Special Report: Pan Am

Stadium Deal is Pyrrhic Victory

I'm glad this affair is finally over; but I lament the lost opportunity to parlay a sports stadium into something much more ambitious.

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 31, 2011

What to write about the Ontario Government agreeing to close the funding gap in a renovated Ivor Wynne stadium?

Obviously, anyone who has always regarded the Pan Am Stadium as essentially a vehicle to provide the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with a new venue will be happy with this decision.

Politically, there's certainly a precedent to think in these terms. Hamilton joining the Pan Am bid originally looked like a win-win for the city and the team.

The City would remediate a keystone brownfield that would help propel a north end community into a broader renaissance and showcase the city's gorgeous waterfront to the world.

The team would get a new stadium that would allow them broader revenue opportunities at a time when their old stadium had reached the end of its lifespan and was in any case landlocked inside a neighbourhood composed entirely of single family residences and schools.

Win-Win to Win-Lose

The rift appeared once the Ticats publicly announced, at a late hour, that they couldn't live with the City's preferred location.

Suddenly the whole business turned from a cooperative win-win dynamic to a competitive win-lose dynamic: either the City got a site that met its needs, or the team got a site that met its needs.

That competitive dynamic has played out all the way from the big showdown last summer over West Harbour vs. East Mountain through the increasingly-desperate compromise locations the City studied over the past several months, only to culminate in another location the Ticats originally said could not work for them: the very Ivor Wynne Stadium in which they are already playing.

The economic difference between Ivor Wynne and West Harbour for the Ticats is at best negligible (though it allows the team's ownership and management to save some face). If anything, the West Harbour has better visibility, better accessibility and more nearby parking than Ivor Wynne.

The economic difference between the two sites for the city, on the other hand, is significant - as Graham Crawford has argued eloquently in his recent essay on ROI.

A refurbished Ivor Wynne won't be appreciably better for neighbourhood economic development than today's Ivor Wynne. In fact, the demolition of Brian Timmis stadium to build 1,500 surface parking spots will arguably hurt the neighbourhood.

However, a remediated West Harbour site would eliminate the financial risk for developers of having to take on soil contamination, and thereby unlock the adjacent properties for reinvestment.

Political Will

Mayor Bob Bratina, City Manager Chris Murray and Liberal MPPs Ted McMeekin and Minister Sophia Aggelonitis deserve credit for mustering up the political will to close the funding gap and secure a deal all the political players can live with - including convincing the Ticats to agree to a site they had previously rejected.

At the same time, I can't help but wonder why they couldn't muster up the political will to do the same in the other site that the Ticats had previously rejected, a site that actually has real potential to grow the city's tax base and achieve the intended mandate of the Future Fund.

After all, the original arrangement specified that the City and the Pan Am Host Corporation would finance a 15,000 seat stadium, while the Ticats and their corporate partners would bring the balance of capital to upgrade the stadium seating to CFL standards. That never happened.

Normally, in a negotiation, money equates to leverage - but not in this case. Fear of losing a venerable Hamilton institution, coupled with the Ontario Liberals' desire to be seen supporting Hamilton in an election year, turned out to have more political leverage than $150 million in public funding - virtually 100% of the total.

And so we end up with a deal that achieves many of the team's objectives but almost none of the City's - unless you count retaining the team as a primary municipal objective.

I'm glad this affair is - or in any case may be - finally over; but I lament the lost opportunity to parlay a sports stadium into something much more ambitious.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Sunshine (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 10:59:08

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 20:46:47 in reply to Comment 58855

it isn't worse than building a stadium where the Cats did NOT want to go namely, West Harbour

Give me a frigging break. The Cats did NOT want to stay at Ivor Wynne either, remember? This is nothing but a face saving exercise for Bob Young, Scott Mitchell and company. Even using the Ticats own criteria, IWS is WORSE than the West Harbour. I'm tired of Ticat stooges just agreeing with whatever Bob agrees with from one day to the next.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:06:53

I just wish the province would step up like this for projects that actually count. Social service costs, LRT, brownfield remediation etc.

This is a lot of money for negligible civic benefit.

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By Yeah (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:22:45

Interesting title choice, Ryan - A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with devastating cost to the victor; it carries the implication that another such victory will ultimately cause defeat.

I think the reputation of Bob Young and the Mayor has taken a huge blow in this process which is really unfortunate, but true nonetheless. Ultimately, what drives these individuals is a healthy level of ego and no matter what they do from this point forward, they will always be associated with this event and represent the uninspired status quo, not the future, of Hamilton.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:04:03 in reply to Comment 58858

I sincerely hope that there is a blow to their reputations! Bob Young staked everything on a last minute gamble to maximize his own revenues. That failed, but as part of his attempt, he flat out refused to play at WH saying it was unacceptable. The sad thing is that almost all of his stated reasons for lack of acceptability were exceeded in all his alternate locations.

Thus far he's been unable to swallow his pride and walk back his refusal, despite being able to do so at Ivor Wynne, which he's also denounced as unacceptable in the past.

The reason it's a Pyrrhic victory is that a huge chunk of money for brownfield recovery has now been lost to refurbish a stadium that could easily have been sold as it doesn't need the cleanup that the WH does. Nor does the refurbishing of IWS spur development the way building at WH would.

Kudos to Bob Young for his determination, but it's a shame that council let themselves be railroaded.

Comment edited by Brandon on 2011-01-31 12:05:06

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:25:01

Perhaps now we can focus on a proper plan for IWS2, one that includes doing transit oriented planning and development for the Soctt Park LRT station and area.

This may be the best way to "city build" around the stadium development and it would go a long way to further the success for the team. A profitable team means more money for the city and we all win.

Remember how ancillary development was a key for the bottom line for the tabbies? Well with no highway nearby, let's now look at using the proposed LRT to do just that for the Tiger-Cats and the entire neighbourhood.

Combining the tho developments (stadium and LRT) should strengthen both, resulting in a transformed neighbourhood. Let's plan the two together.

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By Hart (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 15:57:33 in reply to Comment 58859

Wouldn't it be grand for us all if the City would actually get down to business by building the stadium and LRT together, while transforming a neighbourhood! This is unlikely to take place in our life-time.

Here are the negative impacts caused by this unsound decision to spend $150m-$200m on the stadium venture: *Civic apital projects (already on the "list") are now put back at least 5 years *Remediation/revitalization at WH won't happen any time soon *LRT is a pipe-dream that won't happen in Hamilton because council and top city staff have no appetite for it [ie: "oh where will we get the money??"] *Private interest has, once again, dictated bad public policy. Abominable, despicable, and outrageous. I am a glass is half-full person, but this stadium decision has just set Hamilton's renewal back about 15 years.

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By improvethehammer (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 22:42:17 in reply to Comment 59050

City would actually get down to business by building the stadium and LRT together, while transforming a neighbourhood! This is unlikely to take place in our life-time.

I think public transit is a PanAm requirement. So I fully expect LRT to be built at the same time as the stadium. Why would you think otherwise?

LRT is a pipe-dream that won't happen in Hamilton because council and top city staff have no appetite for it

Please read this article: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Private interest has, once again, dictated bad public policy.

Fill that glass a little fuller. The IWS2 project was approved by all council. It will mean jobs for Hamiltonians. And it was the only site with no funding gap.

Remediation/revitalization at WH won't happen any time soon

Not necessarily. In fact, I think now that the stadium decision has been made, it makes sense to move forward with WH remediation. The sooner it can be remediated, and sold to private interests, the sooner we can get back the $10 million from the future fund spent on it already.

Plus, I think public interest in remediating the site has never been higher.

Guys, now is the time for us Hamiltonians to get behind council's decision and move forward with city building.

Comment edited by improvethehammer on 2011-02-01 23:11:49

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 02, 2011 at 06:25:52 in reply to Comment 59074

I fully expect LRT to be built at the same time as the stadium. Why would you think otherwise?

One point on this: City Rapid Transit staff said late last year that LRT construction would not start until after the Pan Am Games.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-02-02 06:28:13

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:55:43 in reply to Comment 58859

Well said, Captain.

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

West Harbour had a funding gap of $50 million, whereas IWS2 had a funding gap of $25 million. Even if the Ticats were on board for WH, we'd still have trouble building at WH.

The economic difference between Ivor Wynne and West Harbour for the Ticats is at best negligible

This has been stated many times. And if true, that begs the question why would the Ticats invest so much time, energy and impact to goodwill for a negligible difference???

It is either one of two things -- to save face, or they don't believe the difference to be negligible. It is too bad we didn't concentrate efforts on allowing them to save face (or to address the financial impact concerns) a lot sooner. The relationship between the Ticats and mayor Fred was clearly divisive. It took new blood to get them to consider IWS again. It's just too bad this productive dialog didn't happen a year ago.

Comment edited by improvethehammer on 2011-01-31 11:34:15

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:00:00 in reply to Comment 58860

to save face

Don't be surprised, this is VERY personal or alot of the players, read Drew Edwards piece on Scott Mitchell, it would kill him to have to slink back to WH with his tail between his legs after all the big talk, Mayor Bob went with IWS because it means BY and Mitchell get to eat less crow.

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By improvethehammer (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:10:03 in reply to Comment 58869

it would kill him to have to slink back to WH with his tail between his legs after all the big talk,

Sure, but that's nothing that a 5,000 spot parking lot where the Ticats get all the revenue wouldn't solve. That's an example, there are probably cheaper ways to get them to save face as well. There are ways to deal with big egos.

Comment edited by improvethehammer on 2011-01-31 12:16:49

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:18:12 in reply to Comment 58874

if we can come up with $25 million for WH

That's the problem. Now that the Province bailed us out for $22.5mil at IWS, do you really think they'll have more left over money for WH? That would be REALLY nice I'll admit but I think it's too much to hope for.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:31:26

Council is still in camera. There were rumblings the MOU may include something about the WH. Only rumblings though. At least at this point.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:00:56 in reply to Comment 58861

If McGuinty is sprinkling pixie dust, he'd be smart to sprinkle some on West Harbour for remediation, talk about winning over the opposition.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:39:51 in reply to Comment 58861

I had heard that the Brian Timmis replacement may go to that location, perhaps with the velodrome beside it. That would be interesting to see.

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By Brian Timmis (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 13:18:30 in reply to Comment 58863

Correction: That would be fucking awesome to see!

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:33:07

A couple urban myths that need to be expose in order to discuss this fairly

1. Capping a brownfield by placing a stadium on top of it should not be considered acceptable remediation. The toxic land remains buried beneath the stadium. The issue of its toxicity is not resolved, rahter it is deferred for future generations to sort out. The former Rheem site and the neighbouring toxic hot spots need to be cleaned, not hidden.

2. An open-air football stadium is not an appropriate catalyst for economic development. It simply is not a draw for urban intensification. Suggestions to the contrary are disingenuous. The economic effect on the area surrounding the stadium would be practically identical regadless of its location.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:47:24 in reply to Comment 58862

An open-air football stadium is not an appropriate catalyst for economic development.

A football stadium in itself is essentially a neutral use of land: all things being equal, it is neither positive nor negative. It mostly just sits there when it isn't being used. This is why I don't think a refurbished IWS will do much that today's IWS doesn't already do.

What makes it a net catalyst in WH is by financing brownfield remediation. The stadium doesn't necessarily bring any catalyzing power in itself, but it channels remediation money, which removes an existing barrier to investment.

Right now, established property developers are eager to invest in and around the West Harbour, but the contamination is just too risky for private money to take on. Carl Turkstra (not to be confused with his brother Herman) has illustrated this through his own efforts to secure financing for brownfield remediation. Banks won't touch it because remediation cost estimates have big error bars.

Capping a brownfield by placing a stadium on top of it should not be considered acceptable remediation.

It's not binary. A given level of remediation is acceptable for a given land use.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-01-31 11:51:28

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:24:40 in reply to Comment 58867

Ryan said "The stadium doesn't necessarily bring any catalyzing power in itself, but it channels remediation money, which removes an existing barrier to investment".

A stadium is certanly not the only option available to achieve this goal. Nor is it necessarily the correct one. A public park built along the same concept as Kay Drage would achieve the same goal, and would increase the city's inventory of playing fields. A financing model similar to the phased plan at Kay Drage would easily achieve this (assuming that capping is acceptable remediation, an assumption I am not entirely comfortable with making, seeing as someone will have to dig this crap up at some point in time"


There is also the immediate opportunity to position the velodrome at the former Rheem site. I am unsure if Cycling Canada is agreeable to that location, but if they are amenable, then locating the velodrome and/or the replacement Brian Timmis stadium at the city-owned former Rheem property achieves the same net end result for teh West Harbour area, does it not?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:37:35 in reply to Comment 58877

A stadium is certanly not the only option available to achieve this goal. Nor is it necessarily the correct one.

No question. As I wrote back in August:

I can think of plenty of better uses for this public investment than a stadium. However, the fact is that Province will give us tens of millions of dollars for a new stadium, but not for any of a number of things that we need more than a stadium.

I would disagree that yet another park is one of those better uses. As others have pointed out, a Barton-Tiffany park would overlook Bayfront Park.

A velodrome at the West Harbour would be great, but I have little hope that this can be pulled off.

For one thing, I understand the cycling associations are leaning toward putting the velodrome out on the suburban fringe, where it will presumably be closer to athletic road cyclists.

For another - and far more devastating - we have now exhausted both our municipal and provincial funds (and quite a bit extra besides) to accommodate the Ticats, with no resources left over to remediate Barton-Tiffany, let alone upgrade the Velodrome to a permanent facility.

Ian Troop made it clear that Toronto 2015 has no spare money to kick into the Velodrome. Unless the Province bails us out again, we're spent.

Lurking in the back of my mind over all of this, of course, is my fear that once the Province has dug us out of the political hole we created for ourselves, they won't be in a rush to kick hundreds of millions of additional dollars into an LRT system - the one infrastructure investment that can do more to grow Hamilton's economy than a dozen pan Am stadiums.

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By Brian Timmis (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 14:03:40 in reply to Comment 58883

The suburban velodrome concept is largely driven by a particular special interest who wishes to have a stake in the facility post-games as a legacy tenant. From their own mouths the rationale behind a suburban location is based on demographics, but thinly veiled as being accessible to road and off-road routes. From my cynical point of view I take this as "we want it in our back yard."

Cries of despair abound upon the mention of having to brave insufferable downtown traffic and other inconveniences that accompany a venture out of the walled communities. But this isn't about access at all, since the specialized nature of a track bike practically necessitates the use of a car for transport. hipsters take note, I'm referring to real track bikes, not that thing you take to mulberry st.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:33:22 in reply to Comment 58877

I agree that it would be a fair compromise..however, I am completely unclear of what money is left for the velodrome. Also, selling the WH land to recoup the money was discussed at the last GIC meeting.

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By AnneMariePavlov (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:41:06

Sorry ... what is the MOU?

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By Miffed (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:45:30

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:01:00 in reply to Comment 58866

Perhaps a good example of why this site needs to require commentors be registered. Nobody, especially somoeone as involved in her community as AnnMarie, should have to be subjected to this. None of us should have to.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-31 12:01:36

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:02:30 in reply to Comment 58871

Yeah but then you've got "hammy" whose registered but still just as rude as the not registered trolls...

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:17:14

I disagree that parking will hurt the neighborhood. The lack of parking is a big problem with IW that has kept suburbanites who demand a suburban experience away from the stadium. Those 1500 parking spots will mean more fans coming to see the Cats, which will mean more business in the neighborhood.

Obviously losing Timmis will and the baseball diamonds is sad for a neighborhood that is already short on greenspace unless you're willing to go all the way to Gage Park, but the parking lots will lead to more (and more affluent) business at the stadium, and that will mean more economic activity for the area. Hopefully that activity will be captured some way... of course, IW's residential location makes that tricky.

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By Ezaki Glico (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 14:06:23 in reply to Comment 58875

If I'm not mistaken, the Timmis area is too small to allow for 1,500 spots of surface parking – even cramming half that into the land would be a stretch. So we're looking at a parking garage – which, while density-friendly, is not particularly cost-effective in low-use scenarios, requiring greater outlay plus the same service, security and maintenance considerations that the stadium will encounter. The City saved $18M by not having the Cats' HQ incorporated into the stadium, but I wonder if it won't end up spending that much anyway in the process of accommodating those 1,500 parking spots.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_it_cost_to_build_a_parking_lot

Maybe they can sell naming rights to the garage.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 01, 2011 at 11:08:20 in reply to Comment 58908

I was guessing the 1500 was Timmis + Scott Park Field.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:38:28 in reply to Comment 58875

All it will mean is that more people will drive in and drive right out after the game. The only reason that having a parking lot at the stadium site is a necessity is to draw in people that want to watch the game live, but don't actually want to be in the area. Otherwise the parking lot can be blocks away from the stadium and people can walk in a few blocks.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 13:18:05 in reply to Comment 58884

Why do you assume they don't want to be in the area? Isn't it simpler to assume these are just people who don't take the bus, and get weirded out by the idea of having to hunt for parking and end up paying a local to park on their front lawn?

Of course there will be a lot of people who are stuck on the area's sketchy reputation, but I'd wager those folks won't come down at all, parking or no parking.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 14:57:28 in reply to Comment 58897

What I was getting at is that you don't need to tear down Timmis to build that parking lot. You only need to tear it down if you want a parking lot next door to the stadium (which is good for the seller of concessions at the stadium). If a lot (or ideally an array of smaller lots) is a five or ten minute walk from the stadium, then people actually might stop at a local business on the way. Or at least grab some street meat. Building that lot will reduce expenditures on local businesses. In and Out. A "driveway to driveway experience" as I've heard some wizard explain it.

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By Idea (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:26:33

Perhaps you create a Brian T replacement on the WH that can be reconfigured as an amphitheatre for concerts!

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By Dadeo (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:27:00

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:33:49 in reply to Comment 58879

and nobody came forward with any private monies for IWS2 either yet the rebuild is going to happen

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By WH private investment (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:36:01

Forum, White Star, Chamberlain Architects, Molinaro Group all were waiting for decisions to be made by the city. Only the city can deal with the OMB issues, as they relate to CN at West Harbour. These groups all came forward stating they would relish the opportunity to being developing. It would take a catalyst, like a Velodrome and/or scalable stadium vision to start the process. Until the City makes a bold decision on behalf of community and city building, these development companies cannot move forward.

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By Soccer (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:43:00

I'm really liking this idea of Brian Timmis at WH - It's a 5000 seat stadium right now and if a USL soccer team comes along - they could up the capacity to 7-10k and have their own home on the waterfront!!

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:48:27 in reply to Comment 58886

I like it too, but it leaves Ward 3 with one less ammenity.

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:50:25 in reply to Comment 58887

To be honest and correct me if I'm wrong but I've not heard anyone from Ward 3 complaining about losing Timmis as of yet.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 13:08:28 in reply to Comment 58889

To be fair, no one asked anyone in Ward 3 how they felt. They're just tearing it down, end of story.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:55:07 in reply to Comment 58889

It's not a complaint, it's an observation.

I like the idea of BT being relocated, but I would love it more if somewhere in Ward 3 they could squeeze a couple of soccer pitches for the community. Maybe throw in a baseball diamond or two. Just saying... (and I live in Ward 3).

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By Miffed (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 13:04:53

Re: M O U S E..as in M..I...C...K...E...Y..did no one else see the humour, poor as it was, intended. I don't know AnnMarie from Alice in wonderland but I trust at least she saw my poor attempt at being funny. ah never mind!

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 13:09:56

Count me as another one that would be happy to see the velodrome, a BT replacement and possibly an amphitheatre of sorts at the West Harbor. I think those things would make the Ivor Wynne thing worth it, even with the horrible numbers and absolute-zero contribution from the Ti-Cats. This would remidiate the land, and if the developers that came forward for a stadium at West Harbor were serious, surely they would keep their interest if a velodrome, soccer pitch/stadium and amphitheatre took form there. How would a 15, 000 seat stadium be much different? Or even a 5000 seat scalable stadium?

This would also keep interest in the GO stop at James North and would go great with the existing Setting Sail plans.

Y'know, if you read between the ignorant insults and cheap shots, the trolls are onto something.

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 13:27:58 in reply to Comment 58896

I would be all for this as well but is anyone in the city or province or Hostco actually talking about doing this or is it just here at RTH?

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 13:29:18

Brownfield remediation and a velodrome at the WH would be an amazing outcome. I think most WH stadium proponents were most keen on seeing the toxic site cleaned up to the point where private investors could move in. I also think the permanent velodrome is an amazing fit for the WH.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 14:38:28 in reply to Comment 58904

Agreed but I doubt they have left enough money and I don't see anyone else throwing money at Hamilton. Everyone for the IWS sees this as a victory because we get "150M" for 45M... I see it as the CFL/BY just got it for nothing.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 14:57:55 in reply to Comment 58913

Also, where is the 10-20M private investor?

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By Al C (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 13:36:39

Here's my post from TheSpec.com:By: AlCzervik
Jan 31, 2011 11:29 AM
Bad Deal 
To summarize: -IWS has every negative that the Ticats hated about West Harbour. -This plan involves removing a community soccer stadium and ball diamonds for a parking lot that will be used ten times a year to benefit a private company. -This site perpetuates the image of Hamilton across Canada as a polluted hellhole when seen on TSN. -The price tag for this renovation is somehow more than double the entire construction cost of BMO Field which was a 100% new build. -This plan sucks up the entire Future Fund, while the contaminated brownfield land purchased at the West Harbour sits untouched. -The Ticat's Scott Mitchell has engendered feelings of resentment towards the team in a large portion of the community. -A great opportunity has become a total disaster, how very Hamilton!

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 13:44:15

I have a question. I am confused as to why so much sound and fury is being generated re: the Memorandum of Undersanding. In my understanding, MOUs are not legally binding or enforceable. Am I wrong?

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 14:09:24

Apply adaptive reuse for the Rheem building and put the Velodrome inside it. No demolition, no need to remediate that parcel of land. The greenest building is the building already standing. Probably not a sexy enough vision for the Velodrome for most of the community here but I love the re-use of old, industrial and spacious buildings.

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 14:58:31 in reply to Comment 58909

I ask again, who with the money is talking about WH development? Or are we talking out our a** and just dreaming?

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 14:51:53

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By Pyrrhicmyass (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 14:59:35

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By onlyatRTH (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 15:12:57

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 18:00:09 in reply to Comment 58921

RTH unanimously endorsed Fred

I oppose feeding trolls on principle, but I feel compelled to point out that this trope, like most of the tropes our resident trolls keep trotting out, simply isn't true.

As an organization, RTH did not endorse any candidates. Our election coverage was about as fair and neutral as it is possible to be: we asked every candidate a policy question, and we recorded all of the answers we received.

Further, from the commentary on election night and just after, it is clear that regular RTH commenters held a plurality of views on who to elect.

In an article published just after the election, I described then Mayor-elect Bratina as "a progressive councillor who votes consistently in support of the downtown core and urban revitalization."

So can we please stop these ridiculous strawman attacks and try to engage in a civil discussion of the issues?

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 15:36:27 in reply to Comment 58921

Nor I am unhappy. Disappointed that so much Staff time and resources were used to come full circle right back to the very location that the Ticats stated made their business financially unvialble. We had several people advocating an Ivor Wynne reno from day 1.

Congrats to Larry! Well done.

Do I think Ivor Wynne is a good location? Not really. Do I think using public money to support a private enterprise is a good thing? Not really. Will I support the Ticats after all this? Not under this ownership.

Council addressed my main concerns today: keeping some recreational fields in Ward 3, trying to nail down specifics in regards to the velodrome, and integrating the Barton Tiffany lands into something useful.

Comment edited by Andrea on 2011-01-31 16:06:10

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 15:17:06

If he'd "listened to the needs of his tenant" during his tenure, we'd have a stadium in a greenfield on the east mountain surrounded by a sea of several thousand parking spots, a Boston Pizza, a generic hotel and several 6-8 lane widened roads that are empty 80% of the year, lined with wheatfields or townhouse subdivisions.

Well, ok. I guess maybe a Tim Hortons and a McDonalds too, with a drive-thru system that could double as a 4 lane street.

Eat 'em raw.

It's hilarious that this is the kind of crap that so many of the ignorant residents of this city think are "city building initiatives". All that kind of development does is make us look like the several other sleepy suburbs that are between successful cities throughout North America. It's the driveway-to-driveway experience we get, and then we shake our heads in disbelief every time the TV tells us we're getting fat. (Ok I'll stop, this is getting way off-topic)

Comment edited by MattM on 2011-01-31 15:21:26

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By Hipgnosis (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 15:26:17

I wouldn't necessarily call us all unhappy Hamiltonians. I am disappointed that this entire process has gone from an "amateur sports legacy" to something that his been hi-jacked by a professional sports franchise.

I am disappointed that Brian Timmis is being removed and am hopeful that it will be replaced somewhere else in the inner city where proper soccer pitches are sorely needed. Brian Timmis was a bit of an eyesore due to the fence but it was one of the best pitches in the City.

All in all I can say at least the money is staying in the community I guess but at what cost? The Future Fund will be terribly depleted and we may have lost the opportunity for the velodrome which would have enhanced amateur sports in the city.

The level of engagement has been truly exciting and as much as the trolls and naysayers want to bash RTH for the views it has expressed I think that they were necessary as there did not seem to be another media outlet in the City asking any difficult questions. When the hardest questions are coming from a citizen journal/blogsite you have to question the established media a bit.

Congratulations to Ryan and all of the contributors at Raise the Hammer for getting under the skin of the establishment. I am sorry that we have not seen the success that we were hoping for but I think believe that you have definitley got the attention of our politicians and the traditional media.

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By JonD (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 16:35:06 in reply to Comment 58923

Absolutely, If it weren't for the RTH crew and OurCityOurFuture we surely would have had East Mountain decision long ago. Council is indebted to this organization for keeping them from that colossal mistake but instead they're bad mouthing them.

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By nomoney (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 15:26:45

" If he'd "listened to the needs of his tenant" during his tenure, we'd have a stadium in a greenfield on the east mountain surrounded by a sea of several thousand parking spots, a Boston Pizza, a generic hotel and several 6-8 lane widened roads that are empty 80% of the year, lined with wheatfields or townhouse subdivisions.
Well, ok. I guess maybe a Tim Hortons and a McDonalds too, with a drive-thru system that could double as a 4 lane street."

Well, no. Because as it turns out he didn't have the $200+ million a brand new stadium anywhere, WH or EM would have cost. IWS turns out to have been the only option all along.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 15:30:48

Very true, I was simply addressing what Bob Young outlined as his "needs" originally, which was highway access, visibility and parking above all. These 3 things were symbolized by the East Mountain location more than any other that was ever proposed. I suppose the rest of my rant was un-necessary, but came out as my "anti-suburban" chord is struck every time I even think about EM.

Comment edited by MattM on 2011-01-31 15:32:08

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 15:37:42

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-31 15:38:39

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 16:20:16 in reply to Comment 58927

Yeah Hammy, your a regular Nostradumbass..

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 17:59:44 in reply to Comment 58930

hahaha - thank you for defusing my reply to hambone.

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By greenfingers (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 15:58:17

We should start circulating the idea of building a multilevel parking struture with a green roof that could be passive (plants only) or active whereby it would actually be a public park.

It would take up a smaller amount of land and perhaps even allow the sports/soccer field to stay for community use.

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By oskee wee wee (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 16:24:43

oskee wee wee oskee WTF!, holy mistake-inaw, taxpayers, got eaten raw.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 16:28:19

What I'm reading here about Brian Timmis Stadium is not what I remember hearing in council chambers. I'm always up for being corrected, so if I'm wrong fire away.

BTS is not being removed specifically for parking, it's being removed to accommodate the footprint of the new stadium. Their has been no specific location assigned as to where the 1500 parking spots will go. The Ti-Cats wanted the $600,000 a year lease payment to be allocated to paying for the land acquisition and construction of a parking lot 'within a reasonable distance to IWS'. I remember Rob Rossini being concerned about finding land close enough for IWS parking that he suggested HSR shuttle buses from Tiger-Cat controlled lot to the stadium. I found the shuttle buses hilarious because whenever I mentioned them for a WH stadium the Bob Young trolls would shout it down saying they would never go in one.

Once again, correct me if I'm wrong but from what I remember BTS is not being removed specifically for parking and there is no site even purchased yet for parking.

Comment edited by mrjanitor on 2011-01-31 16:29:15

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By Ezaki Glico (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 00:12:16 in reply to Comment 58933

Could be, My earlier comment was in reference to the BTS suggestion that had been made in the thread.

The virtue of having parking at Brian Timmis of course is that there is no associated land cost to building the lot, something that is not insignificant when you consider that by Shoup's measure at least, 1,500 parking spots of undiluted surface parking would run about $6m – and, incidentally, consume about as much land as is bordered by Cannon, Balsam, Beechwood and Melrose. That's a fair bit of land, which would obviously need to be purchased (a parking structure would reduce the footprint but increase the bottom line costs), and if you're eyeing industrial land north of Barton Street for parking, you can add remediation/capping costs to the bargain. I'm going to assume that you could roll the cost of shuttles to the stadium into your parking premium. Or just encourage fans to brave the three blocks from the tracks to the turnstiles.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 16:57:23 in reply to Comment 58933

From what little I heard, they referred to off site parking

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 16:32:26 in reply to Comment 58933

That is also my understanding. Seeing as there is no plan in place, I am not sure how costs can be calculated. But regarding the parking - you are correct. To the best of my understandnig the footprint of the new South section will be bigger. Originally, there was talk about utilizing some of the industrial land north of Barton Street for parking, with shuttles to the stadium.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 16:37:32

On a more postive note - I am REALLY looking forward to the new market re-opening AND Soupfest tomorrow.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 18:06:46 in reply to Comment 58936

Me too. This mess makes you appreciate the good things in the city.

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By rscheffler (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 17:21:26

Regarding Brian Timmis - what's to say the field/pitch of the new IWS couldn't serve the purpose for both types of football?

I've heard Timmis described as the best pitch this side of BMO Field. Why not make it the best pitch in Ontario? (though IMO it would need to be real turf rather than synthetic).

I believe one of the reasons Timmis is disappearing is not only to accommodate additional parking, but because the south grandstand will be rebuilt farther south than the present location to allow a wider runoff area around the field. Therefore it will encroach into the current Timmis location. With the current IWS design there is very little room along the sidelines. It has always been an issue and will certainly be addressed, though one benefit was that fans got to sit very close to the action. The external south side of IWS is also a no-go zone on game days without the correct credentials and I can imagine that the renovation and removal of Timmis will open up this area for additional uses, such as retail, that could operate throughout the year.

It always perplexed me why more events didn't take place at IWS. Perhaps the cost is excessive for field rental? But if the goal is to make IWS more tightly integrated in the community, I feel there must be a greater effort made to make it accessible to community level events. Back a year or two ago when the stadium debate was still fresh, the Spec ran some stories about how European cities have built professional calibre stadiums yet make them publicly accessible on non-game days for community use. While the Ticats practice in IWS on off days, they don't use the field the entire day and late afternoons and evenings are typically available. Why can't we do that here? Taxpayers are paying for this reno, the Cats are the tenants and should share the facility. I'm sure there is a way to accommodate more uses than is currently the case.

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By Pessimist (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 17:42:34 in reply to Comment 58938

Make no mistake, once the pan ams are over and the lines repainted, there will be no professional soccer going on in the new home of the tiger cats. The taxpayers got played, thinking those slugs in cats management have any desire to branch out. We just folded and handed them the pot.

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By rscheffler (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 17:23:16 in reply to Comment 58938

I see mrjanitor beat me to it above - I need to collect my thoughts and type faster!

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By rscheffler (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 17:28:28

Just got an email from Brian McHattie and in it this info:

Today, Council unanimously supported Ivor Wynne Stadium as the location for the Pan-Am Games. I wanted to let you know why, in the end, I also supported the Ivor Wynne location.

As you know, I have been very supportive of the West Harbour site from the very beginning of the Pan-Am stadium discussions (voting virtually alone several times against investigation of the east Mountain, McMaster Innovation Park and the CPR Railyard proposed stadium sites, always committing to staying at the West Harbour). Even today, I had prepared a motion to reiterate my previous motion on January 20, to submit a proposal to TO2015 for a 5,000 seat scaleable stadium at the West Harbour, if Council did not approve the redeveloped Ivor Wynne Stadium. As is sometimes the case in politics, at Council today, it quickly became clear that I would not have that opportunity.

Therefore, with much deliberation and soul-searching, I joined City Council in supporting the redevelopment of Ivor Wynne Stadium as the Pan-Am Stadium, which will be designed to be a FIFA-sized soccer field and a football field for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. As we have communicated throughout the Pan-Am discussions, I thought it important to outline my reasons and offer a comment on future opportunities for the West Harbour precinct.

The final cost and revenue arrangement for the Pan-Am stadium at the Ivor Wynne location is much more positive than it was last week. The cost of the rebuilt/new stadium is $152.1M. The City is committing $51.5M ($45M from the Future Fund and $6.5M from City Capital funds, monies that had previously been allocated to fixing Ivor Wynne before the Pan-Am Games was being considered). The contribution from higher levels of government is $91.6M. The Cats are guaranteeing $750K per year or $9M in total from stadium naming rights. There are additional commitments to improving the neighbourhood around the Ivor Wynne area such as a new recreation centre, and additional community use of the combined FIFA soccer/football field. This area is one of the Hamilton Code Red (poverty) neighbourhoods, so it is positive to achieve these benefits and city-wide focus.

In my comments today at Council, I reflected on Council’s original reasons for submitting a bid to be part of the GTA Pan-Am Games. One goal was to replace the aging Ivor Wynne Civic Stadium by taking advantage of provincial and federal funding – the contributions noted above accomplish this goal. A second goal was to achieve a City-building aspect, in other words, act as a catalyst for urban renewal; the West Harbour location adjacent to downtown presented a clear opportunity for this; I hope that redevelopment in the Ivor Wynne precinct will also have some City-building impact. A third and very important goal for me is to emphasize social inclusion benefits; while the West Harbour location (also a Code Red neighbourhood) presented opportunities, I am excited about the Ivor Wynne precinct. Council today implemented an “Ivor Wynne Community Fund” seeded with $2M, and additionally supported over time through revenue sharing with the Tiger-Cats, plus funding to replace the loss of Brian Timmis stadium to build additional Ward 3 parks and sports fields. Those benefits are important for the entire city.

So, what about the West Harbour? The positive news is that we have already committed $10M to secure 14 acres which can be redeveloped. I sit on the City’s Velodrome Committee, and the West Harbour continues to be a very attractive location. Today I moved a motion asking staff to report back on the feasibility of placing additional community sports fields in the West Harbour; this has been identified as a significant need.

I suspect that many of you are as disappointed as me, that the original West Harbour Pan-Am stadium location was not advanced. Over my time on Council, I have come to understand that politics is the art of the possible, and compromise is often the order of the day – those two features of politics are in play in this case. However, positives have been attained and we are now in a good position to facilitate future West Harbour redevelopment. Onward we go!

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 18:48:30 in reply to Comment 58940

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 18:02:24 in reply to Comment 58940

You beat me to it - I am happy with the Velodrome may yet land in WH. In the end I really just want the harbour front potential to be realized. A facility like this will also foster amatuer cycling communities and hopefully give more kids in the city opportunity.

I am pretty happy that in the end we almost stick to the original number of 45M (~51.5M), even if the 10M in WH is being spun as a "positive".

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-01-31 18:04:17

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 19:42:32

The Hamilton Spectator website has a link showing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) approved today by Hamilton city council. https://picasaweb.google.com/10284832901...

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 20:04:36

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 08:10:41 in reply to Comment 58963

A good friend of mine is a banker. A client of his, financially ignorant, came having just come into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The client's wife had made him come in as she wanted him to invest the money through the bank, but the client had a plan.

You see, his boss had made him an offer of partnership! The client would put all of his money into the company and the boss would put his experience and contacts, in return, the client would get a 49% share of the new business.

Celebrations! Until you stop and think about it.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 21:45:08

Here is the link to an article titled "It's official: Hamilton council approves stadium plan" by Mark Masters on the National Post website tonight.
http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/01/3...

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-31 22:21:49

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By BeulahAve (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 22:13:05

My mother always counseled me not to buy something just because it was on sale, but to consider whether I would be willing to pay full price for said item first. In the case of IWS2, Council found itself at a "going out of business" sale where time was short and the temptation of the "bargain" was just too great. How could they pass it up? Now we wait to see if buyer's remorse sets in, and whether it will be justified. (I admit it: I do have some unworn sale items hanging my closet.)

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 22:13:54

Grape Ape:

Just wanted to add some information gleaned from today's city council meeting to your recent post about Hamilton paying $51.5 Million toward the Ivor Wynne Stadium refurbishment plan.

Although the Ticats are being credited with a $9 Million capital contribution via their agreement to buy the stadium naming rights from the City of Hamilton in instalments of $775,000 per year, city finance manager Rob Rossini said today that the city has to issue a $9 Million debenture to pay that portion of the upfront stadium construction cost. Therefore, the current estimated upfront stadium construction costs payable by the City of Hamilton would appear to be approximately $60.5 Million.

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By Ezaki Glico (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 00:27:02 in reply to Comment 58979

So while the City is fronting $9m in current dollars, the Cats are on the hook for $9m in $775,000 instalments (roughly 12 seasons, independent of inflation, which amounts to around 25% over that term) presumably starting as soon as they begin playing out of IWS2?

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 23:26:18 in reply to Comment 58979

So it's like lay-a-way for a stadium :)

Thanks for the update.

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-01-31 23:26:34

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By Sour Grapes (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 05:36:55

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 01, 2011 at 06:00:53 in reply to Comment 58989

The sheer vulgarity of the Ticats' online apologists never ceases to surprise me.

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted February 02, 2011 at 12:33:56 in reply to Comment 58990

Hail, "Offensive" button... fade to black.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 08:09:10

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 08:12:18 in reply to Comment 58992

Sure it did. And you've always had nothing but thoughtful conjecture to add.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 08:52:32

Here is the link to an editorial titled "Now, bring on the velodrome" by Howard Elliott in today's Hamilton Spectator: http://www.thespec.com/opinion/editorial...

After passing the motion at yesterday's city council meeting to spend $60.5 Million on the Ivor Wynne Pan Am Stadium project, a motion was carried directing city manager Chris Murray to contact the federal Minister of State for Sport, Gary Lunn, to request federal funding for the velodrome similar to the amount of $22.5 Million provided by the Ontario government for the stadium last Sunday. While this makes sense, what happens if the federal government turns down the request?

The original Pan Am financial commitment made by Hamilton city council in February, 2009 was a total of $60 Million comprised of $45 Million for stadium construction, $10 Million to acquire the west harbour lands, and $5 Million for a temporary velodrome. Yesterday, council effectively agreed to spend all of that money on the Ivor Wynne Stadium refurbishment project.

It would therefore appear that, if no federal government funding is forthcoming for the velodrome, Hamilton city council will enter a new debate on whether to spend new monies on a permanent or temporary velodrome.

An interesting side note to yesterday's events is that, according to the National Post article by Mark Masters, the City of Mississauga had withdrawn its interest in the "community-sized" Pan Am soccer stadium sweepstakes earlier in the day. http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/01/3...

This means that, had Hamilton city council kept its Plan B west harbour 5,000 seat scalable stadium option alive, they would have had the option of committing a $18.9 share of the $43 Million estimated stadium construction costs with $26.1 remaining from the original Future Fund stadium construction allocation to pay its share of the cost of a permanent velodrome with some money left over to contribute to incremental improvements to Ivor Wynne Stadium. Even though Hamilton city council would have still probably proceeding with the Ivor Wynne Pan Am Stadium refurbishment project given the recent injection of provincial money, it would still have been prudent for council to at least consider the fact that Hamilton's Plan B no longer faced any competition and would have made municipal available for the permanent velodrome if the federal government turns down their funding request.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-02-01 08:55:41

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 02, 2011 at 18:37:39 in reply to Comment 58999

I'm guessing that mississauga and brampton decided to pull out of this nonsense months ago, but were asked not to say anything. it's been clear that this entire farce has only been about the Ticats. I hope the PanAm visitors can figure out their way to the stadium from the new GO Station at the West Harbour.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 09:07:52 in reply to Comment 58999

Once all the glad handing and back clapping is over, we'll have plenty of time to rue all the things we threw over the side to make the Ticats happy.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 09:05:11

This whole adventure sure brought out the bright minds on the spec. Of the many gems I read over the last few months, this one that I read this morning gave me a chuckle:

"City council
should privatize city council - it was mentioned in the beginning that the stadium should be done there...they do know how to waste time nd money."

This guy makes the RTH trolls seem dignified.

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By ProLine (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 10:48:37

Corporate welfare cases always seem to win in the end. And once the deals are signed, what can the public do, other than have our incomes garnished to support it?

In Florida, you should see the cash that the Marlins have extracted from present and future generations of Miami taxpayers.

[http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-marlinsfinancials082410](http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-marlinsfinancials082410)

"The ugliness of the Marlins’ ballpark situation is already apparent, and the building doesn’t open for another 18 months. Somehow a team that listed its operating income as a healthy $37.8 million in 2008 alone swung a deal in which it would pay only $155 million of the $634 million stadium complex. Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County agreed – without the consent of taxpayers – to take $409 million in loans loaded with balloon payments and long grace periods. By 2049, when the debt is due, the county will have paid billions."

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By PeterF (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 11:16:17

Interesting article from The Vancouver Sun. Sums it up pretty well.

http://www.vancouversun.com/Wake+Call/42...

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 12:59:14

Proline >> Corporate welfare cases always seem to win in the end. And once the deals are signed, what can the public do, other than have our incomes garnished to support it?

It gets better. In recent years (2000 - ), corporations in Canada have gone from being net borrowers to net lenders...

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-210-x/2008000/t014-eng.htm

In fact, from 2000 to 2008, corporations added $383.2 Billion in cash to their balance sheets, around $11.2K per Canadian. In that same period of time, Canadians have taken on $272.1 Billion, or $7.9k per person in debt. From 1961 - 2000, people's savings used to fund corporate investments, now it is corporations funding our credit cards and mortgages.

Curiously enough, this shift in who gets to play banker came at the same time corporations saw their tax rates drop from 28% to 16.5%, federally and provincially from 15.5% (2000 Ontario) to 12% today.

In 2000, our economy was strong and Ontario corporations payed tax rates of 43.5%. Today, our economy is weak and the tax rate for corporations is 28.5%. The only difference is that corporations are sitting on lots of cash and average people are at record debt levels.

Whereas savings used to flow from people to corporations to fund business expansion, savings now flow from corporations to people to buy bigger homes and big screen T.V.'s. Excess cash on corporate balance sheets tells us that the economy is lacking new business opportunities to invest in, which also tells us that corporate tax rates should be raised.

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By Sky (anonymous) | Posted February 02, 2011 at 12:17:46

I am still stuck on rscheffler's comment~ re:letter from Brian McHattie,
"We have already committed $10M to secure 14 acres"... at West Harbour...
Am I the only one on here that cannot comprehend that amount of money spent on purchasing contaminated property/single family dwellings???

Danya

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 03, 2011 at 06:26:57 in reply to Comment 59109

Lack of comprehension runs rampant in discussions such as this. I'm not assailing someone's honesty in declaring their own limitations (yes, I'm being glib, yes I'm taking the piss...), just pointing out that to this ardent observer, at some point, the need to launch even as benign a self-righteous salvo as this seems... Well, I'll put it this way: RTH is a mechanism for change. A forum within which an examination of events, of contributing factors to dilemmas that challenge the city can take place. Referring to a theme on my blog of late, part of its effectiveness might be found in 'deliberative dialogue'.

And yet what drags down any discussion is the bandying about of pseudo-facts, faux-statistics, conjecture about this, hypothesizing about that, injection of unmoderated bias and prejudice... It gets a little wearying, doncha think?

There are seemingly endless instances where what goes on at City Hall on myriad fronts are beyond the ken of a casual (and lazy) observer. The purchases of WH land as mentioned in Danya's comment being just one of these instances.

Is it unreasonable to request that not only the Hammer be raised, but the bar of enquiry? So instead of something being tossed as an accusation (against the former mayor), how about framing the issue of these lands having been purchased in a proper question, a salient enquiry?

How about RTH doing a story on this ancillary element to the whole stadium débacle? Or, short of Ryan doing it, why don't impassioned readers...such as Danya...approach their Councillors and begin asking the 'fallout' questions that deserve to be asked, especially as, if IWS will be going forward, what's now in store for WH deserves to be focused on. (I'll be sending this comment to those on Council I have regular contact with, so I'll be walking my own talk.)

Grumbled commentary -no matter how well-intentioned- is fine, expressing it is surely within our individual and collective rights. But doesn't Hamilton deserve more from all of us? Especially here on this site?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 03, 2011 at 07:13:13 in reply to Comment 59169

And yet what drags down any discussion is the bandying about of pseudo-facts, faux-statistics, conjecture about this, hypothesizing about that, injection of unmoderated bias and prejudice... It gets a little wearying, doncha think?...

You are quite right not to expect these things in the articles and blogs, but in the comment sections? Well, I give you credit for acknowledging your self-righteousness.

It's the internet. We're having a conversation. Do you go around in your daily life demanding that any gathering of humans whether to effect change, or even just to socialize, be completely free of pseudo-facts, faux-statistics, conjecture, hypothesizing, unmoderated bias, and prejudice? You must be great fun at cocktail parties.

How about RTH doing a story on this ancillary element to the whole stadium débacle?

Go for it!

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted February 02, 2011 at 21:02:51

The professional soccer component in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Mayor Bratina and Bob Young on January 31, 2010 to refurbish Ivor Wynne Stadium needs to be revisited and revised before they sign the Licensing Agreement.

Paragraph 5 in Appendix “A” of the Memorandum of Understanding reads as follows:

“The agreement will provide for the Tiger-Cats to operate a professional soccer franchise in the stadium for the playing of all of the franchise’s home pre-season, regular season and playoff games, except as provided in Paragraph 30. Professional soccer shall mean a franchise playing in the North American Soccer League, United Soccer League or an equivalent professional soccer league. For greater certainty, ownership/operation of the soccer academy by the Tiger-Cats shall include ownership through a related corporation provided that such corporation is owned or controlled by Robert Young.” https://picasaweb.google.com/10284832901...

Conspicuous by its absence in the wording of this paragraph is the Major Soccer League. It is superior to rather than the equivalent of the North American Soccer League or the United Soccer League. It therefore appears that Bob Young does not contemplate bringing a Major Soccer League franchise to Hamilton during his 20 year stadium lease.

What happens if another entrepreneur expresses a willingness to pay the $40 Million expansion fee and apply for a Major Soccer League franchise in Hamilton? It would be unconscionable for Hamilton to pay $60.5 Million toward building the stadium and be prevented from having a Major Soccer League team for the first 20 years because Bob Young has an NASL or USL team playing in the stadium. This scenario needs to be clearly addressed in the Licensing Agreement.

An example of a compromise would be to give Bob Young an exclusive five year option to pursue a Major Soccer League franchise and, if he chooses not to pursue it within the five year timeline and another entrepreneur wants to bring a Major Soccer League team to Hamilton, the city shall have the right to negotiate and sign a stadium lease with the MSL entrepreneur. This gives Young five years for his NASL or USL franchise to sink or swim or to acquire an MSL franchise while giving Hamilton a chance to seek an MSL franchise during years six to twenty of the lease.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-02-02 22:21:44

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted February 02, 2011 at 21:07:54 in reply to Comment 59151

Could I impose upon you to send your comment to Council? I've already made references to the City legal department being astute on Ticat matters in my correspondence to Council, but your observation holds much more water.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2011 at 08:00:02

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 Malex (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2011 at 08:21:29

Of course, the Ti-cats will maintina, insist even, that season ticket numbers are up, that they're showing "tremendous growth", but I cannot see how they would be, not with the "Scorched Earth" PR policy employed by Scott (the Pitbull) Mitchell...I also predict that the actual attendance figures for each game (except for Toronto) will go down...

Having moved to Hamilton from Toronto, I gamely tried to become a Ti-cat fan, but the Dog & Pony show known as Scott Mitchell and Bob Young have cured me of that...no more IWS for me...I'll hop on the GO Train and gladly give my custom to the Argos...

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted February 03, 2011 at 12:44:59

LOLZ

http://www.thespec.com/news/canada/article/481189--majority-opposes-federal-funds-for-stadiums-arenas-poll

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted February 03, 2011 at 13:06:49 in reply to Comment 59200

Haha! I just finished reading that myself. It is interesting to hear what the majority really thinks.

The issue of publicly funded pro-sports stadiums is being faced by many cities in Canada, not just Hamilton.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted February 03, 2011 at 16:14:07

highwater,

I have found that mystoneycreek only swoops down from the lofty heights he/she exists in to scatter bon-mots of his/her greater insights and criticisms to the prols here in the depths of RTH. Once the droppings have been left for us to ponder upon, msc leaves to reside back on the perch of higher consciousness and meaning, ever watchful for when his/her intervention is again required at RTH. To request msc to do something as grotty as write an article is disrespectful sir!!

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By Tnt (registered) | Posted February 04, 2011 at 09:46:27 in reply to Comment 59227

Funny. That is a good critique of some of the more pompous opinions that can prevail on RTH. It reminds me of the raging debate over "anarchists" Skydragon gang vs "fatcat" James St N merchants. I generally come down on the side of the left leaning theory, but get so turned off by the method.

"I agree with everything you say, yet object to the way you say it!"

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2011 at 11:26:02

NFL owners want guarantees no other business provides
By Sally Jenkins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 17, 2011; 12:09 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/16/AR2011021603846.html

Excerpt:

"The owners are lucky that the collective bargaining process is so convoluted, and the language of their argument with the players is hard to understand. Because when you peel away the headachy legal terms and expose their real position, it can be summed up very simply: They believe they are entitled to make money every year, even in the midst of disastrous recessions. They think they are owed a living.

They also think your money is actually their money. Or at least, it used to be yours, before you paid it at the box office, paid it at the concessions, paid it in the parking lot, and paid it in countless other ways - from those deplorable "seat licenses" to tax breaks and public funds for new stadiums and renovations, where they can charge you even more.

What are owners really owed in return for their investments? That's what fans must decide, in weighing whose side to support in the impending lockout and labor impasse, which, judging by the belligerent maneuvering of the past week now, likely will last many months and disrupt next season. The core issue is this: Owners resent the fact that a lot of your money is going into the pockets of players, instead of into their own."

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