By RTH Staff
Published January 07, 2011
Last summer, the Our City, Our Future campaign transformed the public debate over a Pan Am stadium location by giving citizens the ability to speak with a unified voice about our vision for a true public legacy that supports urban revitalization and generates positive economic spinoff for the community.
Against the full-spectrum campaign by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to build the stadium at a suburban site that served only their private business interest, a clear and vocal majority of Hamiltonians from every neighbourhood and all walks of life shared with Council and the Province their demand for a more visionary approach: that public dollars should have public benefits.
A huge rally downtown drew throngs of supporters and passionate speeches by then-Ward 2 councillor (now Mayor) Bob Bratina and then-Mayor Fred Eisenberger.
Council heard the message reaffirmed, once again, their choice of the West Harbour as the best place to advance the City's goals.
After that the stadium process went off the rails, with Council trying frantically to find an alternative compromise site that would be acceptable to the Ticats. None of those sites - which had, after all, been rejected as candidates for good reason - turned out to be viable.
Now that the hard February 1 deadline from Toronto 2015 is in sight, it is clear that no stadium location meets both the City's objectives of community building, brownfield remediation, economic uplift and financial viability, as well as the team's objectives of easy highway access and ancillary revenue opportunities through parking and entertainment.
The important thing today is that, despite the naysayers, a Pan Am stadium is still Hamilton's to choose.
Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop has explicitly told us that a scalable, 5500-6500 seat stadium at the West Harbour is a viable proposal if the City brings it forward. After all, the main purpose of the Pan Am Games is to support amateur sport, as Mr. Troop reminded us again this week.
City Council meets on January 12 to discuss putting Confederation Park back on the table, or potentially to withdraw from the stadium bid altogether.
So today, with just a few weeks until Toronto 2015 selects its Pan Am stadium site, we call on Hamiltonians once more to contact Mayor Bob Bratina and City Councillors as well as the news media and tell them we want City Council to say "yes" to a scalable 6,000 seat stadium and "yes" to bringing the Pan Am Games to the Hammer - where they belong!
Please take a few moments to contact Council and make your voice heard. We would also appreciate it if you post your letter in the comments as an inspiration to others.
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