Special Report: Pan Am

Burlington Councillors Not Playing Along With Ticat Stadium Play

The Aldershot play is the Ticats' last-ditch attempt to wrangle a stadium that meets their goals of easy motor vehicle access, highway visibility and spinoff investment - or at least to scare Hamilton Council into reconsidering Confederation Park.

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 30, 2010

Well, that didn't take long. Burlington City Councillors are backpedaling quickly from a proposal by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Paletta International Corp. to locate the Pan Am / Ticats stadium on a parcel of land just south of the QEW in Aldershot.

So far, the Ticats have only met with Mayor Rick Goldring and Ward 1 (southwest) Councillor Rick Craven, whose ward includes Aldershot, and no formal proposals have yet been presented to the rest of council.

Blair Lancaster, Councillor for Ward 6 (northeast), avers that she "will be looking at all aspects of this project with specific concerns regarding any financial or tax implications to our residents."

Marianne Meed Ward, Councillor for Ward 2 (southwest-central), has been criticizing the proposal strongly via her twitter account. She says, "At this point there are more questions than answers about this project. I have heard numbers of a funding gap ranging between $5 and $30 million, but no formal ask has been made to the city of Burlington" to cover the gap.

Paul Sharman, Councillor for Ward 5 (southeast), suggests that a proposal with "Nothing down and a subsequent revenue stream to Burlington might make a compelling argument." He adds, "For me it comes down to long-term economic benefit, guarantees that Burlington taxpayers will never have to subsidize a stadium, ever."

John Taylor, Councillor for Ward 3 (northwest), argues, "The only way this will work in the short time frame 'til February 1st is for Hamilton to own the stadium, subject to Burlington's planning approvals and public process." He adds, "I do not support Burlington tax dollars subsidizing a private business or ownership of a large stadium."

Mayor Goldring and Councillor Craven, the two members of Council who have met with the Ticats, have not yet responded to RTH.

Craven posted a couple of messages on his twitter account defending the decision to investigate an Aldershot stadium and affirming that many questions need to be answered - including the question of whether Aldershot residents support a stadium in their midst - before he can support an actual proposal.

On December 28, he clarified:

The idea of the Tiger Cats moving to Aldershot is just an "idea" at this point. We are a long way away from any decisions. City to study it.

This evening he added that regardless of the final decision, the positive publicity of Aldershot as "a great place to do business" is more important.

One Final Play

The real story here may be buried at the bottom of today's Spectator article on the concerns of Burlington councillors:

The Spectator has learned there is talk among some Hamilton councillors to reconsider evaluating Confederation Park for a stadium site. It comes to council Jan. 12 for a formal vote after being rejected in a 9-6 committee vote just before Christmas. All that would be needed is for three councillors to change their minds.

The Aldershot site is the Ticats' last-ditch attempt to wrangle a stadium site that meets their goals of easy motor vehicle access, highway visibility and opportunities for spinoff investment.

It's also their last-ditch attempt to scare Hamilton Council into considering Confederation Park after rejecting it multiple times as a poor fit for a waterfront park and greenspace.

The Ticats have affirmed and reaffirmed that they will "never" play at Council's preferred West Harbour stadium site. Even if it has no chance of panning out, the Aldershot play may serve to undermine Council's decision that Confederation Park is a non-starter as a potential stadium site.

Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina was quoted in today's Spectator saying he believes HostCo would be willing to extend the firm February 1 deadline for selecting and finalizing a stadium site if Council votes to reverse the December 22 committee of the whole decision to reject Confederation Park.

The Ticats have managed to spook Hamilton City Council back to the table several times already, which is why we spent the past several months frantically investigating alternative sites after the Ticats rejected the West Harbour.

However, at this point it seems highly unlikely that Burlington will get off without having to commit significant capital toward the stadium, not to mention necessary investments in increasing lane capacity in and out of the site.

Burlington residents are sick of tax increases. They have seen their property taxes go up by 28 percent over the past four years, and this past October's municipal election overturned the mayor and half the councillors.

HostCo Funding

One last note: recent media reports also suggest that the Pan Am Host Corporation (HostCo) could provide $100 million in funding toward the construction cost.

Given that this is significantly more than HostCo had committed to contribute toward a stadium in Hamilton, RTH contacted HostCo president Ian Troop to ask for clarification. Mr. Troop has not yet responded.

The site is currently zoned to hold a 9,000 seat hockey arena, and Paletta International proposes a full-service sports and entertainment complex, including a hotel, restaurants, retail establishments and condos.

Paletta would donate the stadium land and contribute $30 million in capital funding as part of its plan to develop the complex.

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 Wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 19:22:14

I can't see how threatening to move across the bridge will scare any Hamilton Councillors to reconsider. Where's the threat to them in that? I would assume those against Confederation Park will say this is simply better anyway.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 20:31:05

I thought one of HostCo's requirements was that the stadiums had to be publicly owned (please correct me if I'm wrong). If that's the case, what's Paletta getting out of it?

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted December 30, 2010 at 20:35:32

It would seem to me that Hamilton City Council now holds the "Hammer" pun intended. What it takes now is for them to realize it and hold the gun to Mr Youngs head for a change. West Harbour or nothing. Play out your lease at Ivor Wynne and then pack your bags because we will not be renewing it and in fact may elect to tear down the facility and develop the land.

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By plus one (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 20:58:36

...and while you're packing bags Ti-cats, don't forget to pack your douchebag Scott Mitchell. It seems that eye weekly left one off their list...http://www.eyeweekly.com/city/features/article/102345

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 21:19:02

Is John Taylor seriously suggesting that Hamilton has to own the facility in Burlington?? Nice try pal. Here's an idea. How about if Burlington owns the facility in Hamilton. I'd go for that in heartbeat.

Why would councillors be 'scared back to Conf Park'?? Are they itching to blow the FF? Aldershot is closer to DT Hamilton and most of our population via the 403 than Conf Park is. It's a perfect solution. We keep the team, get a new stadium and don't have to keep subsidizing these guys.

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By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted December 30, 2010 at 21:24:04

What I found rather interesting in all of this is that the Tiger-Cats identified Aldershot as their preferred choice, after Confed was off the table and West Harbour on, back in August.

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted December 30, 2010 at 21:53:00

Aldershot is fine. I like the idea of Burlington taking some of the welfare load off of Hamilton, even if it is corporate sportstainment welfare. I think it is much more important to come up with a new and compelling name and logo for the team in case Aldershot works out. I have freely offered up my visual corporate branding skill set and created a few logos for the cats: Palleta Pussy Cats or the Burlington Bob Cats. For visuals follow the link.

http://hughmacleod.com/?p=783

Happy New Year.

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted December 30, 2010 at 21:56:16

The farce in all of this is that the Aldershot location is farther from a highway off ramp than West Harbour, The GO/Via station is farther than the new GO station will be to WH, the ingress/egress routes are even more limited. What Aldershot offers is the paving of a greenfield to make parking and Bob's "stadium precinct" (read retail hostage zone) a reality.

Guess who is going to be on the hook for those infrastructure improvements? HELLOOOOOOO!!!!! Burlington!

Comment edited by Shempatolla on 2010-12-30 21:58:02

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 22:11:28

This is where I get passionate... Its about the jobs Pan-Am/HostCo will create for the next decade.

$100+ million minimum in outside investment will be spent-- private, provincial & federal, first on 100's of regional jobs in construction & supply then replaced by 100's more jobs for minimal-skilled workers in service. Work for real people who need it to pay taxes with HERE, instead of collecting welfare HERE.

Jobs Here = Less Poverty & More Work = More Taxes Collected

You are using thousands of dollars in driveway curbs and lane additions to argue away $100's of millions in money spent HERE over 10 years.

Comment edited by wentworthst on 2010-12-30 22:13:53

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 22:14:04

Alot of this sounds like it's comming from Bratina. The only councillor they could find that voted against it and was open to the idea of possibly reconsidering the Confederation Park location was Whitehead. We all know how wishy-washy he is. It's whichever way the wind is blowing when it comes to his vote.

I have been in contact with a couple of councillors that I have known for years and they both said as far as they were concerned CP was done. As soon as they were told that the property wasn't big enough that was the end of the consideration of that site.

We also have to remember that McHattie wasn't there for the vote otherwise it would have been 10-6. They will have to get 3 councillors to change their votes just to study the site. If they voted to study the site they would have 2 weeks before the deadline. Not nearly enough time to properly study the implications of putting a stadium there.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 22:25:22

If investigating Confederation Park as a potential site to locate the stadium was a bad idea (it was/is) a week ago, it is a worse idea now. I can't imagine how anyone who voted to not investigate it a week ago could justify changing their position in favour of investigating it now.
It is my hope that the councilors who voted not to investigate it will stand by their decision and do what is best for the city, and it's citizens in the long run. ie no stadium at Confederation Park.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 30, 2010 at 22:25:53

This tempts me to invite some of my evil anarchist friends to go out to Aldershot with "Keep the Ti-Cats off our block" stickers.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted December 30, 2010 at 22:34:52

If investigating Confederation Park as a potential site to locate the stadium was a bad idea (it was/is) a week ago, it is a worse idea now. I can't imagine how anyone who voted to not investigate it a week ago could justify changing their position in favour of investigating it now. It is my hope that the councilors who voted not to investigate it will stand by their decision and do what is best for the city, and it's citizens in the long run. ie no stadium at Confederation Park.

I absolutely guarantee you that it would be hardly a challenge at all for any citizen...including yours truly...to tie up any proposed use of Confederation Park as a stadium long enough to effectively render the notion moot. The power of repetitive injunctions and motions in our legal system is not to be underestimated. Especially in a social-media-powered world.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 22:37:24

MyStoneyCreek, I'd also be willing to do what it takes to make sure it doesn't happen. I don't have any anarchist friends though.

Comment edited by SpaceMonkey on 2010-12-30 22:38:04

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 22:38:18

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 30, 2010 at 22:49:51

space monkey. so true. why would any councillor show up next week and say "ok, the city next door kicked these guys in the butt and said get lost before the discussions were barely started, so let's change our vote and spend tons of our money on them." Like Burlington's Ward 2 lady said, "if it was a good investment in Burlington, it would be in Hamilton also". paraphrasing....

Comment edited by jason on 2010-12-30 22:50:13

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted December 30, 2010 at 23:14:10

This is an opportunity for the new mayor to display some leadership. I attended a rally this summer in Hess Village at which Mr Bratina took off his button down to reveal a black on gold t shirt which read GO WEST HARBOUR!. As the then Ward 2 councillor he spoke with passion in support of then mayor Eisenberger with respect to building the Pan Am Stadium at the selected site. Lets see if he has the balls to stand by that conviction now that the buck is firmly on his desk. This city has nothing to lose except a corporate welfare recipient.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 00:22:24

Shouldn't we call the Humane Society for those Homeless cats?

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 01:55:53

Here are some coments made by Craven to the SPEC:

From the article found at http://www.thespec.com/news/local/artic ... f-scrutiny

Craven, who represents the area, said the industrial and commercial zoning applies to the property except for a 25-acre piece that could accommodate a 9,000-seat hockey arena.

“These are employment lands. This land was set aside to create employment opportunities for people in Burlington. We want to be careful here to ensure whatever goes on that property creates economic opportunities for the people of Burlington and in particular the people of the west end....

...But the need to find the right development for those lands has created some hesitancy among Craven’s colleagues about supporting a stadium on the site.

Burlington Councillor Marianne Meed Ward believes the property could attract a number of high technology-related employers.

But the biggest hurdle in the stadium bid appears to be time. Ian Troop, the chief executive officer of HostCo, the Pan Am organizing committee, wants the stadium location determined by Feb. 1.

And several Burlington councillors, including Meed Ward, Jack Dennison and John Taylor, suggest the city would require six months to study the matter rather than three weeks.

The timing also means that Burlington councillors would have no time to seek constituent input.

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 04:20:07

@Captain Kirk-- Calling a foul for selective editing.

Vote down my point about jobs and investment, but you can't just cut the whole upside from the article you are quoting to suit...

"Burlington Councillor Rick Craven said the proposed Aldershot stadium site, zoned for commercial and industrial jobs, is projected to bring 9,000 high-paying jobs to the city over the next decade.

It’s a crucial piece of employment lands for Burlington’s future.

Property owner Angelo Paletta is the major proponent of a Burlington consortium that is offering $30 million and a prime parcel of the land for the stadium. But the plan hinges on the City of Burlington agreeing to apply for as much as $100 million in government funding for the project.

Source... http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/307716--aldershot-site-will-spark-plenty-of-scrutiny

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 04:32:47

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Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-12-31 04:33:52

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 06:08:32

I'd be interested to see where Councillor Craven got his projection numbers from. Not only is it coincidentally the same number as the current maximum seating permissible for an arena or stadium build on the King Road site (a hitch nobody seems to mention), but it also amounts to something like thirty 300-person companies, or a third of the entire Ward 1 population – an ambitious number for such a compact parcel of land (bearing in mind the inefficient land use norms typical for the area).

Even if you assume that Craven has inflated his number several-fold, however, a best-case break-even stadium would obviously come at the cost of displacing an untold number of (potentially high-value) jobs and firms that could be generating prestige as well as plumping the tax base for a community legendarily allergic to tax levies. There will be no room for blue-sky numbers, and appeals to nostalgia will find little to no traction. Doug Rye certainly has his work cut out for him.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 06:48:26

Good read Tartan and agree albeit I'm not well versed on the numbers. I also believe that the residents in his riding will not want a stadium in their midst and they will feel that it will lower their property values and this will be a very difficult sell there.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-12-31 06:54:48

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By Wheredtheygo? (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 07:17:47

@CityJoe, maybe you are on to something. There is a catch - neuter - release program for ferals in Hamilton...

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 07:28:38

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By beaslyfireworkstechnican (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 08:27:13

@wentworthst

ROPA 38

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2010 at 08:39:30

@Shemptolla - Bratina's "Go West Harbour" campaign happened when it was looking to be a showdown between the West Harbour and the East Mountain locations. He's always wanted the Confed. park location to be on the table. He's generally made his opinion pretty clear throughout the process - he wants a site as close to downtown as humanly possible, but he's too commitment-phobic to shoot down a site without study.

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2010 at 09:09:07

@Pxtl

I'm aware of Bob's view on Confed Park. But its a non starter and he needs to acknowledge that. It's a waste of time. His actual preferred spot is the block which is occupied by Sir John A MacDonald Highshcool. He has mused on it at several public meetings I have attended. It would require a reconfiguration of York Blvd. He has spoken about moving the School to another location, possibly WH and making it a school for the arts. His choices now however are to support a site that has been voted on seven times and lay the gauntlet down to the Tiger Cats. Sentimentality aside. Or simply say thank you but no thank you to HOSTCO. He is the mayor of all of us, not just those of us that regularly attend games. This city and its taxpayers have offered to build a stadium to host the Pan Am games and then turn it over to Mr Young to run and operate for his business. He has balked at it. Fine. Take it or leave it.

It's time someone called his bluff. He has nowhere to go.

Comment edited by Shempatolla on 2010-12-31 09:10:36

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By rednic32768 (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 09:20:51

@cityjoe...

Shouldn't we call the Humane Society for those Homeless cats?


YES... make sure it is a kill shelter....With a red hat linux server

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 10:03:51

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 11:10:51

HamiltonFan, your computer seems to be broken. It's posting the same thing over and over.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 11:23:07

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By lorne (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2010 at 11:58:15

It is worth noting that the Burlington Council is taking a far more measured and business-like approach to this proposal, including insisting upon a detailed business plan to assess the viability of a stadium and demanding to know how much the Tiger Cats and other private entities would contribute to the project. This stands in sharp contrast to the Hamilton Council which, from the beginning, demanded nothing concrete from Bob Young, relying instead on his general statement about the team being willing to contribute an amorphous 'millions of dollars.'

Accepting that kind of weak reassurance rendered Hamilton impotent in any serious negotiations with the team as they signaled their desperation to keep the TiCats in the city.

The idea that Hamilton somehow owed something to the team was further promoted by right wing commentators such as Bill Kelly and Ron Foxcroft, who apparently saw no contradiction or hypocrisy in their demands both for corporate welfare and preeminence of choice by the private sector playing with public funds.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 12:06:26

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 12:18:46

Wentworth st wrote, "@Captain Kirk-- Calling a foul for selective editing."

It's my understanding that it is improper to copy entire articles and that the proper tact is to quote a portion and provide a link, as I have done, so as to avoid any copy right issues by directing readers to the author's own website where they can read the entire article in proper context.

Is this proper netiquette?

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2010 at 13:20:53

Yeah, that's right. We anarchists hate the idea of an Aldershot stadium because we have no jobs and just want to sit around goofing off all day receiving welfare cheques. Oh wait, this is a debate about CORPORATE welfare, and the notion of putting a football stadium on employment lands. Pot kettle black.

Perhaps this stadium debate will enlighten a few people as to why we anarchists are so critical of the way development decisions are made in this town. These developments fail every test - they're massively unpopular, incredibly expensive and make horrible land use decisions. They're virtually impossible (Lister Block, Stadium, Hojo, Red Hill, AEGD etc) without huge amounts of public funding, but as soon as the cheque's cashed they fall back on tired free-market rhetoric about private property rights.

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By another capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 14:01:37

As noted in earlier posts, I have always been supportive of finding a location for the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton, much to the ire of the posters here.

BUT, if they leave then there gone.

Council will have to do what's best for Hamilton. Immediately knock down Ivor Wynne after the lease is done after the 2011 season, use the Pan Am money for a small stadium in the lower city. The argument being that it will be used for amateur sport and with IWS gone the lower city will need this facility.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 14:11:37

another capitalist, along with this idea, should the Aldershot stadium site go through, perhaps what the TigerCats could do if Hamilton agreed to put a bit of money towards the Aldershot stadium and some for a small facility in the lower city, that the TigerCats would be obliged to have the NASL soccer team play a certain number of games in the lower city facility and all proceeds would go back into community sports for the lower city. Something along these lines. As well, if the TigerCats were to stage a friendly at the new Aldershot stadium between an MLS team or European teams, that they would be required to hold a practice session at the lower city facility that would be free for kids to attend. I know I would attend some soccer games at the lower city facility if this were the case and be happy knowing my ticket money is going into the community there. Or a surcharge could be put on my seasons tickets perhaps for the TigerCats.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-12-31 14:14:13

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2010 at 14:15:11

@lorne

I would suggest that Burlington's approach to this proposal is more measured for several reasons other than any superior thought process to Hamilton's. They have seen the circus played out in Hamilton for month's. They have seen the double speak emanating from 1 Jarvis St. They have seen the manipulation of what was to be a public process by a private business. They are dealing with only 1 site and not having others played against it by Mr Young. To date they have not gone through any public process to select a stadium site. Should they be stupid enough to commit Burlington to this bogus scheme there will be hell to pay from a constituency that has seen 28% property tax hikes in the last four years.

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 14:19:33

@Tartan Triton wrote:
"...would obviously come at the cost of displacing an untold number of (potentially high-value) jobs and firms that could be generating prestige..."

IMHO, We need the jobs that will train people and then pay a living wage in this region.

You advise passing a $100-million job-offer for 1000's in favor of something only imagined in this economy. It frustrates me when people agree we need "more jobs & less poverty", but then want to be picky about what kind (seemingly based on what they would they think they would like, if it was them.)


@Captain Kirk wrote:
"...my understanding that it is improper to copy entire articles and that the proper tact is to quote a portion and provide a link... Is this proper netiquette?"

Fair enough... Its my own parochial loyalty rant: jobs-jobs-jobs. Its proven unpopular, so I apologize to RTH in general for my recent fervor (Eh-- I'm getting a lot of hate mail right now.)

"Netiquette" is more "standards and practices" from site-to-site. The legality only centers on fair-attribution; is a website giving credit or taking it and profitting.

Traditionally, you can quote what others are reporting, as that "news" becomes the news. (Started in Radio, where they often seem to just read the Paper to us.)

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By Another capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 14:21:10

Hamilton put any money to Aldershot?

You've got to be kidding.

I was all for helping the Tiger-Cats find any site they need in Hamilton. But if they move my interest in them is zero.

No money should go from Hamilton to any other municipality. Would Burlington put money into Hamilton. God no, and they shouldn't.

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2010 at 14:29:34

@another capitalist.

Ignore the troll

A few posts ago he was baiting everyone saying he couldn't wait for the Moncton Tiger Cats. Several before that he was salivating at the prospect of eating at his favourite Chinese restaurant before or after a TiCat game in the new Aldershot stadium. He has nothing constructive to contribute to this conversation.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 15:06:04

If you think Aldershot is a threat you are clearly misinterpreting the act. Its a last ditch effort by the Tigercats to get a stadium as they have already written off Hamilton as a viable option. If Burlington fails its very likely the team will move or fold

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2010 at 15:17:13

Move to where? There is nowhere for them to play that has a CFL ready facility or can have one built by 2012. Playing in a temporary facility a la BC will only add to Mr Youngs purported losses. Folding the team will fold the league. Southern Ontario is the CFLs most important market and needs both the Argos and TiCats.

The reality is there is no other option than Hamilton and city council needs to man up and realize this and call the bluff. They need to say here is a brand new facility at the West Harbour Mr Young, take it or leave it. If you leave thats fine. This nonsense has only gone on this long because he has gotten enough city councillors (hello Terry Whitehead, Tom Jackson, Brad Clark, et al) to shit their pants and entertain the other ridiculous options that were floated.

Comment edited by Shempatolla on 2010-12-31 15:17:39

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 15:27:11

then they fold. Apparently you didn't read the entire post

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 15:29:21

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By Another Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 15:45:01

The League is terrified at this moment.

The Argos are very weak, in terms of attendance, sponsorship etc.

The TiCat brass is attempting to sell everyone that Aldershot would be no disruption to the TiCat base.

They are wrong. A significant total ( possiblity 30 to 40%) of it's base would disappear.

There argument would be they could replace that with new fans. I highly doubt it. There definetly would be curiousity at first but unfortunately I would bet that it would fail.

The Tiger-Cats must stay in Hamilton for the CFL to have any hope in Southern Ontario.
This is my opinion only, of course.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 16:03:36

If the league were terrified Another Capitalist, Mark Cohon wouldn't have indicated that if the TigerCats move and I mean move as into out east, Hamilton will not be getting another CFL team. Grey Cups have been sold out for a few years now far in advance and cities like Edmonton and Calgary have seen spending in the $60 mill range for the last 2 Grey Cups. Winnipeg is building a new stadium, Montreal has successfully added another 5000 seats to Molson stadium, BC Place is undergoing a $350 mill expansion and TV viewership is very strong. Ottawa looks like it will be back with practically a new stadium. If the TigerCats move out east, and a team out east is a priority for the league, the CFL will shed one tear for old time sake out of respect and say bye, bye Hamilton. No league needs Hamilton even the OHL doesn't need it. And with no team in Hamilton and a team out east, the CFL can concentrate on getting Toronto a stadium of their own to play in combined with using the RC once in a while as the Als do with the Big O. Toronto does not need the TigerCats. The TigerCats don't draw that much more than any other team there.

Hamilton is in no position to start telling the CFL what to do but Mr. Sam Merulla doesn't get that. And by calling the TigerCats a "welfare case" using this term in a derogatory sense, he is actually putting down people on welfare who really need it. And I apologize for an earlier post for using this term. However I'm an absolute nobody whereas Mr. Merulla represents this city. I think he ought to resign come to think of it with this remark and it's connotations to those on welfare to be brutally honest.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-12-31 16:06:58

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By Another Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 16:14:18

The bottom line is the CFL is not strong in Southern Ontario. There is only one small bastion of constant support and that's Hamilton. Not Guelph, not Kitchener, not London. Yes there are season ticket holders in those areas and yes we need to increase those amounts. But the fact of the matter is over the last 30 years when bankrupt group after bankrupt group has given up on the team it was the City of Hamilton who kept this team alive. The $750,000 line of credit that was never paid back when Braley abandoned the team comes to mind.

No other city, NO OTHER CITY would have done this. The fan base has been sh*t on by the previous owners over and over again and they keep coming back. We've been threatened many times, we had to watch a team that has had 10 winning seasons in 40 years. No other fans (except Leaf fans) would do that.

Ottawa will have a team and that's great for the league, hopefully so will the east coast but without Southern Ontario support, it's over!!!

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By Another Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 16:19:34

(Sorry for the Rant - I'm mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!!!!)
and another thing, I don't blame Bob Young for this. I've met him a couple of times. He is the nicest man and I truly believe he wants a Hamilton solution.

I believe he has been lied to by City people and misled by the people around him.

If Bob Young and Chris Murray could have sat down, one on one, this would have been done by now. To the satisfication of everyone.

Bob, I know you read these. Most people I know don't blame you for this mess. There is time for you a serious people at the City to hammer this out. It's not too late.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 16:27:40

"without Southern Ontario support, it's over!!!"

AC, you do realize that teams out west and Montreal, the fans of those teams, and perhaps Ottawa soon and a team out east, will laugh you out of the building with that comment. It's a southern Ontario eogcentric comment. I worked in Fort McMurray for a short time and there I found out early not to say "but in Ontario we do it this way". And I know a doctor who went out to Alberta and spouted the same thing. They fired the man after 2 years and sent him packing. Sure a team in southern Ontario, especially Toronto based, helps with advertisers and getting them on board but the CFL will survive without a team in southern Ontario. But as I say, with no team in Hamilton it allows the league to fully concentrate here on Toronto and with a team out east, well no one will even remember the name Hamilton in the CFL in a few years and it won't be missed.

London draws 9000 a game for the OHL Knights and guess what, no team in Hamilton. Do you think people in London need Hamilton? No. No one in this country sees Hamilton as a drawing card.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-12-31 16:30:41

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 16:30:30

wentworthst: "IMHO, We need the jobs that will train people and then pay a living wage in this region. You advise passing a $100-million job-offer for 1000's in favor of something only imagined in this economy. It frustrates me when people agree we need 'more jobs & less poverty', but then want to be picky about what kind (seemingly based on what they would they think they would like, if it was them.)"

You are reading rather a lot into my statement. I was envisioning the trade-off that might have been envisioned by the decisionmakers in Burlington (and you only need four onside to wipe this possibility off the board). Councillor Craven was the one who held up the "9,000 high-paying jobs".

What I see, to revisit things, is $100 million of public money being poured into a job window that is growing ever more compact. This is not a project that really not likely to provide much gainful employment for anyone but the project developer and his or her underemployed trades workers, who'll reap the greatest win from this $100m windfall. That typically means unionized workers, which suggests that they've already acquired a particular set of job skills. (And even after they're completed, stadia tend to operate largely under union control.) A stadium precinct is not especially advantaged in regard to up-training and job skills enhancement, certainly not much beyond what I would imagine you might find you can find in existing city-run rec centres and privately run power centres, which at least operate with a more life-sustaining frequency.

Beyond the old argument of "teaching a man to fish" versus "teaching a man to ask if you'd like fries with that Filet-O-Fish", the fact is that this is a portion of land that Aldershot (and, more broadly, Burlington and Halton Region) have as a tactical chip in their bid to remain atop the rankings for most desirable communities in Canada.

That land represents around a quarter of all developable land in Aldershot, and just under a tenth of all developable land in urban Burlington. The King Road site isn’t serviced, but the land is attractive to developers because of the concentration of infrastructure nearby. The Burlington Economic Development Corporation has described this area of Aldershot as “The Golden Mile Within the Golden Horseshoe”, though the area above the rails tends to be given to industrial tenants.

Once you get past the NEC/MNR//ROPA 38 considerations, Burlington is not beholden to anyone but itself when it comes to deciding land use. It could be anything (which is why I bracketed my aside about the possible value of the jobs – what you or I decree to be "high-value" may not jibe with the way Mayor Goldring or Councillor Meed Ward see things). But once you assign 10 or 100 acres to stadium, you're taking that possibility off the table. You might've had a privately run jobs training academy, you might've had a high-tech hub, you might've even just ended up with a higher density of the same kind of jobs that a stadium would've brought. That's ultimately Burlington's call to make, and history suggests they will be eager to go over the Cats’ business proposals with a lice comb.

As far as the projected employment numbers, I regret that I am unable to lay hands on hard employment numbers for IWS (or, more properly, projections for the Aldershot stadium), but I have sifted out some sense around Craven’s "9,000 high-paying jobs". According to 2006’s West Burlington Revitalization Study, potential development projects in the Aldershot area would yield approximately 5,200 new jobs, and housing for some 1,100 new residents. That’s the upshot of a "mid-range scenario, which represents 75% of development capacity over the 15 year study period. Based on this scenario, the study area would support a net addition of 596 residential units, 971,000 square feet of industrial space and 1,657,000 square feet of office space and retail space over the next 15 years. These include greenfield sites, redevelopment opportunities and potential intensification projects." One would hope that the workforce would include a range of jobs that will train people for gainful living-wage jobs, and not simply the half-measure of reduced unemployment numbers.

It's not simply a philosophical exercise, either – growth-related services and infrastructure are predominantly paid for by development, so capital infrastructure investments such as the pencilled-in South Service Road are premised on an expectation of employment and tax returns, and if things don't go to plan, public investment may be curtailed.

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted December 31, 2010 at 16:35:10

@another Capitalist

Can you suggest what the city has lied to Mr Young about? It's not as if this process has been conducted in a sound proof, bug proof crypt. WH has been on the books for years. Two Common Wealth Games bids, and now Pan Am. You are absolutely right about Southern Ontario and Hamilton. The key to what you have said is "10 winning seasons in 40 years"... . If Mr Young and the idiot that he hired as President concentrated on righting that situation and the team were in Alouette territory in win percentage and he was playing to 95-100 % capacity at IWS instead of 65% on most nights.... there might be more sympathetic ears around town, on council and on this site.

Bob Young has done great things with the team in a lot of respects. The product on the field hasn't been one of them although that seems to be changing. But that does not give him carte blanche to dictate to the city where, when and how much it will spend on a facility that is to still remain publicly owned.

Despite the spin and gymnastics with the Queen's English emanating from the mouth of Mr Mitchell, this is not a difficult dilemna. A stadium can still be built in Hamilton at West Harbour. The Tiger Cats need to sit down with the city and hammer out an agreement that delivers them some of what they want, perhaps game day parking revenue from area municipal lots, Bay Front Park parking, etc. Perhaps some of the nearby land held by the city in the stadium precinct so that Mr Young has the opportunity to develop some of the non football revenue stream he feels is necessary for his business to be successful. This is not rocket science. Some crow will need to be eaten on both sides. Just get it done.

Should lunacy continue to prevail, then I'm sorry. The city has better things to spend 60 million dollars on than propping up a private business in a location that does not accomplish the goals and intent of the Future Fund.

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By Another Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 16:38:31

I know nothing about marketing, sponserships etc.

I asked a client in Toronto who actually does ad buys and advises their clients on sponsorships.

His response? Southern Ontario, Lower Mainland and The West Island (Montreal)

You don't have those three in terms of interest your not a valuable property.

I've been to games out West, I wish we had their passion for the game. Unfortunately we don't.

And it's not Hamilton I'm talking about. It's Southern Ontario. There is very little interest outside of Hamilton. That's a fact, in terms of political and fan support.

Concentrate on Toronto? What the hell do you think they have been doing. Hamilton not important to the league? Why do you think we've gotten extension after extension. No other community has gotten that.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 17:52:09

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 wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 18:08:35

@TartanTriton

Thanks for that; a brilliant reply-- worth reading twice-- even if I don't agree with the underpinning economic philosophy.

Agree to disagree about the Fish-Fryer... Lots like me worked that while paying for school too. I don't think we need to attract high-paid workers, I think we need to employ the ones we have that are killing us in taxes-in vs taxes-out math.

We are already a brilliant education-hub around this bay... What type of school do we not offer at world-leading level? To mutilate another cliche: you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink Statistics-101.

I'm not trying to suggest Burlington doesn't use a fine-tooth comb... We just didn't have that power here, nor could suggest free land like Paletta's, just CP Rail trying to pick our pocket and the $100-million later to use their graveyard.


@RTH...

Happy New Years, everyone! You have to appreciate a place where people care this much about where we live, even at those times you just know they are all so wrong. ;) Thanks for all the work, Ryan...

Comment edited by wentworthst on 2010-12-31 18:11:10

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted December 31, 2010 at 19:24:54

Hamilton Fan,

What you fail to understand is that 40% of the country's population lives in Ontario and 60% of that 40% or 8 million peoplen live in the Golden Horseshoe. Take one of those teams away and the other dies. The rivalry between the two is the only thing that keeps those teams alive. Take either of those two teams away and the CFL will lose their tv contract. TSN will not pay to broadcast to only half the English population of this country. Without that contract the CFL is done.

Comment edited by bigguy1231 on 2010-12-31 19:25:33

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 05:30:55

@ wentworthst

Thanks for the thanks. You are too generous: I was beginning to partake of festive cheer, and you probably had to read it twice because of my garbled syntax.

Again, I'm not endorsing Burlington/Halton's development strategy or describing its economic philosophy as unproblematic so much as illustrating why I believe that Burlington's political and business leadership is unlikely to see a "free stadium" as unproblematic, and why I believe that council will likely decline the offer.

Admittedly, I used the "Filet-o-Fish" lightly, but not with the intention of dismissing the value of entry level service industry jobs. I too worked in my fair share of schlep jobs during my school years, but they are clearly limited employment options, and certainly do not require government intervention to exist.

I would agree that it is not so much a matter of attracting "high-paid workers" so much as, in the words of Craven, "high-paying jobs". In fact, Burlington's focus in the West Burlington Revitalization Study and in its Future Focus series of vision documents, is to increase the live-work options within the community (a large portion of Halton's professional population commutes to Toronto, as the three GO stations suggest), and to do so with as little public investment as possible. That notion stands in direct contrast to a project that could require $100m+ of public money, yield dubious benefit to the community and the taxpayer and perhaps even adversely impact the quality of life of Aldershot residents. (Four decades of strip malls along Plains Road speak to the limitations of carefree planning.)

The option I described earlier, while using Craven's 9,000 figure (ie. 30 companies with a workforce of 300) would, as I pointed out, potentially provide close-to-home employment for a third of the ward population, and ideally enough diversity within those 30 companies to engage various strata of the job market. That would be an outcome welcomed by politicians and the public alike. I remain unconvinced that a stadium would create anything close to that reality, and I gather that Burlington's council is no more optimistic than I am.

Happy New Year, one and all!

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By Boomer (registered) | Posted January 01, 2011 at 10:41:16

Had a dream that I was at the Jan. 12 council meeting, and two opposing proposals were put forward on the stadium issue. Then, just like in the movie "The Exorcist", Terry Whitehead's head began to spin like a weathervane in a tornado. Then it exploded, real good. Thought it was a weird dream for many reasons, but especially since Mr. Whitehead is the kind of fellow who never wavers in any stance he takes. Oh well.

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted January 02, 2011 at 09:55:44

Boomer....Whitehead never waver. He has flip flopped his position and vote a few times on the stadium and in the end always falling in line with the cats demands.

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted January 04, 2011 at 17:10:48

http://www.canada.com/business/Burlington+stadium+ropes/4056348/story.html

When asked if Burlington may get a deadline extension if Hamilton formally withdraws from the process next week, Troop held firm: "Unfortunately the answer is still no. We are absolutely out of time."

That answer was not well received by some Burlington councillors.

"If that's the case then fine, we're out of it," said councillor Rick Craven, whose ward includes the proposed stadium site. "This process will not go ahead in Burlington without full and complete community consultation and that's going to take time."

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted January 05, 2011 at 10:19:41

The last time I was in Moncton, it was (& still is) a University Town, which liked to do it's drinking, smoking, toking, indoors after it got cold & damp.

So are we looking at a Moncton Domed Stadium, or just a more adventurous, hardy breed of Frat boyz?

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted January 05, 2011 at 11:31:23

http://www.insidehalton.com/news/article/924906--stadium-meeting-this-afternoon

Mayor Rick Goldring and Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven are meeting with representatives from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats later this afternoon, the Post has learned.

Goldring told the Post this morning that he expects to hear more specific details of what the Tiger-Cats are proposing around the approximately $130-million stadium. At this point, it is still not known what type of financial commitment the team is looking for from the city.

Meanwhile, Craven is expected to introduce a motion for council’s approval Thursday morning that will direct staff to look into possible implications of building the stadium in Burlington.

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 06:19:04

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/319914--bay-area-ticats

In a new twist to the Pan Am stadium saga, Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring is appealing to Hamilton to take the lead in bringing the stadium to his community because “it is becoming clear to me that this is a regional opportunity rather than a Burlington opportunity.”

The mayor says the two cities share a local economy, so locating the stadium in Aldershot would benefit both.

“It is not uncommon for cities to operate facilities outside of the their boundaries,” Goldring said in a statement released late Monday afternoon. “Burlington is simply not large enough and therefore does not have financial capacity to lead on this project.”

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