Sports

Less Parking at CP Site

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 01, 2010

An article in today's Spec draws attention to the fact that 2,500 parking spots are now enough for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, when they needed at least 6,000 spots at the East Mountain.

Without the benefit of the business analysis the Ticats said they'd provide on the West Harbour, I can only guess as to why 2,500 spots are now acceptable (so much for the "driveway-to-driveway experience"); but it suggests their earlier opposition had more to do with opportunism than desperation - that they took a gamble they could scare Council into giving them a much better deal.

With the exception of highway visibility, the CP Rail Yard site is worse than the West Harbour for the criteria the Ticats claimed made West Harbour untenable: accessibility, parking, proximity to residential neighbours.

The fact that the Ticats are at the table tells us they can't afford not to close some kind of a deal. The difference for the city is that this mutually face-saving compromise location will cost the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars more while providing almost none of the city-building benefits the West Harbour would have provided.

The good news, at least for our sitting Councillors, is that they probably won't have to make a decision until after the October 25 election.

Gary Lunn, the Federal Minister of State for Sport, told City Manager Chris Murray that the private sector needs to contribute more money to close the stadium funding gap, and that he will ask HostCo CEO Ian Troop to give Hamilton more time to put the funding together.

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 Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 01, 2010 at 09:50:47

Proximity to the expressway is all they care about. It's close to the expressway so it looks convenient to get to for people out-of-town. How actually convenient it is doesn't matter.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 01, 2010 at 09:59:29

^apparently

The site NOT next to a highway, walking distance from downtown with an LRT line running past and a new GO Station planned needed 6,000 spots, but the site next to a highway (as far as I know, people drive cars on highways) with no GO service, not walking distance from downtown and further from LRT line only needs 2,500 spots??

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted October 01, 2010 at 11:59:26

I don't think I have ever seen Fred so red faced, as I did the other did sitting in the council gallery, after the planner now employed by the Cats, Don (last name), told them about the 2,500 on site parking. I thought he was going to blow his top. As he should have.

Although I hate the thought of this dragging on any longer, perhaps there is comfort in the possibilities that the new council can get this right - hopefully by making it go away.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2010-10-01 11:06:50

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 01, 2010 at 14:03:15

Fred knows exactly what is going on behind the scenes. He knows that part of the agenda was to derail his re-election. How he is able to control himself in situations like that is remarkable. I would absolutely laugh if we can get one more deadline extension past the election, have Fred get re-elected despite the illegal backroom attempts to knock him out, and then have him lead a new council charge to go back to WH. No election would be looming for 4 years. Council could go back to the original, and most logical location and if the Cats don't like it, tough luck.
If the whole deal falls apart, so be it. Right now, as one previous poster said on RTH, the Cats and HOSTCO have the incumbents by the scruff of the neck due to the upcoming election. After the election, council is firmly back in the drivers seat. Unless of course, we elect the wrong mayor. Then, all bets are off, and the Hamilton-first attitude of Fred will be long gone, replaced with an old-boys club, back-room attitude that doesn't give a rip about Hamilton's needs or future.

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By lynncoleman (registered) | Posted October 01, 2010 at 18:12:21

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2010 at 01:28:51

Highways and parking lots you say?

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/cheap+could+finally+bring+Hamilton/3607671/story.html?cid=megadrop_story

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 02, 2010 at 13:15:58

I find it hilarious for anyone to suggest that anyone running for the position of Mayor of a city wouldn't have the best interests of it's citizens, wherever they live in a city, at heart. But I think that's what I just read above. Unreal.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted October 02, 2010 at 14:30:29

The site is better in many ways for a stadium. Its in a highly visible site and easily accessible to all fans from out of town. There is really little difference for in town fans as shuttles will continue to run directly to the stadium from various city locations. The LRT was never much of an advantage to anyone other than lower city residents who will simply hop the shuttles instead

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 02, 2010 at 14:40:19

Additionally the Longwood site has far fewer neighbourhood concerns say what. The bad part is that because the site is much less desirable to the Tigercats their contribution is similarly diminished. I can't see this as crass opportunism but cold hard business reality. If the city wants a site that produces less revenue it must accept there is less investment potential. At least this site has some investment potential as opposed to zero potential found at Rheem

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 02, 2010 at 16:12:16

Well said turbo. I can appreciate that people would love for any stadium to be paid for strictly by private interests but the fact is very, very few arenas or stadiums in North America and perhaps the world get built without most of the money coming from public coffers. That is if a community desires an arena or stadium in the first place that has some professional flair to to and a professional team. If not then in Hamilton's case we are well served with Copps as an arena and Ron Joyce for our stadium.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 02, 2010 at 23:12:55

I can appreciate that people would love for any stadium to be paid for strictly by private interests

Let's start with 10 bucks before we worry about having the entire thing paid with private money. 5 bucks?? Anything would be a good start.

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 05:10:02

Jason, I will kick in 100 from my own pocket. I am now a bigger contributer to the stadium than Bob Young. Yippie!

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 09:21:17

HamiltonFan,

You may be happy with the idea of paying for the 'Cats twice, once at the gate and once with you taxes, but many of us aren't happy with the idea.

The fact that sports team owners have been scamming governments into subsidizing their businesses for years doesn't make it right or acceptable.

If BY wants public money to build/run the stadium, then it needs to be in a position to benefit the public, not just BY. If he wants to profit from it exclusively, then he needs to put together private funding.

Imagine owning a house and paying the mortgage and maintenance on it while someone else acts as landlord and collects all the profits. Great for the acting landlord, not so great for anyone else.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 12:22:05

It's the city's stadium, they better come up with some funding as well I'd say unless they transfer some ownership to BY if he's the one finding all the private funding for it.

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By Al Czervik (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 14:21:39

We should hope to become a Brampton or Vaughn with a massive commercial/industrial tax base! Here's an idea for the stadium - no public money! If the rich want a playhouse for their toy they can pay themselves! Kitchener, Brampton, Vaughn, London, Cambridge, Mississauga, Oakville,Burlington are all more successful and attractive to business than Hamilton is and what do they all have in common? No CFL team! Having a team isn't the key to economic success, if we fund the stadium it will be quite the opposite. If the stadium is built, 'Joe Lunchbox' will see his taxes rise, a longer trip to the game and higher ticket prices!

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By MALEX (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 14:59:44

Hey HamiltonFan, the city's already putting up $60 MILLION...how much is your mighty Bob Young putting in? Oh that's right, NOTHING...

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 15:01:17

Jason, I will kick in 100 from my own pocket. I am now a bigger contributer to the stadium than Bob Young. Yippie!

I'll toss in a toonie. Now I'm a bigger contributer than BY too.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 19:23:34

I'll toss in a wish for a better future for my beloved city. Which also makes me a bigger contributor than BY.

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 20:01:05

What I find strange about the parking situation was that Bob was 100% fixated on the 6000 spots. I understand that is ideal, but the way he made it sounds was that it was an absolute deal break. I mean he never even said anything like "We want 6000. If its got to be 3000 then the TiCats will have to look at how much we are contributing" , for example, something like that, ANYTHING like that.

The TiCats absolute refusal to accept anything less then 6000, and then turing around and shruging their shoudlers and saying "Meh" when its less, just goes to show that more than like the "7 million loses" was also a fictious number.

I mean it was **ALL ABOUT** parking, suddenly it's not even a factor?

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 20:15:03

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 20:39:30

Turbo, that 15 million has nothing to do with the Stadium. Its going to be some extra parking, a few bars and whatnot. Investment is investment and that's all well and good for the area, but it has nothing to do with the stadium. If they build it without that 15 million entertainment district are the players going to showup and go "Hey, we can't play here, there is no Bar down the street". Infact, what Bob is doing is leveraging the Stadium to get first dips on what (he hopes will be) a very prime piece of land with both the stadium and I.P nearby. 7 dollar Draft beer anyone?

So by your reasoning everything else built NEAR the stadium is a contribution. How silly of me. I will make sure to thank the McDonalds around the corner to contributing 1 million plus to the stadium, AHEAD of any official plans. What a great company. TacoBell too. I mean they put a franscise up too. What great companys they are.

Infact some to think of it, I will thank August 8, a great sushi place, for personally contributing to the cost of my Loft on Rebecca? Why, oh no reason. They dident ACTUALLY give me any money, but they just renovated it, and its close by.... so I will send them a Christmas Card... (this is of course , using your sound reasoning).

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 21:08:15

furthermore, their $15 million dollar investment is contingent on taxpayers shelling out almost $200 million for a stadium. Without that, there is no 'sports or entertainment precinct' that the Cats can make money off of.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 22:23:33

Wrong guys, to say the Ticats are contributing zero is factually incorrect

Comment edited by turbo on 2010-10-03 21:24:12

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By subtlehustle (registered) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 23:35:29

i dont know why no one else has suggested this and i dont know why it took me so long to actually figure it out. bob young is a brilliant business man. how else does a goofy looking idiot in a red hat make millions of dollars. its all about leverage of power. so the city wants to build a stadium in a location i dont want, so i suggest a completely ridiculous locations that everyone hates and knows wont work and then i walk away from negotiations when they dont select my site (while secretly looking at the site we REALLY wanted for the stadium....longwood). then when the ciyy comes back on hand and knee and say they will do ANYTHING so the team doesn't leave town, i non-chalantly bring up the longwood site and all the cities problems would be solved. bob young, your team may have not fielded a winning team in over a decade, but you sir, have fooled an entire city into giving you the stadium location you have been planning on since this debate started.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2010 at 23:39:45

Turbo, read the articles in the Spectator, the Ti-cats are offering to contribute 15 million dollars for a retail development next to the proposed stadium. They've also offered to take over management of the stadium, as long as we pay the administration fees, oh and they want to be able to sell the naming rights.

In other words they've offered nothing towards the building of the stadium itself.

If I were the city I would not be interested in the $15 million dollars of development adjacent to the stadium (investors will bring forward their own proposals if the ti-cats don't, you can be sure of that).

As for the ti-cats offering to run the stadium if we pay them a management fee, well, that's what we are doing right now with Ivor Wynne, and the ti-cats don't seem to be doing a great job making sure the facility is used for anything other than ti-cat games, so thanks but no thanks.

Lastly, the ti-cats want to be able to sell the naming rights. Why would we let a team that plays there 8 times a year and is contributing no money for the construction of the stadium, sell the naming rights?

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted October 04, 2010 at 02:21:06

Just to clarify. I think the 15 million investment is great. Any time we have someone looking to throw money into the city its a good thing, just dont confuse that money with actual stadium money.

I know in the past B.Y has thrown some hard money at the stadium, but I do not believe (correct me if I am wrong Turbo, maybe with a link or two) that any money is being put forward for this stadium by the Tiger Cats.

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted October 04, 2010 at 02:23:32

And just to add, I am betting what Bob builds with the 15 million is going to be really nice. Although his on field product has been pretty poor (a little better recently) you have to admit the entertainment value of the games and the feel at the stadium are the best they have been in awhile.

Hopefully he will have some more of the live bands and all that jazz at this entertainment complex.

But money is needed to actually build the stadium before all that goes into place.

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By grease (anonymous) | Posted October 04, 2010 at 15:37:02

there is actually more parking at cp since there was only 500 at West harbour. the numbers were padded. when asked the city was unable to come up with a chart or list to prove parking spots exist outside private driveways. in an independent investigation the west harbour and surrounding area were looked over to see if the we could come up with as many spots as the city did and weren't able to as most spots indicated by the city were privately owned and occupied.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 04, 2010 at 18:23:06

the numbers were padded.

I counted them myself and came up with the same number as the city. I'd like to see a link to the "independent investigation" that found a different number.

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By allantaylor97 (registered) | Posted October 04, 2010 at 22:31:33

Ryan, the parking spots were not there. You cannot include private business spots that may or may not be made available. Many of the spots were at locations that would never allow stadium parking. To suggest otherwise is dishonest. Lying to support your position diminishes everything you say

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By ed G (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2010 at 19:45:27

Parking spots that are not intended for stadium parking DO NOT COUNT since they are already in use for other businesses and homes. On game days is the city going to make an announcement "ok everyone that lives close to the stadium you have to remove your cars and park them far away so people can use them for the stadium" REEEEEE-tarded.

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