Special Report: Pan Am

Councillors to Consider Velodrome Proposal, Change to Pan Am Stadium Plan

Staff reports on a proposed permanent velodrome at Mohawk College and a decision to completely rebuild Ivor Wynne Stadium will give Councillors plenty to discuss at today's GIC meeting.

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 29, 2011

Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop will be in Hamilton today to addend the special General Issues Committee meeting on the proposed Pan Am Velodrome.

In their report, city staff recommend that Council rescind their February 10, 2010 decision to locate the Velodrome at the West Harbour site and to select Mohawk College instead, with the city paying 100% of land acquisition costs and 44% of construction costs to build a permanent Velodrome at the College.

The city's capital costs would include:

Council would assume financial responsibility for the balance if other sources of funding cannot be secured.

This commitment from the city would be conditional on an annual $500,000 in operating money out of the Pan Am Legacy Fund.

The alternative proposal Staff are proposing is for the City to withdraw all participation from the Velodrome.

On Friday, the City Clerk asked members of Council to convene a special Council meeting at the end of today's General Issues Committee meeting to ratify their decision before the August 30 deadline for the City to respond to Toronto 2015. After a pushback by some members of council against the last-minute time line, Toronto 2015 agreed to grant the city an extension to September 15. The Pan Am host corporation had already extended the City's deadline from July 28 after staff canceled an earlier meeting to present a Velodrome proposal.

IWS: Money for a Whole New Stadium

Meanwhile, City Manager Chris Murray is presenting a second report, not linked from the City website but obtained by Joey Coleman, which states that the city learned this past Spring that the North Stands of Ivor Wynne Stadium "cannot accommodate seats with backs", and that Infrastructure Ontario has decided after studying the options to construct a whole new stadium.

Under this new plan, the total capital cost would remain at $152 million, with 44% coming from the City of Hamilton via the Future Fund.

When Council voted to propose an Ivor Wynne rebuild rather than a new stadium at the West Harbour, the argument at the time was that it would be a partial rebuild that would preserve the North Stands and hence cost less money than a new West Harbour stadium.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young raised some eyebrows in July when he posted a message to the Ticats forum to state: "We (the City, the Province, and the Feds, and the Ticats) are not "upgrading" anything. The commitment is to build a brand new stadium on the site of the old Ivor Wynne."

Asked to clarify what he meant by this, Young stated that the stadium construction plan was still being finalized, but "it is clear that $150 million (or so) will build a lot of stadium."

At the time, Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who co-chairs the Pan Am Stadium Subcommittee, told RTH, "The City has not had a request to do anything different than was approved by Council when the Ivor Wynne site was approved. There has been no mention of any potential changes at the committee."

In response to this new report, Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr wrote in an August 28 email to constituents that he is "a little concerned over costs" and is "contemplating just sticking to the North Stands refurbishment and put the new found money toward a permanent Velodrome".

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 GrapeApe (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 09:37:49

I feel like I've just put a $20 down and the shells are now in motion...

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By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 09:39:24

Here's the report uploaded to Google Docs so you don't need flash or a PDF reader: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&p...

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 09:43:04

Without a Bicycle Bob Young pushing for it, watch as council decides they're now fiscally responsible and jumps on option B for the velodrome plan, never mind we got snowed on the IWS "upgrade" cost, never mind unlike the stadium, the velodrome would ACTUALLY be a legacy facility for amateur sport, never mind we could have afforded to put both the stadium and the velodrome on the west harbour for less than it'll cost to put the stadium at IWS and the velodrome at mohawk........

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 10:33:56

Is the Live Streaming not available for today's meeting? There is a link to it but it isn't working for me anyway??

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 10:38:51

... and now the cycle is complete. The entire stadium selection fight was completely pointless.

We abandoned the process when we realized we couldn't afford to build the Ticats a new stadium anywhere with the budget we had... and then Bob came up with the plan to build only half a stadium and reno the other as a cost-saving measure and everybody seemed happy for a moment.

Now we find out that we're going to build a new one from scratch anyways. We could've done that at east mountain or west harbour or confed park or wherever.... but we dumped the process because we couldn't afford it.

We still can't afford it, but we're doing it anyways.

I wish we could say the same for LRT.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 10:39:37

Mayor Bratina, talking to Bill Kelly this morning about the West Harbour:

The West Harbour keeps popping up. And whatever the costs are of anything at the Mohawk site or the Ivor Wynne site, you would have to add a premium of a lot of money in order to clean the West Harbour site. Now I'll give you a quick example: the Waterfront Trust built a rink down in the North End, and they found out that that rink required $400,000 worth of soil remediation. So, that's about a fifth of an acre. So you can extrapolate for a 20 acre site, somewhere in the $35-40 million range for site clean-up. Even if it's half that, that's extra money on top of all the other expenses. So I hope we're not gonna belabour that one and it's covered in the report here.

A few thoughts come to mind listening to this:

  • The West Harbour clean-up has been estimated at $3-5 million, not $35-40 million or even $18-20 million.

  • The city can recover money by selling the Ivor Wynne site - which does not need remediation - to developers. That would also do a lot more to benefit the neighbourhood than a new stadium and a big parking lot.

  • A remediated West Harbour would generate new investment and new tax assessments in neighbouring properties, producing a net revenue increase for the city.

On a less mercenary note: the money will have to be spent some time to clean up the West Harbour, if Council is ever to honour its earlier commitment to remediate that site.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 17:39:43 in reply to Comment 68556

The same developers you rant about elsewhere? Now that's not a nice thing to wish on any neighbourhood.

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By BoogieWoogie (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 10:48:52 in reply to Comment 68556

The clean up cost boogieman was taken apart months ago and now that is the only thing BoBra can cling to given that the West Harbour is clearly the best location if we are building new.

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By Le Reve (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 10:50:51

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 Zephyr (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 11:08:53

Is anyone live-blogging the council meeting? How does one follow today's events from work? :)

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 11:12:10 in reply to Comment 68560

I haven't heard from anyone who is able to get the live stream working, but Emma Reilly at the Spectator is live-tweeting.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 15:46:49 in reply to Comment 68561

And I was live-

Well, I was there.

What an experience.

(Bob Young left part-the-way through.)

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 16:10:35 in reply to Comment 68587

Can you post a summation of what went down?

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 16:02:27 in reply to Comment 68587

Well unfortunately, I couldn't get the live stream up and running and twitter is way behind on my PC. Grrrr.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 11:15:40 in reply to Comment 68561

Thanks Ryan.Sounds like this was a bad meeting to miss with Bob Young and Ian Troop in attendance. Sounds like everyone would have liked more notice.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 11:17:03

Thanks Ryan. I am reading her tweets and am actually dumbfounded to read that there has been a committee talking about the velodrome since January, without publicizing their meetings. Do we really live in a city when a $50M decision can be made by 4 people? So sad when there are so many energetic and visionary people that have been choosing to make their home here over the last few years. This is absolutely disgraceful.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 11:21:06 in reply to Comment 68563

I've just composed some of my thoughts and questions about this process in a blog post.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 11:48:09

I wonder if, in light of revised construction plans, we'll revisit the 25,000 seat capacity. The Ticats' home game attendance averages out at 21,339 from the 1970-2010 seasons. Attendance has been on the rebound in recent years, but not monumentally so. Only six of the Cats' last 30 seasons have averaged home crowds in excess of 23K, and average IWS attendance during that period was under 20K.

http://goo.gl/6G7YZ

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 13:13:00 in reply to Comment 68569

Actually the RFP is for a 22,500 seat stadium. The Cats are averaging somewhere around 24,000 this season and if they continue to improve that will go up substantially.

If anything they are building the stadium too small. They should be building bigger than what we have now not smaller. It costs more to expand than to build new.

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By theOther (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 19:29:20 in reply to Comment 68573

thanks, BG1231, hilarious! I'll make a note to nominate you for the end-of-year comedy awards in the urban affairs/sports blog category.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 14:33:24 in reply to Comment 68573

The problem is that fundamentally there isn't a business model there that makes any sense. CFL just has too low revenues, so while a huge stadium makes sense in that it allows more fans to attend the games, it fails for business reasons because it's basically going to be charity from the city:

"Yes, you can get a few extra ticket sales during a banner year, but at the cost of piles more taxpayer money".

Ultimately, for the city it might be a better investment to have a stadium that sells out a little more often than one that allows larger sales for larger games... since either way, we're going to take a bath on this, financially.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 13:16:40 in reply to Comment 68573

Agreed. And just by virtue of having a modern stadium, regular attendance should increase. The old IWS had limitations that no doubt diminished modern day game experience thereby hindering attendance somewhat.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 14:11:08 in reply to Comment 68574

I'm not disputing that larger crowds are possible, but I'd say that a 41-year sample is reasonably even-handed and makes room for a lot of ifs. (I'm sure that the City would consider building a larger stadium if the Cats or their backers saw the value in paying for the additional capacity.)

One of the hindering factors is perhaps IWS 1.0 itself. Another factor is doubtless the on-field product, which fumbled its 30K+ crowds around 1972 and has never matched that mass-market appeal. Another factor also the rabid resistance to ticket price increases, which presumably will be in the cards as the team swaps an 80-year-old facility for a factory-fresh stadium (if not another hike between now and then).

http://catchat.thespec.com/2008/01/bob-youngs-take.html
http://catchat.thespec.com/2008/01/re-think-ticat.html

If we're serious about transforming this franchise into a sustainable business that doesn't leech off the taxpayer's teat, the Cats must become at least revenue neutral. And that means paying for the enhanced game-day experience. The thinking seems to be that the team would be more efficient if it's not constantly having to make concessions to the cheap seats. My sense is that this is going to be a 2.0 era for the fanbase as well, which is possibly why there's not more push-back on the 22,500 capacity. A smaller venue better embodies the cozy came-day experience IWS is known for, and it makes supply/demand more manageable. If they hike prices and attendance drops, that's less noticeable in a stadium this size than one that's 5K-10K larger. And since the intention is that Cats not be the sole tenants of this stadium, the scale must makle sense for all other potential tenants. I think their compromise is a sound one.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 13:29:30 in reply to Comment 68574

Captain,

No doubt you are right about probable increased attendance but you'd be surprised at how many people love the amazing intimacy and sight lines of the current IWS. There is something very real about that place that made watching a game special.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 14:54:42 in reply to Comment 68575

Yes, agreed. I'm one of them.

It's just that there aren't enough of us.

I've got a feeling they'll be sensitive to the sight line issue, even if they can't duplicate it exactly.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 13:38:26

I am completely underwhelmed by the "if they build it, they will come" argument. Are there any studies/business cases to prove that Hamiltonians that are not currently buying Ti-Cat tickets will suddenly do so if there is a new stadium at the same site as the current IWS?

Most people agree that the sitelines/promimity to the field at the current IWS make for some of the best views/game day experiences in the CFL.

Hamiltonians are not turning out in droves because the Ti-Cats are rarely more than a mediocre team. And this latest travesty of a stadium hostage-taking exercise by the Ti-Cat management has shown the Ti-Cats to be completely out-of-touch with the type of progressive, energetic city many Hamiltonians are looking to build.

I personally used to be a Ti-Cat fan. Now all I do is read the results of games in the Spec. Last game I actually laughed when reading about the last-minute loss the Ti-Cats experienced. Yes, I am bitter.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 14:58:41 in reply to Comment 68577

Zephyr, the site line/views is only part of the game day experience.

Others, that should be greatly enhanced once the old girl is replaced, are:

- Comfortable seats, with backs and leg room.
- Efficient and more concessions, no more long lines - missing an entire quarter waiting for a timmies.
- Ancillary entertainment, provided by modern stadium design

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 16:05:28 in reply to Comment 68585

@CaptainKirk - if the draw of a sporting event was comfy chairs and good concessions - then wouldn't people just stay home? Ain't noone gonna replicate my super-comfy couch and my husband's amazing tacos.

As for ancillary entertainment - IWS can host the same marching bands, etc. that the new stadium will.

I used to go to Ti-Cat games for something much more intangible. Corny as it sounds, I think it was for civic pride. The chance to be part of a cheering mass of proud Hamiltonians, to feel part of the spirit of this city.

Unfortunately now I see the Ti-Cats as part of the whole tainted, back-room-dealing old boys' club that has governed this city (and held it back) for far too long. They are an anachronism, a throwback.

I am far from cool, yet far too cool to be a Ti-Cat fan.

Comment edited by Zephyr on 2011-08-29 16:35:14

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 16:58:05 in reply to Comment 68591

Zephyr, I think I have read your post 10 times now. Unfortunately technology kept me from being in the loop at all today, but I think if you have followed the process from the get go, you kind of get a sence as to the general feel of the meetings.

I used to go to Ti-Cat games for something much more intangible. Corny as it sounds, I think it was for civic pride. The chance to be part of a cheering mass of proud Hamiltonians, to feel part of the spirit of this city.

What you have written in your comment above has struck me. I try my best to ignore the ownership level of it all and the politics in general. I enjoy spending time with fellow Hamitonians most of all. I love being around a lot of people and the different views of our city the stadium in it's current location offers.

I enjoy football too. Very much so, but there is so much about professional sports that I despise. The CFL is much more grounded than other leagues in many ways, but it could use to step it down a couple of notches still.

Only when a night at the ballpark is all about the community and not corporate focused, can this be something that we can sink our souls into where Civic Pride is concerned.

I am hearing so much of what you are displaying in your comment Zephyr and it saddens me becuase I want to love our historied Tiger-Cats again. The truth is though, if you read through the Ivor Wynne Stadium Scrapbook at the Hamilton Public Library, none of this is new. All I have to say is Ballard, to remind everyone the sick twists and turns football in Hamilton has taken.

Having said that, I love the community where our stadium is now and they deserve this and they deserve the civic pride that fills their surounding streets and yes all that has transpired the past year and a half where the stadium is concerend has been a nightmare and I understand people not wanting to support Bob Young or the city in it's decision to continue the tradition at 75 Balsam - especially given the latest news, but this is all far bigger than speaking with our wallets.

Who do we really affect, if we stop supporting the Tiger-Cats and Ivor Wynne becomes an empty facade, leaving only faint cheers of High School football games and the echoes of the Civic Pride long gone from Hamilton. We then face the loss of our CFL franchise, no hopes of the NHL (of which I wish we'd move on from but that's another story), and all this hype and excitment that you see in the Twitterverse about Hamilton and it's exciting future, all reversed as the pride in everything we've seen as of late, leaves on the first all-day GO train out of dodge.

CFL football isn't everything in Hamilton, but would 20% be a low-balled estimate of the number of people this tradition was important to?

For me, the tradition of Ivor Wynne is even more important than the Tiger-Cats themselves. It's a bit of a twisted statement as you can't have one without the other it would seem, but 75 Balsam Avenue is an important fabric to this community as a site for sport that brings together over 20,000 fans. As far as I am concerend, you could put the Mauraders on the field as long as we can attract a capacity crowd of over 20,000 for that hightened sense of Civic Pride, and I'd attend. Likely more than I can afford to now.

I'll continue to push for a stadium district that we can be proud of - for what my input is worth, and when the doors open come 2014, I'll support the stadium and the other facilities the best I can for the sake of the community and realize yes, a multi-millionairre(s) are getting part of my money but what the stadium district has done for the area residents, I'll know that in a round-a-bout way, I am supporting them.

It's not about who is in the press boxes. It's about who is in the seat next to you or in the endzone at half-time raising a glass to you. It's about your kids watching TC and Stripes moving about the stadium the entire game. It's about a very silly oskee wee wee cheer. Maybe it's about the first black man to ever play quarterback in professional sports at Ivor Wynne or one of likely very few cities in professional football, to have a host city win the cup on their home field. It's about Osbaldiston's last play field goal sending Hamiltonians through the roof as we gain a birth in the 1998 Grey Cup. It's about all these defining moments and more.

That's what football is about. That is what civic pride is about. Balsam is what community is all about and that's about to improve 10-fold in the years to come - especially if some of the other dreams for the stadium district pan out.

Should we be ticked about this entire process and the back-room secrecy? Yes we should be very angry and push for some serious change and Town Hall meetings or something as this stuff has to stop NOW, but I still believe 75 Balsam is something we can be proud of as an initiative - even in light of these latest developments.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-08-29 17:07:25

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 17:23:47 in reply to Comment 68597

Its sad that people like you, who have a pure vision and belief, have been betrayed by this process. I appreciate what you have to say and the time you took to write it and am proud that there are people like you who care so deeply about this city in this city :)

However, the Ti-Cats organization for me has been irrevocably tainted by their own lies and hostage-taking negotiating style. They have cost this city the opportunity to build a real, lasting legacy of amateur athletics. Unfortunately the process is so opaque that I don't even know what is true, but I believe that the proposal is to pave over Brian Timmins stadium? If true the amateur athletics community is left the worse for this debacle. As for the stadium precinct - the harsh reality is people do not really hang around IWS after games today, and this will not change by throwing some money at the problem.

We could have done so much more with this money - created a real city playground for all our residents.

A stadium and a couple of new bars do little to create a city that will become the best place in Canada to raise a child....

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 15:49:10

The biggest bomb-drop of today's GIC meeting?

Courtesy of Councillor Clark.

Who allowed us to find out that work has been done on an ongoing basis by City Staff re: the stadium...out of some kind of 'alternate budget'. (The project was, in effect, handed over to IO and PanAM 2015 once the agreement was signed.)

Councillor Clark has requested further information about this funding.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 16:13:22

Well, well...well.

What an eye-opening day. (I'm referring to the 9:30-3 day I spent at City Hall at the GIC Meeting)

As I'll put up a more rambling post at my site later, allow me to share some impressions:

-Many people there giving presentations, answering questions comported themselves very, very well. Ian Troop, Rob MacIsaac, Chris Murray, and a special representative from the cycling community. (I'm sorry I didn't catch his name.)

-I was aghast that some of the material being covered was presented/brought up at such a late date. This stuff wasn't even relevant. It might have been at the beginning of the process, when Hamilton was deciding whether or not to get involved, but at this point? So close to the deadline? Nope.

-The Mohawk deal... Man, I'll tell ya; it smells. Actually, it smells in the same way the Stadium deal smells...and in the same way the Mac-Downtown-BOE deal smells. The '17 million' the students of Mohawk are contributing to the combined cause of a rec centre and a velodrome is broken down something like this:

-15 million towards their rec centre -2 million towards the velodrome.

Understanding that the City picks up a potential 3 million dollar 'relocation' fee for effectively 'moving' the 600 parking spots that will be lost by putting the velodrome on the south side of Fennell, to the north side.

Oh, and we don't have any figure as of yet for the 'Land Acquisition (Lease)' amount.

-The projected shortfall is the hurdle...and it could be somewhere between 8 and 13 million...IF the City antes up another 5 million. (They're looking at 'Fundraising' and 'Naming Rights' as potentially bringing in another 4-8 million.)

-I was shocked- Nay, mortified at the low level of comprehension that so many Councillors displayed. Seriously.

-I was dismayed by the lack of homework that had been done by Councillors; the fundamentals of what a velodrome is, what goes on there, what the limitations are were entire mysteries to some. (Here's a factoid for all: a high-level velodrome is for high-level training and competition. It's not for the general public. Period.) The standout exception to this was Councillor Clark. (But he shouldn't have to be schooling colleagues or acting as the voice of reason all the time.)

-Council has some more time in which to either go ahead with this Mohawk proposition (and believe me, the fact that they weren't really kept in the loop about the advisory committee's recommendation...or that the decision to go ahead with a new stadium as opposed to what had been agreed to...are elements you can bet are the cause of some hurled invectives post-GIC meeting.) or kill the entire endeavour. (I'll hold back on my opinion on this. For now.)

All-in-all, I think that WWII saying is most apropos: SNAFU.

sigh

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-29 16:41:13

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By sniff (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 10:10:54 in reply to Comment 68593

I agree.
The Stadium debacle stinks.
The BOE situation stinks.
The Velodrome situation stinks.
Our council and its Leader (sic) stinks.

So what do you do when something smells? You put it in the garbage where it belongs.
I am so tired of all of this. I sometimes just wish it would all go away. Overly simplistic I know but I thought this city was moving forward but for all this craziness, I don't feel all that good anymore.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 31, 2011 at 10:31:40 in reply to Comment 68763

So what do you do when something smells? You put it in the garbage where it belongs.

Rather than do what's required to make it 'smell better'?

So; what's your solution, now that you've declared the problem?

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 31, 2011 at 14:55:35 in reply to Comment 68766

So what do you do when something smells? You put it in the garbage where it belongs.

Still waiting...

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 21:38:18 in reply to Comment 68593

The only comment of yours I somewhat take issue with is your disappointment with city council for not knowing more about the issue.

As much as I criticize council...I have to say that if they don't know enough about the issue, it's because city staff has done a poor job of educating them on it. city council faces numerous decisions on completely unrelated subjects, often outside their previous fields of expertise. They NEED and RELY on city staff to inform them of the relevant considerations so they can make an INFORMED decision. If I were council I would be screaming my head off at city staff for providing them so little information and always at the last minute.

There's something seriously wrong at city hall, and now I'm starting to wonder if it starts with staff, instead of just being council...

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 17:15:49 in reply to Comment 68593

Oh, and did I mention how much a doll Cristina Tenaglia is...?

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By Insight (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 16:22:44

Another interesting insight was provided by Chris Murray when he was asked by Councillor Farr (having been inundated by emails over the weekend) why West Harbour wouldn't work now that we are talking about a new stadium. His answer: The Ticats won't agree to play there. Not cost issues, or timing issues at this late stage - Just the whim of the Ticats at this point.

That is a pretty clear statement of who is still driving this thing.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 16:52:26 in reply to Comment 68594

Just the whim of the Ticats at this point.

In fairness (!!!) he explained that to fulfill the requirements of having a stadium at West Harbour (or anywhere, for that matter), there needed to be an 'legacy tenant'.

And the Ti-Cats weren't interested in being that entity.

I'll say this, though: after sitting through today's meeting, when everything has been considered, Hamilton would have been MUCH better off to have gone the velodrome route and left this stadium kerfuffle for someone else.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-29 17:14:52

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 17:12:36 in reply to Comment 68596

And the Ti-Cats weren't interested in being that entity.

They said they weren't interested, but that has since been exposed as an idle threat. If council had had the backbone to say West Harbour or nothing, the cats wouldn't have had a choice.

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By ticats jeesh (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 17:05:43

>The Ticats won't agree to play there

and I won't agree for my taxes to be given to the Ticats.

Sorry the Cats shouldn't have a say on the stadium location because they aren't putting in any money.

This reeks.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 17:13:49 in reply to Comment 68598

and I won't agree for my taxes to be given to the Ticats.

Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. We don't get to choose to that extent how our taxes are used. (Otherwise we'd have childrenless residents opting out of education efforts.)

And technically, your taxes are being 'given' to the 2015 Pan Am Games production.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-29 17:14:35

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By Enough Already (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 17:17:24

If this rebuild isn't going to be a rebuild and its not going to save us any money and thus we stick with the "can't afford it but build it anyway" then we propose to the Cats the West Harbour brand spankin' new 25,000 seats or they move to that field in Milton they threatened to go to and we'll take the velodrome and the small stadium at WH and the Cats' can 'go away'. NO MORE DEBATE! SOMEBODY DECIDE SOMETHING FOR THE GOOD OF THE CITY'S FURTURE ONCE AND FOR ALL.

Everything about this whole ordeal has stunk for far too long.

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By Fred Eisenberger (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 17:42:56

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-08-29 20:16:37

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By Ryan McGreal (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 20:24:56 in reply to Comment 68605

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-08-30 07:13:44

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By taxes (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 17:59:38

Actually we do have a say in where our money is spent. We vote and we request that politicians play by the rules. The rules of the Future Fund are being broken to satisfy a football club...and a rather poor one at that in a 2nd rate league.

Tax money and future fund money should be spent on things that benefit the entire community. Like battling poverty and recreation facilities.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 18:22:32 in reply to Comment 68607

Tax money and future fund money should be spent on things that benefit the entire community.

Great.

Then I suggest you put your energies into getting town hall meetings organized in your ward. Because that's the most vibrant, least-avoidable tack you can take in effecting real change in the real world.

You can contact me at townhallshamilton@gmail for more information...

,,,and you can go here: http://townhallshamilton.blogspot.com/20...

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By Howard Elliot (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 18:46:53

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Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-08-29 20:15:32

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By Mark-Alan Whittle (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 18:52:05

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 mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 29, 2011 at 20:15:28

Stranded in a toxic dead-zone by city hall incompetence.

Hang on a second, Mr. W.

If they hadn't expropriated the land...then people would still be living there. in a 'toxic dead-zone'.

The 'incompetence', if it's truly that in the long-run, is that land was expropriated without the West Harbour having been chosen.

Please, let's not conflate, exaggerate and otherwise discombobulate. (See that? I did an impersonation of WRCU2!)

And just to put things in perspective: it's not like this area of Hamilton is the only one with remediation issues. We are the un-remediated capital of Canada, more than likely.

Here's your chill-pill...

: )

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 21:40:02 in reply to Comment 68615

The 'incompetence', if it's truly that in the long-run, is that land was expropriated without the West Harbour having been chosen.

Erm...it was chosen. Several times in fact.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 07:04:56 in reply to Comment 68622

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.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-30 07:32:40

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:24:56 in reply to Comment 68629

Yes, it was voted on. (I'm very familiar with the timeline now, thankyouverymuch.)

But in the end...the only thing that matters...was it chosen?

No.

You're parsing. It was voted on and chosen. At the time of the expropriations the ticats were still declaring they would play "anywhere" and there was no reason to believe that the stadium would not proceed in the established location.

A better analogy would be a couple buying land to build a new home and then someone holding a gun to their heads and forcing them to remodel their existing home. And then the gun turns out to have been loaded with blanks.

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted September 03, 2011 at 18:22:35 in reply to Comment 68650

FYI a blank fired close to head has a very good chance of being lethal.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 16:27:07 in reply to Comment 68650

A better analogy would be a couple buying land to build a new home and then someone holding a gun to their heads and forcing them to remodel their existing home. And then the gun turns out to have been loaded with blanks.

You're very spirited, and I like that...but I disagree with your viewpoint. And your analogy.

The fact is that nothing was signed-off on. (The proof? We're not building at West Harbour.) It's all fine and dandy to speculate, businesses do it all the time. But this was extraordinarily ill-advised and as a result of this 'premature expropriation', we're sitting with ten million dollars' worth of land. That really, unless some of the conspiracy theories are right...yours included...we're going to have to develop...including remediation.

(I do have to say that you're hereby invited to the next gathering of RTHers; we've been getting together for coffee and chatting, so drop me a line so I can formally invite you.)

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By Freedom Seeker (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 08:18:31 in reply to Comment 68629

Mystoneycreek said: "Can you imagine having a married couple looking at building a home, buying land...and then going in an entirely different direction, remodelling their home, and having this -expensive- chunk of essentially un-resellable land? No. It wouldn't happen."

Well, not most average couples, because they are on limited budgets, but if the couple were heavily armed sociopaths who funded all their day to day activities by stealing from their neighbours then sure I can see it.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 08:21:51 in reply to Comment 68634

...but if the couple were heavily armed sociopaths who funded all their day to day activities by stealing from their neighbours...

I don't think this type of implication helps, even if it's couched in an analogy.

We need to be able to understand just what's gone on here without resorting to the admittedly passive online equivalent of storming the castle with pitchforks and torches.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 08:50:25 in reply to Comment 68635

Judging by his/her comments, "Freedom Seeker" is a libertarian/anarcho-capitalist, so anyone who would take someone else's property at gunpoint (i.e. taxation) is ipso facto a sociopath.

It becomes difficult to carry on a constructive debate when the basic frames of reference are too divergent.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 09:18:49 in reply to Comment 68638

Haha, and here I was thinking that Freedom Seeker was making reference to the sociopathic tendencies of a major sports-entertainment corporation that used threats, ultimatums and a cozy relationship with our mayor to get their hands on millions of their neighbours' dollars to fund their own Wonderland.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 20:23:44

Lawerence,

I'm with Zephyr on this one. Bob Young's ego begat Bob Bratina on Hamilton. Young (cleverly) leveraged and manipulated our election and his team's fanbase for his own ego stroking. My personal opinion is that his rejection of the WH was more about Fred E. and the Katz group than it was about location. The billionaire flexed his muscles and proved he was bigger than the mayor. Basically I feel that the Passion and Pride that you and other fans feel was corrupted to rob the city's purse. That kind of cynical manipultion of very pure and honest things will keep me away from the gate for all of Bob Young's tenure.

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By Ryan McGreal (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 20:29:12

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 22:12:01

The 'incompetence', if it's truly that in the long-run, is that land was expropriated without the West Harbour having been chosen.

Is this meant to be a sarcastic comment?? I'm assuming you're aware that West Harbour was chosen about a dozen times over a period of 6-8 years.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 09:14:20 in reply to Comment 68624

I think what Adrian is driving at, is that it wasn't selected in every way.

It seems to me that although much of it seems to be about secrecty and back door deals, a part of me wonders how much is also about oversight and assumptions. Are you telling me a whole committee is corrupt and deliberately kept these Veledrome details secret? Or, was everyone under the assumption that aside from moneis required, the committee was free to run as it was until a moment in time (aka yesterday), where voting on the location the committee had come close to an agreement on, and dollar amounts needed to be discussed.

Not that we should just except their pinky fingers extended to the corner of their mouth in a statement of 'whoops', but I think Adrian in so many ways, has it right with his discussions about Town Halls and the need to step back from our political finger pointing, and realize the system in general is broken and we are equally as responsible for this mess. Especially, people like me who went most of their life hardly involved in municiple politics.

Let me ask you this: Before each of those dozen votes for West Harbor as the Cities chosen location for the new stadium, did we invite Bob Young down for coffee to discuss our game plan to make sure he was still on board with everything? And don't give me the private investor line. Bob may be equally to blame here or Scott Mitchell or Pigskin Pete for that matter for blinding us with Civic Pride when we should have been mad at the big bad Tiger-Cats owner who, bottom line, did save the team and pour a great deal of money and time into getting us to a point where we were even debating a stadium for our second or third or fourth chance Tiger-Cats.

Sure, it doesn't mean we should have to bow to his feet for the duration of his ownership simply because he saved the day at the last second of the last hour, but it does mean we owe him a little respect and to step back and realize that if we must cast blame, it needs to be equally spread around the boardroom table.

I look at the stadium in particular and the desire for IO, to have council and others involved in this Pan Am process to stay tight-lipped and I get mad at them for taking our $55M, and other funds that are coming from the Province and Feds and not one cent is coming from IO specifically. We are creating jobs for them and they are building us a community owned stadium. The fact that we have no say in design or how local jobs are going to be created to build it or anything to do with the building of something that at the end of the day, is going to be ours.

So spread that hatred you hold around or better yet, or get on board the Town Hall train and let's start making a difference by getting off our computers, and meeting in person to discuss these problems. Some of us have already started doing it. We gain nothing from blame. Only from action.

So no, it wasn't voted on a dozen times because there isn't one atom in my soul that believes Bob Young would string our council along for 12 votes before saying 'WHOA!' We have no desire to play down there. Sure, a lot of this speculation could be avoided if we knew more of the truth surrounding this whole fiasco, but maybe we will never know so le'ts move on and work towards not letting this happen again.

The fact that RTH has obtained some meeting minutes from the Veldrome Committee and more and more people are demanding transparency, I would think that we are already headed in the right direction towards making it harder for this closed door secrecy to exist. We need to continue to push this as Ryan, Matt, Joey, et al have already been doing for quite some time, and then brainstorm as a collective as to how we can fix some of the problems in our city from municipal politics, to toxic waste sites in residential neighborhoods.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-08-30 09:19:42

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:50:42 in reply to Comment 68640

I think what Adrian is driving at, is that it wasn't selected in every way.

Come on now. You're devotion to IW is admirable, but don't let it blind you to the fact that the process that brought us to IW stank to high heaven. IW is good for ward 3 and we're happy for you, but it's a raw deal for the rest of the city, and getting rawer by the moment.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:03:24 in reply to Comment 68654

I will say that what brought us to the Ivor Wynne Victory, didn't make me feel all that excited about the outcome either.

I have obviously been desperately trying to make others feel good about this aside from what transpired for 8 months and I do get it. I am not naive to the fact and I am not saying that we should all throw out a great, big, passive oh well, but I have to say I would love to see a timeline and some answers filled into the blanks.

I know there is basically a timeline on this site of articles in order from us first being selected as a host city to today, but how about one specific to the voting process? Does one exist? Just curious.

ie.

  1. Date 1 - council all agreed West Harbor is our #1 choice. Vote 1 in the books. Did we talk to Bob Young? Is there a record?
  2. Date 2 - council re-affirmed it's position. Some more details were released. Did we call Bob Young? Did he say in an interview that perhaps council didn't read, that he had some concerns? Did he call council to voice concerns? Oh well. Not our problem if he doesn't call our offices.
  3. Date 3 - third time re-affirming our position of West Harbour being confirmed site - some major developments but we are assuming Bob is still on board as he said 2 years ago that he doesn't really care. Why would this major news change his mind.
  4. Date 3 - voting yet again. I am not sure what we are voting for anymore. I just keep putting my hand up. I thought I heard Bob Young had some concerns? Oh well. He said he'd play anywhere. Bob: I thought I read that this and that had changed re: West Harbor. They should know that wouldn't be cool and I would hope they would call me to let me know of any major changes in the plan. Oh well. If they don't call me it's not my fault.
  5. Date 4 - and so it goes ...

Maybe we could mend some fences if we could look at our timeline from a different standpoint? What could have been overlooked from both angles? If all three sides (or 4 if you include citizens), from IO to Council to the Tiger-Cats, end up all being equally (or very close to being equal) to blame in the end, then perhaps we can move on as a hard lesson learned and we can go back to feeling better about supporting the Cats or less judgemental of council's every move. Maybe as Adrian aluded to, it's more about city staff themselves but I chose to believe at this moment, that teams fail as a collective - not as individuals. Pointing fingers at the captain or firing the coach, does nothing if we are not forced to take a long, hard look at ourselves.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-08-30 11:07:30

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:12:09 in reply to Comment 68657

Yes, I believe there is a timeline. Hopefully Ryan can track it down and repost. In any case, I do recall that ticat representatives were present at WH votes and did not speak out, and were still declaring that they would play 'anywhere' right up to the eleventh hour. Something behind the scenes changed their tune - possibly interference from upper levels of government, or a certain conservative senator, we'll never know. Council is guilty of not being courageous enough to stand up to their blackmail, but they are not guilty of not consulting them sufficiently in the first place.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:37:28 in reply to Comment 68660

I've talked to some of the people who were at those meetings. No one will speak on the record, but the consistent message I've gotten from multiple independent sources is that the Ticats did not raise any objections to WH until they went public - after Council had already voted and the Ticats recognized they had leverage.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 14:05:40 in reply to Comment 68664

I am not neccesarily trying to defend the Cats here. More specifically, I am trying to be open to the entire picture. My eyes are open. A little more so than I sometimes wish they were, but I think this process has forced us all to open our eyes really wide - and it's a scary thing to do and that alone, could be the reason many people aren't engaged?

I hear people talking about Brayley and Troop in this equation as well. Speculation could lead us in so many directions. Might as well add the mob in there too while we are at it.

The only solution I can think of and I am sure some are tiring of these little plugs, is to get together as larger groups and talk about how we can show the powers that be that we feel are straying our communities in the wrong direction, how they can have their cake and eat it too and perhaps even a nicer ice cream cake too, if they'd work more closely with us.

How engaging us and allowing us to be a part of the decision making, can be a positive thing if we work together to determine how we might make this work so it isn't as scary a concpet as it may seem on the surface.

Everyone. From politko's to artists, to average Joe citizens and dare I say even less desirable citizens. Bob Bratina wants to talk about a Red Light District. You think as a father, that that is really what he wants, or does he realize that it's perhaps time to stop fighting something that will never go away, and learn how to somehow embrace these sorts of activities that might in turn, create a safer Hamilton community.

People are going to do drugs. People are going to believe in God. People are going to let their dogs of leash. People are going to engage in less-desirable acts to get what they want.

People are going to do things whether we like them or beleive in them or not. Aside from bullying or rape or murder and the like, the rest are perhaps, things we need to find better ways to work with - instead of pushing against a brick wall.

I love football. I love Canadian Football. I love the Tiger-Cat brand. I love Ivor Wynne Stadium, and some 50,000 other Hamiltonian's love some or all of these things too and for those reasons, I'll continue to support the brand in light of some of the dealings that might be going on behind closed locker room doors.

Is anyone's going to tell me that there isn't some part of the James St N Art Crawl or the Lister Bldg or Gage Park for Pete's sake (dare I mention churches in this equation), that aren't corrupt on some level? However small or large that corruption - or in lighter terms, ear-whispering dealings, are.

Millions still attend church for example, aside form some of the very distrubing actions we read or hear about because bottom line, the faithful still believe in the underlying message that their religions are founded upon. They believe in the foundation - the history, the resulting message, not neccessarily some of the wrong hands their faith have been placed in.

So for me, I believe in the history of the game and the team as it relates to our city. I believe in the community that puts up with 20,000+ people walking their neighborhoods streets who greet us with parking spots on their front lawns, on their streets, or in their church parking lots. Who decorate their houses in oskee wee wee cheer. I believe in the underlying message. I believe in Civic Pride and nobody is going to change that. Not a corrupt politician or city staff member or some owner or a high level representative of that ownership. If indeed any of the above are corrupt. I can give up on it or push to bring back what these games (and I'll add hockey and the NHL in there), are about - community. People.

If some business folk are a little corrupt in their dealings, then that's something they have to live with in their minds knowing that people see through them. And if these people are not doing anything wrong then they just need to realize that there will always be someone who judges us. We need to know and embrace our own worth. Be accountable for our wrong-doings, but also know that the only judgement that matters at the end of the day, is the way in which we judge ourselves - and sometimes even we, are too hard on ourselves.

We are all just human. It's not an excuse for lying or being deceiptful or selectively short-minded, but sometimes a sorry or some sort of acknowledgment of being wrong, goes a long way in mending wounds. I also realize some people aren't good at saying they are sorry so I'll accept it anyway and move on.

I still don't think we should simply accept a lot of this stuff but if we really want change, we need to take it upon ourselves to create that change. Even if change is unfortunately not realized in our lifetime, at least we will one day pass knowing that we did the best we could for our children, to leave them a better world. I think there will always be one thing that we do find in the end no matter the outcome, and that is a group of like-minded souls that touch our paths along our journey's to making a difference. Red Hill and Ivor Wynne are just too examples for me, of what being enaged can do for the soul and the wonderful people it introduces you too. Whether change is created (although I would hope I don't die in 60 or so years not having been a part of a victory), I think the way in which the human spirt touches us, is far greater than whether a highway gets built or a stadium is saved - although I hope we can better learn through continually fighting, how to eventually stop things like a new highway from being built.

I am not saying that everyone should simply say shucks Larry. You're right., but at least really step back and maybe look at it in a different light. Should you have to lose out on something you enjoy, whether it be a Tiger-Cats game or a Hecfi event given all the news about that arms-length group as of late, because some people who have lost site of what those things are actually about, aren't playing by the rules? I don't know about anyone else but if these things are going to move ahead and exist anyway, then I feel the need to push towards bringing those things back to their origins, or as we have done with Hecfi, taking matters into our own hands if we don't like the way someone is running something that is dear to our hearts. Festival of Friends could be another example of this.

At least - if we still don't feel in the end that these things are being run the way they should, we need to support them so they don't completely die, until we have come up with a way to make them run themselves. Else they die, and we may never get them back?

I think this tranparency that we have been talking so much about as of late, can not only have a great impact on muncipal politics, but on the general health of people in general. I think if we can create a greater confidence in people - in self worth, in making people feel like they are not alone in their worries, fears, dreams and faults, than the city will evolve and flourish around that confidence and sense of being just as human as the people who lead us each day.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-08-30 14:17:05

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 22:39:03

Here are the two latest articles on thespec.com on the stadium and the velodrome:

"No new tax dollars for new Ticats stadium?" by Matthew Van Dongen http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

"Secrecy, uncertainty surround velodrome" by Emma Reilly http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 29, 2011 at 23:02:47

Well, sounds to me like city council has learned at least one thing from the Stadium fiasco - they're now operating in secret, away from possible public debate.

Too bad that's the wrong lesson to take away...

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:31:09 in reply to Comment 68626

Well that's the lesson our mayor has learned certainly. The rest of council seems pretty ticked at the secrecy.

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By C'est le chat! (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 03:31:59

This city is being shafted, and council is too busy trying to look pretty.. Well two out of council does not, and are being representatives who fight the flow... They are doing what was elected of them.. To question on behalf of us..

However their voices are out numbered, and need help from other reprisentitives of other wards to convey their message... Write your counselors folks! If your counselor does not listen, it's your right to vote them out..

Lawrence, you spoke a thousand words, and elocuantly said.. You spoke of community involvement and representation which is lacking heavily in this town along side of the sports facility you spoke highly of...

Communtiny is something this city doesn't have for the most part, as we elect the same individuals term and term again, which in istself is dissapointing, as it displays "if it aint broke" sorta mentality..
I've never been to one ti-cat game in my life, and I'm very disapointed that a league... a sports team speaks for me... it doesn't...
I attend the arts, and take in many concerts, and most dissapointed that Hamilton doesn't even put on a proper Handel's Messiah at Christmas, like most metropolitain areas do...

But man.. that's just me!

Don't we deserve something different now that the 70's are over...
"The glory days of the 40's are gone", we now have corperate takeovers... and NO city should ever be taken over by a corperation, it should follow the voice of the people.. however the people don't like change in this town as I've come to discover, in various ways...

It's a lunch bucket town as I've read. now with lunch bucket children strung out on meth in front of Jackson Square(which is sad as it too can be found on Rue St. Catherine), with Tim Horton's drive through mentality that have dominated over all..

Hell Tim Horton started here... Can he be so wrong... The only thing that's diferent is I think he played hockey, and not football...

I'm dissipointed with Hamilton, I've moved back and forth between Montreal Toronto, and Hamilton since 1987, and even since I see changes elsewhere nothing has ever changed here!

Well except football, I guess.. :) Alouettes < what I was refering to..


I really felt the need to write something, and I'm sorry if I came off wrong.. I speak french mostly, however I did feel I felt at home in Hamilton enough to comment...
I feel at home mostly in Montreal, however Hamilton has this Montreal feel, but never developped in what I see...
It has some sort of potencial that it has never grassped or felt the need to..

I've never seen so many Tim Hortons.. lol that's why I used the drive through thing..
I felt most at home seeing the recontruction of that buiding next to the lister..
it's now gone, but it looked so nice to see a facade restored in the beginning..

In some ways I hope Hamilton wakes up, as I wold like to stay here... I would like to have a family one day with my boyfriend who is from this city..
What's amazing is how positive it is being outside of Toronto for gay people, and a place to call home..
I think that speaks a thousand words, and the people here have had something to do with it..

I say this...
Speak up Hamilton, you, and I guess me too have a voice here, and what I see I haven't made Mr. Farr's life very happy with the notes I've been sending his way!



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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:06:14 in reply to Comment 68628

Wow C'est le chat. I am glad you felt comfortable enough with Hamilton to make your mark on this space because what you have stated was beautiful and it's touching for me as a life-long Hamitonian, to hear others talk so highly of this place - especially your comment about Hamilton being a welcoming home for gays. It's nice to know that this is a town everyone feels to be a great place to raise a child.

It certainly needs some work. That nobody can deny, but it's great having the voice of those from out of town who see great pontential in our city and how have moved around enough to know what is unique and special about Hamiton. Now it's time for action and to start moving our city in the right direction and for those that thought a great place to start was building a new stadium somewhere else so that we can make it bigger and create this big entertainment district with bars and clubs and what not - I think we need to keep it as more of a family oriented event. We already have a tailgate party across the way at Scott Park that starts early in the day and we allow patrons to purchase alcohol up to the end of hte third quarter where it's half-time in the NFL, so I am not sure a stadium surrounded by bars is the best environment to create. It sounds very south of the border to me.

Sure, there should be some establishments around Ivor Wynne as there are very few right now, but I personally envivision perhaps the Football Hall of Fame being moved west. The Tiger-Town store being around the stadium. People going over to Jimmy Thompson Pool before the game for a swim or take there kids into the community centre at the Scott Park HS, or arts and crafts at one of the 3 surrounding schools or perhaps a new playground at Scott Park for the kids. Maybe a CFL shop at Stadium Mall which is really vacant and someone should be looking into that building which looks like it is from the Civic Stadium/Jimmy Thompson Memorial era.

Not only do I agree with your comment C'est le chat about us needed to embrace change better, we need to be innovated in those visions of change. We are rebuilding Ivor Wynne which is nestled into a community. It's very unique as should be the way we look at developing the surrounding community.

I like to tie one on like the next guy, but our planning of the stadium district shouldn't revolve around alochol and partying. I know I don't want the district to turn into a college or university frosh district or 20 surrounding watering holes offering $2 drafts.

Having a few too many bevies is good for the soul - especially when you are enjoying a few laughs with friends and fans alike, but no matter where this stadium went, it's still a community owned stadium whose first priority, should be family.

So while I am rambling, I would like to see two or three family sections in the new IW. An alcohol free one should remain, and then two we deem as family friendly, but that allows drinking but is watched a little more closely by fans and security staff alike, to ensure the feel of those sections remains a family friendly one. Tickets should also clearly state, that they are either alcohol-free family or family-friendly/alcohol allowed, sections.

Anyways C'est le chat, you'll notice I ramble alot but bottom line, I am glad you love our city and I hope I can do my part to encourage people like you, to stay and start a family here. Join Twitter if you havne't already. Watch the #hamont hashtag daily and start adding these people to your network. Read all of their bio's. You'll be taken aback by just how many people tout this city.

I agree that in the past, Hamilton has suffered from extreme negativity and self-doubt - myself included, but it's changing and it's exciting to watch. Politics has a way of covering up the positive things that are happening because people are taken it uppon themselves, to make a difference. Ottawa Street, James Street North, The Pearl Company, etc, etc. I add the Pearl Company because they have had to (and they continue to), fight like dogs to fight our municiple bureaucracy's, to create something in Hamilton that we desperate need. They have brought the arts to Ward 3 as have many gallery owners on Ottawa Street who have recently moved there.

Reading some of these comments can surely get you down, or comments on The Spec, etc. Join Twitter and follow the right people becuase reading those Tweets is like a daily dose of positivity. Surrounding ourselves with positive, caring people, truly can change our outlook on life and make you realize that we have allowed a few negative souls bring us down when there exists (and probably always has), so many people who genuinely care and want to make life for everyone in this city, better.

Life in Hamilton is no longer a C'est la vie existance anymore. It's Carpe Diem. We all have a vision of things we want to see or don't want to lose in this city. It's time for us to tell council and big business, what we want. Not the other way around. Yes, I am talking Ivor Wynne Stadium. I am talking Walmart at the Centre on Barton. I am talking System Schools. Festivals at Gage Park. Urban sprawl enchroaching on Conservation lands. Aerotropolis and mid-penninsula hwy's. We already lost Red Hill (not that we couldn't take it back some day insert evil laugh here), but it's time we started winning some of these battles even if winning means, we deside as a larger collective, that some of these changes are what we as a larger populous, want to see.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 08:28:41

At yesterday’s GIC meeting, councillor Scott Duvall noted the glaring omission of any mention in the city staff report about the west harbour site as a possible velodrome location even though it was the site approved by council and is still technically the chosen site. He asked city manager Chris Murray to add a section to the report on why city staff is no longer recommending the west harbour velodrome location. Murray agreed to do so.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 08:56:11 in reply to Comment 68637

RW, I think you've hit on a very important point. What's bothered me about certain elements of 'all this' is that efforts are proceeding apace with presumed notions...that a) haven't been voted on, and b) aren't part of the general discourse.

With all due apologies for me constantly going back to the same reference (for the record, I have no intention of ceasing this behaviour), town hall meetings would pretty much nip this culture in the bud. 'Sometimes the simple answer is the best.'

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 09:52:54 in reply to Comment 68639

Alright, so you get us RTHers, and a few other people who care about municipal politics (CATCH, that other group that started up in the last year or two...etc.) but how do you get anyone to stick with it, or how do you get buy-in from the average Joe Hamilton?

They read the newspapers, they see the backroom dealings, the lack of transparency, the lack of engagement, the stadium fiacso, the velodrome fiasco, etc. etc. and they hate it. They think the city is on the wrong track and they are disengaged and disinterested because nothing they can do will ever get through to city hall.

Tell me, what civilian-led successes have we had in Hamilton? Getting a stoplight added is a monumental task. Getting people talking about LRT was a herculean effort (now, probably wasted). So what beacons of hope can you hold up to show citizens that they aren't wasting their time in coming out to these town halls, and that they can accomplish something?How are you going to do to convince the average citizen of Hamilton that civic engagement will make any difference at all?

I'm trying not to be critical, I want your town hall initiative to succeed, but I think you have a pretty difficult obstacle to overcome - apathy. I think you need to consider it seriously sooner rather than later.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:00:40 in reply to Comment 68646

Tell me, what civilian-led successes have we had in Hamilton?

First off, allow me to point out that as noted by the final point in your comment, apathy has long ruled. Secondly, what I'm talking about is not based on 'reactivity'. It's based on being 'pro-active'. So I'm willing to bet that most civilian-led successes in the case of re-activity have been akin to getting a park built, or a stoplight/crossing put in. So what? 'Past is prologue'? Just because we don't have a past where people are involved and participate within their local governance, we're supposed to just shrug and say 'Oh, well'? Please don't forget how much has changed just in this century regarding social media and the other resources of the Internet. 'We're not in our past anymore, Toto.'

Getting a stoplight added is a monumental task. Getting people talking about LRT was a herculean effort (now, probably wasted).

I guess I have to point out here that applying effort in the wrong way...no matter how well-intentioned...is the downfall of many endeavours. And here, on this site, fervor and fomentation gets many drunk.

So what beacons of hope can you hold up to show citizens that they aren't wasting their time in coming out to these town halls, and that they can accomplish something?

My goodness, you want guarantees? You're starting from an understandable place of cynicism...but let me turn the question around (and I'm not being defensive; I'm up for meeting at any time and discussing, or you could join the regular group of us for a coffee sometime...): What do you believe is a way to make things better, if you're not happy with how things are in Hamilton in terms of local governance?

The truth is that the residents' side of the equation...with the Councillors and Mayor on the other side...has been untapped...since time immemorial, and certainly within the past half-century. Why on earth wouldn't we want to tap into this massive resource? 'I've seen the answer...and the answer is us.'

How are you going to do to convince the average citizen of Hamilton that civic engagement will make any difference at all?

It's a slow process. Especially battling apathy. But I'll tell ya; I have faith in the ripple-effect, that if we were to begin meetings this autumn and continue having them regularly in every ward across the city, we'd see a gradual sea-change so that by the next election, we'd see an entirely different landscape...and an entirely different campaign unfolding.

And Hamiltonians would be the beneficiaries.

(Anyone so inclined can see more of what I have to say here: http://mystoneycreek.blogspot.com/ by searching via the label 'Civic Engagement'.)

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-30 11:01:04

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 17:43:53 in reply to Comment 68655

For many people the past is the best predictor of the future.

I'm not saying we should give up and do nothing, but I'm saying that snapping people out of their apathy is going to be a challenge - moreso because we have little or no historical evidence that civic engagement gets anything done in this city. In fact we see the opposite, we see civic engagement historically ignored and de-railed when no one is paying attention. Sure you can encourage civic engagement without a handy historical precedent to show people, but it will take an idea, a sales pitch, something that will convince people "you're not wasting your time, something good can come of this."

If you want your initiative to succeed you have to have a plan of attack for getting these citizens - some of whom vote, and most of whom don't - engaged. I'm not quite as optimistic as you are that "new media" and the "ripple effect" will result in sufficient spread of civic engagement. You need something more.

To use a farming analogy, you're in the middle of a barren field sowing seeds - sure some will sprout, but if you want to maximize your yield you should really plow the fields first. What will be your plow?

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:41:02 in reply to Comment 68646

I agree and in part, it sort of already has started amongst a small group of us. Actually, I am sure it exists in many forms around the city now. When is the last time you got together with a few freinds and ended up talking politics all night. Throwing around ideas for change. This is bringing it to the next level. Many are screaming for citizen engagement - myself included. Let's show council how it can be done. Why do we feel we need to wait for them to innitiate it. Maybe they don't know how and maybe that's not something to knock them for?

CATCH has been around for quite some time though. I met Don for the first time during the fight to Save Red Hill Valley. From a quick browse of their site, it seems they have been around since 2004 which would lead me to beleive that Red Hill Valley might have been the thing that inspired the sites creation?

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:14:01 in reply to Comment 68652

As this high-stakes chicanery was unfolding at City Hall, the Hamilton Civic League was apparently meeting a kilometer away.

http://www.wevote.ca

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By Blackwater (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 22:10:43 in reply to Comment 68667

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-09-29 20:56:00

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 10:06:24

I think you need to consider it seriously sooner rather than later.

Thanks, but believe me, a) I may have been born at night, but not last night, and b) I've heard all this before.

Seriously, I'm a big boy. My eyes are open. I'm not some rube, I'm not some wide-eyed greenhorn. I know all about apathy. I know all about our community's default.

I also know that Paul Berton of The Spec is on-board.

I also know that Martinus Geleynse of urbanicity is interested enough to want to talk.

And mostly, I know that this is the best concept on the table to move towards having a far better form of local governance. As someone from RTH said to me:

"This is visionary. If it's possible, this has the potential to transform Hamilton like no other idea I've heard."

Will it be easy? Hardly. There's no worse obstacle than apathy.

But you know? This just means that there are so many opportunities within which we can succeed.

People look around the world and see revolutions in the streets. Guess what? This is the basis of ours.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-30 10:26:00

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By Blackwater (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 22:08:06 in reply to Comment 68648

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-09-29 20:56:06

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:21:54

I support any endeavour to get people together to discuss civic issues, Mr StoneyCreek, so best of luck to you.

But watching this renewed Pan-Am debacle unfold, I'm left deflated, wondering how more public discussion will accomplish anything. The facts are pretty well known by now, and the reason this zombie won't stay dead is because its decomposing remains still stink and the whole city can smell them.

Still, nothing changes.

The 'new normal' of muni politics in Hamilton has emerged: one where the mayor side-steps critical public inquiry by holding court via friendly media outlets; where key decisions are made in the dark because council and staff also want to avoid tough questions, and; when unable to hide or otherwise shield decision-making from public scrutiny, these decisions are just made unilaterally with the knowledge that official and unofficial watchdogs aren't empowered enough to stop it.

So elected and unelected officials continue to do as they please because they know that accountability is an idea that is virtually unenforceable in this town.

Short of pitchforks and torches, how can a citizenry that routinely abdicates its responsibility to hold leaders to account (by re-electing them) show the Mayor and Council that there are checks on their power? Hell, even the Code of Conduct, meant to guide our wayward councilors towards a virtuous path seems to be built to fail.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:35:07 in reply to Comment 68661

I think the residents of Hamilton have spoken quite loudly, frequently and eloquently during this stadium debate. And I think it has made a significant difference to the way city council is being run.

We now have a Mayor that refuses to answer any challenging questions, and just releases propoganda through his own personal broadcast medium.

We also have councillors who make decisions in secret behind closed doors, and then share their decisions at the last possible moment to close down all opportunity for public debate and discussion.

So while I do support the idea of Town Hall meetings... I am wondering how much clearer our council could be in showing us how unwilling they are to listen to us.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:31:03 in reply to Comment 68661

But watching this renewed Pan-Am debacle unfold, I'm left deflated, wondering how more public discussion will accomplish anything.

Within the present construct, and assuming things would stay the same, it wouldn't accomplish anything.

But I'm talking about public engagement changing things wholesale.

It's funny (not really) reading some of the feedback I've received; it's typical of people locked in a negative loop.

Or those dealing with PTSD.

"The same thinking that got you into a problem won't solve it."

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:35:50 in reply to Comment 68662

Won't argue with you on the negative loop, Mr. SC, but these past 12mos have not been ones to instill hope in people's hearts...

But you're right, the old thinking is what created this lamentable state of affairs, so sucks to defeatist thinking.

It's not that I think getting people together to talk civics can't accomplish anything, only that talking is merely the social infrastructure for action: birds of a feather organize and act together.

More ways to engage with one another can't hurt, but the end-point still has to be positive action. Everyone wants to change the world, right?

But there are only so many hours in a day, and eventually you get to a point in a community where individuals among that small group of engaged citizens are already over-committed to various, seemingly similar projects (Fred Street, thanks for reminding me of the Civic League meeting I missed--d'oh!).

So what's the plan to turn talk into action? Is there a way to assuage the feelings of skeptics who might wonder about the likelihood of the talking and organizing actually manifesting itself into change?

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 11:56:31

“I understand the criticism, and we'll accept the criticism and take it seriously,” -Chris Murray

So who's resigning or being fired then?

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By Boomer (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:18:43

Unfortunately it's too late but when you stand back and look at all of this:

What makes sense: Build at West Harbour in a proper sports/entertainment district and help reinvigorate downtown while cleaning up a brownfield. It would integrate with future LRT and GO service, and has more parking space than Ivor Wynne. The Cats won't have to play elsewhere during construction, so the city won't have to compensate the team for associated costs. The city can sell the Ivor Wynne property (easier to sell than the West Harbour land) and put the proceeds toward the stadium/velodrome, or back into the local neighbourhood...

What doesn't make sense: What we've been witnessing so far. Backroom deals by a mayor allergic to scrutiny of any kind. Having to take your team on the road for a season or two because you want to build on the site of your current stadium, a location the team originally said didn't work for them anymore, and having taxpayers subsidize that decision. A site that has less parking space available than downtown. Stuck with a downtown brownfield no private developer will touch, that will have to be cleaned up anyway (at a higher cost if for residential use).....

So naturally, which way does the city go?

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 13:34:12 in reply to Comment 68668

The fact that IWS has less parking than downtown is irrelevant. What is relevant about the parking is that it is controlled by Bob Young.

Building downtown drives profitability towards the city, with the parking lots and restaurants all benefiting, but leaves Bob to make money exclusively off of football.

Remember the Longwood site and the proposed "Bob's World" restaurants and conference center?

That's what the city needs to address.

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By Boomer (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 15:10:59 in reply to Comment 68682

Your comment makes my argument of what makes sense. If, as you say "building downtown drives profitability towards the city", and there is more parking downtown than IWS, IT MAKES SENSE FOR THE CITY to choose downtown. IT was not an argument for what makes sense for Bob Young.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 12:37:29

Personal feelings and opinions not based on any data or recorded facts (for amusement only):

Someone powerful wants the Harbour lands for themselves. They see an incredible return on investment and will manipulate back-room connections to get these lands very cheap on the pretext that he will be doing a 'favour' for Hamiltonians... helping them get rid of a toxic site and all. This push to build anywhere but the harbour (even settling on building at IWS were Young said he could never make money) is because a stadium will gobble up most of the land to be developed, deeply cutting into profits. Don't be surprised if Bob jumps in to 'help' with the development as a peace gesture to Hamilton to make up for the bad feelings he created.

That is my unsubstantiated rumour, innuendo and conspiracy theory for the day. If anyone has anything more fantastical please add for the amusement of all!!

Comment edited by mrjanitor on 2011-08-30 12:52:57

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 13:15:48 in reply to Comment 68672

My theory (also for amusement only ;)): someone powerful has a vendetta against the current owners of a portion of the lands in question, and is determined to thwart their ability to profit from their lands in any way.

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By EGO (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 13:05:27 in reply to Comment 68672

Here is my conspiracy theory. We are over-estimating the capabilities of the people involved. Everything wrong with the process is a reflection of the people involved: Their egos are bigger than their brains and decisions are being made accordingly.

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By Veritas (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 11:54:31

By: MyStoneyCreek - "(Here's a factoid for all: a high-level velodrome is for high-level training and competition. It's not for the general public. Period.)

Your statement is fundamentally untrue.

Before making such a sweeping statement, educate yourself.

On which velodromes are you basing this opinion?

What research have you done to support your statement?

The fact is that successfuly run velodromes rely on community-level program, youth programs, fitness cycling and access by a broad range of community members.

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted September 03, 2011 at 19:32:21 in reply to Comment 68969

If you have ever tried to ride a bike in a velodrome you will quickly realize that it is not a feat for the commoner. Velodrome cycling is an elite sport that requires specialized training, and often specialized bikes. The velodrome is not going to be accessible to the public the same way that mountain biking, road racing or recreational touring is.

One doesn't really need a study to understand this. It could be accessible, but it is very unlikely be so.

I am not anti-velodrome at all, but I harbour no illusions that will be utilized by the broad community in the same way a bike path or playing field would be.

P.S. I have a degree in Physical education and recreation, I have competed internationally, and I am no enemy of, nor friend of, elite sport.

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