Sports

Stadium Woes: Why Always in Hamilton?

By Ben Bull
Published July 19, 2010

The Star's Chris Hume has weighed in on Hamilton's new suburban stadium.

Despite approved plans to proceed with a new facility in the middle of a city that could use all the help it can get, Steeltown is now considering a location on the East Mountain, far from transit, and not walkable.

What makes the switch disturbing is that it comes not just because of pressure from would-be tenants, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but more worryingly, from the province. This even though it flies in the face of the Premier Dalton McGuinty's own smart growth legislation.

Ticat owner, Bob Young's resistance to the West Harbour site, is similarly dismissed:

The Ticats and their owner, Bob Young, insist fans want a "driveway to driveway" experience. The problem downtown, Young explains, is lack of parking. Ticat fans apparently don't walk, ride or take transit. If true, that would make them as antediluvian as Young, who has yet to put aside his club.

...Young and his team might want to remind themselves that the 1950s are over. The East Mountain site they prefer, owned by the Ontario Realty Corporation, is a wheat field bisected by a hydro line. The only way to get there is by car; that alone should be enough to rule it out of contention.

Interesting that Hume uses the driveway to driveway objective as a means to dismiss the Mountain site. This is something we have commented on repeatedly, on this site. Ease of car access is not an objective; it goes against our objectives.

Why target reduced car use if you aren't going to try and achieve it?

As for Bob Young's traffic woes - these don't make sense. Young claims the city was unable to allay his car access concerns. Yet here at RTH we have suggested several remediation measures which would not be difficult to deploy:

I'm sure we could also put cops on some of the east west crossovers to assist with an orderly evacuation of vehicles after the final whistle blows.

While this debate might rage on however, there is a familiar gloom around Hamilton. A sense that the deal is done. Looking at this from the outside, you have to wonder: Why does this always seem to happen to Hamilton?

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.

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By MarkWhittle (registered) - website | Posted July 19, 2010 at 10:37:30

That's Hamilton, get used to it or get out and vote this fall.

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By Ancopa (registered) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 10:49:34

The question is, will there be any viable candidates?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 19, 2010 at 10:56:47

@MarkWhittle

For who? Everybody in the lower city already voted for urban friendly candidates. We got mayor Fred, who wants the west harbour site but knows when his goose is cooked, Bratina, who wanted a downtown site (well, he didn't want the west harbour... or the stadium at all? but he wanted a downtown site if we had to have it), and MacHattie, who is a staunch supporter of West Harbour.

The mountain / stoney creek / dundas / ancaster don't live in the city proper. They live in bedroom communities. They're already committed to driveway-to-driveway, so they want this location. That and Flamborough, which just want their taxes lower so they don't want the stadium at all.

And the mayor is just one vote in our system. He doesn't have the power to overrule the council.

I just wish Young did his ultimatums earlier. Maybe then the city would've found a better compromise downtown location - some place with enough parking _and_ a downtown location.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted July 19, 2010 at 10:58:58

Great points, Mark and Ancopa...leading me to ask similar questions. Such as 'You want change, but why do you suppose new candidates necessarily have a different skill-set, different approaches, different overviews from those whom so many are disenchanted with?'

I'm not saying there won't be some great candidates. But I am curious as to the refrain of 'Change!' as if 'the other choice' necessarily has the goods to get the job done.

Is this wishful thinking?

And how can we tell a better candidate when we see one? By the tone of their promises? Didn't the current lot proffer nice words when they were elected...by the self-same electorate...?

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted July 19, 2010 at 11:01:36

"The mountain / stoney creek / dundas / ancaster don't live in the city proper. They live in bedroom communities."

Um... I'd love to see a town meeting in Stoney Creek where you stood up and declared this. 'Bedroom communities'. Ugh. Such an arbitrary label. (Though I get your point entirely.)

De-amalgamation, anyone? (And for those who think this isn't possible in a kajillion years...think again.)

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By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 16:08:09

I think what Mr. Humes article points out is the fact that none of the players in this fiasco have a clue whats really happening in Hamilton. McGuinty needs a refresher on his own urban policies, not to mention a few million dollars sent our way so we could see those policies through. Our local career politicians can't bring themselves to find a location that serves the interest of the City of Hamilton for fear of the upcoming election. The Ti-Cats see a $102 million dollar fix (soon to be $150-$200m)for there financial woes. Both locations create a divide between the parties involved because neither has a true business plan. Both are clearly 'PIE IN THE SKY,' and therefore both are doomed to failure. The West Harbour is clearly the best choice before us, but it is also a compromise site like East Mountain. The best location still is and always was right 'DOWNTOWN' where all the parties could get to work on a stadium all of greater Hamilton could be proud of and every visitor would marvel at.

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By Jason (registered) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 16:33:17

Why Hamilton Ben? Cause were a friggin hick town that refuses to pay attention to the rest of the developed world.

Other cities get sports owners like the Heinz family or Paul Allen. We get a 1970s operation with zero vision for the future. It's gotta be something in the water here. Live and don't learn. That's our real city motto.

Comment edited by Jason on 2010-07-19 15:35:19

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By Centrist (registered) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 16:36:47

Funny how every time I go to a Ti-Cat game the shuttle buses are packed there and back.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 19, 2010 at 17:02:01

Yes, packed with people not giving Bob Young his pound of flesh in the form of an exhorbitant parking fee, and therein lies the problem.

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By habsfan (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2010 at 07:08:16

Bring the statium to the north,we deserve it

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted July 23, 2010 at 16:48:16

Jason, I noticed that your community church has a church located on Pritchard Avenue (or the church is in the planning stages). This is in the same location as the proposed ticats stadium.

Why is it ok for you to locate your new church in the "suburban sprawl" of the east mountain but it is not okay for the ticats?

Please provide an answer for the viewers of this site.

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