Sports

City Manager Chris Murray Should Recommend Scalable West Harbour Stadium

By Adrian Duyzer
Published January 07, 2011

While the Mayor and Council weigh in on the Pan Am Stadium debate, City of Hamilton staff have an important role in the process as well. Specifically, City Manager Chris Murray is the point person on the Pan Am file. Based on the facts as they are today, he should recommend that council proceed with a scalable West Harbour stadium because:

This recommendation would be in line with an option staff put on the table back in a August 31st report (PDF):

Alternative B: Council, through Report CM09006(d) approve the West Harbour precinct for the stadium and velodrome. Should Council continue with the West Harbour precinct, staff recommends:

(a) That the City Manager or his designate be authorized to negotiate an acceptable agreement with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats under which the team would play at the stadium, and/or to prepare a proposal that outlines the terms and options that the City would be prepared to offer to the Tiger-Cats to become a tenant or an operator of the stadium, and report back to Council; and

(b) That should the Tiger-Cats organization not wish to enter into an agreement to use a West Harbour stadium, that the City Manager or his designate be authorized to seek a professional soccer franchise to use the new stadium

(c) That, in keeping with a sustainable post-Pan Am Games use, staff negotiate with the Host Corporation for as large a stadium, as possible

(d) That staff create a development plan that leverages the stadium development for further precinct development and report back to Council.

Risks associated with the West Harbour include the position of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and whether the team will play at the new stadium. The City could build a scaleable stadium to participate in the Pan Am Games and work to secure other tenants such as a soccer team. The stadium could be designed with a future expansion in mind to ensure a more cost effective expansion. The Host Corporation has discussed the concept of a scaleable stadium with the City."

At the time, staff played down the scalable option and suggested Ron Joyce stadium was fine as a 6,000 seat community stadium and recommended working with the Tiger-cats to explore other full-size stadium locations.

However, the circumstances have clearly changed. Staff should recommend the scalable West Harbour option as it is the only one that is responsible from a City of Hamilton perspective which achieves many community goals.

Further, if staff does not recommend a new community stadium at West Harbour, they are effectively turning Ivor Wynne into a "white elephant": the stadium money, and the Tiger-Cats, will leave Hamilton. This is not in the community's interest, and I believe it would be irresponsible for the City Manager to recommend this.

From a City of Hamilton perspective, there is no corporate policy that says the welfare of Hamilton should be superseded by the welfare of the Tiger-Cats football club. To allow the Pan Am opportunity to leave Hamilton in favour of the Tiger-Cats' desires to use the Pan Am money elsewhere should not be supported in any way by City Staff.

Chris Murray should recommend what is best for the City of Hamilton in the current circumstances: A scalable West Harbour stadium.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

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By LightSpeed (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 09:37:02

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By geoff's two cents (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 09:41:09

Impeccably written, Adrian.

And no, LightSpeed (caretaker?), your response does not "fit here." It doesn't address anything in the article it's posted as a response to.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 09:41:14

Troop was just on CHML and told Kelly that if Hamilton chooses a 6,000 community stadium at the West Harbour, it's ours. Game over. On to the next project. Hamilton only has 1 choice unless council wants to feel the wrath of it's citizens for making any other choice and putting us in severe financial straits with NO Ivor Wynne replacement.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:14:51

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:16:52

as far as I know, we don't have to pay any FF money for a 6,000 seat stadium do we??

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:17:57

What amount would the FF commitment be toward a smaller stadium? My understanding is that it would be much smaller than the max amount we were going to throw down for the Ticats

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:19:44

Forget the TigerCats. Get the most money you can for the best facility you can. And that's the velodrome IMHO. And, of course, be sure it happens, present a case on time and professional to Toronto 2015 that they can't refuse giving a lot of money for a world class facility. And perhaps the velodrome could also be used as a concert theatre or ampitheatre with one end opening up.

From an article on the web concerning a velodrome in Scotland to be used for training facilites for the 2012 Olympics:

"The National Indoor Sports Arena and Velodrome can be used for basketball, track cycling, judo, table tennis, Taekwondo and wrestling" ... "Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell said: "We'd be delighted to host some of the world's top athletes and I'm sure they will recognise what an attractive place Scotland is to come and train."

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/city-venue...

Yes, that Chicago facility looked quite impressive I have to admit.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-07 10:55:38

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:23:33

Forget the TigerCats

We were all there about 4 months ago. Nice to see you come on board.

Comment edited by jason on 2011-01-07 10:23:49

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:26:58

It seems to me that the Pan Am committee might take some heat if there isn't any visible legacy of the games -- which, with apologies to the cyclists and high-school soccer players, is only going to be found in a larger stadium.

If this proposed 6,000 seater could somehow be used as an amphitheatre- which I would doubt -- then it makes more sense. Other than that, that level of capacity seems inappropriate for anything. (Too big for minor sports, too small for anything of merit.) So, my guess is that a temporary bleacher set up (like Empire Field -- on a smaller scale) would prove to be more than sufficient. Then the stands could be removed and/or replaced with other park-like facilities.

So, I'm sorry, I'm just not seeing the need for yet another empty grandstand on our landscape...on a permanent basis anyway.

I guess what I'm saying is, take the money, remediate the land, build the grandstand for the games then use some FF money to turn it into a full time amphitheatre and try and erase the whole Pan Am experience from the chapters of Hamilton history. (Who would've thought being 'awarded' something would cost a community so dearly?)

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:33:57

jason, I've been doing some thinking and I do want something great for Hamilton out of this. Bob Young and the TigerCats can take care of themselves. There are many 6000 seat stadiums in Canada but not a velodrome that can be world class I don't believe. At least I don't think so.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:38:18

We can do better for the West Harbour than a Stadium, let the Ti-Cats go and build the Pan-Am at Beechwood and Balsam were it belongs.

The re-birth of Balsam Ave.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:39:20

I agree with you 100% that we must seize the velodrome opportunity. Looking at that Chicago project shows how great it would be for our city, and west harbour. I'm totally cool with the Cats in Aldershot. They'll still be 'our' team like the Cowboys, Jets, Giants, Redskins etc..... by the way, those are all top notch franchises and some of the biggest teams in the history of the NFL and none of them are in their cities. All in the suburbs.

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:47:50

A world class velodrome/athletic centre and amphitheatre with mixed residential would be brilliant for the WH. But any more mention of a stadium, scalable or not, is a wash and a waste of this prime locale.

Please remember that Council turned down the smaller stadium in previous deliberations. Case closed.

Let us all remember however that there is a weighty amateur sport component that needs to be attached. That means the community use. And, since the stadium is on the boundary of the RED ZONE, with 40% plus poverty rate, I'd like to hear from those here and at the City, how a world class velodrome will be accessible to the thousands of kids who live a stone's throw away from same.

Of course, for WH stadium die-hards, same question: How will the local communities - North ENd, Barton Tiffany, the core (Code REd) - benefit from a small scale stadium?

Will we agree to subsidize each and every family who cannot afford to use/be admitted to a world class velodrome/stadium use/amphitheatre (if not free?) in order that even the poor can be part of an amatuer sport legacy?

So many more needs than wants to be answered.

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 10:57:59

Just discovered that Councillor Brad has a motion for the GIC meeting on Monday, January 10, 2001 agenda item 9.2 that states;" that notice be given to Hostco that as there is no viable site at this time that the City of Hamilton is withdrawing from the Pan Am Games" http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/888B...

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 11:04:19

He wants to forego the velodrome too???

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 11:09:16

@Jason

I worry that the dynamics of CFL football cannot use mega-NFL franchises as any point of reference. Thus, a suburban stadium -- distant from the heartbeat of the fanbase -- may make sense when we're talking about a 70 - 95,000 seat facility, like those mentioned. But a 30,000 seater with a base of about 21,000 hardcores? That screams 'proximity' to me. Especially when the anchor tenant plays a sport that's a distant 2nd in popularity (...not to take anything away from my beloved CFL ball.)

During the most difficult times of this franchise, those who kept the pulse going (anecdotally) were those in the surrounding neighbourhoods that brought their lungs and enthusiasm to every game.

For both the city (yes, they need to be accountable for their part) and the team to turn their backs on those folks is criminal. A move to Aldershot seems a bit insulting on that level.

Anyway, I'm mostly bothered by the haste in which people are willing to toss 130 years of community fabric out the door -- on both sides of this argument. Regardless of whether they've ever held a football or not.

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 11:12:57

Can anyone point me in the direction of the plans/renderings the city has come up with for the velodrome? I've checked the city website again and again but can find nothing.

As well, can't find anything, other than spin, that outlines in detail what the local community use will be.

It's odd that that after many decades the NorthEnd had its library, serving over 5500 people, taken away and replaced with a book mobile and we are now to believe that we will have affordable (and subsidized completely for all those who can't afford it) access to a velodrome?

Would I, an occassional bike rider, even be allowed to test my skills on a world class velodrome track? At any cost?

I'd like the Details that have been irresponsibly deemed Details Schmetails by too many. We no longer have to think of Show me the Money. Now, it's Show Us The Details, and Quick! If my family, my neighbours and my friends in Ward 2 will never get to use the velodrome I'd like to know now before casting my final vote.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 11:19:25

Can someone even direct me to the chosen location of the Velodrome? I don't think there is one but I thought there was some talk of locating it in Dundas at the Olympic Sports Park - but I don't know why that is sticking in my brain. Can anyone lend a hand? Other aspects to consider: Will all day GO transit be affected if we opt out of Pan AM? What specifically will happen to Ivor Wynne if we opt out of Pan Am and the Ticats leave Hamilton?
I did ask my councilor the same questions and ask that these items be considered when making any decisions.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 11:23:36

Serendipity,

Your family, neighbours and friends wouldn't be able to use the velodrome any less than they would be able to use a stadium. If your family, neighbours, and/or friends are competitive cyclists, then there is a chance for them to use the velodrome. I think the idea would be that building a velodrome here would draw cyclists to this area and it would offer a chance for our youth to become involved in cycling, and therefore make use of the velodrome.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 07, 2011 at 11:38:12

Can someone even direct me to the chosen location of the Velodrome?

It hasn't been confirmed yet. Ian Troop spoke about this in today's interview.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 11:39:27

Thanks Ryan, I read that after I posed my question! If we forego the stadium I sincerely hope the Velodrome is located at the Rheem property.

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 12:38:14

Space Monkey, thanks for the infill. OK, so ordinary folks, 99.9% of city population, won't be able to use the velodrome or stadium for that matter. Gotcha.

So, Velodrome located at WH is not for any local city community use (other than the .1% of Hamiltonian cyclists who will be allowed to use velodrome) but world class velodrome is excellent for city image of bringing in professional amateur cyclists. I knew there was a catch with a world class velodrome but I still like it nonetheless.

STill thinking backwards now, if the Velodrome at WH (non sensical to think of it at Dundas Driving Park) is coupled with both an Athletic Centre and Amphitheatre, local community use will no longer be the spin we've been hearing about these past years and the truth is there will actually be one sport component, the Athletic Centre, that the local community can all use, no matter their income.

Am I even getting close to the actual local community use that the City and Hamilton Tourism has been selling these past years in regards to the Pan Am facilities and legacy?

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 12:45:52

The term 'community use' encompasses local user groups (such as the organizations that currently rent out Ivor Wynne for events) and sports associations that would rent out the facility for their events. At this time, Ivor Wynne is not open for free public use for me and my friends to go in, drink some beers and throw the ball around. Nor do we have access to walk into Copps for a free game of shinny. The City does, however, allow those sports associations and cultural groups to book space at Ivor Wynne and other public sports facilities for use for their events.

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By Velodrome (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 13:45:25

http://whitestargroup.org has a great vision for the Velodrome - video on their site is impressive.

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 14:10:00

Andrea and mrjanitor, I'd like to suggest you both read the following COW report for it addresses community use, as both the City and we here in Ward 2 understand it - ie, a Community Access Agreement allowing community use (of facilities) that the folks in Westdale have received or will in near future. Concerning community use again, please read the 100-plus page report from Hamilton Tourism and City that waxes poetically about the benefits to be had for all in the ward 2 and surrounding local community use.

mrjanitor, report below states that IWS and future plans will be dealt with the local community, ward 3. Perhaps you can contact Chris Murray and ask him if such a local committee has been put together. If not, I think you're the man to facilitate its creation. Good luck with that - a lot of work ahead for you and others but well worth the effort my friend.

Committee of the Whole Report, February 3, 2009, Submitted by Chris Murray, City Manager. Subject: International Event Opportunities – 2015 Pan Am Games Bid Update CM09006 (City Wide)

Pg 12 of 26 ( whole report is 44 pages long) The BIDCO is working with McMaster University to construct a 50m pool for Hamilton. A pool at the University would link athletics, high performance sport, rehabilitation, as well as community recreation use. Currently, 56% of the use of the existing pool at McMaster (which includes a 50 yard pool) is by the community, and a community access agreement would be put in place to ensure community use of the new facility.

I am most certain that more than 56% of ward 2 residents, local community use, would sign up for an athletic centre. Hell, we'll even sign up for community use at the velodrome too once someone tells us what the hell we could do there.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 14:12:13

Chris Murray can only suggest whether the funding model makes sense. He has no power to make a suggestion of one thing over another, only if it can work or not work within the budget given. I suspect he'll write a report that says Rheem could be built but its still up to council to decide if its an appropriate use of the Future Fund based on the benefits or lack thereof

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By breeze (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 16:18:13

@Serendipity -- Give it up, already! The NEN aren't even taken seriously anymore! Why? Because you fight everything!

You may have the 'loudest' voice now, but there is a uprising of progressive north enders who are sick and tired of your antics.

The North End will be completely different in 5 years; likely without the NENs!

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 16:39:41

@breeze - couldn't agree more! The NEN are against everything that smacks of progress, but what have they done for the residents of the North End? Is Serendipity saying that he thinks that the revitalization of an abandoned and polluted brownfield site in our neighbourhood is undesirable because North End residents won't be granted preferential and free access to the facilities? I find that bizarre. I would love to see the North End neighbourhood continue to revitalize and see the entire city use the harbour as their playground.

There is a lot of poverty in the North End, its true, but not everyone is impoverished and looking for a hand-out. I am a professional doing just fine and thankful to have bought an affordable home in an up-and-coming area of the city.

Hopefully development will bring employment opportunities to the area, and that might just help those in the North End willing to help themselves.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 16:42:40

Oh and what the freak is this I'm hearing about a new 30kph speed limit being imposed on the entire North End, including James and Burlington streets? I smell the work of NEN. I have a little one, but don't plan on sending her out to Burlington and James to play any time soon. Don't let your young children play on major traffic arteries streets, folks... and stop the ridiculous campaigns.

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 16:54:17

Breeze, am not part of NEN but a North End resident. You seem to have it in for NEN but that's between you and them. Don't assume anyone/everyone who disagrees with you is part of NEN.

And, I do hope the North End is completely different in 5 years. We'll either be in our 1st, 2nd, who knows, even 5th year of our pilot project for Canada's first CHild and Family Friendly Neighbourhood with max speeds of 30k. As over 700 adults in the North End signed and petitioned for this much needed, desired, and long overdue (in Canada, never mind Hamilton) initiative I hope beyond hope we get it soon. Once we become the neighbourhood that kick-started Hamilton's mission of being the best place to raise a child, and we start feeling the effects of living in a more civilized, and fun, manner, well Breeze I'm hoping you may change your tune. You always sound so angry; I bet the CFFN, once started, will help you smile more.

I'm surprised the City isn't moving the CFFN along a bit faster these days. What a beautiful thing to be able to announce that both the CFFN and a world class velodrome, with athletic centre, amphitheatre, and, after thinking, a beautiful art school/facilities. Suddenly, Hamilton's dark days are over and we rise from the dust like the lovely beings we all are, and the beautiful things in life we all deserve...but keep breakin' up or down all the time.

We need a beautiful, successful and relevant outcome...I can see it.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 17:46:43

I'll take your word on it, but do you have a link to this 100+ page tome ? :-) I was merely using the 'community use' phrase in it's more broader definition.

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 18:22:04

Andrea, the report is probably the largest pan am report on city website, sorry i don't have link for it. For some reason I think David Adames prepared the report, or at least portions therein.

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 18:25:12

Quote from Burlington Post “I really hope Hamilton figures out a way to have a Pan Am stadium in Hamilton, because it would save us all a lot of time and aggravation.” - Mayor Rick Goldring

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By Mark-Alan Whittle (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 19:36:15

Bob Bratina

Registered User Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 23

Stadium Site

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Spectator reporter asked me if I would oppose the Barton/Tiffany site and I said no, which wasn't used in the story. The fact is there are 2 "approved" sites, waterfront and the airport. Both sites are to be assessed concurrently so as not to lose time should either be unacceptable for whatever reason. There are four concerns about the waterfront site; the cost of land assembly, the unknown cost of remediation, the bearing capacity of the subsoil, and the relatively poor transit and transportation connections.

Old maps predating the industrial era show the area as swampland. It's likely that the stadium and other structures would have to be built on pilings, so there is a possibility the site preparation costs would be in the tens of millions of dollars even before the start of construction, not to mention road and transit infrastructure costs. All this has to be factored into the final recommendation to Council.

There is no reason for runaway costs for the Pan Am games if we do our planning intelligently. The University of Akron just opened their new 30,000 seat stadium in September, built at a cost of $61 million dollars. I would be doing all residents of the City, not just those in Ward 2, if I did not demand the highest level of scrutiny in developing our Pan Am Games plan.

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By Trigger (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 21:28:32

Such uneducated nonsense from people who know not what they speak of... in terms of engineering and construction. When was Bob Brattina (the radio guy) ever a qualified technologist for an engineering and construction firm to make such assumptions?

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 07, 2011 at 23:12:13

When I attended the user group meeting in May of 2010 the topic was community use; the broad definition of community use that I referenced earlier. The purpose of the session was a public forum for the City to find out exactly what types of associations, sports leagues and cultural groups would be requesting to use the Pan Am stadium once it was completed, regardless of the location. They broke the attendees into smaller focus groups and basically asked for a wish list and everyon'e 'ideal' of public access and logistical ideas (drop of area, on site transit etc). Again, the purpose of that meeting did NOT include location and there were representatives from all sectors of the Hamilton community at large.

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By Tnt (registered) | Posted January 09, 2011 at 09:56:14

Why don't the ticats team up with McMaster and expand their stadium and let the cats play there.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 09, 2011 at 15:56:14

There are three major obstacles that would make a joint McMaster/Ticat stadium next to impossible:

  1. It would be very difficult to expand the stadium to the size needed by the Tiger-Cats because, back when Ron Joyce Stadium was being planned, the neighbourhoods adjacent to the east of McMaster University secured a commitment from McMaster that all football stands built in Ron Joyce Stadium must face west so that most of the stadium noise also flows west;

  2. The Tiger-Cats want complete control of all parking revenues for an NFL sized parking lot. McMaster University needs its parking spaces for its own students, faculty and visitors and there is no incentive for McMaster give up its parking revenues;

  3. The McMaster stadium is in heavy use by university football, soccer and rugby intra mural and inter mural teams. It is okay to have Tiger-Cat training camps at McMaster in late May and early June when the students are gone but the requirements of Tiger-Cat professional football could not be accommodated at McMaster on a year round basis.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-09 15:59:12

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted January 09, 2011 at 23:43:50

Wow, everybody should go through that WhiteStar website. Such potential that BY is thumbing his nose at, and city hall.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2011 at 00:31:54

Show me the money. Its beautiful but without any money to invest in the basic stadium the bells and whistles don't matter. They can pay for a roof but with nothing to put it on its not worth even a look

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted January 10, 2011 at 00:35:34

Like aldershot you mean??

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2011 at 01:39:44

What Aldershot has to do with it I don't know but if you think Aldershot has the money you are equally uninformed

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By hammy (registered) | Posted January 16, 2011 at 06:33:51

North enders, my parents were born and raised in the North end. They packed up and moved the second they got the chance, the place is a toxic waiste dump. Wake up and smell the dead roses already..

Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-16 06:35:55

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