Special Report: Pan Am

Don't Let Narrow Interests Hijack Stadium Plan

Some decisions are huge and can only be made once. We either get it right, or we continue with our botched legacy of failed projects and misused tax dollars.

By Jason Leach
Published March 11, 2010

Today's Spectator carries a disturbing piece outlining a plan by some local businessmen to look at having Hamilton's Pan Am stadium built somewhere other than the West Harbour/downtown location currently proposed.

The thinking behind this "stadium coup" (as the Spec puts it) is so typical of Hamilton that it makes you wonder how we'll ever get ahead in the high tech, sustainable, urban world that we now live in.

There are several issues I have with this loosely outlined plan as presented in the article.

First, none of us will be surprised that a small group of Hamilton's elite are circling like vultures at the sight of public money.

I don't know who is involved in these talks, but I'm willing to bet that the names will be familiar when they are finally revealed. It seems that Hamilton's newest industry is filling the pockets of a few well-off developers with our tax dollars.

Even more disturbing is the continued notion that public money should be used to fill private pockets, even if it means sacrificing what's best for the city.

Go look at the disgusting exterior of city hall for one of many examples of this. Instead of spending the extra $2 million on decent limestone siding, we decided to save it as a kickback to the contractor upon the job being completed.

The seat of government in Hamilton and our most iconic public building ends up looking like crap so a few folks can jam their bank accounts with our money.

Location, Location, Location

My second beef is with the three alternative locations. Let me say this right off the bat: if a group of private builders wants to build a stadium on the LaFarge Canada property, do it on your own dime!

Think Hamilton has an image problem now? Wait until the folks from TO visit for a concert or Labour Day game and find themselves surrounded by smokestacks, polluted air, transport trucks and absolutely nothing else nearby to do in terms of entertainment.

Only in Hamilton could we find a way to spend tens of millions of dollars and end up further harming the city's image, instead of helping it.

Oh wait, I forgot. That doesn't matter. The trucks and cars flying by on the QEW will supposedly help fill the pockets of someone (not you, or I, or city hall coffers) who gets to slap their name on the side of the stadium.

I hope they use carbon resistant letters or power-wash their sign three times a day.

I have absolutely no interest in putting our prized stadium in a location that will leave visitors gasping at their surroundings ... and gasping on the soot they just swallowed with their hot dog.

If public money is going to be spent on this project, we need to look at the location that best serves the public interest. In this case that means looking at accessibility, spinoff effects, image building, legacy building - you know, all the reasons the site study recommended the West Harbour.

What kind of legacy are we building by putting our stadium in the middle of the spot that everyone else in the country wants to avoid like the plague?

I love our steel heritage and the jobs that the industry produces, but I don't really feel like sitting in between blast furnaces and highways on game day.

Cars, Cars, Cars

Another proposed location is a piece of land at Centennial and the QEW. Again, there is only one reason why such a location would be considered - cars, cars and more cars. Maybe out-of-towners could walk up Centennial to McDonald's after the game for a night on the town.

Oh wait, there are no sidewalks on portions of Centennial.

Again, I have no interest in spending a lot of public money on a project that will benefit exactly one person - the CEO of whichever company wants their name on the side of the stadium.

We know there is a small group of Hamilton elites who have no interest in city building and helping to turn this into a sustainable city with electric light rail, walkable neighbours and downtown redevelopment as priorities.

Thankfully much of our business community, including the Chamber of Commerce and other heavyweights, slowly seem to be coming around to the fact that quality of life draws new companies, jobs and residents.

Car Reigns Supreme

Finally, the Burlington St and Victoria site is most baffling. It's too far from downtown to have any spinoff effects. There is nothing nearby to walk to unless folks want tours of Bunge Canada after a game. Yet it's also too far from the QEW or 403 to offer any car-centric visibility.

This suggestion might be the most disturbing out of them all because it still involves the massive cleanup of a large Brownfield and yet offers absolutely nothing in terms of spinoff effects or city building.

Is someone really going to build a condo building with shops and cafes next to Bunge?

This location would seem to be on the list for one reason and one reason only - one-way highway access via Victoria and Wellington and Burlington Street. Again, the car reigns supreme.

Long Term, Public Interest Perspective

If we're going to build a stadium in Hamilton that might be around for another ninety years like Ivor Wynne, we'd better make sure that we have a long term perspective in mind.

When public money is largely going to pay for this project, there is also a moral obligation to all taxpayers to do what is best for our city.

Properly designed urban stadiums have become the rage in North America in recent years. Look at the incredible district that now surrounds Fenway, Camden Yards or PNC Park in San Fran.

I want a stadium district that is a short walk to the wonderful cafes on James North, the beautiful trails of the West Harbour and gives visitors a myriad of options for dining and entertaining from simple sunset strolls to a night in Hess Village.

Hamilton's downtown core and adjacent brownfields have been ignored for far too long and it's up to the residents and politicians to make the right decision based on the positive effects to be gained by our downtown neighbourhoods and businesses.

Twenty-First Century Thinking

A recent letter to city council from a local businessman suggested that the Pan Am Stadium be built in conjunction with the A-Line light rail system. This is proper thinking for a city in the twenty-first century.

Perhaps the one saving grace staring us in the face is the fact that the Pan Am Games committee wants to welcome the world and put on our best face while they are here.

It would be nice for Hamilton to make the right decision, but I'm hopeful that the larger committee responsible for the games and for securing the public money will wield some power and save us from the utter humiliation of welcoming our guests to the front gate of Columbia Chemicals for the games.

Cities stopped building stadiums out in the middle of nowhere, far removed from their urban cores many years ago. That alone scares me, due to the fact that Hamilton seems intent on remaining decades behind everyone else.

We can't let a small interest group hijack this process. Some decisions are huge and can only be made once. We either get it right, or we continue with our botched legacy of failed projects and misused tax dollars.

Make your voice heard and urge our council to make the right decision - for Hamilton.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:15:33

This should be sent to the spec. I read the piece and came straight here to find out if someone had written about it. Trust the Spec to print something like that. Maybe they'll have a the cajones to print a coherent rebuttal to the coup of "local businessmen". I wonder if the guy who owns the car wash that was complaining about LRT is part of it... haha.

Comment edited by frank on 2010-03-11 10:16:03

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By Really? (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:15:45

Warning: Spec Propaganda!!!

Who are these individuals? What are their names and which businesses do they own/run? Why does The Spec continuously print BS?

Here's my assumption... TheSpec Anti-West Harbour Consortium consists of: Sheri Selwyn (President of the North End Neighbours), Bob Bratina (who is Sheri Selwyn's Monkey), Mr Fisher (from Fisher's Pier 4 who is terrified of losing business to spinoffs)

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By highwater (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:24:07

Go look at the disgusting exterior of city hall for one of many examples of this. Instead of spending the extra $2 million on decent limestone siding, we decided to save it as a kickback to the contractor upon the job being completed.

The seat of government in Hamilton and our most iconic public building ends up looking like crap so a few folks can jam their bank accounts with our money.

I have to quibble with this. The construction consortium wanted limestone as it is a far superior building material. I don't know much about this consortium, but I think the fact that they supported limestone when they stood to benefit financially from concrete speaks well for their integrity and pride of workmanship. This makes Ferguson's decision to go against the best advice of the general contractor all the more reprehensible and self-serving.

Everything else is dead on.

Go take the Spec poll:

http://thespec.com/

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By highwater (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:30:20

I'm afraid I don't understand the comments about this being the usual Spec BS. I think they should be heartily congratulated on exposing this little scheme. You know what they say about sunlight being the best disinfectant. I hope they will follow up by outing the self-serving individuals behind this attempt to steal a public project for their private benefit.

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:30:41

I'd like to see the Spec start allowing people to comment on their stories like most every other online news outlet worth reading does.... Then there'd be a real debate. Polls are hardly a true indication of what the public really think.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 11:37:07

highwater, thanks for the clarity re: city hall limestone. In re-reading that section I can see how it came off like the builder was somehow behind such a scheme. You're right, to my knowledge they wanted limestone. I'm directing blame at our political leaders in charge of that reno project for being so careless with public money and a public building.

Sorry for any confusion....the end result is a putrid looking city hall.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:17:59

Actually Frank, you can go into have your say and state your opinon, as this is the topic for the day. As usual more BS, it never ends in this town.

http://thespec.typepad.com/specthread/20...

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:18:54

I still chuckle at the hilarity of the Heritage whatever... They ok'd constructing a sidewalk on the side of city hall but they didn't like the kiosks and speakers? What kind of "heritage committee" is that?

The contractor was just as frustrated as we are. Trust me...the bridge at the back was a pain in the tail end because the heritage committee wanted it built precisely the same way it was before...

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By a-baulcomb (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:20:06

Bob Bratina's thoughts from last night's City Council meeting:

http://hamiltonreview.com/?page_id=102



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By Cory (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:31:40

I don't think the Spec article provides enough detail to develop an informed opinion. I see quite a bit of outrage in both the article above and in the comments over having private interests participate in the project. However, private investors often bring clarity to a project due to their primary focus on gaining a financial return on their investment.

An earlier Spec article (Feb 19, 2010) commented that the potential cost of remediating the west harbor site ranged from $3.3million to $37Million. How is this level of uncertainty acceptable? Any reasonable investor, private or taxpayer, should balk at this lack of cost control.

The pursuit of profit also helps narrow the band of stakeholder needs that must be met. Political attempts to meet too many stakeholder requirements can lead to an inability to satisfy the needs of any participant and ultimately to the overall failure of a project.

I'm not suggesting that profit should be the only reason for undertaking a project, but before we immediately jump to vilify private investors I think we need to make sure we have enough information to make an informed decision.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:42:40

^It's not a matter of "lack of cost control", it's a matter of there being absolutely no way to know who much brownfield remediation will cost without actually going through with the remediation. That by the way is why private developers generally won't buy a brownfield, there's too much inherent uncertainty.

Thing is, cities don't have the choice to pass on brownfield opportunities. The properties will be there no matter what and letting them sit empty and unremediated is a big lost opportunity to redevelop. If the city has to spend money remediating it before developers will step in, so be it.

It's no worse than the city spending money to service greenfields and build roads and parkways so developers can invest, and it's actually better because it reduces negative social costs like air pollution from all the driving in the suburbs.

Also let's remember that these "private investors" are only interested in this because there's a ton of public money at stake. They're rank opportunists who if they were serious about bringing a business focus would just invest privately without piggybacking on the city's money.

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By Yada Yada 5 (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:49:00

I say again, West Harbour is the wrong place for the Pan Am Stadium. It does not fit with a largely residential neighbourhood, it is not on ANY major transportation routes, it has low visibility. The location makes no sense for the area residents. It makes no long term business sense for occupants. It's logic as a location smacks of political opportunism, the availability of senior government money and the need to clean up a major area pollution hot spot. But after this and the games are done there will be little use for this structure. Businesses (Ti-Cats) won't want to be there. Residents won't want large events held there.

Meanwhile the altnernatives suggested above make little more sense for the reasons raised. The ideal location is Cathedral Park, between Main & King immediately west of Dundurn. It is on major city and regional roadways and transit lines. It has high visibility from those routes. It is immediately proximate to a developing commercial strip and close to the city centre (after-game Hess Village anyone?) Of course there are significant obstacles to construct there (a large underground sewage holding tank, highway ramps and perhaps private land holders on Dundurn) and I expect the costs are higher. They SHOULD be higher, reflecting the desireability of the location for this sort of development. But we already know the long-term costs of selecting unsuitable locations for municipal institutions in order to save a few dollars now, don't we? (Hint: we lose the potential for significant revenues in the future.)

If this rant of mine is just more Hamilton negativism and whining, so be it. Better not to build a new stadium at all than to repeat the mistakes of Ivor Wynne where every event is a disruption for area residents. No stadium is better than the current proposal or the suburban suggestions.

Condo development in park-like settings would enhance the west harbour location significantly, however. And bring in lots more area residents to support commercial strips a short walk away.

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By Jo (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:51:02

There is no doubt in my mind that Hamilton, in all its backwards glory, will pick some horrible place (like the Bunge area you mentioned) to build it, and create another doomed structure in a stinky part of town with bad urban planning and non-existent sense. Hamilton has never once done anything forward thinking or constructive... why on earth would it start now?

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 12:58:32

I agree with nobrainer.

A) if Lafarge is such a beautiful stadium site, let the private investors build it with their own money. B) cities hold some obligation to clean up brownfields wherever possible. The money allocated for this stadium was done so knowing that it's on a brownfield. That's one of the ways it's a legacy project. Despite the massive upfront costs of remediation, the spinoffs of further development, restaurants, condos, attractions, shopping etc.....will help to more than offset the remediation cost. In my opinion we can't afford NOT to clean up a massive brownfield district smack in the middle of our downtown/waterfront corridor. C) my piece does not vilify the business community. In fact, I praised both the Chamber and linked an article by Terry Cooke in support of a proper urban location. I don't believe that this small group represents Hamilton's business community. D) if eyes seeing a name on a stadium is really that important, then please tell me why the 1 million purchases at Williams Coffee Pub http://www.hamiltonharbour.ca/documents/... along with the tens of thousands of rollerbladers/walkers/joggers who use the waterfront trail right next door to the stadium site don't count??
It would seem to me that all of these people coming to the west harbour would be just the sort of people a company wants to advertise to. Money to spend, health conscious etc..... Apparently these people don't count because they are actually outside walking, dining and doing something while at the waterfront, not just driving by to somewhere else.

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By JM (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 13:07:33

Yada Yada 5 said "Condo development in park-like settings would enhance the west harbour location significantly, however. And bring in lots more area residents to support commercial strips a short walk away."

I agree, great point.... but is there a developer willing to pay for all the cleanup and build all these condos while also make some sort of profit on non-Toronto condo prices? I think Jason asks the same question if you actually read this article...

As for the visibility issue, my take is will there not be any visibility from the 20-odd thousand visitors per event that will physically be in the stadium? If all they wasnt is visibility those are a lot of eyes to me! Do people driving by on the highway see the Rogers Centre and ACC and decide - oh, i think i should pull off here and go spend some money somehow, even tho there is no event.... and the doors are locked. They go because of the event.

Ivor Wynne isnt next to a highway, and people still go to games/events - regardless of parking or visibility. An no Ivor Wynne wasn't a mistake - it was built at a time where people had more care in their lives than where to park their cars!

And this is a stretch, but the West Harbour location will actually have visibility from a highway - if you take a glance on your trip over the Skyway bridge! haha

JM

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 13:24:12

Jason - just wanted to direct readers to Graham Crawford's fantastic piece in the most recent issue of H Mag...

http://www.new.hmag.ca/?p=545

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By Vod K (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 13:26:39

I see the merits of the west harbour site but if we can't get private investment we end up with a stadium too small for the Ticats that becomes a big white elephant.

We have to ask "would we be willing to have a higher tax bill to keep the harbour location". I don't know the answer but that could be the reality

Speaking of which, with all of the "West harbour/Confederation park" debate, why are we obsessed with building by the lake? Does anybody remember the "mistakes by the lake" in Cleveland and Toronto? On the water will look great in July but will we love it when we are freezing to death at a playoff game in November?

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By JM (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 13:49:44

""We have to ask "would we be willing to have a higher tax bill to keep the harbour location". I don't know the answer but that could be the reality ""

We're going to have an even higher tax bill if we fail to build this, and either have to rebuild or continue to maintain Ivor Wynne! (It would be sad to see it go, but what can you do?)

JM

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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted March 11, 2010 at 13:49:56

I don't like to see huge buildings of any kind right on the lake. Whether it's Toronto condos, Port Perry Supermarkets - whatever. The lake should be accessible to all.

However, I do like the idea of the stadium being part of a neighbourhood. All this talk (Yada Yada I think) of being close to highways and the like is overstated. The waterfront is easily accessible. What should we do? Have cars drive right into the stadium like they do in Indiannapolis (that's right folks - the famous BrickYard track has parking - right in the middle of the Oval! Only in America...)

Successful stadiums in the UK like Tottenham's Whitehart Lane and West Ham's are in the middle of dense residential areas. No LA Galaxy-like suburban Home Depot parking lots for them. And they work fine. They are part of the fabric of the neighbourhood. Let's not get bogged down on access issues. If anything we should be discouraging driving - right? Let's put it where the people are!

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By highwater (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 13:57:43

We have to ask "would we be willing to have a higher tax bill to keep the harbour location".

Two of the sites suggested by this anonymous group would also need remediation, so we would be on the hook anyway, but with no economic spin off benefits for anyone but this small group.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 11, 2010 at 14:23:13

All this talk ... of being close to highways and the like is overstated.

It's not just overstated; it's empirically counterproductive. The evidence on stadium construction demonstrates very clearly that stadiums built on cheap highway accessible land with lots of parking are big economic black holes for their host cities.

There is simply no possibility of catalyzing spinoff business in a suburban stadium surrounded by acres of parking. Further, such facilities tend to be full-service in that the stadium itself sells you everything you could wish to buy, leaving no opportunities for third parties to exploit opportunities.

On the other hand, compact stadiums built and integrated into existing urban areas do catalyze spinoff investment - provided that the stadium does not seek to be a full-service provider and monopolize all the stadium-related business opportunities.

Similarly, money spent on parking lots is money spent and lost. It only benefits the stadium, which is by definition in the middle of nowhere (since the parking itself crowds out any potential spinoff developments).

On the other hand, money spent on transit improvements related to the stadium deliver added public value on an ongoing basis, benefiting the city as a whole through increased transportation productivity and the proven economic, social and environmental benefits that accrue thereto.

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By Logisticist (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 14:45:11

Jason, I don't think you always express yourself in the most elegant or productive manner but I do agree with you one hundred percent on this issue and applaud you for a well-written piece.
Let's nip this in the bud before it gains any traction. Everyone opposed write to your councilor and the Spectator.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 14:59:58

"Successful stadiums in the UK like Tottenham's Whitehart Lane and West Ham's are in the middle of dense residential areas. No LA Galaxy-like suburban Home Depot parking lots for them. And they work fine. They are part of the fabric of the neighbourhood." - Rusty

You can add Wrigley Field in Chicago to that list as well... it is one of the best examples of a neighbourhood stadium. You have to make the stadium more appealing than a concrete box though. With a little character, stadiums can be excellent additions to urban neighbourhoods. But I guess some folks prefer a brown field in the middle of their neighbourhood?

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By Vod K (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 15:35:14

""We have to ask "would we be willing to have a higher tax bill to keep the harbour location". I don't know the answer but that could be the reality ""

We're going to have an even higher tax bill if we fail to build this, and either have to rebuild or continue to maintain Ivor Wynne! (It would be sad to see it go, but what can you do?)

JM

I totally agree! I wasn't endorsing staying at IWS. As Bob Young said "The wrost stadium in the worst location is an improvement over what we have now"

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By Vod K (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 15:47:00

"We have to ask "would we be willing to have a higher tax bill to keep the harbour location".

Two of the sites suggested by this anonymous group would also need remediation, so we would be on the hook anyway, but with no economic spin off benefits for anyone but this small group."


As I said, I don't know the answer. I don't mind the bigger bill but others may not. I don't see how any of the alternatives mentioned are any better but just to play devil's advocate:

-If we don't get private funding and we have a 15,000 seat stadium that the Cats don't use, it defeats the main purpose of building it.

-To build anything in the West Harbour would require remediation so its not like we will get out of that bill. Who says that we can't build something else there to link the waterfront to downtown.

In the end I am against the West Harbour site because it has the potential weather wise nasty in October and November for Cats (Think Exhibition Stadium or old CLeveland municipal stadium). As I said nobody is taking into account the football watching experience.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 15:48:13

I have written to my Councilor he just replies with lies & misinformation!

This is all being fueled by the North End Neighbours with Bob Bratina as their voice. I was an audience member at last weeks NEN Meeting. Bratina was able to stay simply for the Stadium portion of the debate, then bolted when things got heated (and his lies were pointed out).

When presented with the Question: "If not the West Harbour; Where should the stadium be built?" he replied... wait for it... Toronto!

This is a) a Hamilton City Counilor? b) a Downtown City Councilor?

If there is anybody you should be emailing, it's Bratina himself and the North End Neighbours (http://northendneighbours.blogspot.com/).

They claim to be concerned with traffic issues, when in reality, they're just 'protecting' their neighbourhood from Gentrification --something that would benefit the WHOLE City, while rejuvenating the North End at the same time.

Again, forget these supposed 'business folks', it's the North End Neighbours with Bratina's voice who are behind the scenes trying to ruin any hope of rejuvenating the North End while cleaning up a contaminated brownfield!

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 15:53:47

I have written to my Councilor he just replies with lies & misinformation!

Email text or it didn't happen.

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By hagnel (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 15:54:45

Totally agree with Jason's comments. I cannot believe that the sites chosen by this anonymous group are credible. If we are to have a stadium despite the costs then in my opinion the West Harbour site will do more for the city especially if we get light rail transit. It is not a gruelling hike from Copps to the west harbour I am a senior and walk from Robinson to the Bay daily. Young able bodied folk should have no problem. I know parking will be necessary for handicapped and physically ailing patrons, that has to absolutely be in place if the stadium is built on the west H site. I look forward to discovering who these covert businesspeople are.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 16:00:33

for those worried about weather, I guess it's a matter of preference. I happen to agree with billionaire Paul Allen that football should be played outdoors in all the glorious elements:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/sports/...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qwest_Field

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 16:13:47

if you browse the photos of Qwest Field in the wikipedia article you'll see it's a stones throw from one of their downtown heritage shopping/dining districts. Having been there, it's amazing how they were able to tuck such a huge stadium into a small downtown area. You walk down the street and bang, there it is!

And of course, you can come and go via the train:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sounde...

Real cities learn how to maximize the spinoffs. This stadium has twice the capacity than ours will and yet it's not just plopped into a massive parking lot. People come from all different modes of transport and guess what, Seattle hasn't turned into a hell-hole because of it. In fact, if Hamilton could ever resemble 1/100 of Seattle we'd be well on our way to succeeding.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 16:16:37

I am a TiCat Fan, past seasons ticket holder, and a Track hater (meaning I hate that there will be a track around our football field, keeping the action further from the stands)... so ya, I'm thinking of the 'Game Experience' as well.

I for one do not want to sit in a stand for another 50+ years staring at smoke stacks & flames, while sharing this same view with the rest of Canada --Hmmm, wonder why people think the way they do about our City? Image-changer, anyone?)

I also like to drink while I watch the game; but hate drinking & driving! What would my alternative be if I drove to Windermere & Burlington and got drunk at the game? Take a taxi and somehow get back to the area another day to pickup my car? Too bad there aren't any hotels like there are Downtown, 10min walk from Barton & Bay Sts.

I also love CFL playoff time! Who Doesnt; so exciting!! I also understand and appreciate that CFL Playoff time = Poor Weather Conditions :( Snow, winds & the cold make the game exclusively Canadian (think Grey Cup '96! I remember throwing snowballs from stands at Argos fans, somehow hoping that would have helped the Eskes out).

Don't like the weather? Watch the game from home! This is the Canadian game; Deal with it!

Comment edited by Really? on 2010-03-11 15:24:21

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By Vod K (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 16:21:18

for those worried about weather, I guess it's a matter of preference. I happen to agree with billionaire Paul Allen that football should be played outdoors in all the glorious elements:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/sports/...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qwest_Field

I totally agree! But why can't we play outdoor in one of it seems like 80,000 empty parking lots downtown instead of right near the water? Shouldn't we work from the inside out? Just off the top of my head- Isn't there a 3 block span between Hughson and Mary/Wilson and Rebecca that is almost all parking?

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By Vod K (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 16:42:50

"I am a TiCat Fan, past seasons ticket holder, and a Track hater (meaning I hate that there will be a track around our football field, keeping the action further from the stands)... so ya, I'm thinking of the 'Game Experience' as well.

I for one do not want to sit in a stand for another 50+ years staring at smoke stacks & flames, while sharing this same view with the rest of Canada --Hmmm, wonder why people think the way they do about our City? Image-changer, anyone?)

I also like to drink while I watch the game; but hate drinking & driving! What would my alternative be if I drove to Windermere & Burlington and got drunk at the game? Take a taxi and somehow get back to the area another day to pickup my car? Too bad there aren't any hotels like there are Downtown, 10min walk from Barton & Bay Sts.

I also love CFL playoff time! Who Doesnt; so exciting!! I also understand and appreciate that CFL Playoff time = Poor Weather Conditions :( Snow, winds & the cold make the game exclusively Canadian (think Grey Cip '96! I remember throwing snowballs from stands at Argos fans, someone hoping that would have helped the Eskes out).

Don't like the weather? Watch the game from home! This is the Canadian game; Deal with it!"

That's awesome! This is a discussion that needs to be had. We talk about spinoffs and parking but somewhere in this we need to address the ability for a stadium to do its purpose- provide a great place to watch sports.

For the record- against West harbour does not mean I'm pro Windermere or pro Airport or pro confederation park. I would like right downtown if we could.

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By JM (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 16:49:04

Vod K.... you poor thing! We keep turning you into the evil one! haha

People should also start considering feedback with the Ti-Cats admin and not just city council! I'm sure they wanna hear what will bring people to the game, and hopefully more people...

JM

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By Vod K (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 16:49:53

if you browse the photos of Qwest Field in the wikipedia article you'll see it's a stones throw from one of their downtown heritage shopping/dining districts. Having been there, it's amazing how they were able to tuck such a huge stadium into a small downtown area. You walk down the street and bang, there it is!

And of course, you can come and go via the train:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sounde...

Real cities learn how to maximize the spinoffs. This stadium has twice the capacity than ours will and yet it's not just plopped into a massive parking lot. People come from all different modes of transport and guess what, Seattle hasn't turned into a hell-hole because of it. In fact, if Hamilton could ever resemble 1/100 of Seattle we'd be well on our way to succeeding.

That is what I am talking about- squeeze it right downtown not "near downtown" but downtown.

I'm not sure but would the light rail "phase one" east West drop you right in front of the stadium at Barton and Tiffany? would that come after phase 2 North South?

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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted March 11, 2010 at 16:55:01

Agree with the track comment. Friends of mine have gone to games in Europe and they can't see the action (admittedly these are 80,000 seater stadiums but still, the view is diminished whatever the size). Perhaps there can be some sort of temporary solution with the track - it really does impact the enjoyment of the sport.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 17:17:38

Track Solution: Retractable Seating! Even my Highschool gym had it!

For the once-in-a-while that the Track is used, the seats can be retracted into the grandstands. Once there's a football game, they can extend out to the sidelines to ensure that New Ivor Wynn is just as infamous as Old Ivor Wynn in regards to Crowd Noise, Sight-Lines & Fan participation (ie: chanting Arrrrrgggooooooossssss directly in the ear of Pinball & Friends).

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By Peter (anonymous) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 21:37:38

Is there some reason why we have to screw everything up? I truly believe that there's no hope for our city. :(

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted March 11, 2010 at 21:46:43

I haven't seen anyone mention it yet so I will, the decision for the West Harbour location has already been made. The process is already in motion. Some of the land has already been purchased and negotiations with other landowners are in progress.

It doesn't matter what this small group of "business people" want, they are too late to the ball game. The only way this location is going to be derailed is if remediation costs make the site cost prohibitive, which I can't see happening. The city is already going to be on the hook for remediation costs no matter what so they have no choice but to proceed.

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By TD (registered) | Posted March 12, 2010 at 09:12:06

Thank goodness for people like Tom Weisz and Eisenberger. They actually understand the importance of the downtown, and the fact that the Pan-Am games, the new stadium, the Ti-Cats, etc. are not just about profit. They're about revitalizing the city and hauling it (kicking and screaming) into the 21st century. True, the West Harbour site will probably prove more expensive to build. It's also a far more valuable investment. As usual, these interests are driven by the desire to make a quick buck now over contracting and naming rights, and a cynical disinterest in Hamilton's future. Only those with a broader interest in the city and its inhabitants have the vision to understand how the stadium isn't a stand-alone money-making entity but could and should be an integral part of downtown life.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted March 12, 2010 at 09:45:17

The only way this location is going to be derailed is if remediation costs make the site cost prohibitive, which I can't see happening.

Especially since one of the proposed 'alternate' sites is currently a slag heap, and another is a scrapyard. How stupid do these guys think we are? This has nothing to do with remediation costs and everything to do with their precious naming rights which only represent a few million, compared to the tens of millions of public money that will be poured into this.

Comment edited by highwater on 2010-03-12 08:46:09

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted March 12, 2010 at 11:33:52

Folks, do you not see the red flag? We are all being played for fools. The argument for alternate sites at other former industrial sites is moot. We are being led down the garden path arguing over alternate locations that are not up for seriuos consideration. It is a manufactured preoccupation to prevent sourcing a viable urban alternative to the doomed West Harbour proposal.

They are playing the clock to ensure that there is no viable Plan B site identified except for the airport location. Cost and time restrictions related to the West Harbour site are inevitably going to doom the plan for a stadium at Barton and Tiffany. Construction will be 'forced' to move to the Plan B site. A relocation will be announced shortly after the November election with a lame 'sorry, we tried but...' explanation. Timing is everything.

An alternate site downtown must be identified quickly, unless you all will be satisfied with a stadium ultimately being built just south of the airport.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 12, 2010 at 12:19:43

ouch. Realitycheck might be onto something. An airport site would be horrible.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-03-12 11:20:25

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By schmadrian (registered) | Posted March 12, 2010 at 14:47:39

There's some topical discussion going on at this ESPN article about the Pistons returning to downtown Detroit:

http://myespn.go.com/s/conversations/sho...

Comment edited by schmadrian on 2010-03-12 13:48:44

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By LOLocaust (anonymous) | Posted March 12, 2010 at 16:16:21

Again with the naming rights. If the stadium is happening on city land and made possible because the city stepped up with $60 mil, how do the naming rights magically become part of the team's contribution to the build? Maybe they'd like to donate the proceeds from the sale of the old stadium as well...

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By beesplease (registered) | Posted March 12, 2010 at 18:11:24

This naming rights business is bogus.

They’ll be looking for a national corporation for this contract (if they are not talking about national firms, it is sillier than I thought).

If I’m Telus, or the Royal Bank, or who-know-who, what matters to me is not incidental drive-by traffic on the way to Niagara Falls, it is a national audience watching television. And what do I want the scene behind my sign to look like? The sparkling bay, or a big fat smokestack?

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By schmadrian (registered) | Posted March 12, 2010 at 19:11:22

Ah, yes: the whole 'naming rights' issue.

The corporate expression of the 'entitlement' mindset. So fitting in this world of instant gratification, of planned obsolescence, of lack of respect for history, of 'ratings is king'...

...of franchises leaving in the middle of the night...

...and of Olympic athletes switching nationalities according to opportunity.

My Friday night dream is to live in a society where not everything is for sale. (I know; it must be a drug-induced coma. LOL)

People wonder what happened to families, to neighbourhoods, to communities, to cities. I could easily ask why it is that there's no sense of heritage, why traditions no longer rule, why the ties that bind...no longer have any honour attached to them. It's all connected, and it's all a mess.

Pah! I'm going back to my dreaming.

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted March 13, 2010 at 15:15:50

I still say the current location should be considered. Its right smack in the middle of the city. There is enough room with some creativity (redirecting Cannon St.) When I go to games from my West End home, I meet up with East Enders and the Hill people that I know and love. We walk through this great neigbourhood and lament that maybe their could be more amenities nearby. A new stadium is not a magic bullet, but tearing down Scott Park and breathing some new life into this area is a good start.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted March 14, 2010 at 00:26:25

There is a lot of talk about Charlotte lately with Siemens moving there. While they do not have a major stadium they do have a major arena, the Times Warner Cable Arena. Home of the NBA Bobcats. It is right downtown within half a mile of 3 seperate highway exits and within a mile of a fourth. How far from any highway exit let alone the fourth would a stadium on Barton be? How many people are going to drive to a football game, no matter what transit we have? Look at the number of cars driving to Skydome (no matter what they call it these days) and Toronto has a widespread transit system of streetcars buses and subways and the stadium is within a long home run of the QEW (or is it the Gardiner at that point). Any game there makes a mess of traffic for a wide area for a long time. Driving a car is still the most popular way for people to get around and go to sporting events, building a new stadium without planning for the accompanying traffic is sheer folly.

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By Hopeful (registered) | Posted March 14, 2010 at 05:41:09

If a proper planning process was undertaken from the beginning, we would have likely avoided all of the problems now associated with the stadium project.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 14, 2010 at 15:11:48

as far as traffic goes, I think we can all safely say that traffic congestion would be less with the Barton location than the current location of Ivor Wynne. If so, problem solved. It currently takes about 5-15 minutes longer to get across town immediately after a Ticat game. Quicker access to the 403 as well as proximity of Cannon/York/Wilson nearby the Barton site will allow for even easier movement of vehicles. If the goal (and this wouldn't surprise me in the slightest in this town) is to allow 25,000 people to leave the stadium and hit every light green at 60km an hour then there could be some problems. If the goal is get people home in a reasonable amount of time after their game then build the stadium tomorrow and the problem will be solved. It won't be any worse than Ivor Wynne and Ivor Wynne is just fine.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-03-14 14:12:20

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By Really? (registered) | Posted March 15, 2010 at 10:41:43

I'm in Toronto very often, and let me tell you something about Leafs games (despite the fact they suck).. THERE IS ALMOST NO SURFACE PARKING LEFT NEAR ACC! Success Towers, Maple Leaf Towers, Telus Tower, Ice Condos (just to mention a few) have all occupied what was once a sea of surface lots around the ACC; Granted some buildings have U/G Parking (Success Towers), but all-in-all people generally do not drive to Leafs games in the hoards that they once used to.

Is this because Torontonians have a natural, birth-given attraction to Public Transit? No. Is it because Torontonians are generally more progressive than it's neighbour down the QEW? I'd say 'No', but that's arguable.

It's because Public Transit is an INCENTIVE over driving there: $20(and up) Parking Fees + Lack Of Visible Surface Spaces + After-game Traffic Chaos = an unattractive vision.

Rapid Transit (Subway) + $3.00 Fare + No Fighting Traffic + The Freedom of knowing you can drink w/o having to Drive = An Incentive to Take Public Transit.

If Hamilton could get the B-Line COMPLETED (Mac-EG), while somehow managing to convince the Province to fund a partial A-Line (TH&B GO Ctr to James North GO/Pan Am Park) by early 2015, Hamiltonians would not only have transit options, but would be given transit options which are BETTER than driving!

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 15, 2010 at 15:33:22

you're points are bang on, but none of that matters here for one reason: we're still in the business of knocking down buildings to create more parking lots downtown. TO is in the business of having new buildings built on their old parking lots. I'm sure parking in Hamilton will cost .10c an hour one of the years if we keep demolishing buildings at the rate we have been.

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By lon (anonymous) | Posted March 16, 2010 at 16:04:25

Honestly has Eisenburger made one decision yet about anything that we haven't looked back on and said well that was the wrong decision. Practically every one. Why he is still in office I have no idea. At first there was mention of the Rheem site, a junkyard, a gas station and a dump, now magically there is 45 more residences that they want to steal. Yes steal because this is plainly theft of property, especially since the stadium plans show the stadium falls nowhere near bay street but they still want these people's property for what? To later sell to buisnesses of course so they can build a mcdonalds or a starbucks which will close within a month because the neighbourhood is a residential area and not a buisness oriented one. There has also been talk of further exporation of property to build parking lots in this area which may affect a further 100 homes or more. This is the dumbest decision the mayor has made yet but I bet he has many more to make.

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By Vod K (anonymous) | Posted March 17, 2010 at 16:09:12

FYI....

Here might be the best existing comparison location wise to the west harbour- Petco Park in San Diego

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petco_Park

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By schmadrian (registered) | Posted March 18, 2010 at 06:44:55

Regarding a comment made at the retooling of the Siemens plant elsewhere on RTH (concerning Herman Turkstra's Spec editorial), I'm going to play Devil's Advocate in Extremis: what if a stadium just doesn't work for Hamilton? What if, due to a combination of 'problems and issues', Hamilton can't do it? What if it's the wrong time, we don't have the correct solutions-people in place...

What if Hamilton's best interests don't include participating in the Pan Ams in this way? Does everything fall apart, including the drive for LRT?

Hamilton more and more reminds me of a recalcitrant teenager that really needs help, needs to be grounded for a while, needs some remedial work before it's allowed out into the real world...

...but what do you feel the result would be if in the end, we didn't 'do' the stadium at all and let another community look after it?

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 18, 2010 at 14:33:20

Schmadrian, I'm not sure the Pan Am bid would allow it, besides, who would do it? Burlington? They can't even decide to agree on a place to put their own stadiums. The Pan Am bid was built accepted by the committee as a combined effort between several communities with each city holding specific aspects of the games. Changing that would essential make the bid "false advertising". Also, I don't think LRT would stall simply because the Pan Am games weren't coming - it was already on the table as part of a Metrolinx proposal before the area was selected.

As far as the recalcitrant teenager and the grounding, I think that putting off entry into the real world will only make more citizens more jaded about the real world. Sometimes it's good to ground, other times it's better to let go and see what happens.

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 18, 2010 at 14:37:29

I also feel like the "problems and issues" are essentially the "status quo group" making mountains out of molehills or creating problems that don't even exist. Henry Turkstra might have built a good business but that doesn't qualify him as a city planner. What if he agreed with segregation of men and women in schools? Would we have to do that because he's got a good business? I'm tired of business people opening their mouths when they aren't qualified to do so, it reminds me of celebrities telling me I should buy a Prius or that I should join scientology...give me a break! As a side note, the Turkstra businesses are hardly national or even international in fact they're pretty much local and that's it - not really that ambitious. If someone like Jim Treviling or Brett Wilson was raising warning flags, then I'd listen.

Comment edited by frank on 2010-03-18 13:41:16

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By schmadrian (registered) | Posted March 18, 2010 at 14:47:58

Frank: Thanks for the response.

I do have to tell you that while I wouldn't say I have an informed enough opinion about the 'Where Are We Going To Build The Stadium?' issue to really offer up anything valuable to the discussion, I will say this (and I'm not being flippant at all):

Even with my self-proclaimed 'lack of cachet' status opinion-wise, I know I'm miles beyond the average Hamiltonian in terms of what I understand about the situation (And I'm not talking about anyone here on this site, I'm talking about the 'average' citizen, who is, let's face it, not particularly adept at discussing much of anything about their city. But then, this isn't anything new; it's always been this way, everywhere. If you take online discussion as an indication of 'being informed', then you're misled; most people don't have an active interest in much of anything...or at least very little in the political sense.) So I would say we have the potential for a real disaster, for a bad decision to be made given what I've been reading (not just here), combined with Hamilton's reputation at least over the past thirty years.

In a nutshell, I have yet to be convinced that any site is 'the best choice'. Some of the sites seem hilarious, while others, putting their supporters' jingoism aside, seem ill-conceived. (I'm speaking now from the perspective of someone without an agenda or associated interests.) Which really brings me back to my initial question. (As for your 'Who else would build it?' rejoinder, the truth is that if extenuating circumstances made it impossible (I'll leave that to your imagination), then a new location (outside Hamilton) would have to be found.)

So; do we want to build it here regardless, no matter how 'bad' the location is, no matter how much we might regret having made a choice at all? After all, if it turns out that getting married isn't such a good idea after all...do you carry on with the wedding regardless?

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By schmadrian (registered) | Posted March 18, 2010 at 14:51:01

Frank: Regarding your 'problems and issues' response...and declaring the 'qualified' aspect of someone's opinion...for example, Mr. Turkstra...

Wow. You're wandering onto some VERY dangerous ground there.

Certainly none I'd be willing to join you on.

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 19, 2010 at 12:51:31

There's nothing dangerous about it... It's carefully worded to avoid any defamation or libel (in this case libel) against Mr. Turkstra himself and it makes no statements, just asks questions... The qualified comment wasn't even directed at any one individual in particular...it's a collective statement.

Comment edited by frank on 2010-03-19 11:52:29

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 19, 2010 at 12:58:38

Obviously building a stadium here for the the sake of building a stadium isn't what's happening. In most peoples' mind there are major benefits economically and image-wise to building a new stadium and lack of foresight can generally be blamed for not being able to see them - not that I'm saying you lack foresight...

What are some specific concerns? I'm pretty sure you're still playing devil's advocate but there's nothing wrong with attempting to address concerns that others may raise...

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 19, 2010 at 13:23:46

Oops I missed my earlier comment about him not being qualified to be a city planner... That should have said "Henry Turkstra might have built a good business but that doesn't necessarily qualify him as a city planner."

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By frank (registered) | Posted March 19, 2010 at 15:49:51

On the CHML website there's a piece about the naming rights once again. Apparently the Lafarge site is good because people drive past it on the QEW. Ok, hang on a sec. Plunking the stadium in wasteland that forces people to drive to the stadium because people whizzing past it on the QEW can see your name is a sensible thing? And if you're that concerned about image, why are you still in a stadium that's eons behind it's time? Come to think of it, where's your name on the current stadium? It's not called Primus Stadium last time I checked... How about finding another company interested in slapping their name on a building that has the potential to revive a downtown and catalyze a community into new and better things.

I do enjoy how the statement is worded... "Primus is the Ticats game-day official presenter and a candidate for the naming rights at the stadium." A candidate eh? Well perhaps, if you don't like the idea of having a stadium beside a beautiful harbour close to amenities you should just take your name out of the hat???

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 19, 2010 at 16:19:15

exactly Frank. Tax dollars are building this thing. There's no way we can let a small group of people hijack the process in order to make a quick buck at the expense of all the positives that could be had by the city itself. Apparently the millions of people who walk/bike/rollerblade along the harbourfront trails every year don't count because they aren't in cars.

I heard the interview with the Primus guy earlier and couldn't believe they wasted their time interviewing him. Every question they asked he said "I don't know. We haven't researched anything yet".
I felt like calling in and saying "then shut the heck up about why Lafarge is so great if you have no numbers".

Last year the Waterfront Trust reported over 1 million different purchases made at their facilities at Pier 8.
Yes, that's right. OVER 1 million. Maybe if the waterfront trust turned the entire west harbour area into a drive thru, Primus might consider those people worthy of laying eyes on their precious logo.

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By Vod K (anonymous) | Posted March 19, 2010 at 18:33:32

Plus the Ticats would love that spot because there is absolutely nowhere to eat by there which means you have to pay them for overpriced stadium food!

Nobody bothered to ask how being situated on a former slag heap situated between a steel mill and water treatment plant is GOOD for the Primus name. Sure lots of people will see you but what will go through there heads as they see it? (I can run naked down James street and lots of people will stop and look at me) but will they be laughing or admiring.

Somebody needs to ask Scott Mitchell if it is worth the extra 2 million per year that Primus pays them to have a stadium that will be the joke of every CFL fan (and it will be if it goes at Windermere)

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 19, 2010 at 19:33:44

Plus the Ticats would love that spot because there is absolutely nowhere to eat by there

Sure there is. Just open your mouth and look skyward. There's has to be something of nutritional value in all that soot floating around.

(I can run naked down James street and lots of people will stop and look at me) but will they be laughing or admiring.

I wouldn't broadcast this idea. The Cats will probably need to hire a couple folks like you in order to keep fans from gazing out at the 'scenery' next to the stadium.

Somebody needs to ask Scott Mitchell if it is worth the extra 2 million per year that Primus pays them to have a stadium that will be the joke of every CFL fan (and it will be if it goes at Windermere)

What does Primus care. They get the fat cheque and we get the sinfully ugly closeups on CBC and TSN for the next 90 years. Precisely why naming rights need to be item number 74 on the list of important reasons to decide a location.

Your post was pure gold by the way. I had to re-quote much of it. Had me in stitches.

And by the way, a few years ago a bunch of us unsuspecting citizens on King William encountered a guy walking buck naked down the sidewalk with a goofy grin on his face. I can assure you that laughter was the choice reaction by everyone in eyesight on that particular day (just to save you the hassle of finding out).

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By Yada Yada 6 (anonymous) | Posted March 20, 2010 at 16:30:24

1. Visibilitly to passing traffic affects the value of "naming rights."

2. William's Coffee Pub is not next door to the proposed stadium site. It is several residential blocks away. As are major public transit routes.

3. If building a stadium in the middle of a residential neighbourhood does not affect the number and type of events held in the stadium then why is the city looking for a new location? That exactly describes Ivor Wynne. If a stadium were such a strong support for nearby commercial activity, why has Barton St. E. declined over the past five decades?

4. The availability of funds to reclaim industrial sites is not a good excuse for dysfunctional reconstruction. City taxpayers and nearby residents will pay for decades for a structure that does not serve its purpose. There's little value in fixing something only to break it again. That, in a manner of speaking, is simply to replace one form of pollution with another. If it takes public money to reclaim this site before developers will build condos in this location then so be it. The developers may be privateers but the people who will live there are citizens of Hamilton and members of the public. We cannot always be looking for the cheapest short-term solution to problems without regard for long term costs.

5. What's wrong with nearby residents trying to preserve their quality of life?

6. Better to have no stadium than to construct a dysfunctional community.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 20, 2010 at 23:27:25

Yada yada, I"d like to respond to your points. I"ll just post the corresponding number instead of quoting everything:

  1. I know. That's the problem. It's the cars that matter, not the eyeballs apparently.

  2. The point is, over a million people are at our waterfront. Based on my observations as someone who is down there much of the summer, there are always more people on the waterfront trail and Bayfront Park than anywhere else, including Williams. But again, these must be homeless, money-less people in the eyes of Primus since they aren't on the waterfront trail in their cars.

  3. The locations aren't even remotely close to being similar. There are some homes to the south of this new location, but the rest is factory and empty, polluted brownfield with the waterfront all along the north. Why has no real city built a stadium in the middle of nowhere for a looooong time now? They are all built in downtown, urban areas surrounded by many more residents than Barton/Hess.

  4. I assume you're new to Hamilton. This property will sit here like this forever unless massive public funds are involved. Heck, most of our builders won't touch a perfectly clean building or lot downtown without massive public money.

  5. I've yet to meet the person who considers polluted, abandoned brownfields as equating to a higher quality of life than clean land, new public spaces, an entertainment venue, shops, restaurants, patios, improved transit and roadways and improved connections to the harbourfront and downtown core. See downtown stadium districts in San Diego, San Fran, Toronto, Baltimore, Boston etc.... if polluted, empty brownfields are a better quality of life than those areas than I'm speechless.

  6. Again, refer to my partial list of stadium districts above. I do agree that there is potential for a dysfunctional community, not because a stadium equals that, but because dysfunctional is what we do best in Hamilton. It doesn't have to be that way though if we learn from real cities that are centuries ahead of us by having developed their urban districts, including stadiums, properly - again, there's a reason why nobody is building stadiums in remote locations or in the middle of factories these days and it isn't because all of those cities are intentionally trying to lower the quality of life in their downtowns.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-03-20 22:28:59

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted March 21, 2010 at 15:24:55

"People should also start considering feedback with the Ti-Cats admin and not just city council! I'm sure they wanna hear what will bring people to the game, and hopefully more people..." - JM

That is one approach. Another would be for someone in this city, (Mayor, local councilor, etc...) to get some cajones and tell the parasite Ti-Cats that this is the democratically chosen stadium site, Ivor Wynne is no longer an option and if they don't like it they can build their own stadium. Why are we even listening to the Ti-Cats? What leverage do they have? You negotiate with people who have leverage, not a corporate welfare case.

The Ti-Cats CAN be told you play here and pay your share or fund your own 25,000 seat stadium. They'll cave if someone with some stones sits across the table from them and delivers the message... What else can they do, move to Halifax???

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By meowkat (registered) | Posted March 22, 2010 at 17:56:28

In response to "By Really?", March 11, 2010,14:48:13 before you spew your vitriolic comments in a public forum, you really should check your facts. I was at that meeting and from what you've posted, I find it difficult to believe you were even in the same room. You are so far off base, you aren't even in the ballpark. It's too bad you didn't have the courage to express your opinions in person regarding Sheri and Bob. I'm sure you would have received a response befitting such comments.

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By Gordy (anonymous) | Posted March 22, 2010 at 22:39:57

Don't Let Narrow Interests Hijack Stadium Plan. No let common sense dictate that's it's really a stupid idea.

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By Tom Frampton (anonymous) | Posted March 22, 2010 at 22:46:13

Kiely says "this is the democratically chosen stadium site" , really ? You got a chance to vote did you?

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By sselway (registered) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 19:23:42

The comments mentioned by "Really?" are so off base, I had trouble deciding whether or not to dignify them with a reply! In fact, I wonder if the person was actually at the NEN (North End Neighbours) board meeting. Bob Bratina did attend the NEN board meeting, which is not unusual, as he is our councillor. For this particular meeting he was invited to speak about the stadium site decision.

He did NOT say his preferred stadium site was in Toronto. Bob is a big Ti-Cat fan! I doubt anyone who read that would actually believe Bob Bratina would want a stadium built in Toronto! He has suggested an alternate site at York and Bay and has said, publicly and repeatedly, that the West Harbour could be a good site location but he is concerned with the cost of trying to build on that piece of land. Please see his website for his complete rationale:

Bob is also concerned for his constituents near Barton/Tiffany who will be expropriated and respects the concerns expressed by North End Neighbours about traffic and parking. Brian McHattie also changed his vote at the last minute due to his concerns for Strathcona Neighbourhood when council decided to look at additional parking for the West Harbour site! The following motion was passed at that Feb. meeting:

"that approval of the site includes implementation of a program to ensure that the North End, Strathcona, Beasley, and Central Neighbourhoods are protected from adverse traffic and parking impacts related to the stadium/velodrome site uses, through comprehensive traffic and parking management strategies to be developed in consultation with residents of those neighbourhoods."

NEN is a strong supporter of Hamilton and of the downtown. We see ourselves as one of many neighbourhoods important to the downtown core. Our mission as a neigbourhood association is to protect and enhance our neighbourhood. We are working to make our streets "pedestrian-friendly" (we call it Child and Family-friendly) and to keep our neighbourhood a great place to live, not just a place to drive through and park. Hardly gentrification!

A strong, vibrant core needs people living there. All kinds of people, all incomes, all ages. Building healthy neighbourhoods that attract people to LIVE in the core neighbourhoods is important to the health of the Core.

Neighbourhoods want to be part of the City's vision to be the "best place to raise a child". So, what part of the Stadium plans include the neighbourhood improvement plans? I spent all day at the Feb. COW meeting. The site is referred to as an "entertainment precinct". I still can't figure out how shuttling people PAST the downtown to a "Stadium entertainment precinct" will help the downtown. Nor can I figure out how this entertainment precinct will help kids and their families or improve the neighbourhood.

So far, its a lot of hype and not many plans!

BTW - anyone is welcome to stroll the James N. cafe's / art galleries / small businesses and enjoy the sunset strolling by the West Harbour already! Not sure how a stadium will improve that!

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By Bill Grambo (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 23:09:38

We already have a stadium in the downtown it's called Copps. Has this stadium done wonders to improve the downtown, brought in more business? The exact opposite has happened. The downtown is full of discount stores and rot and more stores going out of business almost monthly. Building a stadium will do nothing if you don't improve the area as a whole. When people go to Copps to see some artist or band what business is there for them to spend money on outside of some restaurants. Hardly anything nice down there. I don't see anyone going to the west harbour stadium and then thinking Hey! Let's go downtown to the Dollarama!! That's where all the action is! Give me a break. The Mayor should be slapped in the head for being the complete moron he is.

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By Josh L (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 23:23:14

I live near the west harbour and there are usually some events at the bayfront 1 or 2 times a year. The city sends out parking permits so residents around this area can park and not get tickets because supposedly parking is illegal on these streets during events. I work evenings and when I get home during these event days I can never find a parking spot because the entire area 4 or 5 blocks around is full of illegally parked cars, and here I am with my parking permit and there is not spot for me amoungst all these illegally parked cars. One time I missed my nephews birthday because I couldn't find a parking spot in time to then have a quick shower and drive down to their house. I have complained about this with no results. No tickets are ever given out and not one car is checked to see if they have the parking permit on the dash. Now remember this is for fireworks, or a small festival where a couple thousand people show up and parking is a nightmare! I can't even imagine 15, 0000 or 30,000. Please. This is a riot waiting to happen. If the stadium is build down here I'm moving, for my own safety. I wouldn't want to go downtown either, a building is likely to fall on you. Everything is collapsing.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 23:27:56

for what it's worth, police estimate crowds at the Canada Day fireworks at Bayfront to be around 100,000. 15-30,000 will be a walk in the park. LRT+underground parking+pedestrian connections+free HSR shuttles= a good experience for all.

I might move too....if we build this thing by the friggin airport.

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By sselway (registered) | Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:22:47

IBI did a traffic study in the North End and their estimate for Canada Day as of Feb. 2008 is 25,000. For the events, I read that the estimate of those driving is 1:3 therefore 8,000+ cars. Let us assume some people walk and take transit. As far as I know, HSR does not have a Canada Day shuttle. I am unaware of the number of people who attend Ti-Cat games, so I cannot make a comparison, but I doubt it is that high (25,000) on a regular basis.

Not all residents (Beasley, Central, North End, Strathcona) have driveways so many of us rely on street parking. On those kind of event days (according to IBI that one is the largest) a resident without a driveway cannot leave their house in their car or they can't get back home. Nor can we have visitors over, unless they walk or take the bus.

Our streets are gridlocked when the event is over. Think ambulance / fire.

LRT? Definitely needs to be part of the plan, but, will it??? Did Hamilton put concrete slabs on City Hall?

Where would you put underground parking without hitting water? Underground parking is NOT included in the business plan. In addition, providing parking brings traffic through residential neighbourhoods. That was why the business plan stated 600 parking places - to protect the residents. However, Council already made it clear that they want MORE parking because people want "tail-gate" parties and the "right to drive" to the stadium.

Free HSR shuttles are a good idea, but again, we are shuttling people PAST the downtown's cafes and restaurants, so the shuttles should have MANY stops so people can get off and on.

Most of those urban downtown stadiums that are often cited, include vast parking lots and at least in the states, are close to highways. Camden Yards, Oakland (parking for 10,000), Heinz, Louisville. And they run their highways through their downtowns. Or in Camden Yards case, to the stadium. Is that what we want?

But it is only 8 game days, I hear some say. The business plan calls for 40 events and 100 event days since some events are more than 1 day. What kind of events? As you might recall, after one memorable concert at Ivor Wynn, no more concerts. So, what kind of events?

Operates on a deficit. Every year. (but so is Ivor Wynn). Taxpayer money.

Job creation? 1100 jobs as it is being built - and 100 jobs after that. My guess is many of those 100 jobs are part-time, no benefits, minium wage jobs.

However, IF it is to be built there, we need it be environmentally friendly and a feast to the eyes. LEED certified, solar panels, low to ground not obstructing the view, lights inward, not outward. Check out Letzigrund Stadium (30,000) in Zurich.

Unfortunately, our mayor is quoted as saying it won't be a Cadillac of stadiums! We are going to build a 50 - 80 year legacy stadium that is NOT a Cadillac of stadiums. Sighhhhh.

I have lived here for nearly 25 years. But, I won't move even if they build it here. Hamilton is my home.

Comment edited by sselway on 2010-03-24 09:23:57

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By News 4 U (anonymous) | Posted March 25, 2010 at 21:40:28

Hamilton’s representative on the Hostco Board, which is organizing the 2015 Pan Am Games, refuses to support the west harbour area as the preferred location for the game’s stadium.

“How do you support (the location) without a business plan?” said David Braley, president of Orlick Industries Ltd. “It will be up to council to make the final decision.”

Braley refused to comment on whether he backed an alternative location for the stadium, such as along Burlington Street and the Queen Elizabeth Way.

“I will make no comment as a member of Hostco,” said Braley.

He also said he didn’t know about a few Hamilton business people who are looking to build the stadium at a location other than on the west harbour lands.

“I know of no report,” he said.

Media stories this week revealed that city business men are scrutinizing the cost benefit analysis of building a stadium at the Lafarge Canada slag site on Windermere Road; the former Studebaker property at Victoria and Burlington streets; and on a parcel of land near the QEW and Centennial Parkway.

The new chair of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Richard Koroscil, said the business organization still strongly backs the west harbour lands as the preferred site for the stadium.

“This is an opportunity to take advantage of the area,” said Koroscil.

Even though Hamilton city councillors approved in a 10-5 vote their preferred location for the stadium is the west harbour lands, they also agreed to a Plan B option. The idea is if the west harbour lands are unsuitable or can’t be remediated for the stadium in time for the games, then city staff should look at alternative locations. Opponents of the west harbour lands argue the location is in need of a major land remediation at the considerable cost of 43 million, before construction. There have been concerns that cutting through any environmental process could take too long. In addition, there have been worries about parking, and traffic issues.

Ward 2 councillor Bernie Morelli, despite his vote in support of the west harbour lands, said he favours the Lafarge site for the stadium. Morelli, along with fellow councillors Chad Collins and Sam Merulla, have been discussing the possibility that the city purchase the property from the company.

Hostco Chief Executive Officer Ian Troop said this week that although there may be issues that Hamilton has to work through to build a stadium, he supports the city’s plans.

Hamilton is required to provide $55 million to construct a $102 million stadium that will seat about 15,000 people. But to expand the stadium to a 25,000-seat, $125 million facility, to accommodate the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will mean asking financial help from the private sector which is likely not forthcoming. The fear being the Tiger-Cats may go under within 2 years if they move to the West Harbour Front Stadium.

Troop said the Pan Am Stadium must be ready for use by 2014.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted April 04, 2010 at 10:04:39

Just a reminder as to why West Harbour is the best location: http://www.thespec.com/videogallery/6680...

Hamilton makes an appearance @ 2:40

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By livin' here (anonymous) | Posted April 05, 2010 at 14:33:47

Thanks Really! I had a great laugh when I saw the Pan Am Stadium . . . ! What planet, I mean city, is shown here?

PS - This is the TORONTO Pan Am Games!

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By oli (anonymous) | Posted July 16, 2010 at 21:04:23

the city of Hamilton is like a growing tree. The outer layers get renewed, while the inner core rots. Tear down the west end and start new.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted July 16, 2010 at 21:22:38

Worst. Analogy. Ever.

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