Sports

Mayor Fred's Letter to Bob Young

By RTH Staff
Published July 06, 2010

We realize it's the mayor's job to be diplomatic, but this reply to Bob Young's letter is a bit much:

July 6, 2010

Mr. Robert (Bob) Young
Caretaker
Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Dear Bob:

Thank you for your letter of today and for acknowledging in it the fine work of facilitator Michael Fenn. I believe he did an outstanding job and has produced an excellent report.

As you know, that report will be considered by Hamilton Council at a Special Meeting of Committee of the Whole tomorrow, Wednesday, July 7, 2010. There is no doubt that Council's discussion of Mr. Fenn's report and his recommendations will be considered given the detailed and generous proposal that you have made in your letter of today.

We would all like to see an acceptable site chosen as quickly as possible; Mr. Fenn suggests that August 31st should be the deadline for settling on either the West Harbour or the new East Mountain site. Certainly, that deadline would provide ample time to meet the requirements of building a new stadium in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games. In any case, Council will follow the appropriate process and make its views known during the meeting tomorrow.

From our past discussions, I know that you and the Tiger-Cats share our city's commitment to its responsibilities to choose a site that is fiscally responsible, that will leave a worthy legacy for the community, will contribute to our "city building" initiatives, and that, whichever site is decided upon, the City should move forward with the revitalization of its downtown core and waterfront precinct.

Yours truly,

Fred Eisenberger
Mayor

Copies:

Members of Council, City of Hamilton
The Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario
The Honourable Sophia Aggelonitis, MPP Hamilton Mountain
Ted McMeekin, MPP Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough and Westdale
Chris Murray, City Manager, City of Hamilton
David Adames, Executive Director, Tourism Hamilton

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By adrian (registered) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 23:16:42

From our past discussions, I know that you and the Tiger-Cats share our city's commitment to its responsibilities to choose a site that is fiscally responsible, that will leave a worthy legacy for the community, will contribute to our "city building" initiatives

Those discussions must have been both highly secretive and extraordinarily convincing, because neither Bob Young's public commentary nor his recent actions indicate that he is committed to Hamilton's city building initiatives.

A sprawl stadium in a low-density area surrounded by parking lots and virtually inaccessible by public transit is not a city building initiative.

I bet the big box store and chain restaurant owners in the area are thrilled by this proposal. Of course, all of the people who run businesses and restaurants and bars downtown, where it really matters to the city, are going to be left out in the cold if this is the selected location.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 23:18:31

Thanks for rolling over and dying on us, Mayor Fred. If I were Larry DiIanni I'd be sharpening the knives right about now.

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By Jason (registered) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 23:25:24

Don't wimp out now Fred! Stand tough.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 23:59:00

I bet the big box store and chain restaurant owners in the area are thrilled by this proposal.

Some of the Ticats' biggest financial backers are 'retail developers', the only industry with any hope of spin off benefits from this disaster - benefits brought to them once again by the Hamilton taxpayer.

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By DanJelly (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 00:27:22

@z jones: Agreed. That $74mil will help DiIanni's campaign. Can we treat it as a contribution and disqualify him?

Honestly I hate the idea that this stadium will go on the East Mountain. So much so that I still don't think it's worth spending city money on. If Bob Young wants to be that generous then let him pay the city's whole share and we'll build something downtown that isn't going to be an instant relic.

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By Earl (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 06:40:40

There is no need for a stadium at west harbourfront, the land is too precious there and close to a lower income area in James St N where kids and families deserve more green space, they aren't trekking out to cottages like some more affluent people who live in the region.

As a season ticket holder for our Hamilton TigerCats, thank you Mr. Young for your contributions to this project and we want to keep the TigerCats in Hamilton at a site that makes sense to the team. By the same token, this will give an opportunity for the Mayor and council to move forward to remediate the Rheem site and adjacent brownfield and turn it into a green oasis for families to enjoy who not only live there who are in need of green space, as I say the lower income bracket. I trust that the Mayor and coucil will see that a stadium and parking lot in the west harbourfront is not the best way to serve this area.

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By HarbourFan (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 08:09:10

I can't believe that it was so easy for Fred to roll on this one. More decades of blight are ahead for the west harbour unless Chad Collins can step into the leadership gap and make something else happen.

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By Earl (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 08:17:28

HarbourFan,
Why be pessimistic? I applaud the Mayor for looking at the situation with an open mind and considering the many factors involved. Putting a stadium on this precious land near the harbour and downtown is such a waste as I mentioned above, we the citizens of Hamilton but particularly the lower income families in the area that can't travel much deserve more from our city and the TigerCats, I would be ashamed if the TigerCats were to want a stadium the west harbourfront, it would be a crime to me in some respects. I can appreciate the orginial thinking of the Mayor on revitilizing the area but I believe he has had some other thoughts than plunking a piece of ashphal parking lot and mortar for atadium on land that is so tough to find there.

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By Falsy (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 08:19:03

^More concern trolling from Bob, I mean "Earl".

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By frank (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 08:21:42

take the Spec's poll today!

www.thespec.com

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By Jason (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 08:23:31

North end residents need more green space?? Really? I don't think they could get any more green space unless they moved to the middle of the RBG.
If we don't take this chance to revitalize all the brownfields down there, residents can enjoy many more decades of having all that blight in their neighbourhood.

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By Jarod (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 08:36:48

....Dare I even ask to see both Bob Young's and Michael Fenn's bank accounts and see if any money changed hands? It seems like a good way to get your stadium where you wanted it....just saying.

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By HarbourFan (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 08:48:21

Earl, you know and I know that Fred was a mouthpiece only for the west harbour. He just couldn't make the reality happen. And although you may be right that a stadium isn't the be all and end all in redevelopment, the spinoff activities would have transformed the place. Now what do we get? A stadium in the middle of suburbia and an old dilapitated Rheem's plant in the west harbour, owned by the taxpayers as a monument to folly, broken dreams and weak-kneed politicians. No, wait, maybe it can be the site of movie shoots. I understand that Armageddon 2 will be filmed again in the next 15 years. The plant should look just about right by then!

I am so upset I could spit.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 08:49:39

Earl, seriously?

"There is no need for a stadium at west harbourfront, the land is too precious there and close to a lower income area in James St N where kids and families deserve more green space, they aren't trekking out to cottages like some more affluent people who live in the region."

The land is too "precious" Is this the blighted former industrial land that is so "precious" to you? That former Rheem plant looks like a freakin war zone. What are you doing to preserve this precious brown space for future generations? Because there's no way the lower income families are enjoying that Rheem plant right now.

As for the fact it's a lower income area and "kids and families deserve more green space" I have to say I'm shocked that you don't the nearby waterfront parklands sufficient green space. What about hte fact that kids and families down there deserve walking access to entertainment and sports facilities? As you've properly pointed out they can't afford to "trek" out to the Red Hill/QEW to see games like some more affluent people who can well afford to drive to downtown Hamilton and pay to park at one of our many fine parking lots.

Congrats to the spec for actually stating that Bob Young's 74 million figure is partly smoke and mirrors. I question a lot of these numbers. 5 million to try and land a soccer team? So if he spends the 5 million on consultants reports prepared by his friends who say it's not worth bringing a team to Hamilton, is he off the hook? What was it, 14 million to bring the Grey Cup to Hamilton ASAP? Again, what exactly does that entail?

I don't see how Bob Young can claim that he'll help promote the downtown and waterfront seeing as how it's an incredibly long drive out to his stadium from the downtown. There is virtually no possibility he'll get anyone to attend downtown on game days and then drive out to the stadium.

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By kevin (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 08:59:20

The east mountain is worse than no stadium. I'll never go to a Ticat game as long as Young is involved. A CFL team is NOT a business investment, it's a toy for a rich dude. Bob, if your plaything is too expensive, sell it and buy a hot air balloon or a cigarette boat or an SUV. Let them become the Mississauga Tiger Cats.

If the stadium goes to the east end, everyone will have to drive. I guess the powers that be haven't heard of the oil spill, or the war in Iraq, or peak oil, or global warming.

This is from wikipedia on Ottawa's arena:

Although widely acknowledged as a well-designed arena, it has been criticized in the years since construction for being difficult to reach. It is located in the far west-end of Ottawa, in the former city of Kanata, which puts it at a fair distance from some parts of the National Capital Region, especially from the east-end of Ottawa or from the Outaouais region. Difficulties are compounded by frequent traffic congestion at game time along the Queensway (417) highway, Palladium Drive and Terry Fox Drive. Another problem is the isolation of the arena from many restaurants and bars, which makes it difficult for celebrations to continue naturally after the game as in many other more centrally located arenas.

And a hockey team has 40 - 45 games in a season and they draw bigger crowds. This thing is already a white elephant.

Don't build it at all!

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By frank (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 08:59:44

I've been chatting with Sam Merulla this morning regarding the stadium and now because of the cash that Bob Young is throwing into the mix he's changed his position. In part I understand his decision. In the short term, the East Mountain option is the most effective use of money now that Young is throwing this money around, the Setting Sail plan never included a stadium, LRT was proposed before the west harbour stadium and a West Harbour location would not see the Cats playing there and thus would lose the additional funding.

My point has been and always will be, why do the councilors here insist on putting Hamilton through the same mistakes other cities have made? Why can't we learn from them and jump ahead for once? Bob Young flashes money and city councilors see dollar signs and follow the hand holding the money with eyes glazed over. A decision for an East Mountain location is a great short term decision but it's not sustainable and that can be seen from other failed stadium locations in other cities. I would much rather see Burlington build a stadium than see an East Mountain stadium and let Mr. Young use the 74 mil to fix the current Ivor Wynne up.

As an aside, I had a laugh when I read that he would spend $14 mil to bring the Grey Cup to Hamilton ASAP...is that something they can even commit to? That's not a Tiger Cat decision is it?

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By frank (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 09:11:34

Good interview with Mayor Fred on 900 CHML this morning. He suspects the ORC site will be chosen however he still believes that the location chosen must be viable for the city as a whole and consistent with the vision for downtown renewal, LRT and the harborfront.

http://www.900chml.com/Channels/Reg/News...

The story title is leading as far as I'm concerned...

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 09:14:05

Merulla just wants out of the stadium business, which I understand, but he needs to stop and realize that getting out of the stadium business by making a horrendous choice is actually worse than being in the stadium business. Merulla should be encouraging the mayor to get a deal done with the Katz group. That way we get out of the stadium business AND we make a 21st Century decision that's right for Hamilton, instead of pretending that Hamilton is Pontiac, Michigan 3 decades ago.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-07-07 08:14:43

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 09:16:08

He suspects the ORC site will be chosen however he still believes that the location chosen must be viable for the city as a whole and consistent with the vision for downtown renewal, LRT and the harborfront.

Those two things can NOT co-exist. It's one or the other Fred. The ORC site will hurt downtown, hurt LRT and hurt the waterfront redevelopment.

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By Earl (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 09:25:30

I continue to say I would be horrified if they built a friggin football stadium at the west harbourfront. I'm a proud season ticket holder for the TigerCats for many years and I am prouder they don't want to build a stadium at that site. This allows the city to really think about the best use of the precious lands at the Rheem site and adjacent brownfield and the last thing in my mind is a football stadium.

I know some of you don't get my logic and that is fine, everyone is entitled to their own thoughts, but I have known people who live in cities with low incomes and they have a difficult time getting out of the city for recreation. I say bring recreation to them and this is why no stadium should be built on this land, lets transform it into a green oasis and bring a better quality of life to the people who live in the low income area near the WH.

Again the Mayor has my vote if he chooses the RHV Parkway/Linc for the stadium even though it is more inconvient for me to attend there compared with the west harbourfront, in some respects.

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 09:37:05

How does the ORC site hurt LRT? LRT is not linked to the stadium in any way. Metrolinx says the stadium site did not factor in the recently completed assessment in any way. Metrolinx' John Howe goes further to say the stadium location "would not have a material significant impact on transit ridership or revenue projections for the analysis we've done on a B-Line"

Very rarely do I agree with Councillor Merulla, but he is correct when he says that removing the stadium from the West Harbour area will allow thw city to fully implement its "Setting Sail" redevelopment strategy as it was originally intended.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 09:49:27

How does the ORC site hurt LRT?

Hamilton is not committed to it's own downtown redevelopment. Why should Metrolinx? Say what you want about the assessments and criteria, LRT is a totally political issue and the decision will be made on political grounds.

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By frank (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 10:50:37

nobrainer hits the nail on the head...

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 11:13:56

the stadium was going to give us some leverage to build LRT quickly. Now we can wait about 30 years for it.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 07, 2010 at 14:34:34

@Earl, more greenspace? What, are bayfront park, pier 4 park, gore park, and Dundurn Park not enough for them?

I still support Mayor Fred - mostly because of the alternatives. It think all the DiIanni commenters have rose-coloured glasses on. Fred is simply swimming against the tide, and is giving up. As much as we Hamiltonians want to be a real city, we're fighting against much larger economic forces that want this city to be more suburban sprawl, and sadly the suburban wards support that.

At this point I'm thinking our only option is to sit in our downtown homes and say "I told you so" when gas prices make that approach unviable.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 14:45:06

Fred is simply swimming against the tide, and is giving up.

There's inspiring leadership for you.

Fred for Mayor: Because Doing The Right Thing Is Too Hard.

Mayor Fred

Comment edited by nobrainer on 2010-07-07 13:47:17

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 14:48:42

Larry for Mayor: Making bad decisions faster.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 14:52:07

Brother Baldasaro for Mayor: Dude, Lighten Up And Worship With Me

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By Jarod (registered) | Posted July 07, 2010 at 17:32:16

"Dare I even ask to see both Bob Young's and Michael Fenn's bank accounts and see if any money changed hands? It seems like a good way to get your stadium where you wanted it....just saying."

I guess I should have added a winky face or something. I apologize if this was in poor taste. It wasn't meant to be some deep assumption.

And, for the record, I don't believe that is what happened, nor do I actually condone it as a means to achieving any kind of goal.

Comment edited by Jarod on 2010-07-07 16:33:31

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By livin'here (anonymous) | Posted July 10, 2010 at 22:30:24

Thank you Earl. It is nice to hear that residential is the way to go for the West Harbour. Agreed! You are right about the greenspaces too! - Bayfront Park, Dundurn, and Gore are not considered neighbourhood parks! I don't remember the classification of Pier 4 Park.

I'd actually support the Velodrome on that space and it would fit in with residential.

Did you know that there are plans in the works to put underground parking under one of the Neighbourhood parks? Bayview! 400 spaces.

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