Special Report: Pan Am

New Offer Does Not Change Economics of Suburban Stadiums

The East Mountain option ultimately represents an opportunity for the Ticats to achieve profitability at the ongoing financial cost of public money and opportunity cost of economic vitality for the city as a whole.

By Ryan McGreal
Published July 07, 2010

Amid all the sudden big talk about conversation changers and trump cards in response to Ticat owner Bob Young's stadium offer, including a $74 million commitment if the stadium moves to the proposed East Mountain location, it's worth pausing to consider what has not changed.

The economics of a suburban stadium next to a highway and surrounded by surface parking still don't add up - not even if the sports team offers to chip in a bigger share of the construction cost.

Suburban stadiums generate no revenue for the city, produce no spin-off development in their surroundings, and are specifically designed to capture and monopolize all the potential revenues - from parking to entertainment, food, drinks and other amenities - that patrons might want to spend.

The upfront Ticats money (and it's not nearly as upfront it appears on first blush) will not make up for the fact that a suburban stadium will be an ongoing economic sinkhole for the city every year after it's built.

Nor does it somehow transform the fact that suburban stadiums - actual built stadiums in operation - across North America are failing before our eyes. Cities that poured money into what facilitator Michael Fenn calls the "driveway-to-driveway experience" for their stadiums are now selling them off, chastened, for pennies on the dollar and re-investing in new stadiums downtown.

The East Mountain option ultimately represents an opportunity for the Ticats to achieve profitability at the ongoing financial cost of public money and opportunity cost of economic vitality for the city as a whole. It's corporate welfare, pure and simple, engineered to look good up front and hide the real costs until later.

Fenn has committed a grave disservice to the residents and taxpayers of Hamilton in his report, which gives the highest priority to the narrow economic interest of the Ticats while deeply discounting the broad public interest of the city. His "compromise" amounts to total capitulation to the Ticats' demands.

And suddenly we're to believe the Mayor when he asserts, in his letter to Young: "I know that you and the Tiger-Cats share our city's commitment to its responsibilities to choose a site that is fiscally responsible, that will leave a worthy legacy for the community, will contribute to our 'city building' initiatives" - even though Young's proposal fails on all three commitments.

If City Council loses its nerve and signs this Faustian contract - this "detailed and generous proposal" that the Ticats whipped out at the last minute - we will all rue the decision at our leisure.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By kevin (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 09:47:42

This stadium is already a white elephant that is going to cost Hamiltonians money in the long run. This will be Hamilton's Mirabel Airport. It's a sad, sad day.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 09:50:57

Hamilton screws up the opportunity of a lifetime. Film at eleven.

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By AnneMariePavlov (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 09:56:14

Raze the Hammer! One stupid decision at a time!

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By jcx (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:11:04

The Hannon Tiger-Cats?

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By jxc (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:20:12

The Hannon Tiger-Cats?

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By frank (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:23:59

I completely agree. I hope someone attends the meeting tonight who can, with appropriate grace, present the argument to city council. It sounds like the mayor concurs but might have to capitulate...

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By frank (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:28:48

While we can agree that it doesn't change the long-term viability of suburban stadiums, it helps in the short term and when you get council's eyes glazed over with dollar signs like in the cartoons, you get what you want (lower development charges, sprawl development, suburban stadiums, big box debacles etc)

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By JonD (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:33:14

I just moved to the North end with the optimism that council had a vision for revitalizing the downtown core. I guess I'm about to find out what they're made of. Anyone know who my Ward 2 council member is?

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By frank (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:34:26

JonD...Bob Bratina

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By JonD (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:42:38

Thank you Frank

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:44:39

Fenn's job was to find an agreement both sides could accept. He gambled that if he sweetened the deal enough for the Cats to make them kick in more money, that council could be bought. We'll see if he was right later today.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:54:28

Quite a bit has been said about this report, and it suggests, in part, that we can ask the Pan Am Organizers to put off a decision until August 31st...do we even know if they'd be willing to do that? If I were them I would say "no stadium for you" instead of playing these multiple deadline games...

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:55:42

Although I have great respect for our Caretaker (and I like his humbleness in response to another poster earlier not likeing this 'tag'), I do NOT like the Red Hill location.

This get's uglier every day.

I am curious as well, why IWS doesn't show up on Google Maps anymore with a label identifying it as such? Strange. It did the other week? Google glitch or has that land already been sold to a developer for when the 'new' stadium is built somewhere?

Might be looking too much into this, but it made me curious. Wouldn't that be a kicker. We already have approval from the Pan Am games and the east end site isn't on the table, so sell the land to a developer now so it pushes us to make sure a location is chosen.

Surprise, Tiger-Cats.

Hmm....

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:55:52

First off, big Sports spectacles like this belong in the stables, to be shoveled out with the rest of it. Spending years worth of development budget for a week or two of sporting events makes even the most heart-throttling coke binge look like a wise investment. For what the Vancouver Olympics just cost us (at least six billion dollars) we could meet the cost requirements the UN estimates to put all the children out of school worldwide into education.

As for the location, and the stadium facilities themselves, I can see one potential glimmer of hope. A world-class Velodrome down the street from This Ain't Hollywood could do wonders for cycling in this city - I'd be there all the time. Expecting people to ride bikes without gears to the suburban wastelands of the East Mountain then ride the same brake-less bikes home is a bit more of a stretch though, especially with the high gear-ratios usually used at the track). And even a front brake is forbidden at most velodromes (for safety reasons). I don't mind switching my wheels when I get there, but having to re-build it before I could ride would be an entirely different kind of pain in the arse. Riding a brake-less track bike down the Jolley Cut (which I've done a few times) should be an Olympic sport in itself. Doing it regularly, in traffic, though, is a near-death sentence (as a friend of mine who used to commute to the Henderson learned one day). And while I'd drive (might as well drive to the 'drome London, it wouldn't take much longer), I don't own a car. I generally ride my track-bike places - it's worth a a lot less than my road bikes (in thousands), yet performs almost as well. Plus, if someone steals it, they're likely going to need dental work if they try to ride it away.

Putting cycling facilities in the suburbs is a fundamentally flawed idea. Put it out there and I guess us downtown folks will have to keep playing bike polo in parking lots and basketball courts.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2010 at 11:13:18

Undustrial, would the citizens even have access to the track?

Couldn't we just build a big track without the stands if the waterfront scenerio doesn't happen? There is a nice one (at least last time I was up there over 10 years ago), at Hill Park. Not sure how many more such tracks exist around the city? I know I used to use the old one at Barton High School back in the day (too many days ago), so I could see a nice track (without the stadium to go with it), on the Waterfront, used by both cyclists and runners alike.

I am not a fan of the track and field around a football field idea myself, but reading your comment, it makes sense to have such a community available 'venue' at the Bayfront.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 11:23:55

Not a track and field track, a velodrome is for bikes.

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By Another Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 11:46:11

I am a huge proponet of the Harbour front BUT (and you knew that was coming) this investment by Mr. Young cannot be ignored. $15 million is $15 million. The covering of costs is huge.

But here is another fact pointed out to me. The West Harbour has now become more valuable.

Much more can be done that acutally produces tax revenues and other things.

Maybe Setting Sail can finally be started down there, maybe an Ampitheatre can be built, maybe some money earmarked for the stadium can be transferred to the Harbour for cleanup (The city has yet not come up with it's portion for the Randle Reef cleanup)


As for Mr. Young, if you have ever visited the TiCat office on Jarvis there are about 100 people working there. Most do not work for the TiCats but Young's other companies.

These people have moved to Hamilton and I actually met two who bought condos in the core this month. We need more operations like this downtown.

Bottom line is we can't force people to be somewhere they don't want to be.

I see this as a potential win-win-win.

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 11:55:12

Dear Mayor and Councillors:

I am writing to express my support for your efforts in revitalizing the West Harbour and downtown. A new stadium on the waterfront, a new view of the city would go far to change Hamilton's image nationwide. It would be a source of civic pride and, located close to the downtown, would encourage citizens and visitors to discover downtown's unique attractions.

Please don't forget that this plan, years in the making, had justified the realease of our Future Fund on the basis of waterfront development and downtown revitalization.

The Tiger Cats' proposal for an east mountain stadium accomplishes none of those objectives; rather, it detracts from them. In the same way downtown has suffered from suburban investments in malls, power centres and subdivisions, downtown will suffer from a distant suburban stadium. This so-called compromise solution sacrifices all of the City's objectives and is no more deserving of city funds than a Wal-Mart store in the same location. I ask that you treat the Hamilton Tiger Cats no differently from a developer such as Smart Centres when it comes to planning decisions.

For many decades, our entire city has suffered from disinvestment in the downtown core, to the sole benefit of suburban developers and their narrow interests. The Tiger-Cats organization has shown itself willing to be part of this cycle; I have faith that as elected officials in charge of public funds, in the City's best interest, will not.

There is simply no defense for this location in the context of Hamilton's and the Province of Ontario's policy objectives such as GRIDS, Vision 2020, the Transportation Master Plan, and Places to Grow. To make this clear, here are some examples:

Intensification: The East Mountain stadium would spur development on the very periphery of the city at the expense of feasible infill projects. Reducing automobile use: The ORC site is primarily accessible by automobile and would increase automobile use. Increasing transit ridership: The ORC site is about as far as possible from any current or proposed rapid transit. Ridiculous, off-the-cuff claims of future service by Metrolinx are not even worth reading. Let's not entertain the idea of altering our rapid transit plans to this sparse, far flung corner of the city when we face enough challenges getting rapid transit where we need it. Any transit service to the East Mountain will be of the lowest order, buses running in mixed traffic, and offer no advantage over the private automobile.

Finally, one enormous fact bears repeating: An East Mountain stadium would accomplish ZERO of the City's objective in revitalization and image enhancement.

Make no mistake, the East Mountain proposal flies in the face of City policy objectives on so many fronts, we cannot in good conscience commit public funds to it.

Sincerely, Jonathan Dalton

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By LoveIt (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 12:31:45

I bet we'll see more bids on the precious land in the near future. It's just as much of West Harbour, and it's discovered already.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 12:36:52

^No one's going to bid on the Rheem land as long as is still an un-remediated brownfield. Who's going to pay to remediate it now?

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 13:31:29

I have been a supporter of the West Harbor or a Downtown proper stadium for some time. However in this case, given that Young has put a substantial amount of money on the table, and that the facilitator has suggested a site that will cost the city far less to build due to the remediation issues, I have to say I support the East Mountain site. Unless a substantial partner in the private sector comes forward (Mr. Katz would seem to fit the bill) to put money into the West Harbor location, the city is better served by this location.

Yes, highway access and suburban stadiums have issues, however in this case there is commercial development around this location, and room for new local development to occur. In addition to this, taking a fiscal weight off of the city's shoulders allows the city to invest in slowly re-mediating the Rheem lands and adding small scale commercial development, or a potential place to replace the aging Sir. John A. Macdonald school, enhancing the West harbor and will allow another parcel of land to become available in the core, perhaps for a joint Mohawk/McMaster campus.

I still think the West Harbour is workable, but without substantial private investment, it simply isn't feasible to put it there. It is also even less feasible if we don't have a tenant to offset the maintenance costs of the location, just as Copps has taught us. Thankfully at this time, the Pan Am Corp and the city are still moving forward at both sites, so there is still a chance an investor may come forward for the West Harbour, but if it doesn't, it simply does not work.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2010 at 15:27:52

The only way I'd support the highway location was if it was 100% funded by private investment. Up there, it's just another business. It doesn't help the city in any way. It deserves no more public funding than a Kelsey's or a Best Buy.

And I love how people keep saying "but this way we get to save money by not rehabilitating the Rheem lands" like that's a good thing.

Bob, you want a highway stadium? Then pony up more of the dough. As in, like, all of it.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-07-07 14:29:58

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2010 at 16:04:05

It shouldn't be up to the Pan Am Games to reclaim brownfields. It shouldn't be up to taxpayers at all. How about going after the people who toxified them in the first place?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2010 at 16:09:47

@frank

Funny, when people were talking about the Ivor Wynne idea on the main page, I decided to google the Discovery Centre to see if that location was ever considered - I don't know when that Discovery Centre abomination was greenlit, so I was wondering if they knew we needed a stadium when they built that pointless building instead...

And I stumbled upon this article from 2008, which included Bratina's comments. http://raisethehammer.org/blog/1161/brat...

I've since decided that Bratina is awesome. On the other hand, he doesn't support the harbourfront location either, and is quite vocally against it.

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By Highwater (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 17:15:48

Bratina is also against the Creative Catalyst. Go figure.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 18:00:51

I'm not sure how a stadium at west harbour would produce spin-offs, but locate that stadium anywhere else and suddenly it produces no spin-offs. Either the business model is to capture as much of the patrons' money as it can internally or not.

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 19:00:18

TreyS, here is how a stadium produces spin-offs:

http://www.revitalizedowntown.ca/ http://www.revitalizedowntown.ca/los-ang... http://www.revitalizedowntown.ca/san-die... http://www.revitalizedowntown.ca/indiana...

Of course, in order to produce spinoffs there needs to be a firm running the project who knows what the heck they're doing. Like Katz and http://www.aegworldwide.com/home.html

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By Tecumseh (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 20:52:02

As much as I hate the idea of an East Mountain stadium, I don't think it will necessarily hurt the downtown. The downtown and the waterfront have been on a positive trajectory for a number of years now and that will continue for reasons entirely unrelated to the Pan Am games or the Tiger Cats. Of course a waterfront stadium would only have helped, but even without it residential and retail development will continue as it has been. As exemplified by the comments on this board, there is a building mass of people who appreciate urban living in general and downtown Hamilton specifically, and we will continue to drive the renaissance.

All the progressive people on the board who in despair are planning their departure from this unique but often backwards city should calm down, wait until September and then go to Open Streets Hamilton, then the Locke St. Festival, and remember why you fell in love with this city in the first place.

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By frank (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 21:22:01

Tecumseh, I fell in love with this place because I felt it had potential. The way council has been allowing the city to be run/built is ruining that potential or at the very best postponing any possibility of me benefiting from it.

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By jasonaallen (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2010 at 22:25:07

At the risk of trying to make lemonade out of an incredibly sour batch of lemons - If I were the Hamilton Civic League, I would be chomping at the bit over the opportunity for change and renewal that this white elephant has just handed them on a platter. If you are serious about wanting to overthrow the inept councilors who have made such a mess of things - then go immediately to http://hamiltoncivicleague.org/ and sign up to volunteer to deliver the Values and Priorities survey for a couple of nights door to door. They plan to take a city wide survey of Hamiltonians asking "What do you value about your city - how do you think the city should run" and eventually post the voting record of every councilor in comparison to the results of this survey. It turfed out all but one councilor in Guelph they year it was done there. Simply put - voting against these yahoos (if you're not fortunate enough to live in Ward 1!) is simply not enough. Everybody needs to chip in in some way on this. As the saying goes...it's better to light a candle...

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 23:24:54

Jason, since Copps Coliseum was built, Hamilton's downtown has not grown more prosperous, but poorer. In that same period of time, Hamilton's economy has grown more reliant on tax dollars to create jobs (health, education). If we want the downtown to be a place with a high level of private investment and value adding, private sector jobs, we need to foster a environment of risk taking and entrepreneurship. This means less public spending as a percent of GDP and more private.

I liken it to eating too much junk food. It tastes good at first, but if relied on too heavily, it will make you fat, weak and apathetic, something that describes our downtown pretty well. The best thing Hamilton could do regarding this stadium would be to send it to Burlington and pay down our debt with the savings.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 04:17:41

Take a look at this graph and notice how child poverty fell during the tenure of Mike Harris (at least until he cranked up spending after 2000). Even though he reduced the role of government in the economy, which lefties deem as being bad, the results were positive. In contrast, Bob Rae talked about helping people, but actually hurt them.

If anyone wants the downtown to be a more prosperous place, the recipe is less government spending, not more. Think of it this way, you can either settle for government scraps or you can have opportunities to create a future. You can't have both.

http://www.therecord.com/years_of_wonder/child_poverty_rates_lg.gif

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By jasonaallen (registered) - website | Posted July 08, 2010 at 08:33:27

A Smith - if you feel strongly about it - then I suggest you volunteer for the Hamilton Civic League as well. It is a strictly non-partisan organization dedicated to greater civic participation. I think their survey should help to settle the debate about what it is that Hamiltonians want in a city, and a city hall. It should be illuminating to see which side of these kinds of debates 'everyday' Hamiltonians come down on. As I'm sure you can imagine, I have some pretty strong suspicions in this regard. I would think you would be dying to be part of the process of supporting true democracy.
I have already submitted my volunteer application, let me know when you've submitted yours.

Comment edited by jasonaallen on 2010-07-08 07:34:04

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 08, 2010 at 09:37:39

@A Smith, wouldn't your anarcho-capitalist logic be that nobody should be supporting a stadium anywhere? Stadiums are tax sinks. Every sports team is subsidized by tax dollars.

Or you're just a trollish hypocrite.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 14:53:30

Jason those case studies are all stadiums that were ACTUALLY built downtown. The north west end is not downtown. I would think north of York and you're now in residential except along James which might be considered downtown to as far as the CN train station, (refuse to call it Li*A Station).

San Diego is the one of the wealthiest and perhaps if not the fastest but fastest but the fastest growing 'wealthiest' cities. It's a beautiful city and does not have the social problems of Hamilton. Can't even be closely compared to any city in Canada. Maybe Hamilton should've oriented it's downtown closer to the water? Like, every other Great Lake city.... Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Chicago.

The LA example is interesting because LA Live, is home to the Lakers, Clippers and the Kings. Not football. And attached to hotels and downtown amenities. It is something Copps should aspire towards.

Columbus is a huge university city (lots of downtown campus and students, unlike Mac) and the capital of Ohio. Also the case study is a hockey arena. Something Mac and Copps should aspire towards. Also naming rights by Nationwide which is second biggest sponsor of Nascar, ironically something to consider.

Indianapolis, also a huge car racing fan city (Nascar and Indy). ".....with billions of dollars in public and private money invested in developments that include two major sports arenas, a track and field stadium and 10 other sports facilities, as well as a zoo, an aquarium, four retail complexes, five hotels and six major commercial office developments."

I guess you could call that a "mass convergence". Five hotels, six major office developments and four retail complexes!!.... those alone would dwarf our existing downtown. and a ZOO? Hamilton ZOO anyone? o right Kilmans or Lion Safari in the suburbs. I always thought 'Kilmans' was a strange name for a zoo are they live or stuffed animals?

One football stadium 'nearish' downtown is not going to produce anywhere near the results of these case studies. Copps hasn't done anything. IVW area has a dead school and a few pizza/sub places.

I also want to point out the language of those case studies, esp about LA> "In the late 1980s and early 1990s Los Angeles’ downtown was seen as an unattractive, dangerous place dominated by industrial plants, auto dealerships, aging office buildings and low-rent hotels." hmmm the tallest building in LA the Library Tower (now US Bank) was built in 1989 -- late 80s? aging office towers? The Wishire Hotel? Two California Place (designed by Canadian A Erickson) built in 1992... fourth tallest office tower. I don't understand the quote ... "in the late 80s early 90s..." which was a recession era too... plus all this downtown stuff is inches away from the Santa Monica freeway.

L.A. has always been a giant suburb, it's just a geographical reference to describe a large valley area in southern California. I think it's downtown population totals around 60,000 for a 'city" of 10,000,000. Hamilton's downtown population rivals LA's so where are these people coming from? Glendale, Burbank, Pasedena, Torrence, Santa Anna, Irvine, Riverside etc.

Comment edited by TreyS on 2010-07-08 13:58:42

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 15:08:40

Why has no one mentioned the aerotropolis as a stadium site?

Just think, on the east mountain there will, sadly, still be a handful of people who walk to the game and a few hundred more who take transit.

But at the airport, pedestrians and transit users will number exactly zero, which should make most of city council giddy with excitement! Bonus: visiting teams and private box holders can fly directly to the game, and most importantly FROM the game without ever having to see Hamilton!

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 08, 2010 at 15:23:00

The single biggest problem this city has is the illusion that some big development, like a stadum is going to "revitalize" this city.

The only way to make this city a happy and prosperous place is to pursue THOSE goals, not build silly multi-million boondoggles in the middle of nowhere (or over prime downtown real estate). A Smith is right about this - these games bids are all about giving out taxpayer money.

Does the waterfront need renewal? Does it need a stadium? Does Ivor Wynn need renovations? These are the questions we need to be asking. Not just building stadiums for the sake of building stadiums.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 15:59:41

Aerotropolis would definitely be sprawl. From what I can see, this east mountain site although I'm not thrilled with it is not sprawl. It's serviced land and surrounded by development and existing roads.

The notion of an on-ramp is ridiculous and merely one thing said by Councilor Clark. It doesn't need a new on-ramp and the roads are fine. You'd have to put up with traffic leaving for about 5 minutes until everyone gets on the merry way. Sounds a lot like leaving a Raptors or Leafs game doesn't it.

Comment edited by TreyS on 2010-07-08 15:09:13

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 16:42:31

Sounds a lot like leaving a Raptors or Leafs game doesn't it.

yea, except when I'm at a Raptors or Leafs game I purposefully go out for a bite and enjoy a bit of downtown TO instead of just sitting on the Gardiner for 20 minutes. I usually go to 2-4 Cats games per year, and that will go down to somewhere between zero and zero games if they locate the stadium way out there. I have better things to do with my Friday evenings than sit in a car in traffic with nothing but Horton's drive-thru's around and sit in my car after the game when I could be enjoying a night out downtown or in TO.

With a west harbour stadium I was worried that I'd be spending too much money on Cats games due to the surrounding entertainment options in Hess, James North, Bayfront/Pier 8 districts etc..... and the ease of getting to/from the stadium.

Hopefully the Cats' out-of-touch consultant is right and this location draws in gobs of people from Brantford or Burlington because they're losing this fan who lives in the heart of the Hammer.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 17:04:06

I've decided I'm going to kill this thread. Ryan forgive me

Interesting that the last A Smith comment has 9 votes but is only minus one. I thought everyone hated him?

Could it be that the 'invisible hand' does appeal to some people on this board.? And that Smith's 'Invisible Hand' goes beyond economics? It's about sustainability. And capitalism, or consumerism is not sustainable. So we are just fish in a fish bowl with nowhere else to go. We just hope that someone the earth will keep feeding us.

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/15...

everyone is entitled to profit, unless you profit from natural resources. News: All profits come directly or indirectly from consuming the planets natural resources. Let's make everything sustainable and do it now. To make things sustainable right now means zero growth. For every one person that dies, another person is born. Job growth, economic growth as we know it, ceases to exist. Consuming a finite cannot go on forever. The debt/wealth economic system has to change. Sounds more like a muslim economic system doesn't it?

Including stadium building. Ivor Wynne will sit there as a monument to human failure. Sure we have room to grow... for now. To create that eventual equilibrium of homo sapiens' existence you have to understand that conservation and alternative energy, recycling etc is only prolonging the eventual. Minimizing consuming is still consuming... actually conservation has lead to more consumption in the long run. More efficient refrigerators, led to larger refrigerators. More efficient automobile engines lead to larger, heavier vehicles. More efficient building systems and hvac systems led to larger and more sprawl based housing.

Humans have never and never will live within a sustainable environment. Which makes us dumber than dinosaurs. Homo Sapien will never exist as long as dinosaurs. Why? Because we need to alter our environment in order to live in it. All other species that have ever existed, existed as long as they did because they lived within their environmental boundries and didn't need to change it.

So how's that for a discussion kill.

peace

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 17:37:18

This is a tough one. I have a lot of heart for the West Harbour, and I have no doubt that -- provide some means of remediation -- it will be successful. Stadium or no stadium.

I think we all have to remember that we aren't dealing with an NHL or NFL franchise here. The ability for a CFL franchise -- which is near and dear to a great many people in the country -- isn't any licence to print money. Quite the contrary.

In that regard, I think we have to take Bob Young's word here. He's not in this to make himself wealthier. Because of that, I put much more credibility in his reluctance to develop the West Harbour.

Again, my preference would always be for downtown stadium. I hate the thought of 30,000 people attending an event in Hamilton and having virtually no experience of Hamilton itself. However, I prefer this location to not having a stadium at all.

I don't agree with the location philosophy of the team, but given their commitment to the city, I'll compromise.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 17:37:52

Jason you can always get back on the Stonechurch bus to Upper James and then to downtown and visit the 3 restaurants downtown after a game.

The same bus route scenario goes for a patron that lives on the east mountain; they would have to take the Mohawk bus, transfer to James, to downtown, eat at one of the three said restaurants, within a 2 km walking distance of west harbour, and enjoy the game. And then return trip with their bus transfers.

That is the same thing!!! Only being a downtown snob saying "I have to go up the mountain". Well don't hate the people on the mountain for saying "I have to go down the mountain". You know how may busses that will take? EXACTLY the same amount of busses that downtown people will have to take to get to the mountain.

Why is it a problem only if you live downtown and have to go to a game on the mountain? But not a problem if you live on the mountain and have to go to a game downtown? It goes both ways. And last I saw, the mountain population is larger than the lower city.

Hamilton Mountain residents are still part of this city. There are so many holes in the west harbour location debate that you could drive a 2018 LRT through them. The arguments for the west harbour location are all emotional and people are not seeing any other perspectives, objectively. It's west harbour or nothing, and i'm going to stamp my feet until I get what I want.

I wish the West Harbour made sense to me. I wish John and Wilson was an option. I wish B Bratina's Sir John A location was an option. I wish Van Wagner's wasn't autonomously removed from the possible locations by Chad Collins at the start. How that happened I will never know. And why Chad? You first said it was because you wanted to preserve 'green space'. Then realizing that Confederation Park is a go-cart, waterslide, wavepool, batting cages, mini-putt, beach patio party area... did you then change your vocabulary to "public space". Well guess what Mr. Collins,, besides making a huge screw up, Confederation Park is a huge recreational space already. It is not the tranquil West Harbour, Beach Strip is different. It's active, it's loud, it's a party. And you know what? It's way more popular than West Harbour on any given weekend. Confederation Park is already a party spot. And exactly why if a waterfront and highway front were advantagages that Van Wagner's should've been a given at least consideration .... hey Chad get back in my pocket, join the rest of Liberals

So we're left with a shit short list that neither was good.

I can only hope now, that this stadium is built somewhere in Hamilton and is 30k minimum and is world class. A stadium Hamilton can be proud of. A stadium that keeps the Cats in Hamilton and hopeful that they can a make profit, and can bring extra events, outsiders to our city, and look good.

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By Jason (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 18:19:22

If saying that downtown only has 3 restaurants is "driving an LRT" through weak arguments then I think you answered your own question.

Tell me with a straight face that having a stadium within a 10 minute walk of all that Hess, James and King has to offer, along with great transit connections from everywhere in the urban city is the same as this east mountain site.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 08, 2010 at 19:44:31

Humans have never and never will live within a sustainable environment.

Sorry, TreyS, but the discussion is still alive! :)

The fact is that your statement just isn't true. The sun provides a massive daily infusion of new energy into the global ecosystem - which plants efficiently capture and transform into chemical energy and which animals capture by eating plants, and so on down the line.

Further, the global ecosystem is astonishingly resilient and innovative in its ability to capture the wastes from primary processes and feed them into secondary processes, which in turn produce wastes that become the feedstock for tertiary processes and so on. Nature is nothing if not enterprising in its capacity to exploit niches and recycle energy to maximize its impact as it moves through the ecosystem.

Humans are a part of that ecosystem. The energy we get from food comes from the sun. Even the additional energy we get from burning hydrocarbons is simply stored solar energy. You're right that we're consuming that energy at a rate faster than the earth can replenish it (and in the process generating more volume and diversity of waste than the environment can absorb and repurpose), but it's not necessarily the case.

Humans have lived sustainably in balance with the ecosystem's ability to provide energy and absorb waste, and somehow or other, we will do so again. But as the old line goes, we can do it the easy way or we can do it the hard way.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 20:07:38

TreyS,

From what I can see, this east mountain site although I'm not thrilled with it is not sprawl. It's serviced land and surrounded by development and existing roads.

Highways, big box store complexes, low-density single-family detached homes with drive-in two-car garages situated next to greenfields, scarcely any walkable amenities - it's the very definition of sprawl.

Interesting that the last A Smith comment has 9 votes but is only minus one. I thought everyone hated him?

One of those upvotes is mine, not because I agree with him, but because I disagree with people downvoting him due to his past comments. If A Smith posts reasonable, civil comments then I don't think he needs to be downvoted. But that's a side topic.

All profits come directly or indirectly from consuming the planets natural resources.

Crap, Ryan beat me to it with the sun! That's exactly where I was going.

you can always get back on the Stonechurch bus to Upper James and then to downtown and visit the 3 restaurants downtown after a game.

That's just absurd. There are, I believe, thirteen different eateries and restaurants on Locke St. S. alone, in the space of about six blocks. There must be hundreds downtown, and unlike the same-old, same-old chain restaurants that dot the mountain's big box complexes, these are genuine, family-owned restaurants that range from fine dining to the scrappy bars that you can't help but love if you're true to the Hammer.

Only being a downtown snob saying "I have to go up the mountain". Well don't hate the people on the mountain for saying "I have to go down the mountain".

Except that the people who live on the east mountain are accustomed to driving everywhere, because it is impossible to live up there without driving. Downtown, you can actually go weeks without ever needing to drive in order to get your essentials.

Every person I know who lives on the east mountain has two cars, in fact.

The bottom-line is that this is a suburban stadium that will do nothing for the downtown core and will do little for the east mountain besides line the pockets of developers and the head offices of the franchise establishments that will pop up nearby. We'll be stuck with a stadium for the next 60, 70, or 80 years that will just suck money out of city hall until it gets torn down.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 20:49:32

@TreyS,

the only useful question is: what interesting thing is within walking distance?

Lots and lots of things, if you are at west harbour, and very little on the east mountain, nice golf course however.

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By adam2 (anonymous) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 22:18:02

Trey S said "Humans have never and never will live within a sustainable environment."

The 21st century is the century we are realizing we live in a world with finite resources. We have to either change how we do things or become extinct. I really hope we change how we do things or it won't matter much what kind of stadium we build.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 22:49:08

The arguments for the west harbour location are all emotional and people are not seeing any other perspectives, objectively. It's west harbour or nothing, and i'm going to stamp my feet until I get what I want.

In other words, pretty much the way the Ticats and their supporters have been behaving throughout this entire thing, with their argument for a suburban site based on the irrational notion that we will continue to drive at the same rate in perpetuity, and that brand new wealthy fans from Niagara, KW, and London will suddenly materialize now that the stadium is located on the periphery surrounded by asphalt and big boxes.

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By obarkov (registered) | Posted July 08, 2010 at 23:54:39

Plan B site is not the suburbs have you been up there lately?

Its 12.2km from downtown.

Fenn does not make the decisions he is the facilitator not the adjudicator.

He is not doing a "grave disservice to the residents and taxpayers of Hamilton", he is reporting what the city and TiCats have discussed and decided to pursue... sorry Ryan you have his role mistaken.

"The TiCats and the City of Hamilton are doing a grave disservice to the residents and taxpayers of Hamilton" is accurate.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 09, 2010 at 09:36:46

Plan B site is not the suburbs have you been up there lately?

So you're arguing that this is an urban site? It's hard to take the rest of your comment seriously if that is your contention.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 09, 2010 at 11:09:43

Add a stormwater system upgrade to the cost of this mess.

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By michaelcumming (registered) - website | Posted July 09, 2010 at 14:23:04

Like many others I find this talk of a 'driveway-to-driveway' experience completely depressing - in a region that is so obviously behind in constructing adequate transit infrastructure for its citizens.

Why are such ridiculously vapid slogans like 'driveway-to-driveway' taken seriously? Do you have to go some school to learn how to become a sprawl consultant? Does the city really care about the ease with which Ancaster residents get to their local CFL game?

Last week: sustainable development => good; this week: sprawl-friendly (aka driveway-to-driveway) development => preferred. Next stop: Dallas (wasn't that detour through Pittsburgh's stadium district entertaining?)

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By obarkov (registered) | Posted July 09, 2010 at 18:50:14

Plan B is not downtown but the suburbs are a place you live and you commute to a big city it usually has some political autonomy.

Possibly Stoney Creek or Waterdown in the '80s.

Plan B is 2.2km from Limeridge Mall.

The mountain is a continuous strip of land that is totally developed.

Whether or not its downtown is not a big deal it is very close to the majority of people living in Hamilton.

Comment edited by obarkov on 2010-07-09 17:51:29

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By TnT (registered) | Posted July 11, 2010 at 08:02:46

Why didn't they pump the redevelopment money into the area around Ivor Wynn? If anywhere could have used redevelopment that is it.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted July 13, 2010 at 13:40:22

I think we all have to remember that we aren't dealing with an NHL or NFL franchise here. The ability for a CFL franchise -- which is near and dear to a great many people in the country -- isn't any licence to print money. Quite the contrary. - slodrive

Okay so we admit that CFL football is a cash sink, so then the question becomes how much is 10 days a year of rah-rah feel-goodness worth?

…given their commitment to the city, I'll compromise. - slodrive

Their commitment to the city?!?!

Bob Young has threatened to pull the plug on the team if he doesn't get his way… How is that interpreted as a commitment to the city?

Have we been beaten down in Hamilton for so long we now view blackmail and "take my ball and go home" threats as a commitment to the city?

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