By Graham Crawford
Published January 12, 2011
Each of you are charged with making a very difficult decision on Wednesday. A decision made even more difficult with the presentation of a last minute, on-the-back-of-a-napkin deal cobbled together by Mayor Bratina with a partner who has been less than fair in their business dealings with the citizens of Hamilton.
You have no numbers, except that all of the money from the Future Fund and all of the funding from two higher levels of government will be spent replacing half of an existing stadium.
You don't know who will receive parking revenues. You don't know if the Hamilton Tiger-Cats plan to manage the stadium and how much they will ask to be paid to do so.
You don't know if concerts will be acceptable to local residents in the Ivor Wynne Stadium precinct.
You don't know if the Ticats plan on contributing anything to the project.
You do not know why Ivor Wynne Stadium is now acceptable to the Ticats. You don't know why Bob Young has had a change of heart, when only last week he was trying to move the team to Burlington.
You don't know what will happen in the West Harbour. You do not know how we will pay for soil remediation. You don't know even what will go into the West Harbour, unless you think it's a good idea to stick an office building on prime recreational and residential land.
There's a lot you don't know, and I don't envy you.
What you should know by now is that you should not trust the Ticat organization. If you feel that is harsh or unwarranted, I ask that you reflect on the nearly $12 million Hamilton taxpayers have already invested in land acquisition and on consultants and staff time, all focused on trying to appease the Ticats.
What you should know is that if you vote to move ahead with the Two Bobs Deal today, you do so based on emotion and saving face. I say this because you have nothing else on which to base it. Prudent? Hardly. Irresponsible? Likely.
Despite what one of you have said, the Ticats have proven to all Hamiltonians they are anything but beloved. What they are is not to be trusted. Ian Troop told Burlington as much in his interview last week.
This must come to an end. This is not a debate. This is not a business deal. This is simply madness.
Thanks for your attention.