The synergies at Ivor Wynne far outweigh what synergies have been constructed as justification for a community-sized stadium at the West Harbour.
By Mark Richardson
Published January 10, 2011
The more I think about Hamilton as whole entity, the more I'd prefer not to see the new 6,000 seat Pan Am stadium in the West Harbour.
I supported the full-sized stadium for WH because the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were to play there and was hopeful that the large crowds, however sporadic, would spur development of the waterfront.
A 6,000 seat stadium will do very little to bring people to the harbour. By far, most of the IWS rentals are for participants of the events only, generally with very few if anyone in the stands as spectators. With this level of attendance, a small stadium will not give the West Harbour the growth catalyst results the city should be seeking.
I also believe a scalable stadium as an enticement that the Cats will stay is a pipe dream. In Ticat president Scott Mitchell's recent statements, he continues to state that the team will never play in Hamilton again, only in another municipality.
A scalable stadium (temporary removable bleachers) certainly has merits for sporting and community events; however, it is plainly evident we will ever see the Cats involved in a Hamilton stadium, no matter what voodoo is performed.
I've read that the City estimates there would be $3-5 million in remediation costs for the WH properties in question. That is a small price to pay for reclaiming the West Harbour for Hamilton and is well within the mandate of Future Fund spending.
I also think that you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would dispute that spending FF money on parks, an amphitheatre or other waterfront attractions at the site would be a waste of money.
The place to build the scalable 6,000 seat stadium is where Ivor Wynne Stadium currently sits. The Spectator reported that a stadium at Beechwood would cost up to $15 million in city contribution. Compare that to the minimum $20 million required in city contribution just to make IWS safe for continued public use.
We could throw money into an obsolete and overly large IWS or we could construct a state-of-the-art, 6,000 seat stadium to replace IWS.
The synergies at Beechwood far outweigh what synergies have been constructed as justification for a stadium at WH. The harbour has become a node for recreation, but Scott Park has always been a node for sports performance.
What synergies exist for a stadium at a park known for rollerblading and walking, compared to a district with a pool, baseball diamonds and a rink.
As well, consider the proximity of the IWS district to the Scott Park node on the City's proposed east-west LRT line - yet again more sports and city building synergies.
Take your emotions out of this and really look at what we need to accomplish with what is coming and with what is in existence. I think you will see that we can do better for our harbour than a frequently used stadium with very, very few people in it.
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