Opinion

It's Our Time To Shine

It's time we all embrace Hamilton's 2014 Commonwealth Games bid.

By Andrew Allen
Published August 22, 2005

Monday, July 28, 2005 will be known as the day Hamilton officially entered the 2014 Commonwealth Games bid.

The 2014 Games will no doubt have an enormous impact to Hamilton. The benefits would include jobs, investments, revitalize the waterfront and the downtown core, athletic infrastructure, which Ontario badly needs, and to help the city rebound from decades of downturn to a huge boost to civic pride.

Remember when Hamilton was preparing for the 2003 World Cycling Road Championships? Some predicted that it would be a complete disaster, ranging from small crowds to frustrated motorists. Once the Games started, it was like the sparkle finally arrived to Hamilton and shifted attention away from our big neighbour, Toronto. The World Cycling Championship became the biggest success story in Hamilton, and gained revenue, with minimal problems for affected businesses, and Hamilton received some much-deserved attention from the media.

Now it's time we all embrace Hamilton's 2014 Commonwealth Games bid. Hamilton has an excellent shot at winning the domestic bid against Halifax, Calgary, Ottawa, and York Region. Hamilton's advantage over all of the other domestic bids is that Hamilton is still fresh in the minds of the Commonwealth Games Federation, the committee that awards the Games. During the domestic bid for the 2010 Commonwealth Games it was down to Hamilton and Halifax. Hamilton was praised for having great venues, which ultimately led Hamilton to win the domestic bid. Now Hamilton's bid will get even more praise with the recent construction of the McMaster sports complex and stadium.

This bid will build a new stadium which could potentially be built near the CN rail yards at the West Harbour area. This will be a catalyst for widespread environmental remediation and neighbourhood redevelopment along the Barton and Tiffany area. As well, the city could potentially receive around $500 million in provincial and federal money to help the city build better infrastructure. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to generate large amounts of provincial and federal money for our city.

I know there was some heartache when Hamilton lost its 2010 Commonwealth Games bid to India, which gave large financial incentives to the Commonwealth Games Federation, basically bribing its way to winning, but let's not allow that to dampen our spirits. Let's forge ahead and be proud that our city is taking the high road.

It's time to let Hamilton shine and show the world how great it really is. Do your part and be a great ambassador for Hamilton. Stand behind the bid and show your support.

Andrew Allen is a Hamilton resident and student at Mohawk College in his final year studying to be Biotechnology Technician.

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted None at

Hi Andrew, Your argument is well put, however I read an alternative viewpoint from, I think it was Brabant columnist Kevin Werner, a few weeks back. The commentary made these points (I'm reciting from memory here): - The Games are a waste of tax payers money - The reason the Spec supports them are cos they will produce lots of news and sell more papers - The reason all the other sponsors are on board is cos they will all make lots of money for themselves - The only reason the council backs it is cos it will win them votes - Hamiltonians will get no benefit from the games. I'm paraphrasing the main points, but that was the gist of it. The commentary made the point that, with the exception perhaps of the Manchester games, these events usually don't result in a post games economic boom. Folks go home and never come back. While they are on they cause massive disruption for the town and many small business people lose money. Their overall economic impact is often a negative one. The commentary also suggested that Hamilton needs to focus on it's budget process, and supporting it's crumbling infrastructure, rather than getting distracted with another games bid. I know this sounds like sour grapes, but I thought an alternative view point would be useful here. I'm not sure where I stand on this personally, only to say that when it comes to looking at the motives of the games sponsors, I have learned to be wary. Ultimately Hamilton's stakeholders tend to be looking out for themselves, often at the exclusion of everyone else. If someone says 'this is for the good of the community' what they often mean is 'this is for the good of me, and I've convinced myself it might be for the good of the community'. When I think about what's in it for ME, I would have to say 'not much' (except more taxes. Perhaps Hamilton really does need to just get serious with my tax money and start focusing on some of the basics of city planning. Sorry if this sounds sour! Cheers Ben

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By Judgefred (registered) | Posted None at

The points brought up by Rusty about selfish motives do make sense. Newspapers want to sell papers, politicians want to get airtime and companies want to get contracts. However, this is not entirely bad. Just because these people benefit, it doesn't mean we can't also benefit from the games. We could use federal and provincial money for new facilities or renovation of existing ones, we could use streetscaping funds, and good national coverage. If Hamilton is well prepared, diligent and creative we can gain a great deal. The games are not inherently a bad thing as long as good planning goes hand in hand with our ambitions.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted August 17, 2011 at 10:06:36

"We could use federal and provincial money for new facilities or renovation of existing ones, we could use streetscaping funds, and good national coverage. If Hamilton is well prepared, diligent and creative we can gain a great deal. The games are not inherently a bad thing as long as good planning goes hand in hand with our ambitions."

And if we had been strategizing and community-building since 2000, we wouldn't have sparked the slapstick circus that was the Pan Am stadium debate.

Even winning a Commonwealth Games bid isn't a guarantee of a shining result.

http://www.thespec.com/news/world/article/579642--hunger-strike-protest-over-crooked-commonwealth-games-sweeps-india

"The government is battling corruption allegations stemming from the murky sale of cellphone licenses and the hosting of last year's Commonwealth Games, which together lost the country as much as $40 billion, according to government auditors."

Hopefully Glasgow fares far better!

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