Special Report: Pan Am

West Harbour Still the Right Choice

It's still not too late for the Ticats to partner with the City and the people of Hamilton to build a true community legacy.

By Ryan McGreal
Published July 30, 2010

The announcement by the Pan Am Host corporation that the track and field events are moving to Toronto and some soccer games are moving to Hamilton does nothing to weaken the case for a West Harbour stadium or strengthen the case for the East Mountain.

Neither does yesterday's announcement by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats that they want to spend $7 million of the Future Fund and $1.5 million of their own money to build an amphitheatre and "Pan Am Park" at the West Harbour.

The West Harbour still has the best multi-modal transit access - an essential criterion HostCo CEO Ian Troop reiterated yesterday - and the best potential to grow the city's economic base and build community by remediating a brownfield and fostering neighbouring investment.

In turn, the East Mountain is still a suburban, car dependent greenfield at the top of a flood-prone valley highway with huge capital costs for public infrastructure and no potential for stadium-related spinoff development. It still does not meet the expectations of the Future Fund Board of Governors. It still has poor long-term viability in an emerging economy of high and volatile oil prices.

If anything, the West Harbour will be an even better fit for the Ticats' soccer plans, given the large and enthusiastic base of support for soccer in the lower city. During the Open Streets Hamilton on June 6, an impromptu soccer game spontaneously started up at James Street and Robert Street - a 700-metre, eight-minute walk from the West Harbour.

As for the move itself, Athletics Canada had a legitimate concern that the track and field facilities would not be preserved as a community legacy coupled with a football stadium. Clearly the Ticats agreed, given their efforts to secure a legacy use for the stadium as a soccer venue.

It's also important to bear in mind Athletics Canada's other issue: the distance athletes would have to travel from the Pan Am Athletes' Village in the West Don Lands to the track and field events in Hamilton.

Apparently Athletics Canada raised a warning months ago about the distance from Toronto to Hamilton's West Harbour, which at least has excellent multi-modal access, including a nearby GO Station. The last-minute shift to a stadium on the far suburban perimeter of the city with minimal transit access surely did nothing to assuage their fears.

It's still not too late for the Ticats to partner with the City and the people of Hamilton to build a true community legacy that will fulfill the Pan Am criteria, support Places to Grow, and achieve the goals of the Future Fund while providing a viable long-term home for Hamilton's beloved CFL team.

They can start by fulfilling their promise to share the economic study which they claim proves the West Harbour can't work. Working together, the team and the city can surely overcome any obstacles and set them up for long-term success.

Nor is it too late for Council to do what it should have done at the start of the month and decisively reaffirm its commitment to the West Harbour.

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 z jones (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 14:10:00

You're too polite. The Ticats, council and the province have all betrayed Hamilton and I for one won't forget that betrayal any time soon.

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By Ancopa (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 14:13:37

Did you see the entire page of anti-West Harbour trite in The Spec today?

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By z jones (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 14:19:35

@Ancopa EM apologists are dinging the Spec for being one-sided so they're overcompensating.

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By Jason (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 14:35:14

One sided? Should the Spec just make numbers up and pretend that the Cats aren't lying to everyone and hijacking a city planning process? It's kind of hard to report on their viewpoint when there are no numbers, no reports, no studies and no intelligible quotes from anyone.

EM folks should tune into CHML. That station clearly values their rights to broadcast Ticat games in higher regard than providing news. It's like one looooong, boring infomercial.

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By JMorse (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 14:37:12

The mayor needs to pick a side and make an announcement NOW. He's not helping either camp, and certainly not himself, by waiting for further 'evaluation' because there's only misinformation which is spewing like the gulf oil was. It needs to be capped! The leadership vacuum has been occupied by profiteers. With every minute that goes by, the frustration builds. The longer we have to wait, the less likely he'll have any support at the end of all this. We need leadership and a decisive position TODAY!

BTW, has DiIanni made his position clear on the subject?

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 14:49:43

The forgotten World Class Soccer Facility of Hamilton, and the politics of Sports - Circa 2009


Peter Reid / Tuesday, September 01, 2009

World Class Soccer Facilities Coming to Redeemer:

Plans are underway for a new state-of-the-art soccer facility for Redeemer University College. The complex is valued at $4.8 Million dollars and includes two separate artificial turf fields.

David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale and MPP Ted McMeekin, Minister of Consumer Services, announced today that Redeemer University College will be receiving $1,000,000 from both the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program in Ontario (RInC Ontario) and Ontario Recreation Program (Ontario REC) to fund construction of a shared-use soccer facility at Redeemer University College.

Councilor Lloyd Ferguson announced that the City of Hamilton is also giving $1,000,000 to support the project. Redeemer will partner with Ancaster Soccer (a local soccer club) to raise the remaining funds.

The current Redeemer soccer field will be transformed into a Class ‘A’ artificial turf field with lights and bleachers.

The second field, which will be the main field utilized for major competitions and varsity games, will also be a Class ‘A’ artificial turf field.

It will have lights and bleachers as well and will include a temporary dome for the winter time covering the entire field for practice, events, and competitions all year round. The main field will also have a permanent clubhouse situated beside the field and will include home and visitor change rooms, washrooms, offices, and concessions.

With the addition of the soccer complex, the Royals varsity programs will see an immediate impact. Both men’s and women’s soccer teams will be training and playing on fields equal to the best in Ontario and among the elite in the OCAA.

Because of the inflatable covered structure in the winter months, it will also allow the teams to train and compete throughout the off-season and winter months.

The two turf fields will allow for more flexible varsity practice times as well as the ability to host major events.

The complex will allow the indoor soccer programs to have all-year access to a practice facility as well as provide the opportunity to host indoor tournaments and events.

Aside from the improvements to the current varsity soccer programs, there are many other benefits to the soccer complex.

Redeemer’s Campus Recreation program will be revamped and will also see benefits as it will provide another space for intramural and extramural activities. It will grant the ability to run more programs indoors throughout the winter months and allow for more participants.

The complex will provide Ancaster and the City of Hamilton and the surrounding area with a Class ‘A’ field for rental and for hosting events.

The field will be available for public use and will offer the space and opportunity for player and coach development as well as for clubs, leagues, and academy’s to train and run programs all year long.

Construction will begin once the remaining funds are in place and Redeemer’s Board of Governors has given its approval.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 14:54:05

Hamilton doesn't need to Tigercats. The Tigercats need Hamilton.

This whole situation is quickly hurting the built up community weaving they've created over decades of association with Hamilton. Does Bob Young think that the "Hamilton vs. The Tigercats" narrative will foster any positivity towards their cause?

Bob Young is not considering the psychology of the poor self-image republic we have in Hamilton. It isn't going to matter where the stadium is if everyone hates you.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 15:01:12

For Hamilton to succeed as a city, the Gibson, Stipley & Landsdale neighborhoods need to be revitalized first.

Hamilton's downtown core is suffering from the social spill-over effect of these neighborhoods -- and not because of lack of sufficient progress in the core or the waterfront over the last decade.

For spillover to impact the core from the waterfront is a stretch both physically in terms of distance, and by the very economics of the development projects being proposed there presently.

Given the IWS's history, our city's financial state, and the sustainability imperative we face as humans on this planet - we need to get real about our serious dilemma.

The IWS is a solution that has been staring at us for a long time. We simply fail to acknowledge its presence and importance to our collective well being -- just as we have failed to acknowledge the presence of the neighborhoods in which it sits.

Let us fix what is broken first. The economic rationale to build attractions will only arise from this.

The present crisis arising from the East Mountain/West Harbour location debate - is not a failure of positions or negotiating skills. It is the result of a failure to conceptualize the real problem that has paralyzed our city for decades.

Mahesh P. Butani

www.ButaniForMayor.com

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2010-07-30 14:02:29

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 15:25:26

Thanks for bringing some basic truths back into the light, Ryan. Yes, indeed, this entire Pan Am Games bid was initiated, by Mayor Eisenberger, to a) give Hamilton some much needed international attention to encourage future investment, and b) revitalize the downtown/WH. Period. And it was accepted as such. By all parties involved. We should stick with that, or like Kim Arnott's Spec editorial asserted today, take a pass and get back to important Hamilton-centric issues sans Pan Am Games.

Live Nation has given the nod to a WH amphitheatre; and investors have come out of the woodwork with bloody awesome vision and money for WH development. Bob Young already has approval to apply for an MLS team (although that will probably be renegged if no EM stadium comes to fruition). Many people have written of the unmatched intimacy of IWS; maybe it deserves some attention. There will be other opportunties for Hamilton to shine on the international map.

Don't get me wrong, I believe the WH is a hands-down winner over the EM location for a stadium (I truly cannot figure out exactly why Young's so anti-WH); but I choose Hamilton as a whole over a new Hamilton Stadium in the wrong locale.

As for Di Ianni's postion on this, his quote in The Spec was "I would have taken the Tiger-Cats and the stakeholders and said, 'Let's walk along this path together.'" From the amount of validity that has been given to the citizen supporters of the WH location, I would presume that we are not considered "stake holders."

Comment edited by goin'downtown on 2010-07-30 14:25:59

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 15:26:56

Oh and by the way, I think the Ti-Cats forum is corrupted. Ryan? :)

It's flashing like nobody's business.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 15:36:09

Many people have written of the unmatched intimacy of IWS; maybe it deserves some attention.

Yes

There will be other opportunties for Hamilton to shine on the international map.

Yes

Don't get me wrong, I believe the WH is a hands-down winner over the EM location for a stadium (I truly cannot figure out exactly why Young's so anti-WH); but I choose Hamilton as a whole over a new Hamilton Stadium in the wrong locale.

Yes

As for Larry, well, it's easy to say these things when you are on the outside looking in. Voting him back in would be like American's voting for Bush twice. I am not sure about anyone else, but I am not a glutten for punishment.

It's time for a new vision. A greener vision. A community vision.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2010-07-30 14:37:36

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By z jones (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 15:47:10

As for Di Ianni's postion on this, his quote in The Spec was "I would have taken the Tiger-Cats and the stakeholders and said, 'Let's walk along this path together.'"

You mean, if only we'd made them major partners in the Pan Am planning process right from the start that none of this would have happened?

Oh wait, we DID make them major partners in the Pan Am planning process right from the start. Stop sucking up, Larry, it ill becomes you.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 16:38:04

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By Disgusted (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 16:59:22

This hijacking by a third rate team in a second rate sports league is disgusting. Time to rethink living here in Hamilton if the ticats succeed in their EM stadium. Hamilton has so much potential but continues to shoot themselves in the foot. Imagine what $60M could be used for besides a subsidy to the ticats.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 17:26:24

As for Larry, well, it's easy to say these things when you are on the outside looking in. Voting him back in would be like American's voting for Bush twice. I am not sure about anyone else, but I am not a glutten for punishment.

It's time for a new vision. A greener vision. A community vision.

And just whose vision are we talking about here? Which candidate...?

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2010-07-30 16:30:51

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 17:49:13

Re: "Time to rethink living here in Hamilton if the ticats succeed in their EM stadium."

I'm not pleased with the b.s. coming out of certain Ticat reps and media releases, but I'm not angry at the franchise for the EM shenanigans. I think, as usual, this boils down to the "stake holders" to which Di Ianni makes reference - the land owners, the ORC (wonder how that investigation is going), the investors and the developers that continue to pull the economic development strings, despite the good, sustainable economic development opportunities that appear.

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By ToldYouSo (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 17:52:40

Ian Troop was quoted in today's Globe as saying that Hamilton is caught up in an either/or scenario and that isn't good for the community. He points out that the Ticats have tabled a 'community building' alternative.

How sad that Toronto is making our decisions for us; and that the Mayor knew for 2 or 3 weeks that Track was being taken from us and was 'okay' with it.

How sad that the Ticats are perceived by the man who heads the Games as being the responsible ones, and not the city.

How sad that we may lose any money and any help for any part of the city, including the WH.

I think there will be hell to pay come election day over this issue. This is bigger than the Gore Park fiasco and that issue still reverberates among Hamiltonians.

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By Sprinkles (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 18:36:48

Hahaha, you kiddies are so over the top I don't know whether to laugh some more or take a break and wash the pee out of my pants.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 19:18:27

Although the West Harbour location is clearly better in every regard than the East Mountain, I'm not convinced about an amphitheatre. I live nearby, a few blocks walk from Bayfront Park, and there's something we all need to keep in mind.

Between Bayfront park and the proposed stadium site is a very large and very loud train yard. Maybe not the biggest problem for sporting events, but I'm not sure that it'd go well with classical music. It isn't just that it's loud (and few things that don't explode are louder than building a freight train), but my house literally shakes when these things roll by. Not saying you couldn't soundproof against it, but it'd be a pain. Just something to note.

And the site is not far from downtown. 10 minutes of brisk walking from Jackson Square. Nothing compared to the kind of hikes we all take when we go wandering Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. And there's a free Bayfront shuttle bus that does it, too. If this isn't enough, a Barton St light rail (one of the busiest bus routes in Hamilton) would be moments away, as would a conversion of Liuna Station back into a Go Station (why hasn't this happened yet?). And it would bring tons of foot traffic to James North, which runs right to the doorstep of the WH.

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By brian (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 19:39:10

With CFL commissioner Mark Cohon threatening the city now and siding with Bob Young, It's time to say NO to the whole damn thing. Mark Cohon is saying if the stadium isn't built where the Ticats want it and Bob Young decides to move the team out of Hamilton..that will mean CFL football is finished in Hamilton for good. Where do these people get off making threats to our city???..when the vast majority of the money is ours. As long as Bob Young is the owner i refuse to go another game because of this. Rememeber this season ticket owners and fans that go to every game and are supporting him..if he doesn't get the east mountain location he will be moving this team..even if you agree with him you are being held hostage too.

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By Zorro (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 21:33:07

Now that the "Motley Crew" and their "Rudderless" Captain who should have had the foresight to look out for icebergs, have caused the "SS Hamilton" to be "Holed" and sinking fast, they are now desperately trying to plug the leak with more expensive "Bandaids" rather than getting the passengers (TaxPayers) to safety.The "Code Of The sea" is that the crew stays until the last passenger is in the lifeboats,but this "Riff Raff" in a Reverse or is it Perverse Logic want to drown the Passengers in an attempt to save themselves no matter what expensive and Madcap scheme other "Pirates" propose.
Hopefully any surviving Passengers (Taxpayers) will "Keel Haul" them and "Hang Them From The Yardarm" come the Election.

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By IWS (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:43:25

So take the Feds money and province and Reno Ivor wynne and build our park with a track and amphitheater and more with our $60M. No more ticats tix for me.

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By ? (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 23:33:27

Kiddies censoring again? Get it together, you kings.

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By Bear Butte (anonymous) | Posted August 03, 2010 at 19:18:06

I was born in Hamilton and raised in the area and worked in the downtown core for a number of years. I haven't seen any traffic plans that would demonstrate how people would get to and from the stadium except a positive report about having a GO Station nearby but no plans on actually building it. The majority of people who attend events will be driving and frankly ivor Wynne is easier to get to than the proposed West Harbourfront stadium. The Traffic Site Report is empty on this website which tells me there is no plan in place.

Hamilton dropped the ball when they had a WHA franchise if only they had built an arena but wouldn't do so. They told Ballard to get lost when he asked them for a better facility for the Tiger-Cats and then built Copps Coliseum with no hope of a hockey franchise. Copps has been a drain on the city ever since.

So now the football team that has been a part of Hamilton years before Custer lost his hair at the Little Big Horn is being told to shut up or leave town because they have the audacity to want a stadium that will actually make business sense for them. By the way if it doesn't make sense for the Tiger-Cats it won't make sense for other people that might promote events at the proposed Stadium

Hamilton is about to shoot itself in the foot again. It is using the wrong type of development to rejuvenate the downtown core.

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By Chris Angel (registered) | Posted August 05, 2010 at 15:21:45

In a nut shell Bear Butte!

I live in IW area and yes some take the bus or walk there if they live near by, but most drive. RTH posters are often smuggly anti car talking as if most people could function with out one. I believed that too in 1973. I held out for 5 years but since I wasn't involved in an occupation where they were considered optional I could restrict my employment opportunities or get a vehicle. Since I was in high school the promise of 1st rate public transit has been "just around the corner". Count your self lucky if you are in a situation where car ownership is optional. At this point in time I do not believe it is even (realistically) possible for most people. While it would be nice to walk to your local stadium that is only possible for a few. Most will drive and want to park preferably as close as possible to the stadium. I know many of you who choose to live in the core walk more than in other parts of the city where there are fewer shopping or other venues within walking distance. Not everyone CAN do this and of those who can many do not want a "brisk 10 minute stroll". I really believe the majority want convenient parking. This is why our shopping malls are full while downtown goes wanting for customers. Parking and highway access are key to filling a stadium not charming little restaurants, shops or galleries.

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