Special Report: Pan Am

Despite Burlington Play, Hamilton at 2nd and Goal

The Aldershot financing plan depends on $70 million in Pan Am Games funding from Toronto 2015, but the City of Hamilton still has the first shot at securing that money by February 1.

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 06, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and a business consortium led by Paletta International pitched an Aldershot stadium plan to Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring, Aldershot Councillor Rick Craven and senior City staff that would not require any upfront capital or operating costs from the City.

According to the Spectator, the consortium proposed a $90-120 million plan to build a 22,000 seat facility that the team would manage.

Funding would come from the Toronto 2015 money on the table for a Pan Am stadium, plus free land and another $30 million from Paletta to close the gap. Hamilton would not have to contribute any money from its Future Fund.

According to Mayor Goldring, "If they need more than that, well, that's the Ticats' challenge."

The National Post notes that the City would still be on the hook for any necessary infrastructure improvements. As Goldring explains:

Our part of the deal would be to facilitate it, and if there is infrastructure in the area that is required at some point we would be asked to complete that infrastructure.

Burlington City Manager Roman Martiuk said he could prepare a list of questions from the City in two weeks if instructed by Council to do investigate the offer.

Amazing Coup

If the Ticats manage to pull this off, it will be a remarkable conclusion to a long and acrimonious struggle over the location of the Pan Am stadium.

It's easy to see why the team likes this proposal: it gives them a new stadium on greenfield land next to the highway with significant private sector investment and plenty of opportunities for ancillary development, objectives they have repeatedly highlighted as priorities.

A Burlington location accessible mainly by highway would cost the team some Hamilton fans but gain some Burlington and Oakville fans. More to the point, the lost Hamilton fans would on balance be less affluent, whereas the gained Halton fans would be on balance more affluent.

That means the team and its business partners can earn more revenue per fan by charging premium prices for the upgraded facilities, new executive boxes and improved concessions at a new stadium, as well as parking revenue and related entertainments.

They may well be able to make the numbers work with a 22,000 seat facility, though it would eventually have to be upgraded to host Grey Cup games.

There's just one snag: the financing plan depends on $70 million in Pan Am Games funding from Toronto 2015, and the City of Hamilton still has the first shot at securing that money.

Still Hamilton's to Lose

Hamilton has until February 1 to present its final proposal for a Pan Am stadium, after which time Toronto 2015 will select a Plan B location in Brampton or Mississauga to build a 6,000 seat community stadium.

At this point, Hamilton City Council has exactly two options:

  1. Submit a proposal for a scalable, 6000-seat Pan Am stadium on West Harbour land the City already owns; or
  2. Let the opportunity pass - to Burlington or to some other location, at Toronto 2015's discretion - and save the Future Fund money for some other initiative.

Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop reaffirmed this week that the deadline is final, a 6,000 seat stadium is a viable bid and would not require a professional tenant, and Hamilton "remains in the driver's seat" until the February 1 deadline.

Mayor Bob Bratina has already stated his belief that the City should either build a 30,000 seat stadium for the Ticats or nothing.

Bratina is still trying to persuade Council to reconsider a Confederation Park site for the stadium after the Committee of the Whole rejected it in late December. Bratina even suggested revisiting the previously-rejected East Mountain site or introducing a new site at Speedway Park on Stoney Creek mountain.

However, at this point there is absolutely no way to complete the necessary studies before the February 1 deadline, which Troop insists is final. Every other potential site is necessarily a non-starter.

If Hamilton does not have a plan on February 1 that confirms a location, financing and due diligence on remediation and construction, Toronto 2015 will proceed with its Plan B site.

Fueled by Emotion

Astonishingly, Ticat apologists are already trying to frame this endgame as a choice between narrow municipal interest and a broader regional interest, i.e. between Hamilton thinking only of its own city-building needs or putting the 'regional' needs of the Ticats first.

It is an argument fueled by emotional ties to a private business that has so far managed to win fan loyalty far beyond any real net contribution it makes to the local economy or culture.

Certainly Mayor Bratina has made his preference for the team's interests over the City's public interest quite clear. Yesterday, Ticat manager Scott Mitchell said Bratina "has been fantastic" for his willingness to find some site - any site - in Hamilton that meets the team's demands.

Unfortunately, none of those sites work or can possibly be made to work in the time that remains before the Toronto 2015 deadline.

If the past several months of frantic lurching from one alternate site to the next have demonstrated anything, it's that the West Harbour really was the best site from the perspective of the City's objectives.

In support of a scalable community facility, Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead notes that if the Ticats are going to leave town anyway and Council lets this opportunity slip, Hamilton will be left with no legacy at the West Harbour and a "white elephant" in a shuttered Ivor Wynne Stadium.

After setting aside all the bullying and emotion, the only remaining question for Council is to determine whether it still agrees with the city-building potential of a community-owned sports stadium in the North End that remediates a high profile brownfield, unlocks the surrounding properties for reinvestment, synergizes with a potentially world-class Velodrome and ties in with all-day GO Train service.

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 James (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 07:47:14

I am so for telling Bob Young to take a hike and to take his wretched football team with him. I'm sure there's another city willing to bend over and let him f*$k them over.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 07:54:53

Haven't had my coffee yet...but here it is, and let me know if my logic is flawed: The Ticats are leaving Hamilton at any cost. At this point I am inclined to wish them good riddance and purge myself of any remaining black and gold paraphenalia. The Cats departure makes Ivor Wynne obsolete. As a municipality, without a pro football team, we don't need a 29,000 seat stadium. Tear it down and sell the land. However, when Eisenberger was Mayor he referenced the 190+ (???looking for a reference) other events each year that Ivor Wynne was used for (high school football games and other community use). Would the community use be enough to justify a small stadium at the West Harbour, especially if the field was usable for both footbal and soccer? I think the answer is YES. Without the Cats in the equation a smaller WH stadium makes sense. As I and others have mentioned numerous times, the stadium at McMaster is not City owned, so Hamilton could use such a facility.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 08:11:19

Small correction Ryan - Terry Whitehead isn't the ward 7 councillor. I think he's ward 8.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 08:28:22

First off, great article/editorial, Ryan. Nicely executed.

Secondly, it makes me sad when things get murky, when a discussion veers. (This is why in couples' counselling, 'Stick to the topic' is the constant admonition.) While I'm not happy at all with how things have unfolded in this PanAm Games stadium site selection process, I don't think it's appropriate to slag off a business owner for looking out for his interests. If you want to demonize anyone, it would be more reasonable to examine how the City's interests were handled here. (While I am fundamentally against suburban stadiums, if a team owner and investors can find a way to build one where they want one...independent of municipal contributions...more power to them. If Aldershot works for them on a business level, and Hamilton isn't going to be funding it, that's fine by me. It may rankle Ti-Cats fans, but if they won't travel the additional distance...out of spite or whatever...then that's their decision to make. As Ryan points out, they'll be replaced in the stands by fans with more disposable income. That may not seem 'fair', but it's capitalism, and that's what we've embraced.)

Finally, I love Andrea's lateral thinking. (Though not her opening sentiments.) I love it mostly because it restores the focus to where it should be: on our commitment to the Games.

Oh, and as for the IWS lands; it's already been pointed out by wesntworthst that the area is currently deflated real estate value-wise, so it's not like we'd be able to instantly cash in the land for a tidy profit.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 08:30:53

Ryan, I certainly respect the passion you have for the cause and Hamilton is lucky to have people like you who stand behind what they believe in.

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By lorne (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 08:34:21

My feeling, after this interminable debate, is that we should wish Burlington all the best in their pending venture into sports entrepreneurship. Far better for Burlington taxpayers, despite the Ticats' assurance that it will cost the city nothing, to shoulder the inevitable cost overruns, expensive infrastructure improvements Mr. Young will require, etc., than Hamilton's already massively overburdened property owners.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 08:38:26

Small correction Ryan - Terry Whitehead isn't the ward 7 councillor. I think he's ward 8.

Thanks, Robert - I do that every time! Fixed.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 08:41:09

As a former die-hard fan of the Ticats, I generally try to keep my disdain for the current ownership at a manageable level. This entire process has soured me on the organization and I vote with my wallet by no longer attending any games, which is my prerogative. However, personal feelings aside, we need to keep focus on the the needs of the community and the best use of the Future Fund. Some argue that the Future Fund could be used on other initiatives but IMO The WH/Rheem site is never going to be developed by private investors due to the remediation costs....so the City can win by locating the velodrome and a true multi-use community stadium on this property.

Comment edited by Andrea on 2011-01-06 08:42:03

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 08:41:41

Whitehead and others are absolutely correct - we CANNOT have our elected officials turn down a "free" waterfront stadium of 6,000 seats for the 190+ community events and potential soccer/concert events and free up some capital funds to tear down and then redevelop the Ivor Wynne lands, and instead hold onto Ivor Wynne and then turn taxpayers upside down over the next 5 years to demolish it and redevelop the site and be left with NO local stadium for Hamilton's needs. Paul Shaker is bang on - the scaleable stadium is what we must accept. The Cats have forced us to, and at the end of the day Hamilton tax money needs to ensure it receives the biggest bang for it's buck for Hamilton taxpayers.
I'll be stunned if council tells HOSTCO to keep it's money and instead allow us to pay for all of this on our own. I appreciate Bratina's desire for a full stadium, but there is no tenant right now and we can't afford Ivor Wynne. Let's get the waterfront development kick-started and down the road we can try to bring an MLS team or perhaps CFL team to the stadium.

The good thing about the Cats latest revelations is that it gets our council off the hook. Nobody can accuse them of driving them out of town. They had already decided to move out of town before wasting all of our time over the past 6 months with this big charade.

I'm interested to see if they can dupe Burlington council into falling for their ever-changing numbers game. Let's hope so, for our sake!

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By Lester (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 08:54:38

Agreed Ryan, let's leave Confederation Park as it is, let the Tiger-Cats try to move to Aldershot and move on with what should always have been the focus - hosting a portion of the Pan-Am games within a scalable stadium at the WH site.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:00:26

Don't forget to contact council: http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/12...

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By Hipgnosis (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:02:37

In the end it doesn't matter if the Cats "dupe" Burlington City Council into agreeing to anything. According to Mr. Troop as long as we decide to promote a 6,000 seat scaleable stadium at WH it is ours. That would put the nail in the coffin for the funding that the Ti-Cats are expecting for Aldershot. Case closed. At that point it will be up to Mr. Young as to whether he would like to re-enter negotiations with the City of Hamilton to try and make WH work.

Unfortunately, since the Cats have made it abundantly clear that the only way they can be profitable is through collecting revenue on parking and other ancillaries this probably won't happen. That is unless Mr. Young decides to sell the team.

I don't blame the Paletta's or the Cats for trying. I just think that the way they are going about this whole thing smacks of dishonesty and cronyism.

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By geoff's two cents (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:04:02

One important thing to keep in mind: As the article suggests, the Aldershot location likely won't work for Burlington or the Ticats if Hamilton accepts the HostCo funding for a scalable stadium. This would leave the Ticats with the option of either bankrolling a new stadium themselves or finding another city who will - or (and this seems more likely to me) - settling for West Harbour, folding or getting bought out by someone else who embraces the location. The scalable option, in other words, can't lose - from a city-building, tax-paying perspective.

In case a free, much-needed 6,000 seat stadium isn't incentive enough, isn't there additional funding (for up to 15,000 seats, if I recall) available should a legacy tenant be secured? If so, it's imperative that the city make a firm, final commitment toward the scalable West Harbour option as soon as possible. If they do this soon enough, it might give the Cats enough time to come to their senses and accept the West Harbour before Feb. 1, thus giving Hamilton a much larger, free, scalable stadium that consolidates the North End and West Harbour as a regional cultural attraction.

Given this scenario: If the Cats bail, Hamilton wins; if the Cats accept, Hamilton wins more. Where's the dilemma?

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:11:32

I wrote this letter to my Counciller (Jason Farr in Ward 2) yesterday morning before Mr. Mitchell's magnanimous offer to Burlington to build and operate a 29,000 seat stadium that would cost the taxpayers of Burlington absolutely nothing. At least that's what he said yesterday. The week is not over.

I copied the Mayor and all of the other Councillors. Judi Partridge has acknowledged receipt and thanked me for my comments. My own Councillor also responded in some detail, for which I thanked him. Let me add my thanks to Paul Shaker and to Ryan for keeping us focused on the highest and best outcome from our involvement in the Pan Am Games.

Good morning Councillor,

I'm writing in support of a grass-roots based proposal to build a scalable stadium/concert/public event venue in the West Harbour.

The Ti-Cats have been meeting since the summer with Mr. Paletta about building a stadium in Aldershot, this despite their "outrage" that the City of Hamilton met with the Katz Group during negotiations with the Ti-Cats. Enough of the crocodile tears. Clearly, they do whatever suits them. They question the integrity of elected officials who have the audacity to meet with potential investors on behalf of all citizens, at precisely the same time as they refused to tell us how much money they were prepared to invest in a stadium on a site that suited them. May I suggest that you take a long hard look at the facts, and leave emotion at the door, where it belongs? In my own business career, sometimes you simply had to stand up and walk away from a deal. It wasn't always easy to do so, but sometimes it was the best thing to do. I believe we are at, if not past, such a time.

The scalable solution in the West Harbour provides a legacy tenant - namely the citizens of Hamilton, including the citizens who organize, participate and attend the more than 200 non-Ti-Cat events at IWS each year. That legacy will not only continue but, in my opinion, will be enhanced. A creative, flexible and iconic design will ensure we can accommodate all types of events, including soccer, concerts, cultural festivals, etc., in the West Harbour, albeit on a smaller scale than a huge stadium. It also will encourage further mixed use development of lands currently owned by private interests in the West Harbour. The Witton Lofts on Murray Street, which are now sold out, prove that there is interest in living in the area. The scalable solution allows all citizens to access investment from two higher levels of government. We won't need to spend the entire Future Fund allocation if we take a scalable approach.

I'm sorry that the Ti-Cats feel they have to move, but it is their choice to do so. Their business model is broken, in my opinion. They cannot generate enough revenue to turn a profit from operating a football team. Currently, they cannot sell out the stadium we subsidize for them. You once told me your "heart was in the east end". Do you feel that it is the east end and the condition of IWS that are causing the Ti-Cats to lose money? I hope not. Certainly, I don't believe this is the fundamental problem.

It's time to move on from trying to accommodate the business needs of the Ti-Cats. They have made their views very clearly known through the media. Instead, it's time to try to accommodate the social and cultural needs of the many thousands of Hamiltonians who already use IWS every year for their events, as well as the needs of the many thousands of Hamiltonians who will attend new events hosted at a scalable venue in the West Harbour.

The Ti-Cats cannot see a future in Hamilton. Sadly, I'm forced to agree with them, given their recalcitrance to work in harmony with all of the citizens and elected officials of Hamilton. I did not want them to leave, but I will not be tricked into thinking we forced them out. We did not, no matter how much Mr. Mitchell chooses to spin it. They made the decision on their own, after many attempts, and after spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars in staff and consultants' time, to accommodate them. After all, you cannot force somebody to be your partner.

I ask that you spend our Future Fund dollars for the future of all citizens, and not just the Ti-Cats and their apparently declining number of ticket purchasers. It's time to get creative. It's time to make a bold decision. It's time to do what's right for most, and not just what's right for a few.

Thanks for your attention.

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By cityfan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:16:22

I hope that council goes forward with a community soccer stadium (with velodrome training centre) and not just give all money to Tiger Cats. Council needs to envision a scalable soccer specific stadium with natural grass for community events and games and a future professional team for Hamilton such as MLS.

Why MLS? because thier franchise requirements ask for soccer specific stadiums and not stadiums combined with a football playing field. This leaves the door open to a group which could put a team in Hamilton in the next couple years for expansion. Like many people have finally noticed, soccer is bigger than football and growing all the time and more people are familiar with the game. Bob Young can keep his NASL rights to the area (which I know he has locked up) he can also call give the team a Burlington name but MLS is a bigger and different league and instant rivals to TFC, Plus international exposure on TV. I know I'm stretching about who or what group would own such a team but at least they would only have to expand the WH stadium to 18-20K seats and the infrustructure around the stadium will already be in place. Just a thought I'm sure for the Katz Group if they decide to own Copps and the WH stadium.

Comment edited by cityfan on 2011-01-06 10:19:43

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:17:52

Good letter Graham. I sent a letter to council as well. Everyone needs to.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:19:01

Concerning the MLS, MLSE won't give up rights without some big money on the line, Hamilton is their area as we know only too well with what we've seen with the NHL affair. Risk is a big word here.

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By cityfan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:32:00

@ HamiltonFan. Well in any event we don't know how they (MLSE) made their territory rights but you do have a point. Also we aren't talking about NHL kind of money here. The last time I checked it cost $40 miliion to get on the list for a MLS franshise. I don't think they can ask for more than $40 miliion for territory rights. I just see a stadium for Hamilton in the downtown as the only option to keeping events and games after the Ticats leave for the citizens. They might be still called the Tigercats but they are still in Aldershot and Hamilton can still have a chance to have a stadium if they make the right decision here. Why not just take the money that we have been offered to build one?

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:42:07

I think a scalable stadium/ampitheatre type of facility at WH and a world class velodrome is something that would be great. I'm a sports fan, the more the merrier. But as much as I wasn't a big Fred Eisenberger fan, I will admit he wasn't stupid. He wanted some big money from the TigerCats for a WH location and he wanted the TigerCats and stadium all under a Katz umbrella. Meaning he didn't want the risk of a stadium at the WH, should it turn out to be a money loser, on the city's back.

Without the TigerCats and still no money from the Katz group, there is some risk involved and if I'm a new Mayor with a 4 year term, I'm not sure I go down that route. Less risky to appease people by talking what can we do with the FF money for the city's ailing infrastructure, poverty etc. all these buzzwords that are legitimate of course here in Hamilton.

Now maybe a councillor is willing to take this on perhaps as his pet project. I suppose we'll see.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:42:43

Andrea wrote:

>As a former die-hard fan of the Ticats, I generally try to keep my disdain for the current ownership at a manageable level. This entire process has soured me on the organization and I vote with my wallet by no longer attending any games, which is my prerogative.

I completely understand. I'm in almost in the same boat. I'm still waiting and holding out hope.

Me, and my group of ten season ticket holders, (and 3 new ones recruited over the Christmas holidays) will give up on the Cats if they give up on our city.

But, that hasn't happenend quite yet, and any final decision by us will follow whatever the final outcome of the stadium location is.

A few things from the article.

It's my belief that any loss of hardcore Hamilton Tiger-Cat fans will not be offset by more affluent types from Oakville / Burlington.

Bottom line is, if this team is to be called "Hamilton", they will not care for it. This belief is rooted in the strong, very strong, ties the team has to this city and its past. There's no breaking that bond.

Make all the claims that Aldershot is near, and that it is regional blah, blah, blah. Say whatever.... but the feeling of abandonment still pervades this move no matter what is said, or spun.


Other questions that come mind in regards to yesterday's meeting are the fianancial numbers.

A $90m to $120m stadium? is that enough? What's with the $30m difference?

What about the idea that the stadium would only hold 22,000 or even less? Burlington and Oakville affluence will make this team profitable because they are willing to pay such a premium for the HAMILTON Tiger-Cats. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Not for a minute.

Another question: This supposed private contribution of $30m is not just cash, right? Isn't part of that $30m the worth of the Paletta land? If so, what is that worth and the actual cash amount being put forwards towards stadium construction.

Bob Young's absence from the recent Burlington debate is a statement of sorts.

So, if he's not ready to abandon our city quite yet, then I'm not quite ready to abandon our team quite yet either.










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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:49:33

And of course even if Mr. Turkstra doesn't have a good case, would he start up some legal proceedings agains't a WH stadium of any size? If this is a possibility, I don't think Troop will be impressed, he wants to get on with things and wouldn't want a legal delay here.

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By Hipgnosis (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:52:22

@HamiltonFan - My understanding of how MLS works is that MLSE would not have any say as to where another team goes. The league is an entity unto itself, MLSE has ownership of TFC but that is about it. There is no selling of rights or anything like that because the MLS collects ALL revenue and then distributes it accordingly. As such they could probably place a team at Varsity Stadium if they wanted to and MLSE would have to suck it up. So your argument there is invalid.

I don't understand the constant negativity surrounding this whole debacle. The Ti-Cats are well within their rights to negotiate the best deal that they think that they can get. They certainly will not be the first or last sports team to try and get a sweet deal out of public funds. The City on the other hand has bent over backward to try and make this work really I just think that both sides are poles apart with respect to what they are looking for at the finish line. The City of Hamilton wants to try and create a community-minded City building project and the Ti-Cats are interested in finally turning a profit. The big question is are the two mutually exclusive?

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By JimmyS (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:56:26

@HamiltonFan Nobody is allowed to sneeze in the north end anymore with Turkstra taking them to court. Apparently only he is allowed to buy a derelict property, demolish it, and rebuild a monster home in it's place.
We can't make decisions in our city based on what some NIMBY's may or may not do.

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 09:58:06

As I see it, perhaps weirdly, the only way for Bratina to "save the Cats" is to move forward on a scalable stadium at the West Harbour. That way, no public money in the form of Pan-Am funding goes toward Bob Young and Paletta's private cash box and they can then act like real capitalists and fund their stadium themselves and pay the property taxes that go with it (avoidance of property tax is the the real motivation of keeping, what is essentially, a private facility in public hands) or play at the West Harbour.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:02:24

Hip, to be honest, I don't know that much about the MLS and how it works and what MLSE would think about a team in Hamilton and what they could do about it. Also though, someone needs to come up with some $40 mill for an MLS franchise and it could be more in the future. About the mutual exclusivity as you say, I don't have a clue.

Jimmy I hear you but again we are talking risk. If I was Troop, I would want something in writing that a stadium or velodrome at WH won't be held up by legal proceedings.

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:08:11

http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/01/05/ticats-remove-barriers-for-stadium-to-land-in-burlington/

Last month Mitchell said he believed the site search in Hamilton had been exhausted. He reiterated that sentiment Wednesday.

“I think Mayor Bratina has been fantastic,” said Mitchell. “He has been very transparent and very willing to consider a number of solutions and we have the utmost respect for that and we’ve always wanted a Hamilton-first solution, but there is no solution available in Hamilton.”

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:08:44

Also, you know you've made it when...

http://www.fieldofschemes.com/news/archives/2011/01/4385_tigercats_promi.html

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:10:18

All this buzz around Aldershot is hilarious, and after going on and on about the importance of "Journalism," the Spec should be ashamed to be uncritically printing font-page headlines like, "Burlington stadium cost? $0".

As if.

If that headline were a car ad, it would have to end with a very big asterisk and about 20 lines of 6pt text along the bottom of the page. I don't know how much the Cats are worth to the Spec, but it must be a lot, cus nary a word of healthy skepticism has been printed in their pages about the latest move by the team.

Regardless, Burlingtonians are not fully on board with this plan, and my family and friends that live in and around Aldershot indicate that there is precious little community support for a massive stadium in one of the last remaining tracts of under-developed land in the city.

Worse still, for the 'Cats, the Paletta lands may contain environmentally sensitive lands, including an intact Carolinian forest. An environmental assessment might also be required in order for any development to proceed on this site. A friend of mine, a PhD candidate in earth geosciences, has put up a website with the information he's gathered at the site--I encourage you all to check it out: Proposed Aldershot Stadium Site: a natural perspective

All of this needs to be hashed out in 2 weeks. Something about inducing a council to make a decision on a supposedly 'zero-cost' stadium, located on sensitive lands, with no community support doesn't smell right, and I think Burlingtonians are wise to this.

And so are Hamiltonians, it seems: I notice that the commentary on the Spec's website has taken a rather ugly turn, at least in terms of support for the Ti-Cats. The vitriol being spewed at Mitchell and Young over their treachery is ramping up, so I'm wondering what type of permanent scars the brand will bear if the 'Cats are eventually forced to come crawling back to Hamilton, tail between their legs.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:13:52

The Ticats are first and foremost a business, so it would disapppointing if they were not trying to create a viable business plan with alternate revenue streams. I sincerely wish them all the best. However, they cannot expect to make their business profitable on the backs of the Hamilton taxpayers; they very same people that they DO NOT want as fans. They are looking at getting a more affluent fan base and the tradtional Hamilton stereotypical Ticats fans do not meet their desired demographic.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:14:47

I notice that the commentary on the Spec's website has taken a rather ugly turn, at least in terms of support for the Ti-Cats.

I guess that makes us early adopters!

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:17:50

Tartan, and we would be remiss not to mention Mr Katz on the Field of Schemes site:

"Oilers owner seeks Hamilton arena lease, rattling Edmonton"

w ww.fieldofschemes.com/news/archives/2010/06/4213_oilers_owner_se.html

(sorry about the space in the www, have to put this in from the computer I'm working on)

Andrea, the Maple Leafs and MLSE come to mind with your last post but in a much more pronounced way. They long ago forgot the families that can't afford to go to games. But their fan base doesn't seem to have suffered much.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-06 10:20:31

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:22:07

Comparing the Leafs to the Ticats is laughable.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:22:10

The Spec printed an article themselves last week where Mitchell said Burlington will need to contribute and then they'll be asked to contribute again when the time comes for stadium expansion. How hard would it be for the Spec to reference their own stories and ask some important questions about the constantly changing numbers being thrown around by the Cats?

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:25:41

Andrea, all I was saying is it is quite reasonable for any team to look at a demographic with more disposable income. That was my point actually. And to be honest, I think moving the FoF to Ancaster has something to do with this.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-06 10:27:09

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By oldcoote (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:30:02

My old man used to say ... "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Good luck Burlington. Screw you Ti-Cats.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:32:44

Ok, now we really have to see the numbers for a 6000 seater. If Burlington can get 22,000 seats for $0 (which is probably BS) how many seats can we get for that amount?

I wouldn't take the Paletta offer at face value. There are so many assumptions here, such as:

-$90-120 million price tag: Has that been thoroughly calculated? It's funny how costs tend to go up from the original estimates, as we discovered with how many, 3 alternative sites now?

-$70-100 million Hostco contribution: This sounds ridiculously inflated. Their contribution to Hamilton for the stadium was $55M if I recall correctly. Has any additional funding even been requested by this new consortium? Don't forget, it's not Hostco's prerogative to take care of the Tiger Cats. Their original funding was for 15,000 seats, and since moving track and field they only need to pay for 6000. They aren't looking for reasons to spend more money.

-Seating capacity: We were told 25,000, 35,000, even up to 45,000 to satisfy the CFL. How long with the Ticats be satisfied with 22,000? Who will pay for the inevitable expansion?

-Infrastructure costs: It's not enough to say to Burlington 'So what, you'll have to pay those anyway'. Paying now versus paying later is a real tangible cost, as we discovered in the East Mountain financial analysis. Furthermore what infrastructure is required?

-Future development: The justification for Burlington to accept the risk of the stadium. Burlington makes money from development charges and increased taxes. What if a stadium close to nothing used 10 times a year isn't exactly the catalyst it was hoped to be?

The deal for Burlington always looked too good to be true, and it probably is. Cities and sports teams alike are often in the business of losing money; land developers are not. Paletta would not enter into any agreement without knowing he will come out on top, and the outcome of any uncertainties will certainly be borne by the city of Burlington and / or the Ticats.

Comment edited by Jonathan Dalton on 2011-01-06 10:33:53

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:32:49

EVERY successful business looks to increase market share and capture more affluent demographics (expcept maybe Dollarama), the key is NOT to alienate your core clientele while doing so.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:37:14

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:40:58

I am truly impressed with the passion that a segment of the city's population displays for the WH site. If so many people think that the site is such a sure fire winner for the team why do they not form a citizens group and purchase the Tiger-Cats? Community ownership has worked in Saskatchewan. I believe the team could be bought for next to nothing except assuming the acquired debt. Typically CFL teams are not worth any money. If I remember Bob Young bought the team to save it from bankruptcy. Was the purchase price not $1 plus assuming the debt? He has repeatedly called himself the caretaker of the franchise, I bet he would be very willing to hand the team off to a community ownership group. I think the WH site will not be viable for the Ti-Cats on an ongoing basis but I would love to be proven wrong.

If there really are so many people convinced that WH is THE answer there should be no problem raising the money.

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By Simon (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:47:42

I don't have a problem with private money building a stadium in Burlinton - besides paying $20 for parking every game, I'm pretty excited about seeing the Cats play there - in a modern stadium with more corporate amenities. I do notice that the TiCats themselves are still contributing next to nothing - but that is Paletta's problem now...

But, I do have a problem with $70 million of federal and provincial investment, and the economic consequences of that investment, leaving the City of Hamilton.

I have said before that I believe it would not be hard to argue in court that the TiCats have directly cost the City of Hamilton millions in consulting fees, staff time and property acquisition. But on top of that - if the City is to agree not to proceed with a small WH stadium, thereby voluntarily making that money available to the City of Burlington (or Mississauga or Milton...) the City of Burlinton, the Tiger Cats and Paletta need to compensate the City of Hamilton for the lost economic consequences - at the very least - the full cost of remediation to the WH site.

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 10:52:17

Tartan...Just what Bratina needs. An endorsement from Mitchell.

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By anonymous (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:05:01

Just wanted to add a little tidbit of information that most people don't realize. Bob Young may own the rights a Hamilton NASL team, but he does not own the rights to a USL-1 team. They are two competing 2nd tier north american professional soccer leagues both directly below MLS. If a group were to secure the rights to a Hamilton USL-1 team, a legacy tenant could be provided for a West Harbour Stadium securing all of the Hostco funding for a stadium up to 15,000. Check and Mate! Cheers!

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:07:09

I am re-posting this from another thread. I wrote The Spec but I doubt my letter will get printed.


OK, Burlington is probably going to take the Ti-Cats bait of 'zero' costs, so where does that leave Hamilton. This is an inventory of Hamilton's situation as I see and remember it.

-The Ti-Cats are going to leave come hell or highwater

-The Ti-Cats leaving changes IWS from an strategic asset to a liability that will have to be torn down or renovated to the tune of 20 million

-IWS maintenance costs will give little to no return on the expenditure compared to the low 20 year maintenance costs on a new stadium

-A city of 500,000 will need to own and control some of it's own stadium space. Ron Joyce stadium DOES NOT satisfy this

-We own the West Harbour land

-We own the IWS land

-We have a once in lifetime opportunity to access Federal and Provincial capital for a stadium

-A small West Harbour stadium frees up Future Fund money for other projects, such as spurring development of the old IWS lands

-Nothing is stopping Hamilton from building a small Pan Am stadium on the current IWS site. The Ti-Cats lease expires in 2011, Hamilton is under no obligation to re-sign that lease after 2011. After 2011, where the Ti-Cats play until their Aldershot stadium is constructed is NOT our problem

-Ian Troop has clearly stated that the Pan-Am stadium is Hamilton's to give up. Hamilton has the power to decide to keep a 6000 seat stadium within it's city limits no matter what Burlington and the Ti-Cats desire

So what conclusions can we come to looking at this inventory? My personal opinion is that IWS will have to be replaced fairly soon. We can replace it using Hamilton's capital or we can replace it with help from the Federal and Provincial government. For me, it's a pretty easy decision, Hamilton needs to build now accessing HostCo funding.

I would like to propose that IWS stadium be torn down and the new Pan-Am stadium be built on the same location instead of the West Harbour. There is even room for a velodrome on the IWS lands. Lets re-imagine something bigger and better for the West Harbour. The real hard part of this path is Hamilton will have to cover the Rheem remediation costs. That is a tough proposition to consider. Please share your ideas and thoughts.


Also, IWS is already serviced with the required utilities. Building the new stadium there will save a fortune in infrastructure costs.

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:10:56

@Captain Kirk & @Andrea

I share many of your thoughts -- I'm a diehard, for sure, but am unsure as to whether that would survive a move to Burlington. Like with the Leafs, my appreciation for the team/ brand does not necessarily extend to the ownership group.

I have definitely been soured on the Young group. If I could picture another well-heeled, well-meaning owner to take control of the team, I'd certainly be hoping for a regime change. I just can't see that happening unless Jim Balsillie's heartstrings have been pulled by this. That doesn't seem to be the case.

I'm also a fan of the 130+ years of history this team has in Hamilton. The last decade, in real terms, is nary-more than a strong beep-'n-hold on the radar. So, I'm not sure I can wish for the ship's sinkage because I'm a bit upset with the current Captain.

My thoughts, as I've stated before, are that the Aldershot site needs a substantial amount of infrastructure upgrades. I'm no civic planner or engineer, but my guess is that they'd be at least the cost of the stadium. Not sure the sleepy folks of Burlington (where I'm penning this post) are interested in that -- or this mystical OHL facility. (Two struggling OHL teams - Missy and Brampton) in this relative-region are probably all the league is willing commit to.)

Comment edited by slodrive on 2011-01-06 11:11:53

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:11:03

@ mr. janitor - well presented & non-emotional :-) However, isn't there already a stipulation from Toronto 2015 that the location of our current stadium is not suitable?

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:16:29

The thing that jumps out at me is : How far ahead would the WH be if people who said they were willing to put down money actually came with a formal offer. I understand the Burlington situation is a little different with Bob and his interests coming to the city saying "Here is our plan it won't cost you anything" as opposed to Hamilton going to Bob saying "Here is our plan, how much can you chip in".

How, if we had a better defined financial plan for WH which included hard numbers from Whitestar , without cost to Bob, with some area he could call his own, I think we would be sitting in a far different area.

Either way, I do not see this as some sort of play to get Hamilton to bend, I see this as a very real and interesting offer from a TiCats standpoint to do something they have wanted to do.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:19:18

Andrea,

Thanks! I am unaware of that point. I'll take a look around and see if that is the case. I don't see how IWS could not be suitable as a LOCATION for a new stadium considering where the Aldershot one is going, but that is just an opinion of mine. If anyone knows the answer please chime in!

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:23:42

Rough draft of the letter I e-mailed to The Spec last night. I think we really need to consider Beechwood Ave. as the LOCATION of the new stadium. I think this needs to be debated because I firmly believe the West Harbour can be so much more of a jewel WITHOUT a stadium there. Have a read, I doubt The Spec will print it.


The re-birth of Beechwood ave.

The Tiger-Cats decision to leave Hamilton for Burlington gives Hamilton city council a unique opportunity to re-think what to do with Ivor Wynn stadium and its land.

The City of Hamilton is under no obligation to continue the Tiger-Cats lease after 2011. Bob Young has clearly informed the city through local media that he has no intention of staying past 2011 anyway.

Since Bob Young will not be using Ivor Wynn past 2011 there is nothing stopping Hamilton from making Beechwood ave. the location of its new 6000 seat Pan-Am stadium for the 2015 games.

Since a stadium is already on the site there is very little for city staff to study or recommend and the site already has the required infrastructure to build with, saving a huge amount of money. This savings will free up Future Fund money which can then be directed to developing the West Harbour along the lines of the Setting Sail recommendations.

A city of 500,000 needs a stadium of a size of 1% of its population under its own control for the reported 150+ rentals Ivor Wynn currently has. Ron Joyce Stadium DOES NOT fulfill this need as it is there only to serve McMaster students, not the whole City of Hamilton.

No matter what the outcome, Ivor Wynn Stadium requires a minimum of 20 million dollars to allow it’s continued use, no matter if the Tiger-Cats use it or a local flag football league uses it.

Why spend Hamilton’s capital on a huge stadium that is no longer required, needs expensive renovation and has excessive maintenance costs? A new stadium can be constructed on the same spot primarily with HostCo funding that will better suit the purposes of the non Ti-Cat rentals that Ivor Wynn currently supports without the renovation or maintenance burden.

If you are worried about were the Cats will play until their new Aldershot stadium is built, Im sure they can come to terms and rent the Rogers Center. I for one am not worried about the Tiger-Cats anymore, and they certainly dont appear to be worried about Hamilton anymore.

Comment edited by mrjanitor on 2011-01-06 11:25:47

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By anonymous (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:30:20

Robbie K... http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/241140--stadium-suitors-offer-cash

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By George (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:31:00

Borrelli wrote:

I notice that the commentary on the Spec's website has taken a rather ugly turn, at least in terms of support for the Ti-Cats. The vitriol being spewed at Mitchell and Young over their treachery is ramping up, so I'm wondering what type of permanent scars the brand will bear if the 'Cats are eventually forced to come crawling back to Hamilton, tail between their legs.

I noticed that a little while ago too, and it's still ramping up as Borrelli describes.

However, if the team ends up staying in Hamilton, I think all will be forgotten. As has already been mentioned before, the team is bigger than Bob Young. More people are loyal to the team than they are to the ownership group, that is for sure. Count me among those long time fans who would quit the team if they moved out of my city.

Any move out of the city of Hamilton is risky, and would be a definite mistake. This franchise cannot afford to lose any segment of its current fan base which is currently barely enough to keep this historic franchise going.

That might be why Bob Young has not made any comments recently. There may be merit to the description of good cop, bad cop/Young,Mitchell dynamic.

Also, there might be merit to the theory that Mitchell's job is on the line here if he ends up being responsible for moving the team out of Hamilton and killing it in the process. Scapegoat.

So much for the "caretaker" approach of cherishing a public trust as has been desribed. Especially if he had the chance to sell it to owners willing to play out of WH in the city of Hamilton where the team belongs.

Comment edited by George on 2011-01-06 11:35:29

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:36:58

Robbie K... http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Exactly! There's never been a shortage of investors (Whitestar, Molinaro, Katz, Frank freaking Gehry) who want to invest in west harbour, it's the Ticats who don't want to, they pulled a big bluff in the summer and now they're stuck with it, big egos as well as big money are at stake.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:41:10

Worse still, for the 'Cats, the Paletta lands may contain environmentally sensitive lands, including an intact Carolinian forest. An environmental assessment might also be required in order for any development to proceed on this site. A friend of mine, a PhD candidate in earth geosciences, has put up a website with the information he's gathered at the site--I encourage you all to check it out: Proposed Aldershot Stadium Site: a natural perspective

Amazing - from that site:

It is currently a designated woodland under the Halton Region Natural Heritage System. This designation does not allow for development into a stadium, parking lot, or associated commercial development. According to the Halton Region Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines, an environmental assessment would be required in order for any development to proceed on this site:

Has this even been brought up? Seems to me that HostCo would not even start down this route if there is a risk of it being derailed because of environmental concerns. Remember the headaches they went through with the escarpment commission?

How is it that hobbyist bloggers have dug up more information (and misinformation) than the mainstream media - or the municipalities themselves. You'd think the mayor of Burlington would have at least looked into this kind of risk before making any comments on the matter...

Comment edited by seancb on 2011-01-06 11:42:37

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:44:46

@George Good post. I think the smoke-and-mirrors the team appears to have employed is only matched by those who've expressed interest in investing in the WH. Absolutely no numbers seemed to have been made by the Whitestar or Katz group, so, I really don't believe there's been any real interest expressed there.

And, I really hope your good cop/bad cop theory is real. I really can't stand that Scott Mitchell. So much, in fact, that I almost hope it's by design.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:45:43

What about the zoning that has already approved a 9000 seat arena with parking?

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By Frustrated (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:46:57

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:48:40

"Infrastructure costs: It's not enough to say to Burlington 'So what, you'll have to pay those anyway'. Paying now versus paying later is a real tangible cost, as we discovered in the East Mountain financial analysis. Furthermore what infrastructure is required?"

Yes, it's not enough but it's also not true. Regular Burlington taxpayers WOULDN'T have to "pay those anyway". Infrastructure costs are paid for from development charges which, guess what, this project won't be paying. So, yes, no matter how you slice it, taxpayers through the general levy and every legitimate developer and even individuals who've severed a building lot will be helping out Young and Paletta.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:50:42

And they'd be helping out whomever at a WH stadium as well. What's your point?

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By Somethin's Fishy (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:51:31

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:54:54

Burlington is not even on the list of Plan B sites for Pan Am 2015. To the best of my knowledge the contingency plans have given Mississauga and Markham first right of refusal for a Pan Am Soccer Stadium. Ian Troop indicated there will be no deadline extenstion past Feb 1 for alternate locations, so how exactly does Burlington come into play?

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:56:02

Slodrive...How cuold White Star or Katz make firm proposals when the stadium location flip flopped every month at the whim of a few irresolute councilors and now by our new mayor.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:57:08

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Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-06 11:57:18

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:57:12

Attention Burlington

Check this out: http://www.ourburlington.org/node/201

Especially point 6:

(6) At this point, there is no capital call. We are asking for nothing. We will ask that the City come with us to deal with Queen's Park. Only then, will we know what shortfall, if any exists. We will not negotiate in public. Nor should the City of Burlington.

Ha! In other words: The cost is zero. Just approve it. Then later we can figure out how much more than zero it is.

Comment edited by seancb on 2011-01-06 11:57:50

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:58:17

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Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-06 11:59:06

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 11:58:33

We can do so much better than a stadium at West Harbour. Evict the Ti-Cats after their lease expires in 2011 (if there is no extension clause) and build the 6000 seat Pan-Am stadium on Beechwood Ave. where IWS is currently. This frees up the West Harbour for the "Setting Sail" plan and also frees capital for SS as I expect re-building a stadium on Beechwood would be incredibly cheap. Really think about this for a second folks!

Comment edited by mrjanitor on 2011-01-06 12:01:16

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:00:56

So face up to that reality.

Believe me, we have. If the Ticats don't believe the City's preferred site can work for them, that's their prerogative and we promise to respect it.

If the City and the Ticats had been able to find a mutually agreeable location that met both parties' needs, that would have been ideal. However, none of the Ticats' preferred Hamilton sites work for the City, and the City's preferred site apparently doesn't work for the Ticats.

Sometimes negotiations don't lead to a mutually beneficial contract, and the parties simply walk away. That's an acceptable outcome, if not an ideal one.

However, bear in mind that the taxpayer-provided Toronto 2015 money has always been earmarked first and foremost to provide a legacy sport facility for Hamilton - not a professional sport facility on behalf of a private business. It was the City that pushed to repurpose the Pan Am stadium as a legacy facility for the Ticats, and it was the capacity requirement of the Ticats that bumped the seating size from 6,000 to 25,000.

It's perfectly acceptable to Toronto 2015 to fund a 6,000 seat community stadium in Hamilton - after all, that is precisely their Plan B if the Hamilton proposal falls apart.

At this point the best thing the City can do, given its city-building objectives, is go ahead with its own legacy initiative to build a community stadium in the West Harbour, remediate Barton-Tiffany, invest in a high-quality permanent velodrome and help catalyze the steady revitalization of the North End.

The Ticats can then make their own decisions about how to proceed.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:03:47

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:07:04

Thanks Ryan! Agreed. I faced the wrath of the Spec nation when I suggested the same thing earlier today; "Although it is a shame that the Cats could not come to an agreement with the City, our Council made a decision several times on a location that was viable for the City. There are simply not enough commonalities between the City and the Ticats for a mutually beneficial agreement." Sometimes in business, both sides have to walk away from the deal.

Comment edited by Andrea on 2011-01-06 12:07:11

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By Frustrated (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:08:09

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:12:24

Business wise, the Cats say they have to look at fans from outside of Hamilton to make a profit, yet the fans that can't necessarily afford to attend every game are very passionate, loyal fans who if nothing else, by word of mouth, promote this team and it's worth to our city and the country without a second thought to plugging what is essentially, a private business. By being ‘okay’ with losing some of these fans to attract the ‘money fans’, you risk losing our ambassadors. Is their worth actually far greater than their dollar?

I have said this before and I wish I knew where to start to look into something like this, but wouldn't it seem that Hamilton is the perfect candidate as a city whose team should be owned by the people? Whose mandate is simply to break even, to afford the luxury of being home to a professional sports team.?

If the fans and city could force a sale of the Tiger-Cats, turning them over to 'us', they become our team and our legacy. It means stadium wise, there is no money coming from the 'Cats' brass because we are the brass, however with $70M from the feds to upgrade Ivor Wynne which would then have a Legacy tenant because our group agrees to play there, and that $70M can go to what we need now to make the stadium safe. Create some parking at Brian Timmis to help with our overhead, and put the rest aside for startup and operating costs. We could possibly make a go of this.

If the powers that be would rather that $45M future fund money not go to the stadium/team project, that’s understandable. Perhaps it goes to the removal of contaminated sites and ground ready preparations for future development. Perhaps they would agree to a portion of that FF money going to the city owned team to help with startup costs?

Do we want to see what someone above mentioned with regards to MLSE and the loyal fan not being able to afford to attend games, changing the entire dynamic of the type of team Hamilton has fielded for perhaps most of their 141 year history, and the type of fans that product has attracted?

Do we fill more seats and gain much more support with merchandising and what not, because the fans are actually supporting their own product? Their team that they own? Knowing that if there is profit, it is coming back to us. If there is a loss, it's our loss so we are that much more motivated to make it work financially. I am going to buy a Tiger-Cat jersey before I buy a New England Patriots one because the Cats are not just my team at heart, they ARE my team. Profit from ticket and merchandising sales, is actually in a roundabout way, coming back to me.

I can't begin to imagine what all of this entails, as we have a hard enough time managing the Hecfi buildings, but the fact that owners have a hard time making a go of it in Hamilton, does that mean that we should really be looking at ownership from a whole different perspective?

I have grown to dislike professional sports on many levels over the years (NHL included), but I would like to 'like' and respect them again. Moving the Cats out of town and creating even a remotely similar MLSE experience with our Tiger-Cats, is something I cannot stomach. The demographics would change even with a Harbourfront stadium, but it's a dynamic that would change as Hamilton evolves. It's still in Hamilton meaning attracting outside fans still involves people coming to Hamilton. If they are willing to come here, they are willing to be a part of our experience. In Aldershot or any other city removed from Hamilton, those fans no longer are required to be a part of the Hamilton experience and therefore, the whole experience changes and becomes so far removed from what we have been accustomed to for generations. Change is one thing, but what move here by the Cats, will completely change what football played in Hamilton has represented?

If there is no appetite for a locally owned Tiger-Cat team, than I vote for a 6,000 seat stadium so Hamilton still does see some benefit from this process and this substantial amount of government funding.

I will beg of Mr. Young first however, to forgo ownership if he plans to move them out of Hamilton, and perhaps be involved in helping us give it a go if he really still has a soft spot for his hometown and hometown team. To realize that the economics for what he envisions in Hamilton, is just not something the City has an appetite for. It is nothing against him. We understand what he is trying to do. It is a business after all, but if he can step away from this process with no hard feelings and an appreciation for what Hamilton sees for the future of their (our) city, than perhaps he would willing to help us try a completely different kind of ownership. If it local ownership does not work, at least we will know that we have tried all types of ownership and that a CFL franchise in Hamilton, perhaps just doesn’t work.

I believe it can work though. Whether through different corporate ownership, or a locally owned and prided CFL team.

If a 6,000 seat facility is going to be built at the end of all of this though, I would like to see that stadium at 75 Balsam. In the central most point of our city. More easily accessible to transit and High Schools that utilize it - namely Delta. The return of Civic Stadium. It doesn't have to be fancy. Look at Brian Timmis. It is a 5,000 seat facility. The rest of the funds can still be used to clean up the harbor. Sports would then live on along Balsam Avenue North, the Harbor get's cleaned up, and if the Cats aren't interested in a full-scale stadium in the harbor or even a refurbished Ivor Wynne, no sense building in the Harbor or upgrading Ivor Wynne.

In closing, I would like you to go park your car around Ivor Wynne and have a walk around it. Walk down Barton and see the old stadium tower above the rooftops. Do this before the 12th. I want you to see why I don't think it should actually come down, but if all of this comes to a 6,000 seat stadium and no Cats, than what I discussed above, is what I propose.

I love the Cats, but Hamilton deserves that money. Council has been blamed up and down, sideways and backwards, but I don't blame them one bit. This has been no easy task. I don’t even blame the Cats organization. It’s business. I realize that.

All I ask as this hopefully all finally comes to a close, is look outside your community. This has all been about West Harbor from the get go. Understandably so. I know it needs major cleanup and now you have boarded up houses through this mess, and that the Harbor has been the approved and desired site for so long. I do get that, but 75 Balsam will need to be cleaned up too. I know they are looking at a seniors residence there, but is that the legacy that should be left behind from 80 years of sports history on that land? I know it is something that as a community we need to decide, and I am open to all discussions on this issue, but I just dream of something more. Shouldn't a senior’s home be close to something? Is Stadium Mall it?

What I fear is that the minute a site is approved or the Cats say they will not continue past 2011 at Ivor Wynne if we lose the Pan Am games, is that the 75 Balsam lands will be immediately sold, and we will have no control as to what moves in its place. Everyone is talking about what the future of that site is, but if it doesn’t get the exposure, its fate is going to be sealed without our input. 75 Balsam is a big part of our history. We need to talk about it.

I have been trying to be open-minded and to embrace the West Harbor vision, even though my vision was to see a renewed Ivor Wynne. I get the Harbor plan on so many levels - I really do, but do others get why I also want something special for my community? The one where big box took over for a historic mall that was allowed to almost crumble into the earth on its own? A community that is now going to see one of the largest festivals in Canada leave, taking with it tones of exposure to our community from Ottawa Street to other local eateries and shops?

I know this may sound greedy as on top of 250,000 people attending Cats games a season, hundreds of thousands converge in our neck of the woods to attend the Gage Park festivals - and there are more than just the Festival of Friends and It's your Festival. I believe in sharing the wealth, but we are losing a lot. I haven't heard much more about the Pearl Company, but if it is still scheduled to close, what are we left with? Downtown has Copps, the Convention Centre, the Art Gallery, the James St N Art Crawl, Bayfront Park, etc. Gage Park, it's Festivals, Ottawa St and Ivor Wynne, were our major assets. Can Ottawa Street continue to thrive with the loss of so much traffic driven to our Ward? I hope so, but I wish we didn’t have to lose all of this, to find out.

As I said in an earlier piece, what one ward stands to gain, another stands to lose. I realize this is all one big city, but the wellbeing of two significant areas/Wards in Hamilton, is hanging in the balance on that January 12th or February 1st decision. Both communities need some major attention but I believe our two wards need to stand united. Our City Our Future, needs to be about both communities. We can only get stronger, by coming together as one.

The Stadium is about all of Hamilton, but the impact will greatly affect two significant areas of it. A much healthier Ward 2 and Ward 3, I believe can turn this city around.

How can both wards benefit greatly from all of this at the end of the day? That is all I want.

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By Lord Elgin (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:16:37

@HamiltonFan, @JimmyS: With regards to Mr. Turkstra attempting to block the West Harbour, he is far to linked to Paletta in order to escape the appearance of a conflict of interest (by blocking WH, he furthers the case for an Aldershot stadium). Turkstra's law firm works for Paletta all the time at the Ontario Municipal Board and the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

For example: http://www.ert.gov.on.ca/files/DEC/07080d1.pdf

Paletta currently has four cases against the OMB right now, Turkstra has one of his own.

http://www.omb.gov.on.ca/ecs/MuniCaseList.aspx?m=16103&mn=Hamilton

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:18:09

Very well said mrjanitor. You read my mind. :) I sent a message to council about the same thing. Only one response and from a new councillor.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:18:47

please discuss the issue of risk to the city with your scenarios

Here are the risks and benefits as I understand them:

Option 1: Scalable West Harbour stadium

Risks:

  • Toronto 2015 may reject the bid - unlikely as WH already extensively studied
  • Costs may be higher than projected - unlikely as costs will be lower due to smaller facility size
  • Facility may not be used - unlikely as IWS currently hosts 190 events a year
  • Poor fit with community - unlikely as a small community stadium, well designed, won't create the traffic and noise issues NEN worried about with a Ticat stadium
  • Smaller venue means smaller boost to local businesses - likely as events will have less city-wide draw

Benefits:

  • Smaller facility means better community fit
  • Synergy with Velodrome
  • Scalable design leaves open future expansion, e.g. for pro soccer
  • City economic risk much lower with smaller facility
  • No longer depends on unreliable, money-losing tenant for viability
  • Remediation opens adjacent properties for reinvestment and increasing tax assessment for City

Option 2: Let the bid lapse

Risks:

  • City loses all or most of $70 million in funding - certain
  • Lost synergy with Velodrome - certain
  • Remediation of Barton-Tiffany site delayed - likely
  • Revitalization of West Harbour slowed - likely
  • All day GO Train service delayed - possible

Benefits:

  • No need to assume additional public facility lifecycle costs
  • Future Fund preserved
  • City can lift restriction on private development around Barton-Tiffany

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-01-06 12:22:58

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:21:10

How naive.

From the horse's mouth:

"When they were deliberating, Hamilton Council said they had no interest in a smaller stadium because it would be redundant with Ron Joyce Stadium in McMaster. If you look at our Plan B sites, they're all 5,500-6,500 seat stadiums that would be predominantly a community use. ... If Hamilton wanted to go with a 5,500-6,500 seat stadium, we would have gone with that."

-- Ian Troop, CEO, Toronto 2015

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By Malex (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:26:36

Was the Burlington City Council meeting today? Any word yet?

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:28:45

@Andrea, I don't know that HostCO said it was an unsuitable location (our current stadium) - but correct me if I am wrong. I think it is merely because the Cats show no intererst in playing there. If the current owner, a new owner, or a publically owned team agreed to play there, I see no reason why they wouldn't approve of money for it. They just want a legacy tennant and high school ball isn't a legacy tennant for a stadium of Ivor Wynne's size.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:29:24

6000 seat Pan-Am stadium (new) at old IWS site. Read my past posts. I am not going to let it go until I see some discussion so get used to seeing this every 3 posts.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:30:34

Thanks for the clarification, I thought there was some concern about accessibility to GO transit.

Burlington Council is split: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:32:14

The money was to provide a legacy facility for the Tiger Cats who happen to play in Hamilton. It was always about helping the Cats AND the city obtain a new stadium with financial help from others.

Good Lord.

I'm compelled to repeat what I've said several times this week: "You're entitled to your own opinions. You are not entitled to your own facts."

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-01-06 12:33:03

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:35:15

Was the Burlington City Council meeting today? Any word yet?

The meeting is in progress. Apparently there is some skepticism about the reliability of the numbers presented and reluctance to move forward without a formal proposal to Hostco.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:41:09

Has anyone read the 17-page AltusGroup 'Economic Benefits Associated with The Hamilton Tiger-Cats Football Club and Associated Companies' study that Burlington City Council has had at its disposal?

I have a copy if anyone's interested. Email me at mystoneycreek@gmail.com

Edit: or just go here: http://raisethehammer.org/article/1172/

Thanks, Editor Ryan...

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-01-06 13:14:15

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:42:23

Don't make me break Turbo's # of postings in one day record folks!

6000 seat Pan-Am at IWS allows for West Harbour Setting Sail plan to be implemented. Read my past posts on this thread.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:45:09

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By Desmond (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:59:51

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By Valour (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 12:59:58

I really don't see the ti-cats working out in Burlington. Before moving to Hamilton, I lived in Burlington for many many years and Hamilton was always the butt of all jokes.

When asked to describe a Hamiltonian, one would describe the image of a greasy guy with acid washed jeans, a mullet, and a ti-cats jacket. Usually carrying a Hamiltonian briefcase (24 of beer) while biking down Barton in the winter with a half smoke dangling from his lips. The men were thin as a rail and the women well over 300lbs surrounded by dirty crying kids.

If that description doesn't work for you, there is also the pregnant Hamilton teen (smoking of course), Cracky the crackhead, and the rich wannabe gangsta from Burlington who moves to Hamilton to be "hard".

Now I know that most Hamiltonians don't actually resemble those images, but ask someone from Burlington and chances are pretty good that they will choose one of the above.

I really don't think these upper class fans that the ti-cats are hoping to attract will ever materialize, no matter where the stadium is. I personally don't think that the people of Burlington or Oakville will endorse anything with the word "Hamilton" attached to it. I wouldn't be surprised if they are already getting their jokes lined up for when "the welfare bus rolls into town for the ti-cats home opener".

Either way, I am hoping for a smaller stadium at WH which will help improve the image of the city and get us a little farther away from the stereotypes above. As for the ti-cats, I really don't care where they go. But somewhere far far away would be preferable. I have spent way too much time staying up late reading about this, only to read conflicting reports from the same source the next morning.

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By GO GO (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:14:26

Burlington city council voted 5-2 on Thursday
http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/01/06/burlington-will-study-ticats-stadium-plan/

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:19:49

Considering that Burlington has decided to go ahead and study the Aldershot location, it makes even less sense to me to pursue investigating Confederation Park.

Hopefully this news will allow Hamilton Council to focus on providing a 6000 seat stadium (and Velodrome) that will serve Hamilton's citizens and the Pan-Am games.

At that point the TiCats can either decide to forge ahead with Aldershot minus the govt funding or play along in Hamilton.

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By Valour (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:23:17

What can the actually investigate in three weeks? It took them something like 7 years to build the overpass on Guelph Line, and how many to get the pier done? I don't even think they will be able to count the trees in the area in three weeks.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:24:21

Well said @Valour. I just don't think we should worry about what others think. Call us 'stinktown' all you want. We are who we are. All we can do is work every day to be a better person/better city. All I care about is that we are a community that truly cares about people. If other communities/people don't get that, well it's their loss. It only matters how we feel about ourselves/one another, and being proud about that fact.

I think that old saying by Dofasco/Arcel Mittal, says it best: "Our product is steel. Our strength, is people.

We may be slowly moving away from steel, but our strength is still people and the businesses that realize our strength(s) (like Dofasco), are not so oddly enough, the ones that have prospered here.

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By Chuck (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:33:07

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:33:25

So let's keep the capital in Hamilton and free up the West Harbour for the Setting Sail master plan by building the 6000 seat Pan-Am stadium at Beechwood and Balsam.

We are under no obligation to keep IWS standing after the 2011 lease expires. Time to consider building the new Civic Stadium were historic IWS once stood.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:34:26

Thanks Ryan, just got in from lunch and will read in more detail later.

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By Chuck (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:36:39

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By Chuck (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:40:33

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:43:26

Chuck, please try to speak English. I have no idea what you are trying to say.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 13:55:01

MrJanitor,
I too love Ivor Wynne and it's great sightlines, but I don't think it makes sense to build a new stadium there. The WH site is not surrounded by intense residential like Ivor Wynne, it helps clean up a huge brownfield and will spur further development in the WH industrial lands.

I see the Ivor Wynne site being redeveloped like this: http://blog.oregonlive.com/environment_i...

With LRT coming to King St eventually, the Ivor Wynne site could be a nicely scaled high density neighbourhood with a community park, shops, grocery store, attractive housing that will be a draw for people to move into that part of town. Jimmy Thompson is right there along with the National Art College of Canada, an elementary school and a proposed seniors housing complex. A new street through the middle of the site could be designed like the one in the photo above with condos/lofts and more stacked lofts/townhomes surrounding it and major improvements to the park on the NW side of the National Art College.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 14:04:37

Yes, maybe the IWS area could be transformed into a mini Locke St. type of area.

What I don't understand about Rheem is why the provincial or federal government, whoever gave the ok for that company to operate there in the first place, doesn't go after this company for cleanup costs. I don't understand this.

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By LoveIt (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 14:04:51

"Sports love it or you can live in Hamilton and eat dust"

Hamilton is improving in the last years, and the Council was wise enough to focus on DT and WH improvements.
If Burlington allow huge stadium built, it's up to them. WH view might benefit from it.
As for the dust, some say it's mostly blown to Burlington.
We are close neighbours after all.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 14:08:41

go after this company for cleanup costs

limited liability

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 14:12:53

Thank you Jason! A very good vision for the neighborhood.

I personally see synergies for a SMALL civic stadium with the community facilities already in the area of IWS. I also see the opportunity to reduce expenditures for a new stadium because of the infrastructure in existence. I am not looking to save money for the sake of it but to spend more at the West Harbour for development.

I personally have never really believed a stadium is the best development to spur West Harbour growth, I supported the WHS because of the HostCo money available for remediation. In light of the recent Burlington developments I now see an opportunity for a better plan for the West Harbour, more along the line of the Setting Sail recommendations. I'm not sure I can see the development opportunities you see a stadium will bring as opposed to other ideas.

I'd prefer to see the stadium stand where IWS stood not for sight lines and nostalgia but for the clean slate it gives us to turn around the brownfields of West Harbour.

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By AndreaC (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 14:47:07

I suggest everyone write to Hamilton city council. Here's the email I just sent to them:

To Members of Hamilton City Council,

I am a proud resident of Ward 2 who believes strongly in the future of Hamilton's downtown core, and am writing to urge you as our elected council to show strong, creative leadership in the ongoing stadium debate. I ask that council propose to the PamAm Host Committee that Hamilton build a small (5,000 seat) community stadium along with a Velodrome and associated athletics centre at the West Harbour location.

I believe this solution has strong community support and is an ideal solution for the following reasons: it will serve to remediate a polluted brownfield site and thus unlock potential for additional, private investors on the WH, it will benefit the entire community throughout the year and help encourage fitness in the local downtown community (thus contributing to the goal of making Hamilton the best place in Canada to raise a child), and it will attract high-performance athletes and athletic competition to our city even after the Pan Am games. I think this is a legacy that you as a council and we as residents of the city will be proud of for many years to come.

I think it is obvious to all observers by now that the Ti-Cats will only co-operate with the city on this initiative if they can accrue the preponderance of benefits for themselves. I never was in support of our city's Future Fund being used to spur the development of a privately-owned stadium parking lot and precinct. Instead, I would like to see my federal and provincial tax dollars, as well the city's Future Fund be used in a way that will bring maximum benefit to the residents of Hamilton.

I am a lifelong Ti-Cat fan, but if they think the solution to their woes is a suburban Aldershot stadium then I wish them well in their pursuit. I do believe most strongly that they need to use private funding to get it built. (And as this seems extremely unlikely perhaps the 5,000 seat WH stadium could be scaleable to a potentially much larger stadium while we are at it). The PanAm funds are for Hamilton and we should not throw this opportunity away and let this money go to Burlington.

Please make us proud, Hamilton council!

-Andrea

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 14:50:08

What I don't understand about Rheem is why the provincial or federal government, whoever gave the ok for that company to operate there in the first place, doesn't go after this company for cleanup costs. I don't understand this.

This cries out for a feature article here on RTH by say, Matt Jelly.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 14:58:23

@Jason. Some nice thoughts/ideas for sure re: 75 Balsam.

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By whitehorse (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:02:18

Burlington’s stadium cost? $0.00

NO MONEY Ticat VP Doug Rye, president Scott Mitchell, and developer Angelo Paletta met with Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring Wednesday.

Kaz Novak/The Hamilton Spectator Related Stories

Burlington supports stadium report Burlington council has voted 5-2 to have city staff explore a Pan Am Stadium in Aldershot. BURLINGTON A Burlington Pan Am Stadium consortium has proposed a $90 to $120 million stadium for Aldershot that would not require a municipal contribution from the City of Burlington.

That was the offer Tiger-Cat president Scott Mitchell and consortium partner Angelo Paletta made to Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring in a 90-minute private meeting Wednesday.

“I think we tried to provide a solution that mitigates any financial risk or obligations to the City of Burlington,” Mitchell said following the meeting.

Mitchell said as part of the deal, the private consortium would manage and operate the 22,000 seat stadium for the municipality.

“We have tried to give them a compelling business case,” he said. “What we are proposing involves no financial contribution from the City of Burlington.”

“We have tried to give them a compelling business case that will result in tens of millions in revenue for the city and region.”

And Burlington appears ready to play ball.

“How can we not look at this?” Goldring said afterwards. “They have come with an offer we can’t refuse to look at.”

Goldring briefed his council after the meeting and believes he has sufficient support to have city staff explore the stadium offer. And he said that if resolution to do that passes, he will be on the telephone to Pan Am organizers and the province to seek an extension to the Feb. 1 deadline for a site selection.

The proposal depends on the Pan Am organizing committee providing $70 to $100 million in funding that was to go to a Hamilton stadium, before Hamilton council ran out of sites.

Goldring said Burlington would be responsible for the infrastructure needs for the area but acknowledged the city would be paying for that in any event, stadium or no stadium.

“Clearly this is a great opportunity for the city to investigate,” he said. “This is something we have to strongly consider.”

Asked why Hamilton would be asked for $45 million for a stadium and Burlington might get there without any contribution, Goldring said it was his understanding there were bigger challenges involved with some of the other Hamilton sites.

Mitchell had stated previously that the city would have to make a financial contribution to the project.

The huge sweetener comes from Paletta, who told the mayor and city staffers that the stadium would be the catalyst to kick start more than $100 million in development on the adjacent 125 acres of land he owns.

“I think it was a good meeting. I think we have alleviated a lot of concern on the financial side,” he added.

Paletta, who is the key figure in the Burlington consortium, is offering the private land as part of its portion of a $30 million contribution for the project, said the development would include a hotel, restaurants, retail and a training centre for sports excellence.

“It’s huge,” Paletta said of the associated development, most of which would begin alongside the stadium construction. “A lot of it will go hand-in-hand.”

Paletta said he has already received overtures from investors ready to proceed with the development should the stadium receive the green light.

Mitchell and Paletta said the next step belongs to city council. They hope council will give a staff direction Thursday to explore the stadium project.

Mitchell, Tiger-Cats vice-president Doug Rye and Paletta, president of Paletta International Inc., met with Goldring, his chief of staff Frank McKeown, city manager Roman Martiuk and Burlington Councillor Rick Craven.

Burlington council is set to meet Thursday morning to consider Goldring’s recommendation to have city staff explore the Aldershot stadium issue.

Martiuk has suggested if the recommendation wins support, he would report back in two weeks on a list of questions the city would seek answers to on the stadium.

But timing could be crucial. The Pan Am host committee has insisted the stadium site must be settled by Feb. 1.

And Hamilton council is expected to revisit recommending Confederation Park as the stadium location when it meets again Wednesday.

kpeters@thespec.com

905 526-3388


Burlington’s stadium cost? $0.00

  • Guys, see how "nice" the T-C treated Hamilton after all these years of supporting!!!

  • And I do not understand why our Mayor Bob still supporting Confederation Park or East mountain for a stadium at this late timing???

    [From the above article: Despite Burlington Play, Hamilton at 2nd and Goal The Aldershot financing plan depends on $70 million in Pan Am Games funding from Toronto 2015, but the City of Hamilton still has the first shot at securing that money by February 1.

By Ryan McGreal Published January 06, 2011

...Bratina is still trying to persuade Council to reconsider a Confederation Park site for the stadium after the Committee of the Whole rejected it in late December. Bratina even suggested revisiting the previously-rejected East Mountain site or introducing a new site at Speedway Park on Stoney Creek mountain....]

Comment edited by whitehorse on 2011-01-06 15:14:58

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By JBJ (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:06:27

I am not sure where to begin given the diversity of viewpoints posted thus far. One issue that has been overlooked is the community ownership of the Tiger Cats. If we (the people of Hamilton) made an offer to purchase the Tiger Cats, we would no longer be the puppet whose strings are pulled every which way by Council and messers Young and Mitchell. Any profits from the sales of merchandise, concessions, and so forth would be plowed back into the community. I realize not everyone would want to be an "owner" of the team given the financial commitment that might be involved. However, rather than being at the mercy of someone seeking the best deal for his team without regard for the interests of the community, we, as Hamiltonians, can be proactive and make an offer to purchase the Tiger Cats. The scalable stadium can be built for the Pan Am games, the Cats could continue to play at IWS and and the community would benefit from a cleaner harbour front and a revitalized Balsam/Barton neighbourhood.

I live in Ward 2, near the WH site. Hamilton's future very much depends on providing opportunities for residents to make the most of their lives. We have one of the highest rates of poverty in Canada. Invest in people, invest in the community, and people begin to take control of their lives and take pride in their neighbourhoods and communities.

I have no idea what it would cost to buy the Tiger Cats or what Bob Young would quote as a selling price but I believe this is something that should be given some serious consideration. Professional sports for far too long has been dominated by individuals who do not necessarily have an attachment to the communities in which their teams play. Let's be proactive and rally together to take ownership of the Tiger Cats and our city.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:17:15

Awesome @JbJ. Where do we start? A Facebook Group to see how far the interest is in a privately owned team goes, hopefully resulting in many ideas, suggestions, and those that may know where to start?

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-06 15:17:44

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By Lester (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:18:08

I am left wondering if it is time to consider putting together a rally at City Hall in favour of the scalable stadium West Harbour and against building anything at Confederation Park?

As has been pointed out, our council is in the drivers seat in regards to the HostCo funding - we have first rights on that funding until February 1st. On that note, call your councillors and remind them of this - drop the Confed. Park option once and for all and introduce a motion at the council meeting on Wednesday that the City of Hamilton proceed with a scalable stadium project at West Harbour, and that work on it can begin NOW - therein satisfying HostCo's deadline while moving forward with a plan that will benefit the citizenry of the city, not just a few connected millionaires.

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By George (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:18:30

@JBJ - Bob Young and Scott Mitchell have repeatedly said that the Tiger-Cats are not for sale, thus implying some sort of worth that further casts suspicion on their unsubstantiated claims of huge losses.

Add to that the most recent revelation that they'd even settle for an Aldershot stadium with LESS than 22,000 seats?

What's up with that? They averaged more than that this year at IWS.

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By whitehorse (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:21:10

JBJ quote:

I have no idea what it would cost to buy the Tiger Cats or what Bob Young would quote as a selling price but I believe this is something that should be given some serious consideration. Professional sports for far too long has been dominated by individuals who do not necessarily have an attachment to the communities in which their teams play. Let's be proactive and rally together to take ownership of the Tiger Cats and our city.

@ JBJ:

  • The Feb 1 deadline are coming up fast, we do not have enough time to let the Cats bullying our city again, neither negotiate with them!

  • A scalable stadium for our young people, atheles to participate in sports should be built at the beautiful West Harbour, if the Fed, Prov, Municipal government care about our young Hamiltonians!

Comment edited by whitehorse on 2011-01-06 15:22:52

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:24:13

@ George

Interesting that they'd settle for less than 22,000 given their claim that a 20,000 seat stadium at WH would amount to losses of $7m.




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By AndreaC (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:24:57

I am with Lester - we need to get council to ensure that we keep this federal/provincial money, but for the benefit of our city!

When is the next council meeting - Wednesday? How to get something organized that will send a very strong message to city council that we support a scaleable WH community stadium/Velodrome? I remember when we were fighting against the East Mountain stadium there was an incredibly effective website "Our City, Our Future" -- I think designed by Martin Gelensye? Can't this website be revived and have people begin posting there....

I think we are moving ever-closer to a solution that will benefit the residents of this city, and its exciting....

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:26:18

@Lester, but if Hamilton Council agrees to a scaleable stadium at the Harbor, the Cats are out. The Aldershot deal would die unless investors started lining up out the door without provincial/federal support.

Do we as Hamiltonians, have any say in the team moving if a scaleable stadium was agreed upon and hopes for Aldershot passed? Can we force a sale to keep the franchise in Hamilton?

The CFL is on Bob Youngs side. They have hailed his worth to their league, including MRX now playing a major role in the business of the CFL. They would probably support him leaving as long as it seemed financially viable for the team and league.

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By AndreaC (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:29:09

I think there are two steps here:

1. Secure funding for a scaleable WH stadium/Velodrome/community athletics centre - we only have until February 1st (luckily the WH has been confirmed as the site of choice 7 times! since the PanAm proposal in 2003)

2. After ensuring our funding for the scaleable PanAm stadium/Velodrome is confirmed, the city of Hamilton will be city in the driver's seat as there will be no money for an Aldershot stadium... this will be the time to make a play for a community-owned team, if this is what the residents of this city want to do.

My advice is that we should NOT mix up the Ti-Cats issue with the PanAm community legacy stadium any longer, as this is what is allowing self-interested millionaires to hijack this process repeatedly. If this is done right, all the cards belong to the city of Hamilton!

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By My Hamilton (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:31:21

First things first - we DO need to rally - call, email and/or visit your councillor and then speak or show up AT THE COUNCIL MEETING ON JAN12TH. We need our councillors to confirm with HOSTCO that we want a scaleable stadium at the West Harbour. It will provide us with a new CIVIC stadium for our community and ...you know the rest. Consequently, the Aldershot option will be dead in the water.

Then the Tiger Cats can decide whether they want to stay or go - all with their own money.



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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:45:34

@Andrea. Love that idea.

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By Lester (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 15:53:49

Agreed, everyone who can do so please attend the council meeting on Wednesday - and in the meantime e-mail, visit or call them and say that the scalable stadium option at West Harbour and informing HostCo that it be the option to be pursued as the plan for Hamilton's portion of hosting the Pan-Am games be on the agenda for the meeting. Then, as pointed out, the Tiger-Cats can decide what to do - with their OWN money - and if they go, that idea just posted about pursuing a separate community owned CFL or MLS franchise (or both) is appealing.

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By Go GO (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 16:05:20

Interesting you mention a rally...Tigercat Rally at City Hall January 8th at 1:00 p.m.

http://forums.ticats.ca/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=63997&sid=8456f66cb0d7908b0c17acb8791f6630

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By AndreaC (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 16:14:22

Why should we rally in support of the Ti-Cats - I think it makes us look a little desperate when in reality the City of Hamilton is in the power position.

Instead, we need to rally to ensure the money earmarked for a PanAm/Hamilton community stadium gets spent in Hamilton...not in Aldershot to the benefit of the Ti-Cats.

With no public money, the Aldershot deal will be effectively dead and then the Ti-Cats will need to reconsider their options...

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By Lester (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 16:15:26

No, we mean rally at City Hall, Wednesday January 12th, 9:30 for Final notice from City of Hamilton to HostCo of City of Hamilton's intention to build West Harbour scalable stadium.

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By AndreaC (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 16:19:02

Lester

GoGO (a couple of comments above) mentioned a Ti-Cat rally.... but I agree with you!

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 16:23:14

great emails to council people..keep em coming. A high end velodrome done like the Chicago velo campus I linked to in another post alongside a nicely designed community stadium and athletics centre, along with Whitestar/Molinaro mixed use condos/shops/cafes etc..... would be a HUGE draw for new residents and more condo developers to show up and develop the lands right over towards Dundurn Park. Many modern cities draw new residents with high level athletic facilities that have public membership access along with mixed use building design. The stadium would be small enough to not overwhelm the area in it's early stages of development, but would bring in soccer, concerts, arts and other community events to enjoy the waterfront and new mixed-use neighbourhood.

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By Opus (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 16:28:59

build the small stadium to suit Hamilton's needs. Enough of this Tiger-Cat nonesense. They can at long last go pound salt. Go Cats Go...far away and now!!

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By whitehorse (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 16:34:30

@ Andrea,

By AndreaC (anonymous) Posted January 06, 2011 15:29:09

I think there are two steps here:

  1. Secure funding for a scaleable WH stadium/Velodrome/community athletics centre - we only have until February 1st (luckily the WH has been confirmed as the site of choice 7 times! since the PanAm proposal in 2003)

  2. After ensuring our funding for the scaleable PanAm stadium/Velodrome is confirmed, the city of Hamilton will be city in the driver's seat as there will be no money for an Aldershot stadium... this will be the time to make a play for a community-owned team, if this is what the residents of this city want to do.

My advice is that we should NOT mix up the Ti-Cats issue with the PanAm community legacy stadium any longer, as this is what is allowing self-interested millionaires to hijack this process repeatedly. If this is done right, all the cards belong to the city of Hamilton!


This is excellent ideas Andrea! I love them!!!

Yes, I want to join in a Rally with people who support this excellent ideas to be build a scalable stadium at the West Harbour!

  • Please think about our young Hamiltonians, the poor kids ...who will enjoy this stadium at the beautiful West Harbour.

  • Do not let the Cats controlling our city again, they can do what ever they want with their own $$$ in any city with their choice!!!

Comment edited by whitehorse on 2011-01-06 16:34:53

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By whitehorse (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 16:38:44

AndreaC quote: No, we mean rally at City Hall, Wednesday January 12th, 9:30 for Final notice from City of Hamilton to HostCo of City of Hamilton's intention to build West Harbour scalable stadium.


People who care about this should mark this Rally date down to your calendar, and contact your Ward Councilor to support the scalable stadium at W.H before the dead-line of Feb 01.

Comment edited by whitehorse on 2011-01-06 16:38:59

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By ONE P!$$ED OFF FAN (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 16:43:06

Maybe its time for Hamilton to stand up for itself. The Bob Young owned Ticats have decided to turn their backs on us, so its time to return the favour.

So far, the city has spent some $10 million on acquiring land for a stadium to replace Ivor Wynne. After exhaustive studies, many votes, and countless hours used up by city staff all to play this little shell game of having the stadium moved to Aldershot (which was Bob Young's preference all along)its time for the city to create its own legacy tenant. Seeing as the Ticats have decided to use decades old thinking to come up with a plan that most experts would agree only creates white elephant stadiums, we need to ensure that these tax dollars will provide for the betterment of the community and not just a small number of rich cronies looking to make themselves richer off the backs of the canadian taxpayer. There's a very good reason that most other cities are building their new sports complexes in their city centres. In fact FIFA's own document titled "Football Stadiums: Technical Recommendations and Requirements" states that...

"In an ideal world, the ultimate location would probably be a large city-centre site with
good access to public transport, major roads and motorways and parking that can be
used by others when games are not being played. This reduces the possibility that large
parking areas will be used for as little as 100 to 200 hours per year. A stadium with
ambitions to host international events is more attractive to event holders if it is within
comfortable reach of hotels and active commercial environments and at least one
international airport."

If there is $70 million of senior level funding available, I suggest we take $2 million of the future fund to secure a USL-1 soccer franchise and build a 12-15,000 seat stadium at the west harbour designed for future expansion. This community owned franchise could be called The Hamilton Football Club. And seeing as soccer has much more growth potential long-term, especially with our diverse population, I see soccer as being the proper tenant for our new stadium. That is what the pan am stadium will be used for anyways.

Maybe once Bob Young sells the team or makes ammends, the Ticats can be offered a nice part in the new Hamilton stadium. Part of that would require firing Scott Mitchell. As a huge Ticat fan, I am completely disgusted at the way they have crapped on our city's history with that club. It is the oldest sports club in North America, formed when our great country was only 2 years old, and they have the audacity to even suggest moving the team outside the city that it has called home for 141 years?!? Until they are gone, I will no longer consider them our club. And I guess it gives new meaning to the CFL's slogan " Its Our Game!" We're all supposed to be caretakers of that club, but if Bob Young wants to be the only caretaker, he's welcome to it.

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By AndreaC (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 16:43:12

The rally @9.30 on January 12th, was, I think, Lester's. I do not know if there was an "official" rally already or if this is just the result of this conversation.

So how do we get an "official" rally in the RTH "Events Calendar"... should I create a Facebook page and post a link here? (I'm new to these things)...

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 18:00:47

NOTE : Council meeting is Wednesday January 12 at 7PM

BTW: Confederation Park Master Plan (agenda item 8.2) discussed at General Issues Committee Meeting , Monday January 10, 9:30 AM

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 18:09:47

Nice find, rayfullerton.

Will Mayor Bratina attempt to shoehorn a Pan Am stadium and 6,000 car parking lot into the Confederation Park Master Plan on January 10th?

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-06 18:10:00

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 18:21:08

Confederation Park Master Plan Jan 10 GIC Agenda Item 8.2 http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/C0DC...

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 18:25:27

So how do we get an "official" rally in the RTH "Events Calendar"... should I create a Facebook page and post a link here? (I'm new to these things)...

To post an event to the RTH Events Calendar, you need to register a RTH user account. Once you confirm your user account, just go to the calendar and hover over the day of the event. A small "Post Event" link will appear in the top left corner of the day; just click it to get to a form where you can fill in the details.

Feel free to email me if you run into any problems.

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By Valour (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 18:33:31

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2011 at 18:56:28

@ONE P!$$ED OFF FAN

Agreed, on one condition - any Hamilton soccer-football team must be named Hamilton United, and feature a crest involving Hammers so that they may obtain a suitable nickname.

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By ONE P!$$ED OFF FAN (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 20:03:38

PXTL

I would be agreeable to that, I only suggest the Hamilton Football Club, going right back to the original name of the club from 1869, which has been hijacked from us all and taking back our history...and future

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 06, 2011 at 22:41:49

I love Hamilton United Football Club, aka, Hamilton United FC

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 02:12:06

West harbor is by far the only choice. Mitchell is a bully and should be treated as such. Bob young has always surrounded himself with people who he THINKS are knowledgeable in their field. Well Mitchell as far as I know doesn't have a diploma in sport stadium planning and design. I can't even stand to see him on TV anymore. B Y should fire him then come back to the table and join the WH bandwagon. I'll forgive him then and continue to support the Cats.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 13:28:03

Thank you so much for your site and your articles - your articles (and many of the comments) affirm that this city is filled with proud Hamiltonians. The city has tried everything to make the statium work for the TiCats and I fear the mayor (along with many on council) has lost focus. I voted for Fred and I liked his West Harbour vision. I could see the merits in the Aberdeen/Longwood proposal. With the Burlington offer in play, I can't see a better option for the Cats or Hamilton. The idea of a scalable West Harbour statium is now logical, sane, and "affordable". Throw in the veledrome and soccer/football Hamilton will be painted in a bad light for "letting" the TiCats go 10 minutes down the road, but honestly I think they're already gone. Lets see how Burlington taxpayers react when the PanAm money is not available. If private interests want to fill in the gap then all the better.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 14:03:48

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 Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 17:14:10

I actually don't have a problem with Mississauga getting a stadium for soccer. I have worked and lived there, and I think Mississauga is lacking such a venue. The Pan-Am games is a big distraction from our upper levels of government, and I for one have been taken in with the whole thing. It seems to highlight the problem of subsidiarity that Jane Jacobs wrote about. The decisions that affect us as Hamiltonians are too far removed from us. Mississauga needs a stadium for soccer/football - yet they don't get one. We need money to clean up brownfields and toxic waste, but yet we don't get it, unless we agree to spend countless dollars studying stadium sites and losing time that we could spend on other issues.

Thanks to WentworthSt., Mr. Janitor and Lawrence for making a case for IWS re purposing, because that is an issue that needs to be dealt with in a serious way. I'm not sure if it's a better option than WH, but I like the idea of planning for the eventual departure of the ticats.

Jason, I like the pix and the ideas for IWS, but how do we sell this area to new buyers, with the image of Consumer Glass/Dofasco due north in this image? (some of it, I like btw) I'm concerned about WH not meeting its potential, but I'm also worried about Barton between Wentworth and Victoria. It's looking like a war zone.

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 18:19:23

Quote from Burlington Post “I really hope Hamilton figures out a way to have a Pan Am stadium in Hamilton, because it would save us all a lot of time and aggravation.” - Mayor Rick Goldring

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 05:44:06

Ryan, that has got to be one of the worst pieces you have ever wrote, talk about a biased opinion towards the WH. Your arguments are really out there in left field my friend.
Your suggestion the cats give nothing to the city is just nonesense. If you weren't so uptight you would attend a game and see the excitment the team creates in the city.
You cannot put a $ figure on that, it is priceless.

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