Special Report: Pan Am

OK, GTA: We Won the Games, Now Don't Screw Up the Legacy

If planners and decision makers want to get the most out of the Pan Am Games, they need to keep two core principles in mind: think long-term, and think urban.

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 09, 2009

Local political leaders seem incapable of investing in high quality urban amenities for their own sake. Political, er, prudence conspires with a distressing lack of basic comprehension about how cities work to kill civic ambitions by a thousand nicks of compromise and half-measure.

(This is doubly true of investments in high quality public transit, which are only even conceivable if higher levels of government agree to pay.)

Of course the only known exception to this municipal political ennui is the landing of international competitive multi-sport events, for which those same politicians gleefully commit hundreds of millions of dollars to construct legacy facilities.

The danger is that the facilities may be designed with the short-term aggrandizement of their political and commercial sponsors in mind, rather than the long-term benefits of their host communities.

Artist's rendering of a Pan Am Stadium on the Rheem factory site on Barton St. west of Bay St.
Artist's rendering of a Pan Am Stadium on the Rheem factory site on Barton St. west of Bay St.

One-Shot Tourism vs. Legacy Infrastructure

According to a report prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism on Major Festivals and Events Attraction [PDF link], the total cost for the Greater Toronto Area to host the 2015 Pan American Games will run to approximately $1.7 billion, spread across all three levels of government.

The direct material benefit of this investment is a projected 250,000 visits by tourists, combined with international exposure for the GTA. The events themselves will additionally provide some temporary employment for coordinators. As far as this goes, it seems like a pretty poor return on investment. The indirect material benefit, of course, is the new fixed capital investment of sports facilities and transportation infrastructure that the participating cities will be able to enjoy long after the Games are over.

Since the increased tourism itself rarely pays for the capital outlay, it's crucially important to ensure that the capital goes into amenities that will pay for themselves over time.

This can happen through some combination of increased economic development potential - using the facility to attract related private investment - and improved urban efficiency - using the facility to make the local economy operate more productively and hence attract more investment.

Competitive Infrastructure

Frankly, the potential for the former seems limited, given the evidence that sports facilities do little to increase local economic activity. As much as a signature stadium may boost local civic pride, it will do little to grow the economy, provide employment, or expand the tax base.

More potential inheres in the latter - building infrastructure that makes the region more competitive. This is the real legacy: not sports facilities, which are nice but limited, but transportation facilities, which deliver efficiencies multiplied thousands and millions of times.

The Pan Am Games committee has already argued that a successful event will require fast-tracked improvements to regional GO Train service. For a mega-region with the dubious distinction of having just about the worst traffic congestion in North America, this is a huge benefit.

If the Provincial Government takes the opportunity to electrify the GO Trains, boost service frequency and convenience so that it becomes a viable alternative to driving, and balance the modes with congestion tolls on the GTA's 400 series highways, this could propel regional transport in the Golden Horseshoe into the 21st century.

Pan Am Games and Hamilton Light Rail

Of more local interest is the spot where Hamilton's Pan Am Games activities intersect the developing plan to build an east-west rapid transit system along the B-Line from Eastgage Square to University Plaza.

So far, Metrolinx, the provincial body coordinating rapid transit across the GTA+Hamilton, has been dragging its feet at producing a benefits case analysis on the rapid transit line. It is expected to recommend either bus rapid transit or light rail transit, and it was supposed to be released back in July.

Based on Metrolinx' mandate and evaluation criteria and how closely Metrolinx staff have worked with Hamilton's Public Works Department staff, it seems overwhelmingly likely that the Analysis, when it is finally published (now slated for January), will recommend light rail.

The real question is just what priority Metrolinx will assign to the B-Line. Given the body's limited capital funds and the provincial government's huge projected deficit, it may well be that light rail delayed amounts to light rail denied.

The Pan Am Games introduce an additional note of urgency: the transit corridor cannot be in mid-construction during the Games, as it would spell chaos for athletes and tourists alike. Therefore, it must either be completed before the Games begin or else wait until after 2015 to begin.

So far, it sounds like the city's Rapid Transit office staff see the Pan Am Games as a win. The Spectator quotes strategic and environmental planning director Jill Stephen saying, "We've got a deadline to work to. The more certainty we have with something, the easier it is to plan."

Think Long-Term, Urban

If planners and decision makers want to get the most out of the Pan Am Games, they need to keep two core principles in mind:

  1. Think Long-Term
  2. Think Urban

Fortunately, Hamilton has some positive experience with long-term benefits of one-shot expenditures to draw upon. Ivor Wynne Stadium was built in 1930 to host the inaugural British Empire Games, the precursor to the Commonwealth Games, and has hosted the Ti-Cats since 1950. (Prior to that, the Ti-Cats - then called the Hamilton Tigers - played at the Hamilton Amateur Athletic Association Grounds (HAAA), now a public park on Charlton Ave. W. just west of Queen Street.)

Aside from a major renovation in 1970 and a few more modifications since then, it has served Hamilton well for some seven decades. While the location is somewhat poor, with limited transit access and only single-family residential uses around it, Ivor Wynne has nevertheless enjoyed a long life and serves as a good example of getting the most out of an investment made possible through a multi-sport event.

But another lesson we can draw from Ivor Wynne is that it's not the best idea to build a stadium out in the middle of nowhere.

A critical note in the discussion of where and how to build new facilities is the economic case that a stadium's location, design and integration into its surroundings has a huge impact on whether the stadium serves as an anchor for related private investment.

In the study A Tale of Two Stadiums: Comparing the Economic Impact of Chicago's Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field, economists Victor Matheson, Robert Baade and Mimi Niklova argue that compact, urban stadia that are closely integrated with their neighbourhoods generate a lot more related economic activity than large, sprawling suburban stadia surrounded by parking lots and highways.

Wrigley Field was built in 1914 on Chicago's north side, and is, along with Fenway Park in Boston, one of the two oldest remaining stadiums in MLB. ... [T]he stadium is nestled into a neighborhood that is densely populated with restaurants and bars, retail shops, and residential housing. Wrigley is famous for the apartments bordering the stadium from which the occupants can look down into the stadium and watch games as they are played. Many of these buildings, in fact, actually sell tickets to non-resident customers for rooftop viewing.

Wrigley predated the automotive culture and the exercise of monopoly muscle by professional sports leagues in the United States, and almost no large parking lots are within easy walking distance of the stadium as a consequence. Fans either arrive by mass transportation or park on neighborhood streets. Local residents also do a brisk business selling spots in garages down back alleys.

The footprint of the stadium itself is also rather small. While Wrigley Field seats nearly as many fans as U.S. Cellular, its concourses and walkways (as well as its restroom facilities) are much smaller than those at the newly constructed U.S. Cellular Field. The smaller concourses significantly limit the variety and the number of vendors selling merchandise and food at Wrigley Field translating into lower revenues for the Cubs' owners. The White Sox generate approximately 35% more in non-ticket revenue per fan in attendance than the Cubs.

[U.S. Cellular] ... presents a completely different picture. Built in 1991, the stadium itself is much larger than Wrigley Field. Modern sports teams rely much more on the sale of concessions and other paraphernalia for revenue than teams back in the day when Wrigley Field was constructed. Therefore, most modern stadiums like U.S. Cellular are designed to bring as much fan spending inside the stadium walls as possible. Of course, with expansive shopping, eating, and drinking options available within the stadium, fewer entrepreneurs have an incentive to locate businesses outside the stadium in order to cater to White Sox fans.

The other striking difference between Wrigley and U.S. Cellular is, of course, the availability of onsite parking around the White Sox' stadium. Massive parking lots surround U.S. Cellular Field on the south, west, and north while the stadium is bounded on the east by a major interstate highway. Like supplying expansive concessions services, supplying adequate parking also serves to increase the revenues of the team at the expense of local businesses. Because of the size of the parking lots, fans are dissuaded from walking to local bars and restaurants either before or after the game simply due to the physical distances involved.

It's disturbing to think that there are still anti-urban voices in Hamilton insisting that the Pan Am Stadium ought to be built out near the airport, on the argument that it will be more accessible sitting next to a highway with acres of surface parking around it.

That's a guaranteed recipe for economic failure: a huge public subsidy for a purely private benefit with no positive externalities to the community as a whole.

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. 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.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 17:23:13

I'm confident that with the Provincial Government calling the shots, things will progress properly. McGuinty & Co are seriously dedicated to GO Transit, and Public Transit in general. I see this as way of justifying their huge Metrolinx expenditures; and Hamilton will end up with LRT regardless. I fear it may be modified (ie: B-Line from Mac to Downtown only; and A-Line Downtown to PanAm Park only), however. The 'rest' would come after the games, but along with the success of the existing lines, the expansion would be a no-brainer.

Also, congrats to Jill Stephens. Unless I'm mistaken, I think she's been promoted? I don't think her title was that long before? Kudos to all who have been pushing for Light Rail, and this PanAm bid.

Unlike Torontonians, Hamilton is very proud and excited to host this event! Thanks again to everyone involved!

Also, great article, Ryan! Makes tons of sense!

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 20:32:08

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By borderline (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 21:06:07

Well stated article, agree completely. We shouldn't look to the Pan Am Games as a money maker for the city, it will probably cost us net like most such events.... but may be worth it if we get more than just a stadium in the middle of nowhere.

One thing though, a lot of people in the north end don't agree with the stadium going in the waterfront location where the rheem plant used to go. Makes sense to me, but isn't it also important to respect neighborhood plans? This kind of flies in the face of Setting Sail - not sure how to reconcile the two??

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By adrian (registered) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 21:21:37

It's never easy being responsible for a big project like rapid transit. I'm impressed that Jill Stephen is pleased that this gives her a deadline, rather than indicating trepidation over what needs to get done before then. This tells me she's willing and determined and more than likely capable.

This city needs more people with her, people with drive and ambition who are willing to push Hamilton forward. But she can't do it on her own. I think she benefits immensely from the many people (many of whom are here, writing and commenting on Raise the Hammer) who show support for the project.

We need to keep showing support. We also need to keep the pressure on Metrolinx and the province to ensure they make the right decision to install light rail. And we need to demand the same kind of determination from our municipal leaders to get the job done as Jill Stephen has.

We're with you Jill. Let's get the job done BEFORE the Pan Am games.

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By NortheastWind (registered) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 21:28:35

Great article. I couldn't agree more. Further to your points, there are two local factors that make the vicinity of the airport a very poor choice for a new stadium. Weather and Wildlife!

Weather in Mount Hope, the highest point between Hamilton City and Lake Erie at 230m Above Sea Level can be quite different than the lower city at 90m ASL. Especially when the temperature hovers around the freezing point, and the dew point.

Secondly, birds and aircraft do not get along. Stadums are a huge draw of birds, especially gulls, which flock and are not small so pose an increased risk to aviation safety. The aircraft that went down on the hudson river earlier this year was because of a bird, a Canada Goose to be exact.

The Bird Strike issue is a major concern in the aviation community which includes airports, airlines, air forces, and state aviation experts. In Canada that is Transport Canada who indicate that recreational facility's, which draw a lot of people and in turn birds, are a hazard to aircraft. This can be viewed on their website: http://www.tc.gc.ca/civilaviation/aerodr...

I am optimistic though that the right decision will be made and a new stadium for all Hamiltonian's will be built on the former Rheem property.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 21:31:00

Folks in the North End didn't like the Pier 8 stadium location idea from a few years ago and I agree with them. However, the Rheem plant isn't in the North End and is very accessible from major downtown streets, transit lines and utilizes empty, ugly brownfields in the urban core. That alone is a miracle considering Hamilton's consulants and aerotropolis fans constantly tell us that there are no brownfields in the lower city.

I'm also pleased that the Pan Am committee wields some power here and that the decision isn't up to Hamilton council completely. You'll recall it was these crazy ideas about Confederation Park, the east Mountain and airport which caused Peterson and the Pan Am folks to say "get with the program and step into the 21st Century and use the harbourfront location." There's a reason the Pontiac Silverdome is sitting out in the middle of nowhere for sale and nobody wants to buy it, while Detroit's sports teams play downtown. It's really a no-brainer. For once, our mega brownfields close to downtown will actually benefit us IF we design the stadium and surrounding site properly with great walking and transit connections to the waterfront, James North and downtown.

Regarding LRT, I'd hope that the city gets the B-Line done BEFORE Pan Am. We'd be the first city ever to delay a critical infrastructure project like LRT until after hosting a mega sporting event. Every other city on the planet speeds things up in order to get projects like LRT done before the games. Let's hope we won't try to be different and lag once again.

A few other ideas:

  • the proposed James North GO Station might want to be moved to the Tiffany/Stuart area.
  • the A-Line may want to be routed north on James, west on Cannon, north on Bay and then west on Shaeffe into the Pan Am site and run straight north to the Tiffany/Stuart area along the eastern edge of the stadium, with a stop right at the stadium of course. The line can then run straight east on Stuart to James and continue north to Pier 8. This routing connects with the new GO/VIA station suggested at Stuart/Tiffany and also serves James North well. It is a 5 minute walk from Cannon to Stuart. That would place a pedestrian in the middle of that zone on James North no more than a 2.5 minute walk from an LRT stop and still allows James North to be closed down for special events etc.....

I'd love to hear other ideas/suggestions. I took a gander at Google Earth and street view to see how this routing would work. Do the same and fill this blog discussion with good, urban plans that might be of use to the city. As Ryan wrote, we really have a chance to do something great for the long term. We only get to build these projects once so we need to get it right the first time.

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By crtsvg (registered) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 23:07:01

A Smith

Are you friends with Mike "I want the fucking Indians out of the park" Harris?

This guy was horrible for Ontario and increased the hardship of Ontario's poorest residents. He fires Nurses and closes hospitals in his first term then still in his first term increases health spending to record levels and hired new nurses. ass

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 23:42:06

crtsvg, don't feed the troll. Just downvote and move on. Much better for your health.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 23:48:14

A Smith: You are a fool to believe that the conservatives are better than the liberals, because they are not, they are the same thing, just wrapped in a different package.

It is simply amazing how drones like you go on and on about nothing. You keep following the mantra, if one keeps telling a lie long enough, then it becomes the truth.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/200...

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?c...

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By adam2 (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 00:15:07

You don't have to reply to him. Just ignore him and he'll go away like all good trolls.

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By geoff's two cents (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 01:39:22

"- the proposed James North GO Station might want to be moved to the Tiffany/Stuart area."

This would be great for Panam and CFL events, but the current LIUNA station would, I think, be better suited to commuter needs - especially those coming to Hamilton to work downtown. Furthermore, having the station a short distance away by foot might be good for area businesses, and possibly even encourage some re-zoning/re-development north of LIUNA.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 03:59:58

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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 08:19:03

@crtsvg, grassroots - highwater and adam2 are right, don't encourage the troll with any more replies. You're wasting your time, but you're wasting OUR time as well.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 08:22:08

Geoff, I may be wrong but I think the proposed James North GO Station is on the empty parking lot on the west side of James isn't it? I wasn't aware of plans to use LIUNA Station for this. It's a banquet hall now.

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By democracy (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 08:38:27

I guess you are a troll if you say something contrary around here. I disagree with A. Smith, but I will defend his right to state his position, without insult.

As for Mike Harris...he was terrible!

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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 08:59:33

He has the right to state his position, and we have the right to ignore him in the hopes that he goes away.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 09:44:52

Mike Harris stunk. Ok, can we get back on topic here?

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 10:26:45

I also like seeing differing LRT options for this area.

For A-line (1st Phase) I still like the Hughson Street Transit Mall from TH&B to Cannon, down James to LIUNA/Stuart St (use that empty lot as a Station/Transfer to GO/Via platforms), then West along Stuart to the stadium.

I walk this route sometimes and can't help but see the benefits along Hughson where all the empty lots are North of King. And that plaza at Wilson & Cannon is just dying to be an LRT station!

Jamesville would benefit like crazy from Light Rail strolling down it, while the GO/Via/A-Line LRT connection across from LIUNA will attract thousands of commuter-types to this part, and downtown as a whole.

I also see more parking potential at the James North GO area. Just GoogleMap it to see for yourself. Also, there's tons of potential in that area for a GO Parking Garage, such as the new'ish one at Burlington GO.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 10:29:22

^^ Correction, I meant the plaza & Wilson & JAMES as a Station:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...

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By randomguy (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 15:07:19

I'm cool with Harris. McGuinty is the reckless fool that will be slashing and burning the likes of which Ontario has never seen. Love the new stadium at the Rheem plant. If the stadium doesn't go in there, how long will that stay empty? Twenty years at least.

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 16:03:19


"Jamesville would benefit like crazy from Light Rail strolling down it, while the GO/Via/A-Line LRT connection across from LIUNA will attract thousands of commuter-types to this part, and downtown as a whole. "

Light rail running along James would be sweet - though not with the way traffic flows around here right now. It truly is a nightmare and reading the Spec today with great interest the idea that King East (International Village area) would be closed to traffic and it being re-routed down Wellington and along Cannon.

Huge mistake - Cannon is a mess. Trucks and cars speeding down here - no regard for pedestrians and neighbourhoods. This plan would add to this already horrible roadway.

I am not a fan of the Pan Am Games - but I will be if it creates change to our urban form and perhaps forces us to move and live differently here.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 17:23:52

Dave, would you prefer LRT on James? What do you think of my suggestion of routing it along Bay for a portion? You own a shop in the area so I'd be interested in your opinion (unlike city hall. Sorry, I couldn't resist. LOL).

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By Mr. A Vandelay (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 17:47:30

"You own a shop in the area so I'd be interested in your opinion (unlike city hall. Sorry, I couldn't resist. LOL). "

I am looking to invest over a billion dollars here in Hamilton and a big reason why this is is because of the proposed LRT line.

Keep up the good work folks.

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By Babu Bhatt (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 20:28:13

Mr. A Vandelay: Are you an importer/exporter?

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By Mr. A Vandelay (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 21:58:30

Yes Babu, I am in the importing AND exporting business. I do both.

That's why I am so excited to hear about this new LRT line coming to Hamilton. I built my fortune working out of New York City, but I keep hearing that Hamilton is the next big thing in terms of attracting new and fresh business talent.

I am also an architect, so when I learned that Hamilton has people like Ryan McGreal and Jason Leach, two individuals of outstanding style and vision, it confirmed to me that this move will be a great success.

I will keep this site informed of my next investment moves, as I hope to be able harness some of the great talent in this city.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2009 at 22:05:07

Latex, mostly...


The Spec's line about no traffic in the IV has no basis that I've seen - all the planning had traffic down to one lane each way and removing the bump-outs

Given that a big factor in placing it on King is not to disrupt traffic flow (leaving Main as-is) I can't see that the city would sacrifice traffic each way.

Nor would the confusion of a traffic-free zone in an area that isn't the centre of the city be that great for visitors to the city or to the downtown... perhaps in another part of the city, but along this stretch it wouldn't do too much good IMHO.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2009 at 22:05:37

(Oops, I meant leaving Main as-is with two-way conversion)

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 22:31:07

....and you wanted to be my latex salesman....

Meredith, yea I don't see any basis for that spec bit either based on all the reports I've read either. It may have been thrown around as an idea at one point by the mayor if I recall, but it's not on the LRT plans or the consultant studies.

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By hunter (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 09:32:05

Hello hammer people,

If you want a new legacy stadium, how about coming out to the Ti-Cats playoff game this Sunday. Show support for sports, business and your city!

If you've never been, it's a hell of a lot of fun. Good family community atmosphere unlike anything I've seen in Toronto. Should be electric as the Cats are on fire and have a shot at the Grey Cup. They need you behind them.

www.ticats.ca/tickets_09playoffs

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 10:40:24

Done!

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By madmatt (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 11:41:44

Bought my Cat tix on Monday; looking forward to the game. Having attended the Celtic/Benfica match at BMO Field this summer, I was very impressed with the compact footprint of the stadium as well as the over-all design. A similar design would be great near our waterfront. Also, considering the hill from Bay St. down to Tiffany St., it would be cool to have the east stands built into the slope allowing street level restaurants on Bay St. with boxes or seating overlooking the field. The building of a velodrome could start a new interest in competetive cycling in our area. For anyone who doesn't get it, look at the history of Madison Square Gardens in NYC. A Madison is an endurance bike race held on an oval track. This sport was highly popular in the years before the infernal combustion engine led (ultimately) to NASCAR. Real men (and women, of course) use leg power, not hiding inside a fume spewing moving billboard!(IMHO). There is so much potential in this opportunity, I just hope the decision makers don't %$#@ it up too badly.

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By Lyle Lanley (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 11:44:17

"The Spec's line about no traffic in the IV has no basis that I've seen - all the planning had traffic down to one lane each way and removing the bump-outs"

That gives you three lanes of traffic. What's the anticipated width of a twin LRT line?

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By rrrandy (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2009 at 12:01:00

Regarding the stadium site, it just annoys me that the Setting Sail planning gets tossed out the window for this hot little number: what does that do to people's community spirit? Anyway, my one question right now is: will this stadium be surrounded by a massive parking lot, given the council's car biases?

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By Rocky (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 17:42:34

I'm pretty sure it's a forgone conclusion that the Pan Am games will end up being a giant mismanaged mess in which a few local business jerks make out like bandits while the rest of the public is left to foot the bill. Am I right?

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By J. Morse (anonymous) | Posted November 11, 2009 at 18:41:02

Rocky, your fears are valid. It will take a lot of people paying a lot of attention and making noise from now until after the games are over. We have to make sure that once the excitement dies down, that the stadium and other assets don't get absorbed into some monopoly, for the sake of a few bucks for the city. Of course corporate sponsors and ownership of these properties is necessary, but without anti-competitive conditions.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 10:28:26

Yet another article in The Spec about Stadium Location. This shouldn't be a debate! The Waterfront location has been approved by the City, along with the Torotno PanAm Commitee, and is generally approved by the majority of Citizens who even care.

If they're going to spend any more time debating it's 'potential location' when one is clearly already decided, Hamilton's going to be yanked out of the Plan, and the 10,000 seat Sherwood Park/Appleby GO Stadium will become the 15,000 Seat PanAm Stadium in Beatuful Suburban Burlington!

Stop Second-Guessing everything, Hamilton! JUST GET SH*T DONE... or Burlington will gain, yet again, off our loss (Burlington Bulldogs anyone?)

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 11:21:30

"Bratina said he "personally" doesn't believe the preferred site is the ideal location. He said the transit connections aren't great." http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/articl...

Seriously Bob? REALLY!?

There is a HUGE chunk of land CRYING to be a GO / Via / A-Line LRT Connection Station right at James & Stuart, right across from LIUNA.

How you can a Rail/Train enthusiast such as yourself ignore this!? I MEAN REALLY!?

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By JonC (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 11:57:51

Apparently transit is immutable. How does he justify that as a concern? Transit gets routed to destinations. It's not like say, Meadowlands (of all the horrible places on earth) chose their location because buses were driving into a vacant lot on the half hour.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 12:18:33

http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/LettertotheEditor/article/671297 Someone tell this guy that walking is good for him.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 12:44:10

I'm sure it's just a coincidence that he's from Grimsby and he prefers the site closest to Grimsby. No self-interest there.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 13:33:42

Has anyone Emailed Bratina about this? Provided him with Your opinions on Waterfront?

He seems quite against the Waterfront for some reason.

Please forward him your concerns!

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 14:28:22

re: Jon Dalton's link: "Benefits to new stadium at Confederation Park"

"My primary reason for opposing the Bayfront site is the parking issue" -Parking Structures can, and will be, built --IF you really need to park right beside the Stadium. If not; a) Take a TiCats Express or hopefully LRT from one of our MANY Downtown Parking Lots or Garages. ALSO, I believe Niagara GO will be fully implemented by then, with a Station at Grimsby DIRECTLY connected to James North/LIUNA.

"For many of us, getting to and exiting from the stadium quickly and efficiently is crucial" -Wrong. Exiting Quickly is crucial for YOU; but infact is detrimental to the surrounding community, as no business would see any spinoffs, and congestion would be rediculous (imagine 25,000 fans exiting super quickly all at once onto the QEW. Disaster!) 25,000 fans onto Van Wagner's Beach Rd or the Service Roads, or all onto the QEW at the same time... only 3 options! -Waterfront offers PLENTY of Options: Burlington Street to Niagara (and rest of Lower-City), James/Bay/Hess/Queen/Park/McNab/Hughson/John all offer North-South road access to King/Main/Barton/York/Wilson/Cannon which offer Quick Road Access to Hwy-403 (via Main/King/York), QEW (via Burlington St), RHVP (via Burlington St/QEW). Mountain Residents can use either York/Main/King to Hwy-403 up to the Linc, Burlington St to RHVP to the E.Mtn or Linc; or simply use Mountain Accesses.

"Fans from above the Escarpment can access the Linc and Red Hill Valley Parkway. Those below the Mountain can use Centennial Parkway and Burlington Street. Supporters arriving from Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga would come via the Skyway Bridge." -Why can't these people do the same, yet access them from the Bayfront? -This also does not Economically Benefit anyone besides maybe the Wal Mart across the street.

"The stadium would be a wonderful first impression for our American visitors arriving on the QEW. It would also present a panoramic view of Lake Ontario, the Red Hill Parkway and Escarpment." -a) Who CARES about what Americans think!?!; b) Honestly, do people really ever stop to marvel at a HIGHWAY?! Waterfront would over panoramic views of both the Escarpment and Hamilton Harbour, not to Mention Downtown Skyline and plenty of Waterfront Vistas.

"Fans are no longer willing to tolerate the inconvenience of walking many blocks to reach the entrance," -Which fans? YOU? I'm at almost every home game, and I don't ever hear any complaints? -Also, again, take TiCats Express right to the Stadium then! IT'S FREE!!

..."and meandering one's vehicle through gridlocked two-way streets." -What happened to Burlington Street? And all the other lovely Expressways you mentioned above? All Easily accessible from the Waterfront Location! (see above)

Seriously. This guy is so selfish! All he cares about is the Stadium being closer to Niagara & Himself!

The only true issue that should be raised is Price of Cleaning the Brownfield. But if it's something the City has had planned for years, then why is it even a debate? Pay for the Clean-Up, Build the Stadium NOW, or lose it to Burlington's Sherwood Forest Park!

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 14:33:27

Really, hope you're planning a letter to the Spec of your own.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 15:00:42

I'm not sure there's a point? There seems to be a strong lobby for Confederation Park for some reason.

Although the Tiger Cats are on Record as supporting Waterfront, I don't think they're fully convinced. I'm pretty sure they want Confederation Park, simply for Naming Rights 'Exposure' purposes.

My Predition is Hamilton Squanders yet another opportunity by debating it to death (a-la Education Square), and Burlington ends up with the entire PanAm Park (Stadium, Velodrome and Practice Field), while all 'We' end up with is McMaster's Aquatic Centre --only because it's Mac's money, and not the City's.

Get Your Act Together, Hamilton! The Province WANTS Waterfront as it fits into the GTHA's Metrolinx Plan, which is clearly tied to PanAm Games. Despite what you want, this IS Toronto's Games and THEY call the shots!

So PLAY ALONG with Toronto and Queen's Park, Hamilton, or LOSE these ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME facilities to Burlington!

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 15:36:35

let's all remember that city council recommended the west harbour. Don't get your knickers in a knot. The spec is looking for any quote they can find to try to make it sound like there is controversy. I'd be shocked if this isn't built at the west harbour.
If people think the west harbour is a little out of the way as far as transit goes, good luck selling the airport or confederation park. people like me can actually walk to the new stadium site. who can walk to a stadium at the friggin airport? Who wants to sit beside an airport like its' 1970 again?? it'll never happen. even this city can't be THIS stupid.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 15:43:45

I didn't even clue in to the fact Grimsby will likely have the GO train by 2015. Driving to the GO, riding it to James North and taking a free shuttle to the waterfront would be faster than driving in from Grimsby even with our current one-ways. None of that matters of course, as it's clear that in the mind of this writer, only one mode of transportation exists.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 15:45:59

Don't forget the key difference between this and most Hamilton civic projects: Toronto is really babysitting us this time.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 16:08:48

You wouldn't have to take a Shuttle from James North, infact, according to GoogleMaps, it takes approx 5-6 mins to walk from James North GO/LIUNA to Stuart & Tifany where the Stadium would be.

Toronto is infact incharge, but I feel the Gov't of Ontario is MORE-SO incharge here. This is the only reason I have faith in this Project, as something so important in the hands of HAMILTON City Council would clearly end up in Sprawlsville.

They complain about the money it'll take to Clean Up the (Rheem) Brownfield? How about the Money it'll take to Expand Van Wagners & both Service Roads, along with the Centennial Pky Over-Pass?

And where is the Parking going to be? The only spots @ Confed Park big enough to fit a Stadium are either Wild Water Works, it's Parking Lot, or the Camp Grounds. -Why would there be a Stadium in a Provincial Park, first of all? -If you build over the Parking Lot, where's Everyone going to park? Will they walk to the Game? NOPE, b/c there isn't even a sidewalk along Centennial to accomodate. Will the take GO Transit? Nope, there is no Station/Planned Station. Will they take HSR? Maybe, but will have to be bussed right out afterwards as they can't walk along Van Wagners/North Service/Centennial Pky. -If they build over the Campground, well, then that's just plain Rude! I know many ppl that can't 'afford' to drive hours away to camp, so this (or 50 Point) is their only option.

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By hunter (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:29:45

There's an article in the Spec today saying the ticats would consider Aldershot for the stadium. The location is where that old cold storage facility used to be that was taken down recently.

thespec.com/News/Local/article/671988

Bob Young also says there was a prospective $25 million naming rights deal for another location (presumably confederation park) that wouldn't go through for the harbour location. With more exposure on TSN than the QEW I wonder if the sponsor is planning correctly?

As for Bratina, seems to me he's still angling for the Macdonald school downtown location.

The harbour location is still best, for all the reasons mentioned above and more. One reason I haven't heard is that it will keep visitors off the skyway. People will have to take York, Main, King, LRT etc. into West Hamilton and see how great things are down here. If things are properly developed with LRT and harbour connections it simply gets the most bang for the buck.

I don't speak for the Strathcona neighbouhood (which borders the harbour location) but the word on the street is PIMBY. Please in my back yard!

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:26:43

That statement from Bob Young is a huge slap in the face.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 12:37:01

so is the suggestion that a football team that was formed in 1869 as the Hamilton Tigers can just up and move and be renamed the Aldershot TigerCats just so some company can make some extra money slapping their name on the stadium for 5 years. Get ready for the new era in stadiums once this thing is built. It'll be like when you're in Boston trying to find the hockey arena and the highway signs still direct you to the Fleet Center (that was 3 names ago).

Furthermore, look at the big picture. Our harbourfront is gorgeous. Once it's fully redeveloped there will be millions of people down there each year. The new stadium can easily brand a presence on the QEW if it wants with a really sweet logo (ahem, TreyS) and good signage.
The TV coverage alone at the west harbour will far outmatch any other locale in Hamilton. Those TSN choppers and cameramen will love showing off this thing against the beautiful harbour backdrop.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 13, 2009 at 13:18:34

I'm not so much insulted by Young as I am surprised that he isn't already aware of the economic benefits that accompany integrating the sports facility in an urban location.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 13:48:52

FWIW, just read this comment on SSP:

In defense of Bob Young, that was only one of six locations that he mentioned to the writer in the interview. The writer chose not to mention the other five in the article.

Bob Young was on CHML this morning and basically said the articles writer was just stiring up the pot to sell newspapers. He was just happy to be getting a new stadium no matter where it was built.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 14:22:07

Anyone else noticing a common thread here? Bratina offers a whole host of info to a Spec interviewer that they choose to not print, now the same to Young. All the mis-information about LRT this week. There's one common link - the Speculator.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 13, 2009 at 15:04:06

Posted on CHML: http://www.900chml.com/Channels/Reg/News...

It's worth clicking through and listening to the interview, where Young says in part:

"To be fair, both to me and the Spec, the Spec did a much better job with the short interview that I gave them than I actually did. (laughter) ...

"I gave them six other locations, and they chose to use the Aldershot one because technically, Aldershot itself, the GO station, is in Burlington, which is why they though it would be really controversial and help them sell newspapers. That's not what I was proposing, but I'm happy to help the Spec sell newspapers."

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By Trolled (anonymous) | Posted November 14, 2009 at 21:01:59

Yep, that's right, you just got trolled HARD by the Spec. Don't bother with excuses, just let it go.

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By danarchy (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2009 at 00:58:58

"Dave, would you prefer LRT on James? What do you think of my suggestion of routing it along Bay for a portion? You own a shop in the area so I'd be interested in your opinion (unlike city hall. Sorry, I couldn't resist. LOL)."

I think Dave's shop and all the shops on James would benefit WAY more from the LRT. Bay St. is used as a main through street to and from the north end. No use clogging it up even more. People can walk from James to the proposed stadium site. That's what legs are for.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 10:47:42

More Spec Spinning:

"While the stadium debate has ramped up with Ticat owner Bob Young throwing the Aldershot location in Burlington into the mix, the main velodrome proponent says the west harbour site needs to be examined to see if it works for the long-term feasibility of the indoor cycling track.

Andrew Iler, of the Canadian Cycling Centre Hamilton, said the wrong site could doom the $11.4-million facility to failure."

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/articl...


I find it hard to believe that Mr. Iler would 'suggest' that the West Harbour site spell doom for the Velodrome. Also, Bob Young outed The Spec on CHML for spinning his interview their way.

I bet the full quote was in regards to the Airport being the 'Wrong Doomed Site', but of course the Spec spins it in their favour.

After a lengthy, healthy ticats.ca debate, I think that forum firmly supports West Harbour now, as well.

Anyone know why The Spec is so against the West Harbour?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 17, 2009 at 11:00:23

because of their biggest advertisers?

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 14:22:29

seancb >> "because of their biggest advertisers?"

How would New Home Builders gain from a Stadium built on Conservations Lands (Confed. Park)? Especially lands with limited development opportunity surrounded by Highways & Light Industry? I could understand the Airport location argument, but they hardly even mention that site. They're bent on Confederation Park and Burlington.

Unless I'm wrong and the Hamilton Conservation Authority is actually The Spec's biggest advertiser? HA!

Seriously though... Does the Spec think people are dumb and don't see the spins and obvious fact-ignoring? There was quite the talk in my section at Ivor Wynn about this, so I know We're not the only ones who are aware.

In the end, this is only going to hurt The Spectator's reputation (whatever is left of it) as an Honest, Local Print, and Hamiltonians will stop buying their paper all-together!

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 16:31:32

Really? wrote:

Anyone know why The Spec is so against the West Harbour?

According to a Spec insider of my acquaintance, the Spec isn't clever or organized enough to carry out concerted propaganda campaigns. This is just the usual attempt to create the illusion of controversy to sell more papers. If they were clever or organized, they wouldn't have tried to pin the blame on Bob Young for 'ramping up the debate' after he outed them so spectacularly on CHML.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted November 17, 2009 at 17:26:46

Great News from Ottawa!

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Football/CFL/O...

They decided to Nix the idea of a Football Stadium in Kanata near Scotiabank Place, and redeveloppe Lansdowne Park (where the Stadium is currently located) a-la Woodbine Live in Rexdale/Toronto; Lansdowne Live! (sarcasm font original name)

Add Ottawa to the List of Cities that are Getting It Right!

FOLLOW-SUIT, HAMILTON... or Merulla will be right.. shudders at the thought and the Stadium will be a huge waste of Money. Actually, no... it's Merulla we're talkin bout... The Stadium will go to Burlington and Hamilton will not have to put one cent into it!

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 18, 2009 at 17:00:37

You mean Ottawa decided against taking the route of 1970's US cities and putting their stadium in the middle of nowhere?? Sweet.

I wonder what the Vegas odds are on Hamilton calling up the Pontiac Silverdome people for advice?? I'm starting to lean towards 50/50.

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By canbyte (registered) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 11:50:23

This will end badly.

http://www.globeinvestor.com/servlet/sto...

The facilities mentioned in this article were built in better times, not like what lies ahead.

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted December 03, 2009 at 01:55:13

I won't sleep easy till the shovels are in the ground by the harbour. I agree with most posters, that if we keep talking it will die! Please, for once, in our horrid municipal governments ramblings. Build it where it's wanted most. (and soon).

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