Special Report: Pan Am

Council votes to Study Ivor Wynne

Councillors voted to ask staff to prepare a detailed report on an Ivor Wynne Stadium rebuild, as well as to prepare a "Plan B" report on a scalable West Harbour stadium.

By Jeff Reid
Published January 13, 2011

Hamilton City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to study rebuilding Ivor Wynne as a 25,000 seat Pan Am stadium and long-term home for the CFL Tiger-Cats.

An expected dozen City staffers will now have less than two weeks to prepare a report on the feasibility of the last-minute $115 million renovation proposed by Mayor Bob Bratina and Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young.

Councillors also voted 10-6 on the motion to study a 6,000 seat scalable solution in West Harbour as the "Plan B" stadium site.

A Pan Am stadium "will happen", said Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr, who supported redundant preparations to ensure Hamilton's role in the Pan Am games.

No Fireworks

Wednesday night's meeting contained no fireworks, only a steady chorus from the council: official handling, overwhelming public interest, and the corporate and media meddling have all made a complicated responsibility even more difficult and somewhat embarrassing for us all.

Councillors Sam Merulla (Ward 4) and Terry Whitehead (Ward 8) led that charge, indicating early on they would be supporting the Ivor Wynne site as the destination for a long and difficult stadium journey.

Brad Clark (Ward 9) drew gallery applause when questioned the specific costs involved. "I want guarantees in terms of what the funding is", said Clark.

He issued his own criticism of the process, as did Scott Duvall (Ward 7), who accuses the Ticats "negotiating in the media" and remains concerned about the price tag.

Brian McHattie (Ward 1) took the opportunity to express the frustration and lack of trust felt by many Hamilton residents.

Russ Powers (Ward 13) and Tom Jackson (Ward 6) declared their support of an Ivor Wynne stadium renovation, with Jackson speaking up for a fresh approach to West Harbour development.

Judi Partridge (Ward 15) stated her complete agreement with Maria Pearson (Ward 10) on the concerns over the initial costs and the long-term tax-burden. She disagreed the word "preferred", viewed a directive for an Ivor Wynne solution.

Rob Pasuta (Ward 14) asked exactly what the oft-named-never-specified corporate contribution was to be, adding he also disapproved of the term "preferred" in the motion.

It was likely Jason Farr (Ward 2) who carried Mayor Bratina's late-game football play the furthest, with a detailed explanation of the upside he sees for the neighbourhood, the Tiger-Cats organization and the open possibilities for West Harbour.

Pan Am Countdown

Finally, with the term "preferred" removed from the motion, the vote was 16-0 for a very fast feasibility study of the Bratina-Young plan.

Once the motion for City staff to prepare a "West Harbour Plan B" report passed 10-6, Council carried out the remaining business of the evening at an impressive pace. The future for a velodrome, while mentioned at the Wednesday meeting by some, did not appear on any agenda.

The Ivor Wynne stadium site report is due back from City Manager Chris Murray on Jan 24, for the General Issues Committee meeting.

The Pan Am plan countdown clock is ticking down to the Feb 1 deadline set by Ian Troop, HostCo CEO, who expected to make a statement 10:30 am, Thursday.

Two Grey Cups

The vote came one day after Bratina and Young announced the surprise plan to renovate Ivor Wynne with a 20-year lease agreement. Young said we can expect two visits from the Grey Cup in the next 8 years in a new stadium.

Renovations would start in 2012 to the north stands, while the south stands would be completely rebuilt. The completion date would be set for sometime in 2014.

The expansion plan calls for the current stadium site plus the former Scott Park secondary school and practice fields adding at least 1,500 parking spaces.

This article was first posted on Jeff's website

Jeff Reid attended Humber College for journalism before starting an internet development firm in the 90s. As a proud Ward 3 homeowner, Jeff lives, works and has three children in school on Wentworth St with his wife Heather, in the city of Hamilton, ON, Canada. In 2010, launched Hamilton-ON.ca to expand mobile news coverage.

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By F. Granger (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 06:25:35

Jason Farr was MOST disappointing. A ward 2 councilor, and he did not ask one question. He just rambled. It was like listening to bad radio babbling. No substance. Ward 2 deserves to have had some tough questions asked. Many of us emailed him with no response. I was very surprised however of Brad Clark, who DID ask some very tough questions, as did many others. Farr, sorry, useless. Just another Cats mouthpiece cheerleader it appears.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 06:50:45

The expansion plan calls for the current stadium site plus the former Scott Park secondary school and practice fields adding at least 1,500 parking spaces.

A little confused at this. The school building has a new owner; bought for something like $800K and then had a million poured into it in renovations, if memory serves.

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By JMorse (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 07:04:15

I could barely stomach Jason Farr's gushing. Conveniently I had to leave while he was talking. And Brad Clark did surprise. He was one of only 2 councilors who replied to my latest email.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 07:15:25

re: the comments about Farr...

I watched most of the proceedings online. And I have to say how unimpressed I was with a majority of the Councillors. Even putting aside the completely unnecessary faffing about with rhetoric and back-patting (it reminded me of the campaign trail, only because it wasn't, the effect was exaggerated), the fact that there were so many bad communicators on display did not inspire any confidence.

While I won't delve into the can of worms labelled 'Farr', I will say that for me, the worst 'performance' of the evening wasn't him, but someone whom I expected a whole lot more from.

Never mind politicians getting on board with social media; clearly there's a need for many to develop their communication skills in the traditional media, regardless of whether we're talking a live broadcast of a Council meeting or some other less vaunted situation. They did themselves no favours when considering the amount of wishy-washiness that this process has produced, few could actually get their points across clearly and emphatically. I understand that these weren't 'speeches' they were giving, but they were 'presentation's of a kind, and not ones to pass any discerning muster. Never mind inspiring anyone spectating.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 07:21:36

The owners of Scott Park, actually paid $1M+. I'd hazard a guess there is a tax arrears on the property.

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By Supau (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 07:39:09

It's frustrating to see this happen. Not surprising though; that's Hamilton's stance on everything: keep status quo and never do anything daring or interesting. Just keep doing what we've been doing for the past 50 years. Because that's working out so well now.

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By Malex (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 07:41:09

I, too, was at the meeting and was shocked to discover that Jason Farr speaks in nothing but hyperbole, and in a sorta off-putting radio voice/intonation. All we needed was a couple of Black and Gold pom-poms and the Ti-cat cheerleading would've been complete. Wouldn't trust the man as far as I could throw him, no pun intended...

And can our councillors not afford to buy at least one well-made, nice-fitting suit? Tom Jackson looked like he slept in his, and could harbour a family of gypsies up each pant leg, while Farr apparently buys his suits from Omar the Tent Maker. Hamilton City Council has to be the motliest collection of politicians I've ever seen, and coming from Toronto, that's saying something!

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 08:22:43

This is pretty much the outcome I was expecting.

@Malex - I really shouldn't be commenting on fashion, but Tom Jackson always looks like that. Thirty year old, wrinkly suits...

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 08:25:30

City Manager Chris Murray informed Hamilton city council last night that Bill Senn, the Senior Vice-President of Toronto 2015 Infrastructure, estimates the cost of a 15,000 seat stadium at $125 Million in 2012 dollars.

If the Hostco/Hamilton cost split is still 56%/44% as per the original agreement, then Hostco would be required to pay $70 Million and Hamilton would pay $55 Million for a $125 Million stadium.

At their press conference two days ago, Mayor Bratina and Bob Young estimated that it would cost $115 Million to build new 15,000 seat south stands as well as renovate the north stands at Ivor Wynne Stadium. They had estimated Hostco's cost share as $70 Million with the City of Hamilton paying $45 Million.

At his press conference today, one hopes that Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop will clarify the current cost estimate for a 15,000 seat stadium (i.e. the rebuild of the south stands at Ivor Wynne Stadium, if it qualifies for Hostco funding), whether the current Hostco/Hamilton cost sharing split is the same as originally agreed to, and whether Hamilton would be solely responsible for the cost of renovating the north stands.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-13 08:29:33

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By Edith Head (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 08:26:50

I must agree with the comments above regarding Farr. I didn't vote for him, but had hopes that perhaps he might surprise us. But I'm afraid intelligence isn't exactly a description I'd use for his brain power. He looked foolish during his "speech". Does he not know what his job is about? I don't think so. Don't expect much from this councilor. Probably will go down in history as the worst case for Ward 2 in decades. I can just see it now. He has no idea what's going on, what went on, what will go on. The look on the viewers in the audience, the look on fellow collegues faces was worth taking a photo. If you weren't there, then you don't know. If you were there, you know exactly what we're talking about here. I was embarrassed for him, I believe others were too.

Had he not run (outside his ward mind you) we would have seen either Martinus or Matt in that chair... at least then we would have had some intelligent hard hitting questions for the City Manager, Staff and the Mayor.

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By JJ Jones (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 08:30:39

Now it's $125 mil? I thought the Ward 4 councilor stated over and over that it would be about 20 million for reno. Now IWS is going to eat up the entire FF plus all the Prov/Fed tax grant? What about the Velo? What about designating funds to WH? The whole thing has become a mess.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 08:53:00

You know the world is about to come to an end when Jason Farr quotes Nietzsche!

Only in Hamilton would two ex-employees of the Tiger Cats be in a position to put forward the motion to spend $115 million++ to fix up IWS for our highway access, 6000 space parking, highway visibility, entertainment development, driveway-to-driveway Tiger Cat owner. What a disgrace.

I was at the meeting too and the above posts are right on the money.

Bratina looked ashen all night long with Collins serving as Chair.

Clark did impress, as did Pasuta and Johnson. Clark, in particular, asked tough and thoughtful questions. Also he said something significant last night. He said, "If you ever thought we were in the driver's seat on this, you're wrong." He's right. The provincial government can say all they want about this being a made-in-Hamilton decision, but their actions continue to suggest otherwise.

Sam Merulla seems to actually believe he thought of this idea a year and a half ago. His mantra is no growth in the tax levy. If he's so concerned about our financial health, perhaps he could focus on reducing the budget and not treating the FF as free money - which he does. No tax increase on an already over-burdoned citizenry is not exactly what I would call a compelling goal. Just an expedient one.

Farr is a disgrace. And he's my Councillor. He needs to watch the tape and reflect on just how embarrassing he really was. You're not a DJ any more Jason. You're an elected official dealing with a $1.1 billion budget. Do your homework and prepare your remarks. This isn't a kids hockey team. Your mindless boosterism is shockingly out of place. That's what Tom Jackson is for.

Maria Pearson always has prepared remarks. She doesn't read them, but she refers to them to ensure she does not waste our time and so she makes the points she wants to make. Very professional.

Perhaps the biggest thing to come out of the circus of last night for me is that we are absolutely nowhere with the planning on the Velodrome. I mean nowhere. Chris Murray has no answers about location, cost, contingencies, etc. The velodrome shares the same deadline as the stadium. Staff is going to be working flat out to get the IWS assessment done in the next 15 minutes. What about the velodrome file?

We risk doing to the velodrome what we're likely to do with the stadium, namely accept a half-assed (or should I say half a stadium) solution to what should be a golden moment in Hamilton's history.

Some days it's tough to stay optimistic. This is one of them.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 08:57:36

Anyone have any comments regarding the accuracy of John Kernaghan's article in the Spec today, tracing the history of the PanAm Games Stadium Site Selection Process? Corrections, bones to pick?

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

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By Not alone in thinking too Farr (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 08:57:57

I'm so glad I'm not alone in my thoughts about Farr's performance last night. I went home thinking I just saw a train wreck. I felt a little sick to my stomach thinking this is MY Ward 2 Councilor. What have I done? What have I done? I voted for Farr. I apologize now to my fellow Ward 2 residents. This will be a long 4 yrs. At least (by my assumption of late) that it will only be 4 yrs.

However, I too was impressed with McHattie (bless his heart for keeping WH alive), Clark, Pearson, Johnson, even Partidge who is new to the game, but at least had a few questions to ask the City Manager.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 08:58:57

The owners of Scott Park, actually paid $1M+. I'd hazard a guess there is a tax arrears on the property.

What's fascinating to me (I'm still investigaing the purchase price) is that as of 2004, the building was valued at $9.5 million.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:01:25

Not alone in thinking too Farr

You're absolutely right. I should have mentioned the great work done by Brian McHattie. Perhaps I neglected to include him because I always expect good things from him. His motion for a Plan B was a hugely strategic addition. It may not end up helping us, but without it we have no hope.

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By To H+H (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:13:24

Nice round up and eval on the meeting last night Mr. Crawford. Right on the money!

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:13:57

Some similar sized stadium numbers:

http://www.riotintostadium.com/index2.php - 20,000 seats. $115 million http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Park... - 20,000. $98 million http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Bull_Ar... - 25,000. $180 million http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Home_De... - 27,000. $150 million

If this article is true, Red Bull put up $200 million for the MLS stadium: http://soccer-toccer.blogspot.com/2010/0...

I love this stadium the best for a Hamilton model - concert stage, good design, sports bars, lounges etc.... http://pitchinvasion.net/blog/wp-content...

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:21:42

Another note about costs. They talked last night about the fact that over 10 million has been spent on WH (since, at one time, that was the voted on and approved site by all parties before the cats started throwing tantrums).

And that 10 million needs to be paid from somewhere - likely the future fund. So that 10 mil needs to be added to the cost of an IWS rebuild since an IWS rebuild will basically cause it to be wasted.

Additionally, they had budgeted for 5 million income from the sale of IWS lands. Whether or not this is realistic is another story. But realistic or not, this has been part of their accounting the whole time. SO that's another 5 mil that needs to be accounted for.

In other words, add 15 million to all estimates for IWS. WHat a great deal!

Comment edited by seancb on 2011-01-13 09:29:40

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By DBG ward 2 (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:28:04


I have absolutely no faith in Hamilton's city counsel..
It's become a complete farce, and until a different set of individuals with a vision are elected, this city will always be doomed with an invariable attitude.
Who's really benefiting with an IWS redevelopment?
To place all that money into an area where spin-offs are going to take years to generate, if at all, is not benefiting the city..
How much is this current mayor's income being supplemented? Something very dodgy the way things shifted at the last minute with the Bratina-Young media show.
Hamilton should really be showcased in a different light then smokestacks and empty shops.
Sure it will look like a gem.. It's own island in debris!
Don't get me wrong..
Barton and Gage was were the maternal side of my family settled two generations ago when they came to this city.. Lloyd Street to be exact!
With all the pictures and stories I seen and heard, it was a different place then, and time.
We now have an opportunity to transform an area that is waiting to be polished, and to a point bring downtown a little closer to the bay..
This is OUR city, NOT Bob Young's..
The mayor should be representing us, not just one man who made a lot of money, and someone who will not always own that team..
Truly disappointing that this is getting any concideration...

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:29:07

Regarding Farr...

All of the comments here are so bang on that I have to laugh - if only to keep myself from crying.

I was at the meeting, and at one point I blurted out "this is embarrassing" - I was so overwhelmed with disappointment that I couldn't take it. I was also sick to my stomach over farr's "performance".

How in hell did Farr win? All I could think of is how much better it would be to see Jelly in that seat and bringing actual issues forward for consideration.

All Farr could muster was some sort of little league pep-talk directed at the City manager. Every other sentence was a bad sports-related metaphor. "keep your eyes on the ball", "Let's talk OT here", "Don't Fumble!"

He used the word "constits" in reference to the residents of ward 2.

It felt like the captain of the high school football team during his civics class "mayor for the day" outing.

eat em raw, councillor farr.

barf.

Comment edited by seancb on 2011-01-13 09:31:39

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:30:39

I think I commented elsewhere about Farr. His performance on the main motion was rambling and tangental, and I agree with most here that it seemed very irrelevant and unprofessional, however when it came to the "Plan B" motion, I thought he fared somewhat better.

I'm still holding out hope that he's just "finding his legs" so to speak, and will improve with time. (No, he's not my councillor.)

I though council did a very decent job, on the whole, of taking the ti-cats to task on this subject, criticizing the lack of information, public announcements/media stunts, lack of concrete contributions, and general shennanigans that have been going on since day one. Not all of them felt this way, but I think as a whole they criticized the ti-cats as strongly as they could, given their position as elected officials who still hope to work with the organization moving forward.

Bratina's opposition to "Plan B" seemed very uninformed. He ignored the fact that if we don't get IWS rennovated we will lose that stadium and its capacity to hold community events, and we will need to find another stadium for this purpose. Terry Whitehead did a good job pointing this out, and reminding council that McMaster privately owns Ron Joyce stadium, and their uses come first, with community uses coming second. A plan B was very necessary and prudent, and I was shocked that 6 councillors voted against it.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:34:03

@seancb re: numbers,

While I agree with your accounting, Merulla said yesterday, and staff confirmed, that $20 million had been budgeted for Ivor Wynne rennovations already, so I guess you'd subtract that amount from the total cost?

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By Boomer (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:36:24

For a scalable stadium, here's an example: Milton Keynes Dons Stadium in the U.K.

http://www.google.ca/images?hl=en&q=...

The stadium has a 22,000 capacity, but was built with expansion in mind. Plans call for expansion to 44,000 seats.

Comment edited by Boomer on 2011-01-13 09:42:08

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By Farr Too Much (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:50:14

Farr has a lot of growing up to do. I agree, he seriously should look at the tape from last night. His performance was quite revealing. We need a Ward 2 Councilor who is capable, honest and independent. Farr is not that person. If you have ever seen his old program from Cable 14, then you know he was unable to ask one intelligent question. He always sounded like a farmer during the Opinionator segments. However, he is a very very nice man indeed. But not civic leadership quality.

What makes a bad politician?

•Ineptitude -- Lack of judgment, will, morality and/or political acumen to effectively use office for the benefit of constituents.
•Corruption -- Use of office to serve power, self-interest or supporters over constituents
•Servility-- Lack of fortitude or independence of thought to act on better judgements

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By Malex (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 09:52:34

Yeah, I found Farr's colloquialisms a bit much, too. "Constits" made me cringe. I was also embarassed for him when he made reference to us showing the NATION that Hamilton has its sh*t together...but of course, being the pro that he is, he didn't really say "sh*t"...he stopped just short. And I doubt that the nation much cares at this point.

Can the residents of Ward 2 try and convince the city that there's been a big mistake and ask for a re-election?

Maybe his new nickname can be Jason Farr-ce?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:06:10

Robert D,

No matter which stadium location is chosen, the 20 million for renovating IWS is removed from the picture. Either we do the new "rebuild IWS" plan in which case we don't spend the 20 mil renovation (of course). Or we build somewhere else in which case we sell IWS and don't spend 20 mil to renovate.

20 mil renovation of IWS is assuming that we do not do any pan am related stadium building.

So, no, we don't add 20 mil to any alternative location solutions.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:07:07

and as I said before, saleability of IWS is a whole other issue. I personally believe it is wishful thinking, but these are the budget numbers the city has chosen to use in their decision making process.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:08:10

Or Farr-t? We could use both.

Perhaps others have additional ideas?

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:19:09

BTW, hats off to Jeff Reid for the report. Thanks for pulling this together and having it online first thing this morning. Impressive!

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:22:25

@Farr Too Much

You had me for much of your post. Farr made a mockery of the debate through sheer ineptitude and embarrassing grandstanding. I disagree with previous posters who think he just needs a bit of seasoning -- it feels cruel to say this, but I suspect Farr is a bit of a dim bulb. I read the crimes against the English language he called campaign literature a few months ago and didn't even consider voting for him. I was hoping his verbal presentations would be more cogent than his rambling, vague, and mistake-ridden written communications -- but my hopes were dashed last night.

Where you lost me was when you said Farr on his old Cable 14 show used to sound "like a farmer." I am a farmer's daughter. My observation is that while many farmers aren't smooth-talking snake-oil-salesmen types, there is often a lot of wisdom there. Many farmers manage multi-million dollar businesses and are used to making important decisions based on concrete information. Farr-like farmers wouldn't be in business long.

My only hope is that perhaps Farr realizes that he is in waaaayyyyy over his head, and will turn to other, wiser councillors (like the one beside him) for assistance. He also mention RTH last night. I feel sort of bad that he might read our comments about him, but I guess he needs to realize how abysmal his performance is. If he worked in private business, he would be fired -- at least he has a guaranteed job for 4 years.

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:24:33

The biggest flip flopper of the night was Merulla. He went from being steadfast against the Pan Am games and spending 20 million to renovate IWS and using tax dollars on the infrastructure to being a big booster of spending it all on IWS

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:30:10

@TomRobertson Agreed. He is not ok with 20 million in tax revenues but he is OK with the entire Future Fund and OUR Provincial & Federal dollars being used on Ivor Wynne. He was also very confrontational and defamatory towards the other members of Council.

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By Farr Too Much (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:30:22

@Zephyr: you are correct and "farmer" was not the correct use of the description I was trying to put across. My apologies there... I'm writing from BlkBerry.... no excuses

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:32:43

Yes, thanks Jeff for writing this up, appreciate that. Certainly I think council did the correct thing to have a look at this rather than just vote yes to the original motion. Good on Clark in this one. More details are absolutely necessary for any official decision without question.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:34:32

I'm not out to defend Farr, and I'm not in Ward 2.

But I would like to say that I would love to do a job performance review with any of the detractors after 6 weeks (when 2 weeks was Christmas vacation) on the job.

I'm sure I'd have just as much fun as you guys are having.

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By Ward2Trawler (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:36:23

I'm pretty certain that if Martinus and Matt Jelly split the 'progressive' vote in the Ward 2 race last year. Here's hoping they come together as a team next term so we can get Jason Farrrrr away from here. It's hard to stomach hearing a speech like that from a man who gets a paycheque from announcing Ticat games. Not a conflict of interest at all.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:36:57

Jason Farr plugged RTH and he tried to raise morale yet many of you here have damned him to hell! So what's that smell? Something sure stinks, has RTH become the home of rank rinky-dinks?

And then there's these comments about our councilor's fashion, so what if a few of them have fabric to ration? Look at Pearson with her too long slick black hair where if you get close enough you'll see your reflection in there. And what about Clark, the word amendment smithy, with a ring-around-the-neck that could fill a dictionary?

.Well I got news for this shrewd blueish crew, I'm unattractive too and I could care less if I appeal to you! Each one of our councilors has their pro's and con's but what is important to me is that each one knows what goes on.

I'll be going now I'm so sad I came back, maybe next time I pop BY there'll be fewer wise cracks.

Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2011-01-13 11:20:12

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By mikeyj (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:37:05

For anyone who voted Farr into our ward... How did you seriously not see this coming?

I know you recognized him from the picture box and all, but his lack of substance was apparent the whole campaign.

How about "Farrest Gump" ?

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:42:06

'Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.' Mark Twain

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By trevorlikesbikes (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:42:56

Zepher, i think you should clarify that FArr should look to the councillor on his left (not his right).

Tom, i am convinced that Terry W must have lent his flipflops out to Merulla last night.

And nothing pisses me off more than the BS politiking about thanking CUPE for showing up - i guess someone asked them to work so they thought they better grieve it to thier councillor.

Farr is indeed a farce of a councillor, Ward 2 needs a superhero like JEllyman, not a TC cheerleader in drag.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:46:04

I talked a lot of people into voting for Martinus in the election. Simply because I never was contacted by any Jelly folks, and did not realize that he was a contender! I feel so badly that the two of them split the vote... can we have a do-over for Ward 2? I am suddenly finding local politics fascinating, but can't take 4 years of Farr!

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By TerryR (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:46:40

I just moved back to Hamilton and this was the first time I bothered with watching a city council meeting. I was impressed by Brad Clark and totally embarrassed by and for Jackson and his love fest for the idea. It was worse than my niece gushing over Justin Bieber.

I didn't see the Farr speech, but I hope it wasn't as bad as it sounds since my family know his family and I was pretty excited to see him join council.

In terms of Scott Park school and the value of the property, there was quite a bit of throughout the school. This may be why the costs v value is different as the clean up is expensive with hazard suits and all of that.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:48:23

And can our councillors not afford to buy at least one well-made, nice-fitting suit? Tom Jackson looked like he slept in his, and could harbour a family of gypsies up each pant leg, while Farr apparently buys his suits from Omar the Tent Maker. Hamilton City Council has to be the motliest collection of politicians I've ever seen, and coming from Toronto, that's saying something!

Don't make me start missing Marvin Caplan! Now that man could dress.

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By hot cooking utensils (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:50:50

Can't take the heat? FARR TOO HOT? Get outta the kitchen. It's politics.

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By TerryR (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:51:53

That should say quite a bit of asbestos in Scott Park.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:57:37

Now that I think about it, weren't the numbers for 15,000 seats originally $102m?

56% being $57m ($38.5m each fed & prov) and the city at 44% would pay $45m?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:59:48

A plan B was very necessary and prudent, and I was shocked that 6 councillors voted against it.

I was particularly shocked that Johnson voted against it after her previous hard-hitting remarks.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:00:14

2 Grey Cups in the over the next 8 years. Interesting, my assumption is in the 8 years following 2015. At this point, based on conditions today - Hamilton would not qualify for a Grey Cup bid - we simply do not have adequate hotel space to accomodate that type of event. Is a potential Grey Cup enough to spur some development in the core? Will Vrancor be developing any of the vacant properties during this time period? Will any Royal Connaught project and the Hamilton Grand EVER get off the ground? Additionally, Ivor Wynne doesn't have the seating capacity for such an event. The temporary bleachers in 1996 were frightening. Does anyone have insight as to how this would unfold?

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By Malex (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:07:16

Or perhaps we could just start posting in rhyming couplets, eh WRCU2?
(Our city council are public figures and should conduct themselves accordingly; i.e., in a professional manner. This includes their appearance.)

I'm just as appalled when I see Bernie Morelli show up at a public function/ribbon cutting, etc in jeans and a sweatshirt...again, it's not on.

(sorry, none of the above rhymes, or even comes close to being a Haiku, but I think I've made my point...)

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:07:30

I'm sure I'd have just as much fun as you guys are having.

I don't think anyone's having fun here. The sentiments I've read are mostly disappointment and hope that he will improve.

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By YvesStLaurent (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:12:26

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 realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:14:16

How is it that people are upvoting name-calling? How is name-calling considered as a positive contribution to thoughtful discourse of the issues facing the city? Yes, Farr's performance was lacklustre, but if space on RTH is being used to create colourful ways of ridiculing unfavoured councillors, then this site has definitely lost its way. You okay with this, Ryan? Is this how you envisioned RTH?

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By Malex (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:17:13

I thought Bratina looked like a man who would rather be anywhere else but sitting in that meeting...his facial expression and body language alternated between a look of bemused disdain or bored indifference. And this was for his own flipping motion!!

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:18:07

I'm pretty certain that if Martinus and Matt Jelly split the 'progressive' vote in the Ward 2 race last year. Here's hoping they come together as a team next term so we can get Jason Farrrrr away from here.

OK, I'll bite; what if Mr. Farr manages to excel at his job? What will your stance be in 2014 when he's done a bang-up job?

And really, all these invectives; why don't you post an article about how the residents let you down? Cast your scorn appropriately. Not at the Councillors who were voted in, but at the people who put them there.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:21:23

Now that man could dress.

he was something of a style maven, if memory serves...

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:22:04

so, if I'm reading Mark Masters right on twitter, the Feb 1 deadline is no more?? Troop issuing a media blackout and giving the city until mid-Feb to submit final Ivor Wynne plan???

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By rednic (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:22:27

I dont know what mr farr said last night ... but in my mind if he is still collecting a pay check from the Tie cats ( & maybe even if not ) he should immediately declare a conflict of interest and not vote on this issue. The cats are basically asking for a handout and he is ( or was until VERY recently ) an employee of that organization. If he continues Matt and Martinus may well get a second chance, sooner than people think !

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:24:38

He did quit his job with the ticats shortly after the election.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:26:21

Bratina was brought in as the voice of the Ticats.

Excuse me? He is the voice of the residents of this city.

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By Rawes (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:27:44

Farr's performance was saddening. Lost interest during his ramblings. Is he on Ticat payroll still??

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:31:21

@YvesStLaurent... well I must admit those last 10 pounds of baby weight are hard to shed, but sack of potatoes is just a little harsh dontcha think :) And I can assure you that logic -- even that of the puerile variety -- was not required while listening to Farr speechify. I don't think anyone is attacking him for being positive, but rather for not being able to string together a sensible sentence let alone a cogent argument. Ward 2 didn't elect him to cheerlead for the Ti-Cats. I suspect that only a tiny minority of Hamiltonians think the Ti-Cats worthy of praise, no matter what you think we should do re: a stadium.

As for your comments on Martinus and Matt Jelly -- they reveal a lot about you. You consider people who are professional and well-spoken pompous and people who fight for the rights of others self-righteous.

@realitycyheck - agreed, name-calling is wrong.

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By LoveIt (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:31:58

Not alone in thinking too Farr,

Too bad, you did vote for Farr. I did not. The only messages he left on my phone turned me away the second I've heard.
Try to convince him now to always remove the boots hanging now and then near his beloved IW.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:36:47

Farr-Bratina-Torium.

So how much are those naming rights again?

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:37:11

Some pretty funny discussion about the fashion-sense of our councillors!! Since everything of substance has been stated by other posters, I'll comment on this aspect.

Why do councillors wear suits anyway? Why is there a dress code (if there is one)? They are there to represent their riding -- not sure about you, but even in my suburban riding, the last time I saw someone wearing a suit was at a wedding.

Show up in clean clothes and tend to personal hygiene. That should be the only mandate and/or expectation. (Personally, I think it'd be cool to live in a city where councillors showed up in jeans and a hoodie -- maybe even a cool lid, too.) The game of dress-up only furthers ideals of elitism.

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By cmc (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:39:09

I 'd have thought that Council would have more interest than it showed about the details of the mayor's discussions with the football team. What understanding do the parties have about the adjoining lands and what revenue streams are the Tiger Cats looking to establish or tap into? If I'm not mistaken, only Councillor Duvall showed an interest in these questions. Why is Bob Young but not the mayor talking about the adjoining lands? Why were almost all questions throughout the long discussion directed to Chris Murray and none to the mayor?

Some councillors spent a lot of time positioning themselves in the light of the history of the stadium debate, either expressing relief at great length over a last minute solution or remorse over a process gone wrong. Too much posturing given the time frame in which these explorations are to take place. It would have been helpful to use more of their limited time probing the details of the discussions and the mayor's understanding with the football club.

Bratina was dismissive of Clark's amendment to remove the designation of Ivor Wynne as the city's "preferred site" but it was adopted. Clark argued that the designation weakened the city's negotiating position with the Cats. Given that few questions were asked about what considerations the team's ownership might be seeking in the deal the amendment was a useful though too late reminder to Council that they are responsible for the terms of any agreement.

Maybe I haven’t been in the city long enough but I’m not a big critic of City Council. They aren't my preferred representatives but they seem like serious people trying to do a difficult job. They do waste a lot of time in debate, however, and I felt that was the case last night. Robert D. is right to note their caution about criticizing the Cats but they’d have done better to try to obtain more information and shape the city's approach than to position themselves for a final vote.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:43:20

CMC, especially in light of the fact that the mayor spent much of the election ripping Fred for having a private conversation that he didn't give details about to council.

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By JonD (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:55:11

I was disappointed when Jelly lost as well. It was an absolute case of splitting the progressive vote and I'm sure or at least hope that Mr Farr noticed the result numbers and that they will be instrumental in forming his future policies. Anything less will assure his defeat in 2014. I was impressed that Jason Farr took the time to respond to questions from RTH so quickly after the two Bobs "solution" announcement just hours earlier. I'm sure he can't wait for this stadium issue to be water under the bridge as he's acknowledged the political minefield that it is for him especially. I wish him wisdom in the decision making on this issue but reports of his performance last night doesn't give me much hope.

Is there somewhere online that his speech is posted?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:58:19

You okay with this, Ryan?

Realitycheck, I agree with your objection and would ask commenters to refrain from insults and personal attacks and try to focus on the issues. It is possible to criticize Councillor Farr's conduct without resorting to name-calling.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 12:04:14

IT is exciting to see the requests for this page pouring in from the Spectator, Provincial and Municipal government offices and the McMaster English department of all places. I'm glad to see our public and private servants keeping up with torrid events through these horrid comments.

Thanks for the realitycheck Ryan.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 12:09:47

@slodrive

"Show up in clean clothes and tend to personal hygiene. That should be the only mandate and/or expectation. (Personally, I think it'd be cool to live in a city where councillors showed up in jeans and a hoodie -- maybe even a cool lid, too.) The game of dress-up only furthers ideals of elitism."

I don't see it as elitism, I see it as repsect for the position and the people they represent. A suit isn't requiredto show respect, certainly a well prepared set of statements, questions, and arguments go a long way, but your attire should never detract from your purpose.

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By cityfan (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 12:12:52

Jason Farr is new and didn't expect to much from his speech. I didn't expect him to ask the tough question so no surprise there. He's one vote and Jason's got too many friends with the Ticats, but we all knew that didn't we.

As for the Velodrome situation. Where is that building going if it going to be a building at all. WH I'm assuming because the councilors don't seem too concerned about it. Can someone express to the council how much of a jewel this could be for the City of Hamilton and the community. The Velodrome Centre is really what I would like see bring up the city and move into the future.

Comment edited by cityfan on 2011-01-13 12:16:39

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By Steve (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 12:19:52

If you want to be mad at someone, then be mad at Jelly for splitting the 'progressive' vote. He's the one who jumped into the election race at the last minute and took Martinus out at the knees.

If Jason Farr doesn't have Jelly on his Christmas card list, he should.

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 12:34:45

@GrapeApe -- Yep, I can agree with you there.

I just think, in a lot of facets of life, we put people in quasi-uniforms based on the expectations of a certain role. Then, we complain that those in those roles only seem to continue with the status quo and are unable to formulate creative and progressive solutions. Seems like a poor use of the human condition.

(Sorry for the rant...as I sit hear at my job in attire that would get me bounced from any 'normal' office building!)

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By mikeyj (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 12:41:33

Oh no! Realitycheck told Ryan on us.

I know, i know. This page is a travesty. It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.

But so is our representation on council and I feel humourizing that is our right and duty.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 12:43:23

@cityfan

Really, the location the Velodrome should go to is within walking distance to McMaster. The former of cycling that would require a velodrome tends to start at the varsity/scholastic level. Sure it's well and good to attract existing cyclists to train there, but there is a clear need to home brew cyclists as well and would serve to add further prestige to Mac. The city can also aid in marketing the abundant bike trails throughout the area as well.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 12:44:42

I believe Brenda Johnson said IT best (loved her scarf BTW) that:

We don't know squat, and I think we need to know squat.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 12:58:21

@WRCU2:

Yeah, I did a major spit-take when I heard that.

Bless.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 13:08:35

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 13:11:09

be mad at Jelly for splitting the 'progressive' vote.

Vote-splitting is an artifact of first-past-the-post voting and is endlessly controversial.

If you look at the Ward 2 election results, you'll notice that out of 20 candidates, Jason Farr took 21.3% of the vote. Matt Jelly was a close second with 19.0% and Martinus Geleynse came in third with 10.6%.

If Jelly didn't run, who would get his votes? Of course, no one knows. It seems clear that while there was overlap among the constituencies to which Matt and Martinus appealed, they were by no means identical.

Frankly, I wish Martinus and Matt were running in different wards, because I'd love to have seen both of them end up on Council.

I feel humourizing that is our right and duty.

Fair enough. Indeed, I sometimes worry that commenting on RTH is a bit too earnest - though on balance I'd prefer to err on the side of politeness while so much of the internet remains an inhospitable wasteland of brawling trolls.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-01-13 13:11:32

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 13:13:30

Hammer, interesting to speak of prestige being added to McMaster. I remember when the new cancer centre was built for around some $45 million and shortly thereafter the "experts" wanted to move the cancer centre facilities down to McMaster. And close the only emergency on the mountain at Henderson, now Juravinski Hospital. The community reacted, Dr. Marie Bountrogianni fought hard and won. Building a new cancer centre with expensive bunkers etc. and then transferring that to McMaster at a huge cost just didn't make sense to a lot of people, and closing the emergency up on the mountain.

I respect McMaster and they add much to our city but not everything needs to be located right there. The physicians and other selected health care personnel receive faculty appointments anyways. There were other agendas going on with this situation at the time.

Now perhaps the best location is McMaster for the velodrome, I don't know. But it shouldn't go just to McMaster to add to their prestige on site there out of default.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-13 13:15:28

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 13:37:22

I can't get Whitehead to return my emails. I've only emailed him twice since the election and one was this week after the IWS annoucement asking him what about the velodrome's future? And i've not received an answer. I did email him once in the summer when he flipped-flopped his stance away from the West Harbour and I told him how disappointed I was and that it showed lack of leadership, etc, etc. I was blunt, but polite and didn't swear or call him names or anything like that. Now? I can't get a reply. Is there somewhere written where a councillor has to respond to a constituant's question?
Very frustrating!

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 13:38:02

If you take "squat" to mean "nothing," that's a double negative that Don Rumsfeld could love.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 13:40:39

jason wrote:

"so, if I'm reading Mark Masters right on twitter, the Feb 1 deadline is no more?? Troop issuing a media blackout and giving the city until mid-Feb to submit final Ivor Wynne plan???"

My interpretation is that the Feb 1 deadline stands, and that we will hear nothing until their decision sometime in mid Feb.



From http://twitter.com/markhmasters


Conference call w/ TO 2015 CEO Troop done; headlines: media blackout until mid-February + the need for Ivor Wynne details ASAP #Ticats #CFL
about 1 hour ago via web

TO 2015 CEO Troop hits back at #HamOnt councillors who criticized #PanAm organizers yesterday; 'We've been transparent throughout process'
about 1 hour ago via web

So we will know in mid-February whether #HamOnt #Ticats Ivor Wynne Stadium works for #PanAm organizers & that's only if council signs off
about 1 hour ago via web

TO 2015 CEO Troop: Ivor Wynne plan will be negotiated behind closed doors; #PanAm organization going dark until 2nd week in February #CFL
about 1 hour ago via web

TO 2015 CEO Troop: Ivor Wynne Stadium plan must have amateur-sport legacy #Ticats #HamOnt #CFL #PanAm
about 1 hour ago via web

TO 2015 CEO Troop: Ivor Wynne renovation raises lots of questions; need full proposal from city / #Ticats ASAP #CFL
about 1 hour ago via web

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 13:47:43

Ditto on the disappointment from the Ward 2 Councillor. I had to exit the meeting during his comments as well. I was underwhelmed by the content of his message, and a little nauseated by the number of sports metaphors he used.

Great job by Clark, McHattie, and Pearson. I am always impressed with McHattie, but in this case, the Clark comments were definitely worth making the trek to city hall last night.

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By scoop9 (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 13:51:24

I was at Council meeting last night, shocked to find myself applauding for Brad Clark, who asked the kind of questions that I had hoped all Council members would be asking. For someone who appears for the most part to be uninterested in what is happening in Council, he had some insightful questions/comments about the Ticats decision to rebuild IW.
Those members congratulating the Mayor for coming up with a Stadium Solution, when they had not received anything on paper were an embarrassment to their "constits". I had hoped so much more from "Mr. Grandstand", who all along talked about not incurring additional costs to the taxpayers, and there he sat, criticizing all those members who had the audacity to question this new proposal.
Patsuta also had some great comments about the Ticats being tenants, hopefully the City will keep that in mind when in comes time to renegotiate a new lease agreement with the Cats.

Comment edited by scoop9 on 2011-01-13 13:52:06

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By cityfan (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 13:52:35

@ HamiltonFan

I thought of McMaster as well as a great location for a Velodrome, maybe down by Olympic Park in Dundas. Then I heard that McMaster may build some kind of building down by the WH instead of MIP. To me based on location I think it would serve the community better to put the Velodrome down there affiliated with McMaster because of the connection with GO Transit and it's an indoor building. Just think of the average cyclist that wants to come down and train from Toronto or further. All they would have to do is jump on the train with their bike and they would arrive at James St. North Go Station steps from the Velodrome. Look at Manchester's Velodrome in England to see the effect it can have on the community. They can still make it a jewel of an area for the city. All surrounded by new residential and retail development that everyone wants. A velodrome is unique and if done right it can be such a interesting building draw to Hamilton. Hell throw Frank Gehry in the the design if you want to. Also on another note. I heard Ian Troop comment on the radio today that Hamilton must not forget that the Velodrome must be part of this final location and financial submission by the city. Hamilton city council must not be caught up about just saving the Ticats. There must be a legacy for amateur sport and city building connected to this proposal. If not we may loose it all in Hostco's final decision.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 14:07:43

Good read cityfan. And no question a legacy for amateur sport and city building is a must. I'm hoping for a soccer academy etc. and the velodrome no question. If it could be a combined velodrome/ ampitheatre super but that might be too costly.

Yes, it's not all about the TigerCats no question. And while I'm a TigerCat fan, should BY walk out of the negotiations in the next week or so when the report needs to be finalized by council, I will never go to a TigerCat game again even if they play close by.

I like the WH for the velodrome/(ampitheatre) personally as well as you state but I don't know all the ins and outs of the cycling community.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-13 14:09:08

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By mike_sak (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 14:13:58

Is there a transcript of this speech. It sounds embarrassing.

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By smitty (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 14:20:04

I agree that Farr looked unpolished and I did not vote for him for that reason.However,he did second the motion for the plan B plan.I don't know if ward 2 is in as much trouble as we were with our last radio host councilor.Bratina did not support ward 2, (plan b) yesterday and flip flopped on almost everything on the table in his term while he was here.The scary thing to me is the same undecisive representation Bratina gave ward 2 will continue in his term as mayor.Although cheesy points in his speech last night were there, at least Farr saw a need for a plan b option.It makes me sick that our mayor wouldn't support a plan B option if all else fails.Farr has already shown more sense than Bob on this issue and I'm "frightened" about that for the city.I'm willing to deal with Farrs growing pains as a councilor but 4 years of Bratina is going to HURT!!!!

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 14:30:03

My concern for Plan B is is this the wisest choice for the use of the Rheem lands? Funding won't be as much for a 5000 seater and without any immediate major tenant, I have concerns with Plan B. The Setting Sail document should be revisited. That is potential prime land at Rheem and while Clark is correct I assume that any residential or light retail etc. there means more costly cleanup than capping it for a stadium or velodrome, maybe it is wise to hold onto to that before committing to a small stadium. This is a contentious issue no question though, tough one.

But I can live with a Plan B if that's what the city chooses to do if the IWS model doesn't work out. Again as long as an amateur sport legacy results from the Plan B. I don't know if with such a stadium you could just keep it open all the time for kids to play on or if would need to be a locked stadium and rented out?

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By renegauthier (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:02:06

About Jason Farr: All that I can say is if you don't come out looking awkward in your new job, then you haven't really started your new job.

I think a lot of you need to cut Farr some slack. The man's a rookie and he's still getting a feel for his job and if he stumbles out of the block now and then, it's better now than later. Let the guy do the job you elected him to do. And if you're looking for someone to blame when feel that he hasn't represented you well enough and you voted for him, I really hope that you don't need me to tell you where to look.

Just let the man get his bearings while he gets used to his new job.

Comment edited by renegauthier on 2011-01-13 15:10:05

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:03:15

For me, it's getting extremely frustrating to hear over and over again from people that don't see the benefit of a 5-6,000 seat stadium for a City of over 500,000 people. Last night during the Council meeting it was mentioned that the number of community bookings currenlty at Ivor Wynne (non Ticat use) was close to 250. Of those 250 bookings, I would hazard a guess that most would not draw more than 5,000 people. Additionally, during football season the Ticats have restrictions on when the stadium can be accessed (understandably) and to the best of my understanding this is 2 days before and 2 days after; severely limiting community use. There doesn't need to be a major tenant - community athletic associations and high school should be sufficient to justify the building of such a facility.

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By Greg (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:18:00

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:19:58

@renegauthier

Did you hear Farr's speech? If not, I suggest you give it a listen before commenting.

Its not a question of awkwardness. The issue is that he was actively cheerleading for the Ti-Cats. He supported giving the entire PanAm games allocation to the IWS reno while paying lip service to the necessity of remediating the WH, and urged countil to press on immediately with the Setting Sail plan (with what money)? He seemingly cannot use spellcheck, cannot string a grammatically correct sentence together in written form, and cannot form a coherent thought in his speeches at council. I am not sure why he thought himself able to perform the role of Hamilton city councillor. He is taking up space in a ward where we had alternatives that would have brought fresh ideas to the table.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:24:23

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By Ward2Trawler (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:26:09

Assuming that the Ivor Wynne rebuild goes to plan, is it not a nobrainer to put the velodrome in the West Harbour? The north-end brownfields get re-developed for a good use, and its not a 25,000 seat stadium, so those residents won't have to deal with crazy crowds 9 times a year. Seems like a win-win. Has there been any discussion about this? Surely I'm not the first one with this idea.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:30:09

Ryan

I apologize for letting my frustration lead to name calling, which I did do today on an earlier post. I won't apologize for being critical, sometimes even sharply, but I do know when I've crossed the line. And I did.

Now, let me speak to the apologists for my "rookie" Councillor.

Jason Farr is new to Council. But, he's at the table where his vote affects what a $1.1 billion dollar corporation does with its money. Our money. This guy didn't just crawl out from under a rock. He did a cable show for years where he interviewed every single Councillor. Presumably, although I never saw him there, he attended and/or watched a fair number of Council meetings. He probably spoke with current and former Councillors in town. Surely, he had some sense for what the job entailed.

He's allowed to hide behind the "rookie" excuse if he's trying to understand an arcane procedural detail, for which Brad Clark seems to be the only person in the know. He's allowed to hide behind the "rookie" excuse if he's trying to understand or explain demolition-by-neglect, or the enforcement of a particular by-law. That stuff takes time to learn. I will give him that time.

Where he isn't allowed to hide behind the "rookie" excuse is when he is simply communicating an opinion. He's been a professional communicator for his entire working career. He's not 19. He has been a paid, and mostly volunteer, master of ceremonies for years. He's not a rookie talker. What we saw last night was someone who did not spend any time thinking about, and obviously no time preparing, what he was going to say. When he was on radio, he had to fill hours of air time and precision of language didn't really matter. You just talked.

When you've chosen to be a Councillor in the City of Hamilton, you have to be held to a higher standard. Lest you think I'm just picking on poor Jason, these comments are from one of his constituents, so I feel entitled to comment. I did not vote for him, but I do respect the fact that he got more votes than my preferred candidate. If other people think there are other Councillors worthy of such criticism, be my guest. IMHO, not only do we have a budgetary gap, we also have a professionalism gap. And let me be quick to forestall anybody who comments that if I know so much, I should have run. I don't want to be a Councillor. I didn't run. They did and did. That was their choice. I've made mine.

So, should we cut him some slack? We can if we wish, but the fact remains that his embarrassing ramblings communicated a lack of lucidity, preparedness, focus, and respect for not only his constituents, but also for his Council colleagues and other citizens. Since he loves to use sports analogies, as evidenced by his chatter last night, permit me to do the same.

This is the big league Jason! I was tired of hearing you claim rookie status the second time I heard you say it. Given that this is now the umpteenth time I've heard it come out of your mouth, my advice is to give it a rest. That's like saying I'm the rookie Executive Vice President when you sit around a boardroom table. It's just not done, even if it's true.

So, we're not only going to build HALF a stadium with ALL of the money, but we're also supposed to feel sorry for Jason because he wasn't prepared to do his job, using a skill he supposedly possesses already? When are we going to raise our own bar and demand better? I, for one, am fed up with this substandard crap.

Apologies for the rant. For me, it's a really bad day in the Hammer. I'll get over it. Promise.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:31:17

Its a no brainer if you believe in a Velodrome being able to be a benefit to the community no matter where it sits. Like the 5,000 seater proposal the devil is in the details of its stand alone value

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:41:18

"It's hard to stomach hearing a speech like that from a man who gets a paycheque from announcing Ticat games. Not a conflict of interest at all."

I thought he had announced that he had quit. Please, can someone confirm that he hasn't.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:42:33

@realfreeenterpiser

Farr confirmed to me via email that he quit shortly after his election to council.

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By Russell Dunlop (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:46:33

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 15:54:58

many don't see any benefit in building a 5,000 seat stadium when other facilities we already have can and do fulfill the purpose of one.

The point of bidding on the Pan Am games was to get some funding for some new, municipally owned sporsts infrastructure. I respect anyone's opinion that does not support the Pan Am games. However, we DID bid on the Pan Am games and I personally feel that the high school and amateur athletes in this City deserve a top notch facility. A community stadium is not going to be a revenue generator, but it can be a desirable amenity. The scalable stadium idea was launched as a solution to the fact that the Ticats said they were not going to play @ Ivor Wynne after their lease ran out and went knocking on other doors for a solution that suited them. Were the Ticats ready to pack up and leave, most certainly our existing stadium would be knocked down. Apart from Ivor Wynne (derelict) there is no other stadium that offers community use. As so many others before me have stated, Ron Joyce Stadium belongs to McMaster, not the City of Hamilton.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 16:06:18

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 16:08:13

I was politely corrected here by some ward 2 folks for criticizing Farr. They said he had been present at some community meetings and was genuinely interested and engaged with the 'constits'. So, I responded and said I will keep a more open mind towards him and be patient with his learning curve. In that spirit and promise I will say I am disappointed in his being a Ti-Cat 'Huckster', however once this issue is resolved let's hope the very new councilor reads the criticisms here and learns to address council in a more professional manner.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 16:10:50

I have a nostalgic tie to the Ti-Cats. Although born in Ottawa, my dad raised me to be a Ti-Cat fan. I now attend a couple of games a year, and enjoy them for old-times sake. But the more I think about how much use a community stadium/velodrome and proposed athletics centre would get, the more sense it makes. Consider:

~ an estimated 500,000 people already visit the WH parks. Many rollerbladers and now ice skaters at the new rink. This development would build on the momentum that is already there. ~potential for world-class cycling events ~ potential for high-performance amateur cycling athletes to base themselves in Hamilton, much as Canada's speed skating team is centralized in Calgary ~ potential for a beautiful stadium for Hamilton's students to use --creating wonderful memories of the WH as the community's playground. ~potential for a minor league soccer team to be attracted to an area that is already Soccer Central in Hamilton. Witness the impromptu street parties centred on James St. N. during the World Cup and Euro Cups.
~potential for community soccer teams to use the stadium ~potential for music events -- the WH can become a destination sort of place. People can go here instead of going to Toronto to spend entertainment dollars ~cover the stadium and we have year-round potential ~and of course there is strong potential for private spin-off investment

If we have to sacrifice creating a community playground on our WH in order to keep the 'Cats, the sacrifice is disproportionate to the contribution of the 'Cats to our community. They had a chance to be part of the vision.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 16:13:13

That's what I've been saying all along Zephyr.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 16:20:16

What we need for amateurs is a high quality 2,000 seat facility, one that can be built without Toronto2015 money

Keep thinking big! :-)

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By Turn u'r head n'cough (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 17:00:28

Check up time folks. Yes, too bad regarding this Ward 2 Councilor. Now that we've aired that one, time we started to hit a little harder on the Mayer. He is the who brought this latest fiasco to City Hall. Bratina really has no shame. That staged photo op is truly insulting. This council can still prove to us that THEY are not so gullible and self-serving. As one editorial stated via the Spec; "How can a site deemed by its main tenant as financially unworkable all of a sudden be a good business venture?" What a con job. This is not a qualified Mayor and Ward 2 Councilor. Scared? You should be. As Brad Clark says, we are just now starting to see who really IS holding the puppet strings here. We just might have been duped all along.

Was Mayor Bratina ill last night. He sure seemed rather silent.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 17:13:19

Whether it's Bob Young, Jason Farr or Bob Bratina - if you don't want public scrutiny, don't take positions of power over the public. These people are not only spokespeople, but also decision-makers. It's not about their beliefs or opinions, but about their actions and how those actions affect us.

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By bobinnes (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 17:18:54

Very worrisome development. Time is running out to stop this spending madness and get our house in order. My reasoning is posted at my website.

Nice site Jeff Reid has. Another good reason to dump the Spectator (and their ilk), which is to my mind, the penultimate cause of most of our miseries.

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 17:31:01

@bobinnes The Spec and CHML...and of course the Cats' themselves are all to blame for this.

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By Sky (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 17:32:45

Some very valid comments on here today !

My concerns for Ivor Wynne is the amount of money we will be spending!

History has shown, even prior to Bob Young owning the Ti-Cats, that this location did not generate enough revenue to make money...So how will renovating it, change that?

Judi Partridge asked a very valid question...What do the football games generate in revenue for the City ie Tourism dollars, 'spin offs' ? The question could not be answered! Why? I would have thought that considering everyone knows that IW loses money that surely there was a positive side to this...I do not understand why we would throw more money into a losing venue.

Maria Pearson, hit the issues head on too, with the exception of City Staff's work...then again I could be wrong there...if nobody from Council has directed them thus far to get the hard facts on what we make at Ivor Wynne or the games, I guess it is not Staff's fault...

So we rebuild a stadium, and spend money ~ while under construction we lose the income as well.

I may get voted off on this comment but, I never agreed with WH...I have read every report done for that site and can't see it doing any better in the long run...Setting Sails was against it, The Veledrome Plan was against it, The official Plan was against it...I don't know why we keep spending money on reports and then go against the recommendations...

I was sincerely hoping for way better to start of 2011, I really hope that I am wrong because if not, nobody wins.

For the record, I am not pro or anti Ti-Cat/Bob Young/Sports...I am pro on moving our City forward without the burden of continueosly burning money...HECFI, The Farmers Market, Wild Waterworks...all of them, we subsidize...

Who in their right mind, spends even $20,000.000,00 on a venue when the major Tenant pays
$26,000.00 in rent? I am curious to know how much revenue we receive from the other 250 'renters'.

For us to enjoy a Stadium that is accessible to our Highschools, amatuer sport leagues, and citizens, it still must be able to carry itself...IMHO anyway.

Danya

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 17:37:23

You guys have a point. Maybe it's in the best interests for council to say no to any proposal for IWS. And hey, even though it's Bob Young 5 and Daryl Katz 0 with 2:00 in the last period and Daryl has to think quickly if he should pull his goalie and win and "save" the WH for a stadium precinct combined with an NHL team as some dream of, and not lose to a weaker opponent, at least if they vote no to IWS the mythical dream is still alive. Dreams are important I will admit for many. ;)

Maybe Bob needs to be eliminated to keep "the dream" alive in some sense?

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-13 17:46:33

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 18:00:13

Folks, the Spec has a poll asking if you support the IWS proposal. Would make it a more "balanced" poll if the RTH posters also voted: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

I am all for a WH solution. I would even support an IWS refurbishment if it stipulated the WH lands were redeveloped. I agree the the velodrome is being over looked and it's probably the real jewel when it comes to fostering amature athetics. I don't think people really know what a rare facility this would be in North America.

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-01-13 18:04:21

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By bobinnes (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 18:08:22

Thanks for the link GrapeApe. Interesting that the Spec's question mentions $115 million, not 120 or 125 as stated at council. Maybe next week it will only be 110! Real snake oil business, that rag.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 18:17:37

I'm sorry, but I had to upvote Russell Dunlop's comment. It's nice to have 12 year olds on here engaging in their city. Plus, it literally made me LOL

Comment edited by jason on 2011-01-13 18:18:02

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By Shmetting Sail (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 19:03:55

Yes residential is a great idea for west harbour. As is/was recreation -which a stadium conists.
Half recreational/half residential. Mix-use? Crazy!

All you Setting Sail supporters, ask yourself this: WHERE ARE WE GOING TO GET THE MONEY TO CLEAN UP THE WH IF THE TICATS STEAL 100% OF THE PANAM/FUTURE FUNDS???

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 19:08:50

Shmetting, I've heard bake sales and used book sales do quite well sometimes. That's a start. And a car wash but it's a bit cold for that I suppose at this time of the year. LOL

Sorry, couldn't resist. ;)

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-13 19:09:47

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By anonymous (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 19:19:51

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but kudos to Brad Clark!!! Holy Crap, finally, a councillor who seems to have a grasp on many of the difficulties that we face here. I couldn't believe it when he finally clarified, hopefully for all you Setting Sails proponents who think we can just throw a bunch of low rise residential down in the west harbour...there is a BIG difference in cost between remediating that toxic wasteland for a stadium project and for residential. If they somehow railroad us all into this completely irresponsible Ivor Wynne rebuild, we better fight like hell for that velodrome. I'm not ready to wait for another project big enough to help clean up this mess.

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By whitehorse (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 19:33:13

Can somebody answer these 2 question for me?

  • Is the T-Cat trying to steal funding $$$ from our Pan Am project when they rebuild the IWS?

  • Is our residential property tax will be increase after they rebuild this IWS rather than building a scalable stadium at the West Harbour with the existing funding???

Thank you!

Comment edited by whitehorse on 2011-01-13 19:34:49

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 19:37:26

Not sure whitehorse but it's interesting the word 'steal'. Because normally when someone steals something, they do it in private where they don't want anyone to see. But to do it in public and get caught, well, that would seem a tad daft to me, now woudn't it?

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 19:38:35

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 20:17:34

You're right HamiltonFan - theft done in public with threats isn't "stealing", it's "robbery".

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By trevorlikesbikes (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2011 at 20:35:58

Let's say this albatross gets 1/2 rebuilt on the IWS with all the FF money, which is a deplorable thought. And lets say that it's semi successful and as a result property values go up.
Can the owners of the houses in that area afford to see their property taxes go up as a result of generous reassessments? Now i know your saying "MPAC would never overvalue an assessment." So there's my thought. Now i'm not going to scream gentrifications cause i really truly don't believe that this giant shartnugget can do that in that area. I speculate (like the thespec.com does every day) that the property values will go up enough that the taxes raise well but not enough to make it worth moving from the area (when you factor in realtor/legal fees.)

WH however when you combine a velo or community stadium with the waterfront and sailing and all that would be a true speculators gold rush.

Looks like either way i'm moving.

IWS - outta hamilton proper

WH - to the WH no doubt

Comment edited by trevorlikesbikes on 2011-01-13 20:36:23

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By Sky (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 20:48:12

To try and answer a very valid question from Anonymous...

Brad Clark was huge last night with many of his comments, I did choke on his analogy of the contaminated brownfields "cap vs. dig and dump"...

I am not an engineer and respectfully hope that someone can correct me if I am wrong...

Even a Veledrome would have to have footings...the higher the building, the deeper/wider the footings...Footings require digging.

Working in a concrete/soils/ashpalt testing equipment business (in the old days) leads me to believe that the areas that are contaminated would require a full Environmental Assessment. Then, depending on the degree of contamination, would require a possible perculation period, prior to dirt being disturbed...this period could range from months to years before the dirt can be excavated...huge money to boot.

My understanding of 'capping' is paving over the said area...Again, I believe an EA is required and then very specific site surface remediation and materials can be used...

I could be wrong, but if not, then what ? I could not find where this had been addressed by Council!

So in essence, we could end up being told by the Ministy of Environment, hands off or yes, you can pave it and nothing more...

Sorry to be on the negative side of this but I have had major concerns about this scenario arising and us becoming no farther ahead, and more money down the toilet.

Danya

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 20:56:40

Love this link : http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/473742--burlington-councillor-feels-used-by-cats

So true, Bob Young diden't even bother to spit on his d*ck before f*cking them in the ass.

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By J. Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 20:59:29

Encapsulation is very viable. And has been used several times over in cities around the world. I was directed in another blog post that the White Star Group have a study/report on their web site called the "Venetian Plate Concept": Report by Chamberlain Architect Services Ltd. It makes for an interesting read.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 21:15:27

Here is a link to a news item by Emma Reilly on thespec.com tonight reporting that four Hamilton city councillors (Terry Whitehead, Jason Farr, Lloyd Ferguson and Robert Pasuta) had an informal breakfast meeting this morning with Patrick LaForge, president of the Edmonton Oilers, to talk about the Pan Am stadium, the NHL, and the future management of Copps Coliseum: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-13 21:16:57

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By Sarah (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 21:25:06

I emailed Merulla regarding what I thought was a flip flop but in actuality he was the only one to propose Ivor Wynne and he responded with a novel

Sam Merulla said: Many thanks for taking the time to provide me with your input. From my perspective the foundation of the problem is that the Toronto Pan Am games bid has been fueled by emotion and based on wants rather than needs of our community. The original purpose was to create a legacy for amateur sport first and foremost and now it is simply providing a new stadium for the private for profit Ti Cats without any city. building characteristics. My contention has always been that if the Ti- Cats cannot afford the old stadium how would they afford a new stadium? Well the answer was provided by the Ti Cats with the East Mountain proposal and now Longwood which changed the original purpose to simply creating a legacy for the Ti- Cats and a potential professional soccer team in partnership with a private developer(s). This relationship with the developer(s) is what in essence allows the Ti- Cats to become sustainable but only leveraging public dollars and with a capital deficit of approx 120 million which benefits the Ti- Cats and developer(s) but not the local taxpayer.

Therefore the issue of sustainability is only realistically addressed at Ivor Wynne and the business challenge of the Ti-Cats is to fill the nearly 30 thousand seats available to them at a publicly subsidized Ivor Wynne. The issue of a new stadium is not the answer to the Ti- Cats sustainability. The issue of sustainability is addressed in providing a product on the field that creates a demand for tickets and the necessary revenue to become and remain sustainable. Therefore a renovated Ivor Wynne and a sold out stadium for all Ti- Cat home games is the answer and the most prudent initiative for all to pursue which is not what some people want but I believe that is what they need.

I believe we need to focus on priorities that matter e.g. Manufacturing Jobs, 2 billion dollar infrastructure deficit , 146 million dollar provincial downloading crisis and 20 percent poverty rate. My position has always been the same and that is the fact the Pan Am games and stadium is the mother of all unfocused priorities. I've attached the proceeding comments for your perusal surrounding this fiasco I had written during the summer months:

Bottom line is a vote for West Harbour is a vote for Ivor Wynne due to the criterion that money will only be allocated to a site with a long term tenant. Keep in mind West Harbour has a capital deficit of approximate 50 million dollars and millions more in operating thereby creating an environment of an ultimatum from the Province and the Feds due to the preceding criterion.

A vote for the urban sprawl option on the East Mountain is a vote for a stadium that is underfunded by approximately 120 million dollars deeming it unaffordable to the taxpayer but with a tenant.

Therefore the only viable option left is the renovation of Ivor Wynne which can accommodate soccer and a sustainable tenant that has played at Ivor Wynne since 1930. Anything but Ivor Wynn is a pie in the ski option and a travesty to the hard working people of the City of Hamilton. This unmitigated disaster could have been prevented had my request for due diligence been pursued back in February of 2009. Although I didn't support such a unmitigated ill prepared initiative at least we would have known then what we've confirmed now that this unfocused priority will victimize the taxpayers of this city.

Furthermore the proceeding was my statement issued in June.

Merulla: No Stadium Support Just trying to make the best of the Pan Am Fiasco

I have clearly and consistently stated I am not supporting  a stadium.

 To date I have only supported a study to compare the two sites and not to endorse either location.

Moreover, as you should know, I did not support the expenditure for the stadium nor do I plan on supporting the forthcoming recommendation from the Future Fund Committee. Having said this it was incumbent of me to attempt to make the best of a very bad decision to build stadium. Furthermore the East Mountain site was the best case scenario for the taxpayer due to the fact the Ti-Cats absorb the present subsidy and operating costs. They were also putting 15 million dollars toward capital. The private sector was expected to provide the additional 35 million dollars as promised.

West Harbour development and LRT are still moving ahead and were actually planned prior to the Pan Am fiasco through the Setting Sail Plan. I've always argued that we need to govern based on needs and not wants and I was ridiculed for my position on the stadium when I didn't support the financing in February, 2009. Instead I was focused on what Hamilton needs sewers, roads and bridges. I did need to attempt to protect the taxpayers and the East Mountain site would have mitigated the financial hit on residents. Moreover, the private sector is apparently not contributing the additional 35 million dollars necessary at the East Mountain site and to date we have no private sector money for West Harbour as well as no tenant . I would hope council would support my position to upgrade Ivor Wynne as per the 2007 plan of twenty million dollars over twenty years for generations to come which in essence is a third option which I have always supported.

Lastly its important to understand that the provincial and federal monies are conditional based on sustainability of a long term tenant. Therefore, the monies are being channeled through the Ti-Cats rather than the City which compounds the absurdity of this unfocused priority.

As you should know, I have always been very concerned about wasteful spending at city hall and creating an environment conducive to increasing assessment growth. I believe there are workable solutions available that will enhance governing based on our needs rather than wants. I would like to see our City of Hamilton attract and retain business in a sustainable manner.

We need to continue to find a balance between greenfield and brownfield developments in an attempt to provide a diverse environment of opportunity through employment lands.

The most significant motivation in my seeking office has always been my desire to help anyone who needs it. I have been in public service for twenty years from working with people with disabilities to substance abusers and troubled youth to serving the great people of Hamilton East, Ward 4, and as a whole, the City of Hamilton and there is no better feeling then advocating change and seeing it legislated.

My focus has been and will continue to be eliminating the two billion dollar deficit in hard infrastructure (i.e. Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant, roads, sewers and bridges). Continue to pursue successful redevelopment of East end neighbourhoods through infill/brownfield developments (i.e. Lowe's at Barton and Woodward, Princess Auto on Barton, Seniors Centre at Main and Cope, Greyfield developments on Ottawa St and Kenilworth, Barton, King and Main Streets).

Furthermore I am focused in continuing to create a climate of investment such as Ward 4's The Centre on Barton, Crown Point Medical Arts building on Kenilworth, redevelopment of the old Derby Tavern to Rexall Pharmacy and the future Native Cultural Centre on Kenilworth. Lastly, I am very proud of the future park development at Rennie/Brampton Streets (Rennie St. End Use) and the creation of a new pedestrian/cycling bridge which will allow Ward 4 residents to safely connect to the city's waterfront.

City Council must focus on emerging problems (i.e. the need to increase industrial and commercial investments; thereby, increasing tax revenues without impacting residential taxes or front line services). We must be far more aggressive in uploading the tens of millions of dollars that the Province of Ontario downloaded to the City of Hamilton in terms of mandated programs and services without the necessary funding which deems it NOT revenue neutral and has cost the municipal tax payer in Hamilton $1 billion over the past decade or $146 million dollars, which impacts our operating budget.

The successful conclusion to the downloading crisis will allow council to function in a manner conducive to focusing in our needs and actually put the city in a position to assess a tax decrease of nearly 25 percent. We must determine who does what and who pays for what in our relationship with Ontario. We must do this in consultation AMO and FCM thereby renegotiating our agreements with Ontario to ensure a progressive form of taxation at the municipal level rather than the regressive nature that exists presently.

Moreover Hamilton has lost too many manufacturing jobs as a direct result of globalization. We are attracting employment such as Canada Bread, Tim Hortons and more but much more must be done to aggressively and proactively promote Hamilton as a leader in providing opportunity which is the answer to the poverty issues and infrastructure redevelopment. My strong support for PRO business initiatives such as the Red Hill Valley Parkway and airport employment lands will be instrumental in the growth and repair of this great city of ours in the future. We need to continue to find ways to balance greenfield and brownfield developments in an attempt to provide a diverse environment of opportunity.

The important distinction is the fact we are now fully renovating Ivor Wynne without losing assessment growth with city building characteristics, an anchor tenant and doing so without a 35 to 120 million dollar deficit.

Also the total city commitment to the new satdium plan is approximately 20 million more in capital than the 2007 renovation plan however this plan has no general levy impact as a result of using the Future Fund. I am working on eliminating the 1.3 million dollar annual subsidy provided to the Cats thereby mitigating the tax impact significantly and maintaining the Pan Am Games and obtaining a new stadium with a sustainable tenant.

Hope this helps.

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 21:49:40

So much fodder for comment between last night's Council, today's RTH and, of course - the issues at hand.

I heard the $110-million figure go to $115-million, to $120-million, to $125-million - last night alone. (sigh)

Farr, despite his fondness of the Cats, voted for Plan "B." Any councillor that didn't acted irresponsibly. Farr also agree to the RTH interview. Johnson voted again Plan B because she's entirely against anything to do with the Pan Am Games.

Clark, Pasuta, Pearson, Partridge and Duvall were lovely surprises. McHattie delivered, as usual. Morelli and Whitehead truly sound authentic; all I can do is report my observations. Merulla started off very sincere and eloquent, but became smug to the point of silly, and inappropriately and inaccurately berated Pasuta. Powers was the only one who brought attention to the amazing opportunity that Hamilton has been awarded through the Pan Am Games, by pointing out all the other Pan Am components, some of which I wasn't even aware of. No one pointed out the city-building benefits whatsoever, and although there were some great questions asked, there wasn't nearly enough of these great questions asked. As mentioned last night and on this thread, "the devil's in the details." I can't blame them for publicly airing their frustration; "flawed process" is an understatement. Their frustration and humiliation seemed sincere.

The commenters on this thread upvoted for councillors to wear jeans & hoodies amid upvotes for cruel fashion critiques. Credibility and substance far outweigh the importance of attire.

We need to throw a whole lot of light on the Velodrome issue. If we don't get a chance to show off our harbourfront to the world via the Pan Am Games, we are losing an invaluable marketing opportunity. I don't know anything about velodromes except what I've read on RTH, but Council needs to get this info and options and costs freakin' pronto.

If TO2015 turns down IWS, I feel it's their "out" to omit Hamilton altogether from the Pan Am Games, because at that point we would be submitting all over again, from the beginning, against other municipalities, for a 5,000-seat stadium proposal. (heavy sigh)

I feel the only credible source in regards to what sized stadium would best serve Hamilton's concert needs are the concert promoters - the local promoters, out-of-towners, and LiveNation. Personally, would love to see an outdoor concert venue at the WH as a result of these Games.

I emailed Council twice yesterday - once just before they met, and after I'd left the meeting. I received personalized responses from Pearson, Clark and Partridge. I'm sure I'll hear from McHattie, too; I usually do.

Meanwhile, I suspect that there is already SO much in place that we don't know about (monolithic understatement). Personally, I want to see the Cats stay in an acceptabley renovated IWS, an anchor structure @ the WH so that we can reap the maximum benefits to the community, and take full advantage of having an international spotlight on us. I will support the Pan Am Games in whatever way I can once our direction is clear...I just hope they're still happening here.

As for Ryan's input in this thread - thanks for continuing to be the voice of reason.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 22:04:55

@trevorlikesbikes,

A redone IWS will not increase any property values in the adjacent neighbourhoods.

Why would it? There's been a stadium there for 80 years already. New or old, it's a stadium and if anything it would lower values, i.e. who wants to deal with crowds, parking issues, drunks, etc.

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By ImproveTheHammer (registered) | Posted January 13, 2011 at 22:40:42

History has shown, even prior to Bob Young owning the Ti-Cats, that this location did not generate enough revenue to make money...So how will renovating it, change that?

The number of luxury boxes will be increased. Luxury boxes are essentially non-existant at the existing Ivor Wynne. Boxes have high profit margins -- which is why all modern facilities have them.

I would assume concession areas will be modernized and improved. Leading to higher concession sales.

Ticket prices will increase -- which isn't just price gouging. A comfortable seat with a seat back is worth more than a bench seat on a wooden board.

Capacity will increase, with a greater chance of filling to capacity. Something about modern structures, amenities, concessions and parking will encourage people to come out.

Grey Cup revenue. The CFL likes to show off its new(er) facilities (which I guess is true in all leagues). Hosting a Grey Cup is usually a license to print money (provided we ignore the fiasco of 1996).

Who in their right mind, spends even $20,000.000,00 on a venue when the major Tenant pays $26,000.00 in rent? I am curious to know how much revenue we receive from the other 250 'renters'.

For us to enjoy a Stadium that is accessible to our Highschools, amatuer sport leagues, and citizens, it still must be able to carry itself...IMHO anyway.

You're too logical.

But it is all to common for municipal owned facilities to operate at a loss. Swimming pools, parks, soccer fields, velodromes, libraries, baseball diamonds -- almost all of them cost more to operate than they take in from facility rentals or user fees. Hockey rinks might be the only exception ;).

Comment edited by ImproveTheHammer on 2011-01-13 22:46:55

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 00:16:24

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 George (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 00:47:55

Before the link disappears from a post being downvoted...

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

According to Craven, the Tiger-Cats stated they had good contacts with the province and that the province was working with them.

“I guess in looking back, I do find it difficult to resist the feeling that we were used, but it wasn’t the feeling at the time,” Craven says.

Comment edited by George on 2011-01-14 00:49:43

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 08:29:02

At the Hamilton city council meeting this past Wednesday, City Manager Chris Murray said that twelve people from his staff are working on the Pan Am stadium issue which is now into its final week or two.

It is concerning that the City of Hamilton has spent almost a year of time negotiating with Bob Young and Scott Mitchell and that, rather than making any progress, the city actually is in a far worse position than it was when the negotiations started. While it is hoped that an agreement of mutual benefit to the City of Hamilton and Bob Young can be reached, it is difficult to be optimistic.

Given the extremely tight deadline the city now has to put the Ivor Wynne Stadium refurbishment plan and the alternate West Harbour scalable plan stadium together, one hopes that Chris Murray can allocate a few people from his twelve person staff to focus on making sure that the alternate West Harbour scalable stadium plan can compete successfully against the Mississauga and Brampton stadium plans should the Ivor Wynne Stadium plan prove to be unworkable or unacceptable to the City of Hamilton and/or Toronto 2015.

Hamilton's plan for the community-size West Harbour soccer stadium alternative should include, among other things, information about the Code Red series in the Hamilton Spectator stressing the need for improved health and fitness in the lower city, the fact that Ron Joyce Stadium is heavily used by the intra mural and inter mural teams at McMaster University, a commitment from the Canadian Soccer Association and local community sports group to use the stadium in a meaningful way, information about the opportunity to remediate 23 acres of brownfield in the north end of Hamilton, and information about the successfully remediated Bayfront Park and Harbourfront Trail near the west harbour stadium site.

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 08:32:59

I love it... dare I disagree with West Harbour and I get my comment hidden... and people rave about this website?? At least on thespec.com, you need like 15 'offensive' clicks to get your comment omitted. But here, because 5 people disagree with me, my voice is no longer heard?

Just a West Harbour dictatorship here. This website should be called 'RAISE THE HAMMER AND SICKLE'.

Comment edited by mb on 2011-01-14 08:42:44

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 08:42:00

mb, we are Borg, resistance is futile, you will be WH assimilated!

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-14 08:42:55

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By George (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 08:42:30

I still see your post with 6 downvotes.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 08:45:59

Give it a rest. At least one pro-Confederation, and several pro-Ivor Wynne articles have been published on this site, and there is nothing stopping you from submitting one of your own.

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 08:46:53

So why does it get 'hidden' if people can still see it?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 08:51:16

Since you are registered, you can set your comment threshold to display all comments, and if I'm not mistaken, comments never completely fade away even for unregistered readers.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 08:51:57

True enough highwater, I think that is why I do keep coming back, while a bias is here IMHO, there are other viewpoints that the RTH do write about.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 14, 2011 at 09:02:08

So why does it get 'hidden' if people can still see it?

A comment that receives lots of downvotes is progressively faded as a visual representation of the community's assessment that the comment is inappropriate, according to the site's comment voting guidelines. The purpose of comment fading to establish a shared awareness that the comment is inappropriate so that commenters don't feel compelled to post comments in response and clog the comment area.

Please note that comments are faded but never removed (we do delete obvious spam). No one can prevent anyone else from seeing a comment, so the accusation of censorship is false.

Your earlier comment in question was likely downvoted because:

  • It makes an accusation of bias without articulating any evidence of said bias. Arguing in favour of a conclusion that best fits the evidence is not "bias".

  • It conflates driving through the downtown with driving to the downtown, an issue that has been addressed extensively in a number of articles.

  • It rehashes the many-times-refuted "Bob Young is a businessman" argument in support of entirely public funding for a private enterprise that provides little public benefit.

  • It maintains a sarcastic tone throughout, including closing with the "keep drinking the kool-aid" cliche.

Naturally, you are welcome to your opinions. Likewise, others are welcome to their opinions on your opinions, and comment voting is one way to express that. Again, your comment is only de-emphasized, never hidden or deleted, so there is no censorship.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 09:04:33

It's not a 'bias', HF, it's a consensus. Unlike many mainstream media outlets who hide their bias (even from themselves sometimes - deluding themselves that their he said/she said journalism makes them 'objective'), this site is upfront and unapologetic about it's urbanism, and of all the various sites that have been bandied about, WH happens to conform best to urbanist principles, so it's not surprising that the sort of people attracted to this site would show a preference for WH. It's ridiculous to conclude from that that there is a conspiracy to silence anyone.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 09:37:29

"WH happens to conform best to urbanist principles"

This is a simplistic statement. There are so many factors involved and are you speaking of stadiums, velodromes, ampitheatres, residential uses, cleanup, retail uses, past documents that have "studied" what urbanist principles are and so on. Far too simplistic.

What I would like to see is a meta-analysis done of all the various studies that have concentrated on a particular question dealing with the WH. If not sufficient evidence can be found for the specific question, then the issue is open to debate as to what is "best" for the WH in that aspect.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 14, 2011 at 09:41:37

Yesterday, Premier McGuinty said that the Hamilton Tiger Cats were part of the brand of the City of Hamilton. He's right, but I don't need to hear it from him at a very sensitive time in the negotiations. That he has connections to the TiCats has been obvious for some time. As Brad Clark said at Council, if you think Hamilton has been in the driver's seat for the stadium deal, you're kidding yourselves.

I would prefer Dalton to show his support for Hamilton by keeping his mouth shut and his wallet open. Imagine, we're planning on building HALF a stadium using ALL of the money. In the process, we'll lose a community stadium (Timmis). That's legacy. And our Premier is happy with the deal?

If Mr. McGuinty and his local cheerleaders (not the same as leaders) care so much about a made-in-Hamilton solution, they should let us do just that. Calling rogue Mayor Bobby B and suggesting he call Bob Young is just not appropriate. HOW did the Premier know what Bob Young was thinking? WHY did the Premier know what Bob Young was thinking?

If this IWS deal goes through, I want Mr. McGuinty and his elected local cheerleaders to immediately come forward with a major funding proposal for soil remediation of the WH lands. Maybe McGuinty can give Bobby B another call and tell him to meet a guy in a dark suit carrying a suitcase in a parking garage under Jackson Square?

Comment edited by H+H on 2011-01-14 09:43:42

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 09:59:05

This is a simplistic statement.

Sure it is, but then I didn't intend it as a detailed argument in support of a stadium at WH, but rather as an explanation as to why many people on this site prefer the WH location. It's pretty clear that alot of people on this site support IW for the same reason.

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By Sky (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 10:09:12

Dear ImproveTheHammer...

You are right on with your comments towards me!!!

I realize that there are 'upsides' to renovating IW, yet unless there is a document out there stating that we are guaranteed the Grey Cup, the money out will always be on the taxpayers...

My pig headedness is getting in the way I guess...I just really wanted this to be so much more.

Maybe it is time for Council to actually do an entire assesment of every Venue it operates and look at ways to generate more income or have someone else run them...

I fully support all of the accessible options the majority of the Citizens can enjoy, soccer, hockey, football, the Arts...it still does not include our most vulnurable though...and they just want the neccessities...

A 'cap' on what the City spends in subsidizations should be addressed on 'leisurely' items...We need balance.

I want our City to flourish and I don't think that repairing IW will be the long term solution.

If it is as good as we can get, I sincerely hope that we get the Grey Cups and enjoy huge spin offs for our City.

Maybe I will get thumbs down on this, but the frustrations I have had during this entire saga is the lack of accurate information thrown around, the 'possible' scenarios that may occur, the monies spent on studies/plans that seem to be ignored, the hate I read about~ directed often at Bob Young...IMHO he became a target because of the Pan Am Games criteria, as the long standing Tenant. It could have been Mickey Mouse, but I doubt that Walt Disney would have told Mickey that he is closing down Disney World and moving him over to a Park that is not going to have all of his dreams come true :)

Have an awesome day!

Danya

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 10:47:33

We do need balance...however, in a perfect world amenities and 'leisurely' items make a community more desireable to live in and raise a family. Neighbourhoods become densely populated. Thus increasing the potential residential tax base and creating a market for local business. If the City were to run like a business it should ideally be looking to increase revenue rather than cut costs. Does anyone want to live in a City that is fiscally responsible, completely in the black but lacking community and rec centres, parks, libraries, ect? All of those items are not profit centres.

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By danjelly (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 12:49:57

Just a quick thought: Ian Troop emphasized Toronto 2015's requirement for creating an amateur sports legacy. The current plan at Ivor Wynne includes maintaining the status quo at Ivor Wynne proper (actually a reduction of 2000-3000 seats) and a REDUCTION of our amateur sports facilities currently adjacent to IWS. Ivor Wynne gets a parking lot, that's nice, but what about the 3 ball diamonds at Scott Park? What about Brian Timmis?

This will result in an amateur sports DEFICIT in an area of the city that doesn't deserve to lose free/affordable athletic facilities. Code Red indeed.

Comment edited by danjelly on 2011-01-14 12:50:49

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By Mando (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 13:11:33

I was wondering has anyone confirmed that there was a call from the province to our Mayor?

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 13:25:05

Ryan, I apologize for the Hammer and Sickle comment. I did not realize at the time, that my comment fades, not omitted. I should have read the guidelines before I accused of censorship. That being said, I still don't agree that certain comments are harder to read because people don't agree. Did I say anything personal about ...anyone? Anyone's family? this city? Hamiltonians? No. I would never do that. The 'It makes an accusation of bias without articulating any evidence of said bias' comment doesn't fly with me. I have seen many Pro-West Harbour comments that are NOT backed up with ANY evidence, and they don't get faded.

Your comment about driving TO downtown, doesn't sit with me either. West Harbour is not part of the downtown, but that's my opinion, and I guess many others don't see it that way.

And Bob Young is a businessman who benefiets from the public purse. That being said, as major tenant in the new stadium, don't we want to ensure that he is successful, especially, since we're the ones helping to pay for the stadium? Bullying him in to playing at the WH is not a friendly way to say 'Bob, how can we help you be successful?'

Here's one thing I'm noticing: Most of the people who want WH stadium are the ones who live downtown. Most of them are young, hip urbanites, the type who go on the James St Art Crawl. Call this an unfair generalization, but as I see it, the majority of people who want the Ticats to play at the West Harbour are the ones who wouldn't step foot at a football game. Likewise, the ones who go to a football game, are the ones less likely to step foot in an art gallery. Sorry, I live on the mountain, and I would HATE going down to West Harbour for a football game. Last Canada Day, my family and I spent 2 hours getting out of that area after watching fireworks at Bayfront Park. I'm not going through that again.

After I read your comment, I looked at your 'principle' values that this website emphasizes. I agree with some of those values, on the fence on some, disagree with some, and offended with one: I live on the mountain, not downtown, and you make it sound like suburbanites have absolutely no brain, how stupid they are for having a car, etc...

One final thing: You or your readers may not care about the Ticats (except to make money for your downtown businesses at a WH stadium), but many, many people in this city do. This city, across Canada is known for 3 things: Steel, failed NHL bids, and the Ticats. Steel is no longer a desirable reputation, failed NHL bids are an embarrassment, and all that leaves are our historic football team. Sorry, you can argue that we have waterfalls, parks, and art crawls, but I'm sorry... our art crawls do not make news in Calgary or Vancouver. The Ticats are part of our national identity. Does that mean we shouldn't promote our parks and art crawls? of course we should. Those are all things this city should be proud of. But Ticats and steel? That's our identity. Sorry to tell ya, folks.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 13:28:12

I was wondering has anyone confirmed that there was a call from the province to our Mayor?

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/columns/a...

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 13:35:21

The Ticats may be our identity outside of Hamilton but their branding clearly does not resonate with many people who actually live in Hamilton or there would be no problem at all selling out games. As Hamilton continues to grow as a large multicultural centre, the Ticats are losing their foothold on the community. Also, I call BS on your assumption that you cannot be a WH support and a Ticat fan. I would like to think that we aspire to be more than just a Canadian city with a CFL team. It's a great part of our heritage but we have a lot more to offer than the stereotypical Ticat/Steeltown image.

Comment edited by Andrea on 2011-01-14 13:35:54

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 13:48:49

Andrea, I've lived in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and in each place I recall people knowing two things about Hamilton - steel and TigerCats.

You say the TigerCats "branding clearly does not resonate with many people who actually live in Hamilton or there would be no proble, at all selling out games." Sadly unfortunate that the Hamilton Opera Co is perhaps moving out of Hamilton Place, where HECFI head claimed they averaged a 60% fill rate at performances. Further, it was suggested that perhaps the 2,000 plus seat house was just too big for the Opera fans.

Ok, so TigerCats don't sell out every game? I'm not sure, but I think someone here at RTH gave attendance numbers for games and they were pretty darn good, excellent really. A hell of a lot better than the Opera's average 40% seat vacancy rate.

I'm an opera buff and love going to Ham Place to experience the performances. Unfortunately, the opera doesn't resonate with a lot of people here in Hamilton and I may soon be going to see Ham Opera at the new Burlington Arts Centre.

That's life here in the City where the really good stuff just doesn't resonate with all the folks we need sometimes to keep our music, our culture,no?, alive.

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 13:56:44

Just came to me that we subsidize HECFI to the tune of $7.5 mil a year; multiply that by 6 years and we have $45 mil to pay for our share of the stadium and not touch the Future Fund at all.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 14:25:13

Unfortunately, the opera doesn't resonate with a lot of people here in Hamilton and I may soon be going to see Ham Opera at the new Burlington Arts Centre.

That's life here in the City where the really good stuff just doesn't resonate with all the folks we need sometimes to keep our music, our culture,no?, alive.

Not sure what your point is. Audiences for opera and classical music are dropping all over the world by virtue of demographics. Hardly something that is unique to Hamilton. In any case, I fail to see the comparison since the amount of public support for the arts pales in comparison to the public funding of pro sports, and arts organizations are non-profit as opposed to an organization like the ticats which is a privately-owned, for-profit business.

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 14:27:38

Andrea... I didn't say all we NEED is a CFL team for our national identity. I said, it's all we HAVE, besides steel, and failed NHL bids. I would love for all of Canada to know about our other fine qualities, but the fact is, take away the Cats, and you have steel (I'm not knocking steel BTW, it put food on my plate for many years growing up).

Interesting note about HECFI. It's true we subsidize them, yet no one has a problem with that. And yet, if they were in a similar situation as the Cats, people would go to great lengths to make sure they are successful. Why? Because one is 'culture' (operas, entertainment, etc..), and the other is 'just a football team'. I'm starting to feel like football fans in this city are treated like mud by the rest of this city, because we don't like art or opera.

Ticat attendance records are right up there with other CFL teams. Their brand resonates with about 20,000 diehards who make it to games along with about 5000 casual fans, but many can not make it to games because of financial difficulties, they are elderly, and as harsh as it is to say, they don't want to go to 'that part of town'. However, CFL TV ratings indicate that Hamilton games are among the highest rated (behind Saskatchewan). So to say the brand doesn't resonate, isn't fair without looking at all the facts. I see a lot of ticat apparel around town on a daily basis.

Comment edited by mb on 2011-01-14 14:28:43

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 14:34:46

I'm starting to feel like football fans in this city are treated like mud by the rest of this city, because we don't like art or opera.

If Opera Hamilton were a private, for-profit business demanding $100m taxpayer dollars for a Concert Hall in the location of their choice, I would agree. But they're not. Multi-millionaire sportstainment tycoons and their fans really need to stop playing the victim here. It's not winning anyone over.

I'm also getting tired of the false dichotomy. Alot of people in this town like music and art, and football. I was one of them, at least until BY and Mitchell turned me off the ticats for life.

Comment edited by highwater on 2011-01-14 14:39:32

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 14:54:33

Thanks, I clearly understand the difference between what we need and what we have. Perceptions, both internally and externally, won't change until the fine citizens of Hamilton start to realize that we DO have a lot to offer and become of a part of the solution that embraces our identity crisis and collective lack of 'self esteem'. If you tell someone they live in a sh@thole long enough, they start to believe it. My observations are based on my personal experiences. Like highwater, I find it tiresome to assume that one individual may not be interested both an art crawl and a football game. Don't assume that a 'WH supporter' isnt also a football fan. For ALL of the years that I had season tickets and I could not find anyone to attend with me. Any football fans I knew already had tickets and no one else was interested in expanding there cultural experience to the gridiron. North American football is not that interesting to some folks, especially if they originate from another country (again, just from my own experiences).

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By Sky (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 15:05:31

Hi Andrea, Serendipity and mb,

All three of you have very valid points.

I totally agree that we want ALL TYPES of leisurely events, art venues, sporting facilities it enriches lives...but we have to balance that with the costs...Live, work and play is ideal.

We all want what is best and for some it is football, for others opera, for others an Art Gallery, a hockey arena, soccer field and so on.

There is no right or wrong on our personal passions, respect the differences.

$7,500,000.00 loss to HECFI speaks volumes, but let us remember that not every entity that RENTS ~ Copp's, Hamilton Place, Convention Centre are not for profit! I don't think Bruce Springstein just rented Copp's for the day, sang his tunes, and left without making money...

Why is it so hard to see where the Ti-Cats are coming from? Bob Young's family supports our City, has donated $45,000,000.00 here, bought a losing team that was playing at one of our City owned Stadiums. So when discussions come up and he is the one paying to play, should he too not have some input? (The City subsidy $1.4M ~ Ti-Cats loss $3 M) If it was Bruce saying he was coming here and wanted Copp's ten times a year, would we treat him the same way?

I am very diversified, love theatre, watch the odd live football game, have kids in sports and the arts...I am very proud of what our City offers, just want better and have it make some financial sense.

Huge kudos to our Art Crawl and the amazing team work that has led to amazing success! James Street isn't just about the music there, it celebrates ALL THE ARTS.

Why can't we do the same? Celebrate ALL WE HAVE and work together to accept our differences and respect that a well rounded Community is a healthy Community...

Have a great day:)

Danya

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 15:19:36

Great post, Danya! We need more Hamiltonians like you!

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 15:50:36

Andrea, no where in my comments did I say that we should not promote our other qualities as a city. In fact, I would LOVE if all Canadians knew about our art crawl, our RBG, Dundurn Castle and our other fine museums, our waterfalls, and our vast greenspace. And with enough promotion, we will get there. But why are you (and others) so intent on just doing away with one quality of the city that bring joy (and stress on gamedays) to thousands?

And yes, I made some generalizations, but that's only from experience. The only people I come across that support WH are people who live, or have a business, downtown. NONE of them have been to a football game. Likewise, folks from the 'burbs who are football fans, support a Confederation Park/East Mountain site. And yes, some of them, have been to an art gallery, myself included. I have even enjoyed any trip I have taken to our fine Art Gallery. I'm just generalizing, based on experience, that's all. But you may have totally different experiences.

One question: If people on this site are so pro-downtown and believe the Ticats aren't important, why did you want the 'unimportant' Ticats to play at WH and create economic spinoff downtown?

Comment edited by mb on 2011-01-14 15:51:41

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 16:01:02

@MB -- Well I personally know of 6 people who live in the North End who think the only logical place for a stadium is the WH -- and they ALL attend Ti-Cat games regularly (myself included).

However, if the Ti-Cats were to generate all sorts of spin-off businesses and city building, then that would have happened in the IWS area, old stadium regardless.

I don't think many WH supporters believe the Ti-Cats will generate economic spin-off. The Ti-Cats are a corporate welfare case. We do believe that it is worthwhile to use our $45M Future Fund and $70M in proposed tax dollars wisely. Which means building a community playground on the WH -- an entertainment precinct through a combination of public and private investment. Waterfronts are destinations.

Now that the Ti-Cats have decided not to be on-board, its exciting to contemplate that the cost savings will allow for a permanent world-class velodrome.

I boldly predict the IWS reno will not happen. There is no way to build a quality business plan for this site in two weeks - and council has already indicated they are willing to exercise their fiduciary responsibility. They will not in good faith be able to approve a report with multiple caveats and unanswered questions.

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 16:12:03

@Zephyr... considering you live in the North End, I'm sure you know a lot more than 6 people. 6 people seems like a pretty small minority to me.

Your prediction isn't very bold. Everyone's been saying that.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 16:16:18

And if it is really true that our city is only known for steel and Ti-Cats, wow is it ever time to change our image!

Hamilton has some world-class medical research going on here. We have a gorgeous natural setting with the beautiful escarpment and multiple waterfalls (aren't we the waterfall capital of the world?) We have a lot beautiful architecture, and some good work being done to preserve it. Every summer I am impressed by the gorgeous flowerbeds that are planted all over the city, both public and private. And above all we have a beautiful waterfront that is slowly being transformed, with 500,000 annual visitors, many of whom are rollerblading and now ice-skating.

I can't tell you how many times I have seen a football broadcast from IWS in which they start the broadcast with a panoramic view of smokestacks and yet once again refer to the "lunch bucket gritty town".... its such a boring cliche by now.

I like urban. I like grit. I'm not ashamed of that part of Hamilton. I live in the North End and love it. But its time to project a new image as well! Hamilton is undergoing a renaissance, and its something to be proud of. I'd like to showcase our lovely community playground where ALL Hamiltonians can gather to eat, exercise and perhaps take in a soccer or Ti-Cat game. A destination to be proud of and a legacy for our kids.

This is a fantastic city but far too many Hamiltonians don't seem to believe in it. They lack vision and don't even want to try to imagine greatness.

I am sick of beer, football and steel all the time. I am also embarrassed by the sheer ineptitude and lack of any basic fundamental business sense that is the Ti-Cats management. Because of them the Ti-Cats are no longer a community team and are no longer a source of civic pride for me.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 16:21:24

@MB

I know 6 North Enders that support the WH AND attend Ti-Cat games... you said you'd never met a single one.

A lot of my neighbours are elderly or poorer and can't attend Ti-Cat games.

And hurray that my prediction isn't very bold.... the IWS reno is madness.

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 16:27:50

I went on the Calgary Stampeders forums, and asked Calgarians this question:

Besides the Ticats, what do you think of when you think of Hamilton?

Here's the answer:

http://forum.gostampsgo.com/showthread.p...

Pretty straight forward, isn't it?

And I'm not saying that all we need is the Tiger Cats for our national identity. We need more, I agree. But you just can't take that part of our identity away.

Comment edited by mb on 2011-01-14 16:29:00

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 17:35:28

Am responding to the local economic spin-off of TC games. If there were, shall I say "desirable" or cool places to go within a stone's throw, I would be patronizing them before and after games, and would have for the past 25 years. Since there really hasn't been, the pre/post venue has been home, a restaurant/pub close to home, or, in the case of "group" attendance, we find a mutually acceptable place to go - whether it be a pub or someone's house. I can only speak for my own social and spending habits, but I don't think Ward 3 sees too much money spent in their ward before or after a TC game.

It would be nice to see the City produce some accurate data covering economic spin-off from TC Games (it wasn't available on Wednesday night), IWS (aside from TC), HECFI facilities, and Parks & Rec facilities, complete with demographics, revenues/expenses, and balance sheets. Would like to see what types of activities/areas get the biggest financial boost, and what are financially neglected. I'm guessing there's not a councillor who has ever seen such a thing; it would appear to me that so many aspects of municipal governance are handled independent of other expenditures/departments, resulting in the typical "right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing" syndrome.

I have no issue with using taxes to provide/support cultural/recreational benefits for the community, but, yeah, of course - within reason.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 17:37:22

Dave Perkins ain't impressed.


http://www.thestar.com/article/922118--perkins-hamilton-stadium-debate-one-big-headache

...why are the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and their inability to mesh with local politicians, still holding the Pan Am Games hostage?

It has been going on seemingly forever, this round-the-bay exercise in trying to find a new home for the Ticats and, as for the latest palavers, they’re back where they started: Using Pan Am 2015 money to rebuild good old Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Really?

After West Harbour and Longwood and Confederation Park and a couple of etceteras, that’s it? A fix-up for Ivor Wynne?.

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 17:48:20

Captain, I agree - there's been way too little emphasis on the Games themselves, but I don't believe this would be the case had things not gotten held up by BY's about-face. As for the kafuffle since then, well - it's a lot of money. Multi-generational money. And it must be difficult to negotiate with someone who has betrayed you/the fans so many times already (by betray I mean multiple threats to move the team right out of Hamilton). At any rate - I still hope we keep the Cats (even if that means renovating IWS - but w/o selling our financial souls to them), and an amazing structure at the WH (preferably a mind blowing velodrome). I know this should never have been about the Cats, but, once that happened - we had to deal with it. (huge, heavy sigh)

My fingers are crossed for the afore-mentioned hopes to occur asap so we CAN start spending time and energy on The Games and get some momentum building...and then hopefully time will do its job in helping things heal.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 17:51:26

To be clear, those are the words of Dave Perkins.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 18:21:40

goin'downtown >> I have no issue with using taxes to provide/support cultural/recreational benefits for the community, but, yeah, of course - within reason.

What would you rather have for Hamilton, an economy that creates jobs that produce things people are willing to pay above cost for, or an economy that produces things that people only want if they're free, or heavily subsidized?

If you want the former, then we have to stop giving tax dollars over to government so they keep providing free stuff. We can't have both at the same time. Either the private sector will make most of the spending decisions and we will produce based on what makes profits. Or, we will put people to work making stuff that needs to be subsidized because nobody is willing to pay full price.

In Canada around 40% of every dollar is spent by governments. Because downtown Hamilton has far less private businesses and more government spending than your average Canadian city, it's quite likely that the downtown is closer to 60-70% public spending and 30-40% private.

If we want a dynamic and innovative downtown, how can we do that when likely only 30-40% of all income is based on producing things that people value?

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 18:50:07

A Smith - by "within reason" I meant "fiscally responsible." There must be a balance created for quality of life when it comes to government spending on cultural/recreational activities/facilities. I would not live where there are no cultural/recreational activities/facilities, and they are never, to my knowledge, profitable. They are for quality of life - to retain citizens, to attract citizens. Corporations don't make direct profit in building on-site gyms for their employees. I personally don't know what the afore-mentioned balance is, or what programs/facilities within Hamilton should be ditched to attain that balance. Hence, my desire to see the figures on Hamilton's cultural and recreational expenditures. I suspect if all things cultural/recreational were privatized and denied any government support, we would revert back to some type of dark ages where only the extremely wealthy had any semblance of quality of life. I would hope that the current trend in Hamilton, where the public sector and health sectors are two of the largest employment sectors, is temporary until Hamilton finds its wealth generating niche again. I do know that our Economic Development department's mission is exactly that - which is a "spend money to make money" venture, from my perspective. I don't know of a private company or sector that can morph Hamílton's economy to one of purely wealth generation. Sorry, can't answer any of your questions. Please feel free to supply your own detailed suggestions.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 19:04:06

Please feel free to supply your own detailed suggestions.

You're new around here, aren't you?

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 19:33:28

:) - yes, only seven months old. But I voyeuristically viewed RTH from the PC chair months before that. I just wish I could answer the big questions, e.g. how can we fix the economy? It's related to the IWS/Pan Am situation, for sure, as it draws so much attention to government spending. The timing is wrong just now, though, in light of the possibility of losing the Games and the Cats. That would thoroughly suck. No city-building or attracting business investment there. We need to bulldoze through this situation as succesfully as possible and deal with grand-fathered issues after. Immediately after, I would say.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 20:06:25

goin'downtown >> There must be a balance created for quality of life when it comes to government spending on cultural/recreational activities/facilities.

According to the 2009 financial report...

http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/5D8DCD38-518C-4F51-83FC-06AFD2A83967/0/2009FinancialReport_rev8202010.pdf (page 6 of 64)

we see that city spending on culture and recreation has increased from $91.6M to $132.6M over the 2005-09 time period. That works out to an average annual increase of 9.7%. In that same period of time, Ontario workers wages/salaries/other income has gone up an average of 2.8% and that's without accounting for population growth.

That is not balanced at all. Our salaries go up by 2.8% and the city spends our money at 9.7%. If by balance you mean the city spends only what we can afford to pay, then the city should only have spent $102.3M. This would could have given the average family of four an extra $230 to spend at local businesses, or fixing up their house, or paying down debts, etc. That might help the economy.

If the city can't deliver culture and recreation that matches our ability to pay, then what good is it doing anyone? Anyone can take money and spend it, but spending it wisely and delivering value for money requires discipline and the ability to make tough choices.

>> I do know that our Economic Development department's mission is exactly that - which is a "spend money to make money"

To see how that's working, let's look at some numbers. From 2005-09, Ontario wages went up 11.7%. In Hamilton, it was likely less due to slower population growth. How much did taxes and user fees go up in Hamilton during that time frame? 17.1%, or 46% more than our earnings. If the city was spending our money wisely, shouldn't taxes be climbing slower than our incomes?

>> I don't know of a private company or sector that can morph Hamílton's economy to one of purely wealth generation.

And neither does anyone else, that will be left up to risk takers and consumers/businesses. In contrast to central planners, who always have the answers to our economic problems, the free market produces wealth in spite of the fact it doesn't have a master plan.

The free market works to produce wealth primarily because it allows wasteful spending to be shut down and shut down quickly. In contrast, when governments spend money, because they can't go out of business, they are never really forced to shut down money losing activities.

Giving more money and spending power to City Hall is like giving a stranger your credit card and asking him to buy you exactly what you want. It can't and it won't happen, because that person is not a mind reader. You may get something pretty good, but it will be less than optimal, making you worse off than had you just spent your own money.

Can you see why Hamilton's economy is in the shape it's in. We are running an economy that spends money inefficiently and that rewards people for failure. And then we are all surprised why we aren't producing jobs that make things people want to buy. Truly amazing.

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 21:23:49

Yes, A Smith, it would appear that a savings of $230 per household within the City of Hamilton would balance (for lack of a better word) our local economy, but only if 50% or more of that $115,000,000 was spent within the City of Hamilton (not outside of our borders, not on travel, not on internet purchases, not on investments, etc.). No idea how that would be patrolled. Please provide details as to how you would ensure that these savings would be realized, and what services would be axed. BTW, at a 2010 budget public meeting I attended, I heard Rob Rossini allude to our social services case load as being the primary reason for the state of Hamilton’s budget problems (again, I would request that you begin a separate article, please).

In your statistics and data, do you have an average $$ that Canadian municipalities allot to their culture and recreation budgets, per capita? Do you have a $$ that another city, comparable to Hamilton (no, not in Switzerland), successfully spends on their culture and recreation?

Would you live in Hamilton if there were no parks? No pools? No rinks? No festivals? No theatre? No conservation lands? Et al? Or would you live in Hamilton if there were a couple of each, but there was a $20-30 fee per use for an allotted period of time? $20 to walk the dog in the park. $25 per game of shinny. $25 to cool off in the summer. $30 to see an impassioned folk singer, in the park. $40 ($20 X 2) to walk along the beach with a sweetheart. $150 to see an international musical artist, nose bleed seats. Etc., etc., etc. Would you pay? Leave? Stay and use none of those services? Just wondering. What do you think the other 500,000-odd people with the COH would do?

As far as the credit card analogy goes, the people that I hand my credit card (taxes) to at City Hall are elected officials, determined by the only democratic process that we currently have in place (again, separate article, please), to fulfill their responsibilities. Not strangers.

There's a lot of posts on RTH, so perhaps I'm asking you something that you've already answered prior to your questions being directed at me, but - what do you propose the City do right now in regards to this specific issue at hand within this thread, i.e. the Pan Am Games currently awarded to Hamilton, and the IWS proposal that Council has approved to be explored? And what are your economic forecasts (business retention, business expansion, business attraction, population) upon implementation of your suggestions, and in 10-year increments for the next, say, 50-70 years?

I don’t disagree with your assertions, I’m just confused as to why you are asking me the rhetorical questions and not answering them yourself or at least offering ideas. Amid a post on the current status of the Pan Am Games bid.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 23:17:21

I’m just confused as to why you are asking me the rhetorical questions and not answering them yourself or at least offering ideas.

That's because A Smith is a legendary troll. Trolls aren't interested in solving problems, they're only interested in wasting as much of other people's time as possible.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2011 at 00:34:08

goin'downtown, from 2005-09, the social services budget (including social housing) has increased at a rate of 5.8% per year, while the number of people on welfare has increased by 4.4% per year. That works out a 1.32% increase per year per person on welfare. To cover these costs, grants from other levels of government have increased at a rate of 10.8% per year.

Perhaps what Rob Rossini meant to say when he was talking about budget pressures was city employee salaries, which have increased at a rate of 8.9% per year. In fact, according to the 2009 annual report, city wage costs per full time employee has increased by 6.8% per year. Compare that with 1.32% for people on welfare and the 2.8% for Ontario workers, which when divided by the extra million in population, works out to about 1% per year.

Does it seem fair that Hamilton city workers have seen their pay/benefits increase at a rate 6X faster than Joe Taxpayer? To be clear, if city employee wages had been fixed from 2005-09 to average Ontario wages, those costs would have increased around 5.4%, saving taxpayers $164.6 MILLION DOLLARS on our 2009 tax bill.

Therefore, instead of having Hamilton city expenditures increase by 9.9% per year, it would have only been 6.7%. When you consider that Ontario GDP only increased by 1.8% in that same time frame, doesn't it concern you how fast Hamilton City Hall is spending our tax money and how little it's helping the economy? Is it a coincidence that people now have record personal debt, while wage benefits per full time Hamilton city employee averaged $106 THOUSAND a year in 2009?

>> Would you live in Hamilton if there were no parks?

Do parks need to be maintained at an average of $106k per full time employee?

>> the people that I hand my credit card (taxes) to at City Hall are elected officials

That doesn't negate the fact that anyone, no matter how moral, or caring, still does not know the optimal way to spend your money so as to maximize its utility to you. Only you know that. That's why a large percentage of Christmas gifts are returned every year, people can't read the preferences of other people, that's just a fact. If you don't believe me, why not give all of your money to City Hall and let them spend it for you. If you won't do that, then it proves you don't believe that government spending will produce as much happiness for you as will personal spending.

>> what do you propose the City do right now in regards to this specific issue at hand within this thread, i.e. the Pan Am Games currently awarded to Hamilton

Get out of it. Sell Ivor Wynne to anyone that wants it and return the Future Fund money to taxpayers. If the Ti-Cats can't charge enough in ticket prices and merchandise, it proves that people don't really care about them. Taxes are for sewers and roads, not sports teams.

>> what are your economic forecasts (business retention, business expansion, business attraction, population) upon implementation of your suggestions

Hamilton was a boom town before we had income taxes in Canada. Alberta has the lowest taxes and lowest spending in Canada and it had a GDP of $66.8K per person in 2009. In contrast, Ontario's GDP per person was only $43.8K. And in case you think that it is all oil exports that is driving their good fortunes, keep in mind that exports as a percent of Alberta's GDP in 2009 was 51.7%, while exports as a percent of Ontario's GDP in 2009 was 48.8%.

It is the larger role of the private sector in Alberta and the better allocation of capital that has allowed Alberta workers to be more productive than anywhere else in Canada. In fact, business fixed capital formation in Alberta comprised 25.3% of GDP in 2009. In contrast, Ontario business fixed capital formation in 2009 was only 14.4%. Business fixed capital formation includes factories and machinery, something Hamilton used to have lots of before we gave the government control over our economy.

I make these suggestions in the hopes that someone spreads the word or sees the truth in what I am saying. We have tried big government for over fifty years and the result has been steady economic decline. Yet the Ryan McGreal's of the world keep spouting the same line, LRT is different, WH stadium is different, bike lanes will bring in business leaders. It's the same thing, more government spending that will crowd out private sector spending. It hasn't worked, it won't work and to say it will is either disingenuous or just plain ignorant.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 15, 2011 at 08:25:15

Here is the link to an article by Emma Reilly titled "City, Cats deep in Ivor Wynne talks" in today's Hamilton Spectator: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-15 08:25:46

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By ProLine (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2011 at 12:16:11

And here's Dave Perkin's piece in today's Toronto Star. See: this Sweetheart (wink-wink-nudge-nudge) deal with BY stinks so bad that even Torontonians can smell it. After this past week, I'd trade a Bratina for a Ford without thinking--at least he has some respect for taxpayers.

http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/article/922118--perkins-hamilton-stadium-debate-one-big-headache

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 15, 2011 at 15:44:12

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 goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 15, 2011 at 18:56:52

Anyone following this besides A Smith, you might want to grab a beverage...and my apologies, too many quotes to respond to, so no quotes copied...

@ A Smith – you can’t just look at the percentage increases in spending without looking at the actual amounts, particularly in comparison to other departmental spending – and also increases, decreases and overall amounts of provincial and federal downloading. To use your example of social services, what if we were spending 50% of our taxes on social services, but had an increase in social services spending on par to wages? Would that be a good budget? No.

I’m the first to acknowledge that the entire Ontario Works system needs a major overhaul, but in the meantime, if that is where a disproportionate amount of our budget is going, do we cut culture and recreation from the people who aren’t on Ontario Works? Or do we continue with our culture & rec services and implement ways to get people off social services, whether that be re-training, counseling, or start-up incentive and loans?

And, no, Rob Rossini did not “mean to say” anything other than what he said. ???

To my knowledge, City Hall is looking now to make changes to City payroll, including freezes and rollbacks. Yes, it would have been much better to hold the City Hall payroll increases to 5.4%, without a doubt. The savings that you cite ($164-million) would go a long way to digging us out of our current economic problems, and would set a responsible tone to local government spending. That being said, we may lose some of the talented City employees that we need in the process (the good ones are probably already being wooed by other opportunities as we speak), but there are many ways to retain good employees besides just remuneration. I’m glad that you are keeping track of this type of data, and presume that you are doing something pro-active about it. I know it was on the December 15th Council Agenda (minus union workers), did you happen to go? The Minutes aren’t yet available. Government jobs, throughout the history of government, have always tended to be “good jobs.” To that end, people working for the public sector is better than people not working at all. They spur the economy much more than those receiving social services and/or unemployment, and of course, there is productivity and results as opposed to…none. And I still stand by our need for a public sector Economic Development Department. It’s bad enough when local business influences derail City decisions; I can’t imagine how corrupt a private sector company in the same role would be. We need to market ourselves to attract investment. Period.

Insofar as Hamilton’s increases in spending go, we don’t know the long-term effects. But we do know that progressive cities prosper. Many private sector companies have to spend money retro-fitting themselves in order to stay competitive and afloat. If they have fallen behind or been run ineptly, it’s even more painful an expenditure. But they have to do something in addition to merely slashing budgets.

I’m not justifying ineffectual and irresponsible governance. But I will back Eisenberger’s vision and attempts at investing in Hamilton now for future sustainability and success. He inherited a lot of shite. And, without a crystal ball, we don’t know how much WH dev’t, or IWS & neighbourhood dev’t, or LRT investment will benefit us. But the free market will not gravitate to a city with no decent quality of life and transportation systems. Because if the free market had been dominating the local economy for the past three decades or so, based upon our existing benefits and features, we wouldn’t have the majority of our population working for the public and health sectors. Which, I will say again, is better than not working at all. We were so heavy-manufacturing (steel) dependent that we tanked when the steel sector shifted away from us. And if there is a sector hiding around here somewhere to replace this wealth generation, please point it out. Otherwise, we need to keep trying to attract/find it. And then the shift back to a free market can take place.

I agree that we shouldn’t spend money that we don’t have to spend (nor should anyone). But I don’t think the City’s current economic development projects and spending are to keep up with the Jones’s. I believe that they are to attract investment in Hamilton so that wealth generation within a free market will occur. And then, the next wise move for government would be to phase out as many superfluous City jobs as possible, and allow for the privatization of as many projects and departments as possible - knowing that these phased-out City workers will find gainful employment elsewhere, locally. I agree that an overpaid City payroll and Culture & Rec would be the first places to start looking for savings; payroll for obvious reasons, and the latter because they appear to be the bling on the uniform. But if you just slash, slash, slash, you end up with the economic and morale catastrophes that we’ve had since the 80’s. Enough of that, don’t you think?

So back to balance – the expenditures to become competitive and relevant must occur simultaneous to sensible cost-cutting, which, judging by the data that you have, doesn’t appear to be happening. So I continue to support Council’s decision to invest in Hamilton. I would think the next step after the Pan Am/Ivor Wynne situation has been ratified, would be to put pressure on City Hall to freeze those wages – including union.

“Do parks need to be maintained at an average of $106k per full time employee?” If that is correct, that is insane. From where is this data cited?

I was pretty sure of what your position on the Pan Am/IWS situation would be. But I believe that if you avoid investing in opportunities to market yourself and remove morale and pride from your citizens, you’ll find yourself marketing to yourself. Because your citizens certainly won’t recommend anyone moving their company or family here, that is, if they even stay.

Hamilton was a boom town before the rest of the world figured out how to make steel (and other manufactured items) cheaper. I believe that is why our GDP, and indeed our entire economy, pales to Alberta’s. Ontario also has 4 to 5 times the population, which means 4 to 5 times the social services being drained since the beginning of the recession. I also believe that we are in transition, if I haven’t made that more clear before now. I also believe that if Fort McMurray’s oil supply dried up and they experienced what Hamilton did from the decline of the steel industry, they’d be looking for jobs in Hamilton.

I agree with you, and I think everyone in this country also does, that we are over-governed to our economic detriment. The more engaged citizens we have, the less our governments can presume that they’re unaccountable. Perhaps that is where the problem started, decades and decades ago. People rescinding their role as citizens. And it’s time we reclaimed that power and role.

Now isn’t that what RTH is all about?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 15, 2011 at 22:29:38

goin'downtown >> “Do parks need to be maintained at an average of $106k per full time employee?” If that is correct, that is insane. From where is this data cited?

According to the 2009 financial report put out by the city, we had 6,183 full time employees as of 2009. The total wages/benefits cost for employees was $656.1 Million. That works out to an average cost to taxpayers of $106.1K per full time employee. According to the 2006 Canadian Census, median income for people 15 years and older (who worked) in Hamilton was $26.4K.

If these wage costs were cut in half, to $53K per full time employee, still DOUBLE that of the taxpayers of Hamilton, taxpayers would save $328 million in taxes. Residential tax rates would go from 1.538% to 0.94%, still more than Toronto but a little less than Burlington and Oakville. Overnight, the tax cost per dollar of residential investment in Hamilton, would once again be competitive with our GTA competitors.

Wouldn't that help bring people and investment to our city?

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 15, 2011 at 23:40:58

(sigh)

A Smith, I'm quite certain that Stat Can doesn't include benefits in their income figures, nor do we know the source of the "income" - which could include part-time work only, unemployment insurance, or Ontario Works - in addition to full-time employment. The cited $106K per COH employee average could easily be $74,000, when you subtract 30% (for the sake of argument) of that income being attributed to benefits. So that average starts to make a whole lot more sense when you consider that those jobs range from receptionists to various levels of police officers to senior management. And, the Stats Can info was for 2005 incomes. And, the COH info was for 2009 incomes.

Would lowering taxes make us more competitive?

Of course.

I'm quite done with this thread, but thank you for helping me to push my own personal envelope.

I am optimistic if not confident that the City will pull a plum from this motley pie, inclusive of IWS w/ Ticats and amazing Velodrome at the WH. I don't think they have ever been more under a microscope, so...they have to.

And then it gets exciting!

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted January 15, 2011 at 23:41:50

I hesitate to enter this black hole but A Smith wrote "Alberta has the lowest taxes and lowest spending in Canada" in an attempt to justify his Economics 101 analysis of the problem at hand and his predictable conclusion that if we just didn't have to pay taxes everything would be fine.

Well, a quick Google search of provincial budgets shows 2010-11 spending as follows:

1 Ontario 129,000,000,000
2 Quebec 69,551,000,000
3 British Columbia 40,600,000,000
4 Alberta 38,712,000,000
5 Manitoba 10,754,577,000
6 Saskatchewan 10,124,086,000 7 Nova Scotia 9,044,361,000
8 New Brunswick 7,880,476,000
9 Newfoundland and Labrador 7,398,090,400
10 Prince Edward Island 1,515,900,000

Given Ontario's population of 13.2 million people and Alberta's of 3.7 it would seem to me that Alberta DOESN'T have the lowest spending whether in total or per capita. Moreover, if these budgets are balanced, it would follow that Alberta's taxes, in one form or another, wouldn't be the lowest either. Apparently government spending isn't such a bad thing after all.

Trolling this site and applying the same tired old simplistic solution to whatever complex problem comes along is tedious but putting forward "facts" that simply aren't true as the very foundation of a position simply blows it out of the water.

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 16, 2011 at 01:02:01

No more black holes, promise.

Just read on the Hamiltonian that the FF is not what I thought it was http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2011/01/ar... - look for comment by Yves Dubeau. Excerpt: "Basically a home owner from Hamilton is paying for that money twice, so a $50 million from the FF becomes a $100 million contribution from us poor saps."

And the COH and City of St. Catharines own Horizon. That's privatization?

I've emailed my councillor for some clarification on this.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 16, 2011 at 15:07:22

goin'downtown >> I'm quite certain that Stat Can doesn't include benefits in their income figures

If you take a look around Hamilton you will realize that the people of Hamilton are not rich, in fact, they are poor by Canadian standards. If they made 106K in income and benefits, would our lower city look the way it does. If you are referring to free medical care and free education, keep in mind city employees get those as well and those aren't even included in their pay from the city. As for the time factor, GDP in Ontario has increased by less than 4% from 2006-09, which would increase median wages to $27.5K from $26.4.

So the difference between the average city employee and the median person (with income) is still $106.1K-$27.5K = $78.6K

Do you think the company paying the guy $12 an hour in cash also gives that person $39 in non cash benefits? Not likely?

I will be generous and assume that non cash benefits are equal to cash. This still puts median income/benefits at $55 a year vs $106k for the average city worker employed. How is it fair that city employees make this much more than the people who pay their bills, especially when they have far greater job security than the average private sector worker?

Seriously dude, other than Ancaster, most parts of Hamilton are poor by GTA standards. People don't make anywhere close to $106K in cash/benefits and yet there is a class of workers who do, they are called government employees. They prosper while the poor people downtown are lucky to have a new pair of shoes. Seems really fair.

realfreeenterpriser >> his predictable conclusion that if we just didn't have to pay taxes everything would be fine.

I never said that, but feel free to make things up if it makes your argument better.

>> Alberta DOESN'T have the lowest spending whether in total or per capita.

Poor choice of words, what I meant to say was Alberta has the lowest public spending as a percent of their economy.

Ontario 2009... $146.3B in public spending / $578.2B GDP = 25.3%
Alberta 2009...$49.2B in public spending / $247.2B GDP = 19.9%

Alberta's personal consumption per capita (3.7M people) in 2009 was $30K. Ontario's was $26.5K (13.2M people). Government spending per person was $11.1K per person, while in Alberta it was $13.3K per person.

So, yes you are correct, Alberta does spend more per person on government services than Ontario. But guess what? They can afford to because they have a more productive and more fully employed economy. They have this better economy because more of the investment decisions are made by people trying to save money (consumers, business owners), rather than government leaders who don't mind wasting money.

If you people think wasting money is good for Hamilton's economy your f-ing stupid. Look around this city and tell me that we have surplus cash to spend money on things like a $130M LRT, that by the way, will only reduce the trip from Eastage to McMaster from 32 minutes to 31 minutes. If that isn't the stupidest idea that has ever come out of this city in recent history I don't know what is.

Then people wonder why we have high taxes, job losses and high poverty, hmm, I wonder? It must be because we need more central planning from the government and less free market competition.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 19:25:55

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-18 19:26:39

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