTA Pan-Am Games. One goal was to replace the aging Ivor Wynne Civic Stadium by taking advantage of provincial and federal funding – the contributions noted above accomplish this goal. A second goal was to achieve a City-building aspect, in other words, act as a catalyst for urban renewal; the West Harbour location adjacent to downtown presented a clear opportunity for this; I hope that redevelopment in the Ivor Wynne precinct will also have some City-building impact. A third and very important goal for me is to emphasize social inclusion benefits; while the West Harbour location (also a Code Red neighbourhood) presented opportunities, I am excited about the Ivor Wynne precinct. Council today implemented an “Ivor Wynne Community Fund” seeded with $2M, and additionally supported over time through revenue sharing with the Tiger-Cats, plus funding to replace the loss of Brian Timmis stadium to build additional Ward 3 parks and sports fields. Those benefits are important for the entire city.

So, what about the West Harbour? The positive news is that we have already committed $10M to secure 14 acres which can be redeveloped. I sit on the City’s Velodrome Committee, and the West Harbour continues to be a very attractive location. Today I moved a motion asking staff to report back on the feasibility of placing additional community sports fields in the West Harbour; this has been identified as a significant need.

I suspect that many of you are as disappointed as me, that the original West Harbour Pan-Am stadium location was not advanced. Over my time on Council, I have come to understand that politics is the art of the possible, and compromise is often the order of the day – those two features of politics are in play in this case. However, positives have been attained and we are now in a good position to facilitate future West Harbour redevelopment. Onward we go!

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