Sports

Stadium Decision About Maximizing Taxpayer Investment

By Graham Crawford
Published January 17, 2011

The "Build New in the West Harbour" or "Renovate Ivor Wynne Stadium" choice is not a Ward versus Ward debate, and never has been. Nor has the debate been just about a stadium location, or even just a football team, although sometimes I have to wonder about the last one.

In my view, it has always been about maximizing taxpayer's investment of their $45 million in Future Fund dollars. Here are two obvious questions I think we have to ask ourselves.

  1. Which of the two locations has the greatest potential to spur residential intensification?

  2. Which of the two locations takes the greatest advantage of existing critical mass?

1. Residential Intensification

This decision is about more than major league sports. It should also be about major league residential development spurred by significant government investment in the area.

This includes medium density (6-8 storeys) to higher density (12-18 storey) condominiums and geared to income rental apartments (full market rate to lower income), all with views overlooking the harbour, the escarpment and downtown.

Residential intensification triggers an increase in service-related businesses - everything from grocery stores to dry cleaners to restaurants, etc. Why? Because they have built-in customers in the immediate neighbourhood.

Adding commercial space in or near this higher density residential is a natural extension. That means people working in the area every day, using the services in the neighbourhood. This is already happening, on a smaller scale, on James North.

Residential intensification means greater property taxes from a smaller footprint. Think in terms of a couple of thousand residents versus a few hundred on the same amount of land (and roads, and sewers, and water mains, etc.).

As much as it would be nice to think that the IWS site is as attractive to condominium and apartment developers and residents alike, I think people would be hard pressed to find a developer, a bank, or a real estate agent, not to mention potential purchasers, who did not think the West Harbour was more attractive.

It's within walking distance of the harbour (both summer and winter), James North Arts District, Farmer's Market, Library, downtown core, Copps Coliseum, Art Gallery, and so on, all of which have witnessed investment in the past number of years.

This isn't a put-down on the IWS neighbourhood. I lived on Leinster Ave. years ago and honestly loved the neighbourhood. It's an issue of scalability.

If you accept the more attractive location premise, then residential intensification also helps makes the case for a GO station on James North versus Gage Ave. much stronger.

GO service will bring in both visitors and residents. For visitors who want to visit Hamilton for all that we have to offer, including football, GO service makes it easier.

For residents of Hamilton who want to (must?) work in Toronto, GO service makes residency much more attractive. They won't all live in condo towers in the WH, but some of them will want to if they can walk to GO station from home.

Another potential audience is the downsizing/retiree market either, some of whom have purchased condos in the Witton Lofts project on Murray St. Being able to go into Toronto with ease makes the location more attractive for them too.

Attractiveness equals saleability. Saleability equals access to capital. Access to capital equals development. Development equals property tax revenues. Etc. You get the idea.

The sad truth is Hamilton does not have the luxury of fostering this kind of development in many locations across the city at the same time. It's also a sad truth that we'll be lucky to get one area going, not two or three, at least not in the next 10 to 15 years, or likely more.

It's a great idea to spread the wealth, but only if you've got a lot of wealth to spread, and the wealth that is spread has the highest possible impact. Dissipated investment runs the risk of having minimal impact. Getting a little for a lot. We have only one Future Fund and we are about to use the majority of its capital on this single project.

2. Existing Critical Mass

The fact is, the IWS site is much more limited in both its size and, therefore, its scope. The plan already calls for sacrificing the Timmis stadium for parking, presumably from which the taxpayers will receive zero revenue.

The Scott Park School is privately owned. There's a brand new school across the street on Melrose.

What replaces the three baseball diamonds at Scott Park? More parking? Maybe kids don't use any of these existing recreational facilities, but I thought they did.

What about the Jimmy Thompson Pool, which is where I learned to swim - at the hands of Jimmy Thompson, I might add. The IWS site is completely bounded by single family residential. There is no obvious room for high density residential.

Sure, we can imagine buying up and turning all of the industrial buildings north of Barton into new development, but you really have to ask yourself what would cause developers to be more interested in this area than the WH and nearby downtown sites which are currently parking lots? (see Question #1)

It's not that there will never be any such development near the IWS site, but let's face it, Hamilton is many years away from the IWS site and surrounding area being selected as the next hot place in which to invest hundreds of millions in high density development.

It's an issue of leveraging existing critical mass. It's a matter of leveraging what you've actually got. You don't have to be an urban planner to see where Hamilton's urban critical mass is at the moment.

Look, I don't know for sure where this will end up. Anybody who says they do is, I think, forgetting that until last week the IWS site wasn't even on most people's radar.

I applaud Lawrence for his impassioned, and might I add balanced, approach to saving Ivor Wynne. I believe honestly that I understand where he's coming from, it's just that I don't think it's the best investment for Hamilton to make.

It'll be OK. But, you know what, I'm even more tired of accepting OK as our standard in Hamilton than I am of this whole stadium debate. And that's saying something!

Sorry, but building half a stadium for all of the money just doesn't work for me.

Graham Crawford was raised in Hamilton, moving to Toronto in 1980 where he spent 25 years as the owner of a successful management consulting firm that he sold in 2000. He retired and moved back to Hamilton in 2005 and became involved in heritage and neighbourhood issues. He opened Hamilton HIStory + HERitage on James North in 2007, a multi-media exhibition space (aka a storefront museum) celebrating the lives of the men and women who have helped to shape the City of Hamilton.

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By bravo (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 21:13:09

Bravo! Very well written. Excellent points.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 21:18:56

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 21:48:42

One point missed here is can the city afford to have 2 large properties that we are not collecting property tax on IWS can be sold to developers and start collecting property tax and development fees. Another option would be to get an agreement with Bob Young to sell him the stadium after the pan am games at a price equal to what the civic taxpayers spent and then start collecting property tax from him.

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 21:56:53

> The sad truth is Hamilton does not have the luxury of fostering this kind of development in many locations across the city at the same time.

Absolutely disagree... IMHO, we have no choice.

> It's also a sad truth that we'll be lucky to get one area going, not two or three, at least not in the next 10 to 15 years, or likely more.

Again, you are just wrong.

Canada is golden to international investment in this era, and we are sitting on the most under-valued property in the country.

I'm sorry, but can we afford to listen to people who want to work one neighbourhood per 15 years? How long 'til you get to my street at that rate?

Comment edited by wentworthst on 2011-01-17 22:00:28

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By randomguy (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 21:58:43

I'm a little confused by the thrust of the article. If the West Harbour is more attractive from a residential and commercial perspective and you're concerned about the city's finances, than wouldn't it make more sense to leave the stadium at Ivor Wynne and then use what would have been the footprint of the stadium for residential and commercial development?

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By Rheem (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 22:19:51

@randomguy

The pollution on the Rheem site is too great to justify residential development in the Hamilton market. A stadium requires a lower standard for clean up so it is cheaper. The net result would make the surrounding area more attractive to redevelopment. The future fund investment would set the stage for further investment by making a current "dead zone" in the city an attractive new location for development. I agree with the article - I just can't see the same scenario, happening to the same degree, at the current IWS. If we invest the money in IW, we will end up with what we have now at both locations.

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By George (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 22:26:04

3) Which of the two locations best promotes our city nationally and internationally?

Comment edited by George on 2011-01-17 23:11:37

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 17, 2011 at 22:32:13

Great piece, Graham. I will reply more later but I am going to get some sleep while I am actually tired for a change.

This stood out though. Not because I think an Ivor Wynne plan is just 'ok' or settling, but because you are right; we have been accepting okay for far too long and I think Hamilton is better than that.

It'll be OK. But, you know what, I'm even more tired of accepting OK as our standard in Hamilton than I am of this whole stadium debate. And that's saying something!

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By George (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 22:34:37

Mr Crawford wrote:

Another potential audience is the downsizing/retiree market either, some of whom have purchased condos in the Witton Lofts project on Murray St...

Bingo! Connection! That'll be me in 5 - 10 years, and nothing excites me more than retiring to a downtown Hamilton condo if we had an NHL team at Copps and the Tiger-Cats at WH.

I'd die for one of those Whitestar condos!

Living by the waterfront, walking to the Farmers' market, enjoying the countless restaurants and the ever increasingy vibrancy of our core.

Comment edited by George on 2011-01-17 22:36:00

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 23:05:03

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Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-17 23:22:17

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By George (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 23:18:43

HamiltonFan insultingly wrote:

I suspect that the WH fanatics who are adamant about any stadium going to this site are influenced by Paul Shaker and his background

What about those of us who are not WH fanatics and are adamant about a stadium going there and have not been influenced by Paul Shaker?

Never herard of him until his most recent article.

What an offensive, condescending and presumptive sentence!

What gives? What are your motivations?

Comment edited by George on 2011-01-17 23:19:20

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 23:25:08

True George, you have a point. Changed the wording a tad.

My motivations are nothing other than some explanations. Paul is certainly very well educated and versed on the subject of the WH and that is excellent, we should all be as well versed about the city we live in to be honest to be able to understand and know our city better.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-17 23:25:31

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By George (registered) | Posted January 17, 2011 at 23:31:52

HamiltonFan replied:

My motivations are nothing other than some explanations

Expalantions of what?

What needs explanation?

What is it that you are trying to explain?

Comment edited by George on 2011-01-17 23:42:42

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 01:27:39

Graham,

What you are writing about is the reason I had hoped the Aldershot gambit would be successful. I hoped the Ti-Cats would have left for Burlington, leaving Hamilton to construct the 6000 seat Pan-Am stadium where Ivor Wynne currently sits. A small Pan-Am stadium would have not only left the existing sports facilities intact it would have augmented them as well. I also think a velodrome would have worked around Beechwood, enhancing the Scott Park area as a node of sports participation. The Scott Park area could use and deserves the glamour of a velodrome as much as any other part of this city. I highly doubt I will get any agreement on the velo, but for me it fits with the vision of a Scott Park sporting node, especially with the LRT node that is slated for SP. There are better things we can do for the harbour than sports facilities, it will take some time and money but the opportunities there are breathtaking.

Stadiums, Nodes and Growth

I will say that I was incomplete on my cost estimates for WH site remdiation. The 3 million is for a cap only and not appropriate for residential development. I've been doing research on soil remediation and will try to have an article on the subject in a week or so.

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 03:18:36

Why are posts getting negative votes blurred out? If this is to be a true forum for discussion those with dissenting opinions should be heard too not censored.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 06:26:53

Tom, not sure how long you've been around here but RTH has some longstanding trolls - "say what" is one of the worst, he is rude and offensive and posts a billion comments a day and has nothing useful to contribute, he just wants to crap on everyone (he's even being a big troll over at thespec.com where he posts under "allan taylor" which I think is his real name).

The comments aren't being "censored" because they're not actually deleted, just faded so you don't have to read them if you don't want to.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 06:34:38

Also, Tom you can change the threshold on your profile to show all comments.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 06:43:34

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 07:09:13

Actually George you're correct again. Not so much explanations but rather curiosity with Paul's background. I find it interesting when I've read a well written article on something to learn a bit more about the background of the writer. It helps put into context what the writer is trying to convey, I find. I also learned that Paul was an advisor to Fred Eisenberger during Fred's time as mayor. Again, just curiosity.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-18 07:13:18

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 08:19:05

Graham, enjoyed your article. Your last line is interesting - Sorry, but building half a stadium for all of the money just doesn't work for me. I could turn this around and say building a full stadium in a half hearted way just doesn't work for me. I guess it depends which side of the mirror one wishes to look into.

No question there are many issues involved with both scenarios, absolutely.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 08:59:11

The article does make a case that IWS does amount to settling for "OK", while squandering a trememndous opportunity for change that this city and its core could despserately use.

I really wish we had a better idea of the interest in WH from Ghery and Katz.

Could be all the more reason to push for a stadium at WH even more, or not at all.

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By CaptainKirk. (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 09:03:21

HamiltonFan wrote:

"I guess it depends which side of the mirror one wishes to look into."



In my case, I guess it would be the, "which-is-best-for-the-city" side rather than the "which-is-best-for-the-Tiger_Cats" side.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 09:09:46

Well Captain, "what is best for the city" is certainly open for debate. Any stadium going ahead at WH or any site, IMHO, should have a tenant locked up with a lease before funds are commmitted.

And I don't buy Graham's premise that IWS2 is setting for ok, not in the least. At the very least we will need to see Chris Murray's report which will be discussed Jan. 24 by council. Then we will have a better idea of the project.

Agree though that at the end of this process, no stadium may prove to be the wisest decision.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-18 09:10:54

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 09:19:36

HamiltonFan wrote:

"Well Captain, "what is best for the city" is certainly open for debate."

Agreed. So what do you think is best for the city, and why?


And he also worte:

"And I don't buy Graham's premise that IWS2 is setting for ok, not in the least."

Great, but why? How can we discuss such declarations without any opinion? Why is it not just ok? What do you think it will accomplish on the city's behalf, rather than hosting Pan Am soccer and the Tiger-Cats?

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 09:32:02

Captain, I don't know what is best for the city and what I say has already been said by others. There are pluses and minuses with any scenario.

IWS2 is developing something in an area of town that can use all the help in can get. FF money for that ward is certainly city building. And in fact, reading Paul Shaker's 2003 article about the WH, certainly this area compared with IWS is somewhat like EM compared with WH meaning the WH will eventually be developed in one way or another, as Paul mentions it has so much potential, a hidden treasure. And there is development now with the trails and the new skating rink, Williams cafe although this is further north east of the Rheem site I agree. I haven't heard that so much about the area of IWS. It might not be as "exciting" perhaps and buzzy as WH but I don't think it is something not to be excited about from a city building aspect. Not at all.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 09:45:21

@ HamiltonFan - While I may not agree with some of what you wrote, I respect your post and opinions. Thanks for the answer. (I'll address your points later)

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 10:34:38

nobrainer....There is a big difference between having an opposing view and being disruptive and abusive in a discussion. Those with a different opinion from others should be entitled to be heard and the disruptive ones dealt with by the moderator.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 10:42:57

There is a big difference between having an opposing view and being disruptive and abusive in a discussion.

Agreed but "say what" AKA Allan Taylor is disruptive and abusive, also, this site is community moderated, so "dealt with by the moderator" means we all pitch in to downvote abusive trolls like "say what" AKA Allan Taylor.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 10:45:26

Thanks Captain and yes respecting others viewspoints even if you disagree is what respectful behaviour is all about. The problem I have is when people start calling people names, either other posters or elected officials, business people etc. Then I get my back up and spout off with inappropriate remarks myself. I don't like that aspect of how I behave but I do this I will admit. I need to learn to ignore words that are just plain nasty towards others. If you don't like someone, fine but there is a way to voice your displeasure rather than saying someone is a prick and such.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:16:47

wentworthst

Honestly, I don't want to wait even 5 years for big things to happen throughout my city. Hamilton is an overlooked jewel of major proportions, on that we are in complete agreement. The question we have to ask is, "Why is it overlooked"?

While I think the answer to that question is complex, I'd ask all of us to rewind 5 years, 10 years, 15 years. Think about the level of real, fundamental change in this City's fortunes in that time. Think about what King Street looked like along its length 5 years ago. What Barton Street looked like 10 years ago. Main Street 15 years ago. Sadly, the change has not been significant enough, neither commercially nor residentially. Why? What's not in place? Why do banks not want to loan money to developers in Hamilton? Why is everything limited to colourful artist renderings in brochures that never seem to become reality, with too few, although thankfully some, exceptions.

As you might expect, given that I run Hamilton HIStory + HERitage, I'm not exactly down on Hamilton. I love this city. Deeply. I would not be wasting my words, time and money if I didn't think so. I'm at a point in my life when I'm becoming impatient. But, until we truly focus our efforts on maximizing our limited investment when we have such a generation-changing, city-building opportunity, I fear we're doomed to play the waiting game, IMHO. The "it's just around the corner" view of progress.

The razor's edge our elected officials have to walk is to make life for current residents as pleasant as possible, while at the same time dealing with a budget that is completely backwards in terms of its sources of revenue.

Empty hotels, derelict buildings, demolished heritage, suffering retail, high unemployment, above national levels of poverty, and sadly the list goes on, are not signs of a golden era in the making. If I didn't believe it would ever change, I'd give up, close up "shop", and leave. I don't do that because it is going to change. But it's going to change even more slowly if we dissipate our once-in-a-generaation, 100% government-backed catalytic investments, of which the Pan Am investment is a prime, and very real, example.

We have to think seriously about implications. If IWS is rebuilt, and it opens, then what happens? What's the next obvious, and realistic, step? Who spends money doing what? What contribution will this make to the city? And it better be about much more than fans will be more comfortable and Bob Young will be happier. Much more. When we get these 2 promised Grey Cups, where do you think they will build the first new hotel that will house the out of town fans? The second? Why there?

Ask yourself the same set of questions about the WH.

As I said originally, I find one set of answers OK, and the other set of answers much more compelling. Critical mass is a huge factor for development no matter which city you live in, but in Hamilton, it seems to me it's one of the most critical factors in this whole stadium location equation.

Personal Footnote: Even I'm bummed out about what I just wrote, but they are considered comments, not simply those of a grouchy old guy having a bad day. Trust me on this. We're making a $125 million investment that should have a ten times multiplier effect for a generation. For me, the WH is the best place to make that come true.

Comment edited by H+H on 2011-01-18 12:07:42

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:17:33

No brainer read your post and see who is being abusive

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By Council (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:29:14

Just read on another thread that Council's Pan Am meeting has been pushed back from Jan. 24 to Jan 27.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:39:37

its the 26th, reports out to councilors on the 24th so they can read them before the meeting

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:42:00

City Meeting Calendar still states January 24 1:00 pm Special GIC Pan Am Stadium

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:46:48

Actually it does but it also says Wed 26th 7pm council chambers. Me thinks that the reports will be received the 24th and the final vote will take place the 26th.

http://www.hamilton.ca/CityDepartments/CorporateServices/Clerks/calendars2011/

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:49:22

If the WH does in fact happen, I can only pray that council doesn't leave Bernie Morrelli's ward out to dry on this, that would be a shame.

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:55:24

Pan Am Stadium debate/vote at GIC meeting on Monday 24th and then ratification vote at Council on Wednesday 27th.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:57:43

Definately not pushed back to the 27th

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By trevorlikesbikes (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 12:05:16

Bernie Morelli has left Bernie Morelli's ward out high and dry for 20+ years, what's another 4.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 12:39:59

@H+H. First, I never clued in reading your posts before, that you were Hamilton HIStory + HERitage. Love what you are doing there and hope you never 'give up on Hamilton'. You read a lot of people posting on various local forums how they are glad they have gotten out of here or immediately planning to because they have had enough, but if folks like yourself and others who sell this great city like you do give up, we are all in trouble.

I like this part of your comment. Especially the bolded part.

We have to think seriously about implications. If IWS is rebuilt, and it opens, then what happens? What's the next obvious, and realistic, step? Who spends money doing what? What contribution will this make to the city? And it better be about much more than fans will be more comfortable and Bob Young will be happier. Much more. When we get these 2 promised Grey Cups, where do you think they will build the first new hotel that will house the out of town fans? The second? Why there?

Ask yourself the same set of questions about the WH.

Our last Grey Cup here I believe was a failure. Correct me if I am wrong. We couldn't give away all the tickets. There is no gurantee the hometown team will be there so we better be offering something pretty substancial to make sure that place is sold out on it's own - Cats in the final or not. You have places like Calgary and Edmonton that sell out within weeks. I think a modernized IW and re-aligned area can be the difference between a successful Grey Cup and one just like the last one, but you are right. Where will these people stay? The Connaught would be nice but I for one have lost track of where that building stands. Long term living or short-stay or a whole lot of nothing for the long term?

I also liked that you said either way - WH or IW, the fact is an issue that needs to be addressed. Are we waiting for the NHL to think about our short-term stay needs? Would a new stadium anywhere for CFL or soccer, neccesarily have encouraged investors to look at those opportunities? Perhpas with what else was planned in the harbor, yes?

Is there land in the area of IW to build a hotel, zoned or able to be re-zoned, and with the proper footings to support a larger scale one? Are there enough attractions with IW, Gage Park and it's Festivals (and new festivals to come hopefully), Ottawa Street, Pearl Company, The Childrens Museum, banquet centres, etc, to justify a hotel in the area? Is there a market to extend downtown east with this latest proposal? Do we want to have little choice but to stay downtown, or can we keep them busy in other areas of town and still have them leave with a good taste in their mouth about our city?

I might be in left field with these wonderings, but I'll throw it out there anyway.

In Buffalo, the hotels are quite a distance from Orchard Park. They have limo services for $20, that will take you to and from the game, you can bring beer in the limo, and the guys give you their cell numbers to call them whenever you want - no matter how late, to pick them up from the stadium afterwards. Now the distance is pretty substantial so perhaps that could be lowered to $10 a person if say the hotel was right off the highway in Innovation Park for instance. Just another transportation method to ponder to get fans to the stadium.

I think this form of transportation could be something to encourage becuase I know we met a limo full of Patriots fans that drove all the way from Boston to see the Bills game. It's great connecting with people from across the country our even just out of town. A bus or LRT does this too of course, but I think the goal would be to not have these people stay in Toronto where there are a million things to do, and then take the train in game day and not support our hotels, restaurants, shops, and such. A James St N Art Crawl during the Grey Cup festival would be amazing and huge so we want as many things like this going on to encourage people to stay right here.

I don't think the stadium neccesarily has to be right there though. By the hotel. By James St N. Imagine a fun-filled day in Wards 1 and 2, and then heading east game day to realize there is just no end to things to do in Hamilton. Game day becomes this amazing tailgate experience in the NOT paved over Scott Park field, a beautiful new modernized heritage stadium, perhaps a music festival at Gage Park the day before and a closed off street festival on Ottawa St that week too.

By continuing to play at 75 Balsam and beautifying that neighborhod too, we take our visitors around the city and we sell that Hamilton is not just a downtown community; It's beauty and wonder stretches across the whole of it.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-18 12:47:44

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 12:52:54

HamiltonFan wrote:

"If the WH does in fact happen, I can only pray that council doesn't leave Bernie Morrelli's ward out to dry on this, that would be a shame."

I don't understand. Is his ward somehow special, and more deserving of "something" than each of the other wards in the city? I don't understand. If it is to be WH, this really doesn't have much to do with other wards does it.

If it is to be WH, them isn't the IWS property slated for development and sale for about $7m to $7.5m that is supposed to help finance the stadium?

Aren't there plans for a community or seniors centre in he Scott Park/IWS area?

Gage P{ark is getting a makeover too, ain't it?

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:01:37

If you lived here you'd know that a seniors centre is the last thing the area needs. We need people with money moving in not those without. We already have the most of those in the city. You'd also know that BM has often if not always left half of his ward out to dry and even his south side voters are tiring of his act.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:02:14

lawrence wrote:

"Our last Grey Cup here I believe was a failure. Correct me if I am wrong. We couldn't give away all the tickets.'

Correct. That was 1996, and part of the problem (and maybe a significant one) was that the 1990s was among the lowest points in CFL history in terms of attendance and financial hardship. Remember that odd American expansion experiment with teams in Scramento, Baltimore, Memphis, Birmingham, Shreveport, Las Vegas and San Antonio?

Also in the 1990s, the Ottawa Rough Riders folded and the CFL had to borrow $3m from the NFL.

The current and future prospects for the CFL are much brighter, and that is what just might be good enough for Bob Young's IWS acceptance. They've (BY and Scott Mitchell) pretty much said as much. If true, then one might argue that the same could apply to WH, no?

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:11:02

Thanks Captain. It's good to know more details as to why it was a failure. I heard the parties were a lot of fun building up to it and seemingly well attended. Before I left town to be best man in my cousin's wedding, I remembering seeing tics for sale for like $5 at Tim Horton's.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:12:57

Correct Captain. Its not too hard to believe that even using IWS in its current condition would result in a much better Grey Cup than in 96 although the proof of that thinking will never be known.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:14:33

@HamiltonFan - well said.

haven't heard that so much about the area of IWS. It might not be as "exciting" perhaps and buzzy as WH but I don't think it is something not to be excited about from a city building aspect. Not at all.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:22:09

"I don't understand. Is his ward somehow special, and more deserving of "something" than each of the other wards in the city? I don't understand. If it is to be WH, this really doesn't have much to do with other wards does it."

Well, people were upset that the FF money was going to be used for the EM area and that it didn't really qualify there as something towards city building. So perhaps wards are not equal in people's minds, especially the people who control the FF money. It's convenient to say this is not a ward vs ward issue but many WH supporters were making it exactly that issue when EM was on the table.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:25:49

say what said,

"Its not too hard to believe that even using IWS in its current condition would result in a much better Grey Cup than in 96 although the proof of that thinking will never be known."

Agreed. I think it would be better for two basic reasons

1) as already mentioned, the increased popularity of the CFL and it's improved business operations.

2) Bob Young's abilities as team owner to put on a terrific game day experience. While criticizing certain aspects of his ownerships is understandable, he gets full marks from me for providing a fun filled entertainment event that would no doubt translate well into hosting a Grey Cup. Heck, even the current Tigertowns at other grey Cup locales get excellent reviews and consistent kudos.

Now, having said all that, I have no doubt that it would be even that much better at a WH location given the picturesque setting and downtown location which is most amenable for a NATIONAL Grey Cup party/event. Nothing could better than to showcase our city on a national level than such exposure to our waterfront and downtown.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:31:09

Captain, WH for showcasing Hamilton during a Grey Cup would be awesome, no question. I'm not going to argue that. I like the site from that aspect much better than IWS. But how do you get Bob Young on board for WH knowing that the team isn't for sale and that he seems to have no intention of playing out of a WH stadium regardless of the reasons whether they be AEG/Katz or what have you? And as well a funding issue with a WH stadium that could host a GC?

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-18 13:32:17

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:34:51

how do you get Bob Young on board for WH

You get him on board the same way he got on board IWS -- he has no other options. If IWS can work for him then so can WH, bottom line.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:37:45

great question HamiltonFan and one I've been trying to answer ever since the Tiger-cats rejected WH.

I think, (and I could be wrong) a lot of the rejection had to do with the Deloitte's business plan which did not address CFL football business. Don't want to start arguing whether it should have or not), but I always believed that if the city wanted WH so badly, then some sort of mutually accommodating business arrangement should have been struck.

I'm hopeful that such an arrangement is still doable with Bob Young's recent "come-to-Jesus chat" (Scott Mitchell's reference http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/stephen-brunt/tiger-cats-staying-put-in-hamilton/article1866300/ )

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:39:09

There are but 2 choices now
1. IWS rebuild with the TigerCats
2. Reduced size stadium without the TigerCats

Its really that simple. The game of chicken is over

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:39:11

Captain said:

Bob Young's abilities as team owner to put on a terrific game day experience. While criticizing certain aspects of his ownerships is understandable, he gets full marks from me for providing a fun filled entertainment event that would no doubt translate well into hosting a Grey Cup. Heck, even the current Tigertowns at other grey Cup locales get excellent reviews and consistent kudos.

Very true. In my eyes, going to IW/Tiger Vision, is very comparible to say Rogers Centre/Jumbo-Tron entertianment wise. Graphics, videos, etc. It's very professional and appealing. Look at the quality of videos alone the past 7 years. Little things like the music when a player does something remarkable, like they do at Skydome when the next at bat is announced.

These 'little' things have added a lot to the game-day experience.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:41:29

Just to clarify, this will come down to money. IWS appears that it might have the funding to complete to 25,000and WH is proven to be $30-$50M short to complete to 22,000-25,000

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:42:07

"believed that if the city wanted WH so badly"

I think that is a huge issue really. Was it really the city that wanted WH so badly or was it Fred along with his advisor Paul Shaker that wanted it so badly? Now I don't know the answer to that question to be honest but I really think at this point it should be determined if possible. Were the councillors who voted to look at a smaller WH stadium doing this out of respect for Fred and for no other reason?

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-18 13:43:19

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:42:24

Its really that simple. The game of chicken is over

If we've learned nothing else from all this, it's that it ain't over till it's over. You may very well be right in the end, but I don't think anyone can say anything with certainty at this point.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:45:02

@nobrainer

"You get him on board the same way he got on board IWS -- he has no other options. If IWS can work for him then so can WH, bottom line."

Absolutely correct. The fact that anybody, including such people as HamiltonFan and Councillor Tom Jackson, are still thinking that BY is still driving this project is completely misguided. I'm prepared to forgive, but I'm still not prepared to be screwed by a bad business partner.

Paying $115 million for the pleasure of letting these zero equity "partners" call the shots so they can earn more money for their enterprise is the kind of business deal I never encountered in my 30-year business career. As in NEVER!

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:47:22

Barring a PanAm2015 about face which in terms of past performance could be believed I suppose its possible. I do believe however that each extension has been driving closer and closer to the real deadline and if we haven't reached it is so close that anyone involved had better be making their final play

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:49:18

Look H+H, then it's time for council to choose WH next week, if it as simple as you suggest and I believe that's what you and some others are suggesting.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:49:31

I have a question. There are a lot of people who seem to feel the Setting Sail plan is far superior and should be left to materialize, and who are adamantly against WH being used for any kind of sports and entertainment district.

What do Setting Sail supporters have to say? Trey had some good points but I can't figure out how to find his past comments to point to it here. It was about Setting Sail/the Veledrome.

I like the Setting Sail plan. Why stray from it just becuase it may take awhile to impliment it. There is a lot of money on the table to clean up the area, but is that gift really worth changing focus on the harbor?

All I am saying is that WH (like someone pointed out above about EM), had a vision. Ivor Wynne didn't. At least a beautiful discussed and planned out vision like WH's.

The history along Balsam extends past Ivor Wynne stadium and Jimmy Thompson. Just the history behind those two names alone ads more justification to securing this part of our history for future generations. IMHO anyway.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 13:57:24

HamiltonFan

"Look H+H, then it's time for council to choose WH next week."

Thanks for that. I just knew we would eventually agree on something. What a feeling!

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 14:07:39

lawrence wrote:

"These 'little' things have added a lot to the game-day experience.'

Agreed 100%! As a fan who has been attending games for decades, I've said that although this current ownership has given us some of our worst football, I've never had so much fun going to games.

I'll run with the positives out of such declarations as I think the bad football is part of a learning curve and a lesson learned and kudos must be given to an owner with no previous experience in such things. And, I firmly believe that we're over the hump now, int terms of on field product (although there is still a long way to go)

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 14:25:22

@George wrote:

Bingo! Connection! That'll be me in 5 - 10 years, and nothing excites me more than retiring to a downtown Hamilton condo if we had an NHL team at Copps and the Tiger-Cats at WH.

I'd die for one of those Whitestar condos!

Living by the waterfront, walking to the Farmers' market, enjoying the countless restaurants and the ever increasingy vibrancy of our core.

Where is the 'Bingo' for folks who retire in the east end? Whether in a retirement home of sorts or just retired to their house? Wouldn't it (or isn't it now), be great to be able to walk over to IW and see a game or shopping along Ottawa St or see a show at the Pearl Company or sit on a bench at Gage Park. The folks on the Mount could agrue the say thing against my 75 Balsam plea too.

Folks who retire downtown can do all of what you stated, but where do we hang out? The little Food court they built at the Centre on Barton? Where is our sports entertainment? If IW is shot down I am not totally against @mrjanitors idea of a veledrome or some kind of sports legacy.

My inention is not to sound all 'what about me' and I know it sounds that way, but for those all excited about it all going west, how do those feel who really love where they are and are hopeful of some activities close by where they chose to retire?

There is no reason someone couldn't buy a building like the Pearl and turn it into lofts instead, close to IW?

I think Graham said it best. It is all about maximizing community benefit, but is there a real and true argument against either site? The harbor is beautiful ... it is, but so is the escarpment from Ivor Wynne or downtown at night or even the smoke stacks and the view of all the local old churches is something - and I am not even religious but those old buildings are beautiful!

The two sites provide two very different views of our city, so is the 'view' in itself really an argument that can be won, because we all have different 'views' of what makes our city beautiful. Those steel factories represent my families life line for 4 generations. To me they are not an eye sore, but a part of our history. Something to embrace. Something to work to clean up and change as the times and technology does, but those factories I am pretty sure are there for a long time so why not compliment them for what they respresent for our city.

There are a million and one arguments, that I am not sure can be won? There is extensive research about west harbor. It's hard to dispute that. The facts and reports and studies are there. They aren't for IW but stadium-wise, many don't need to be there because the fondation and the services and the history of football is all there. One could argue that the one report that does not exist, is how football would be recieved and survive and thrive in the the harbor? We don't really know do we? That is something we do know at Ivor Wynne, and Bob seems to have a plan in place to solve one of his major concerns (which I don't get but that's me), and that is parking. I just hope he leaves Scott Park field and our tailgating haven alone, altough I don't mind the plan to clean up some old abandon warehouses and turn them into parking lots. I will comment on that point shortly re: a GO station at Gage.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 14:39:23

Good read lawrence. And we don't really know what the WH is actually legally signed up for now if you will and what problems might exist should a Herman Turkstra get involved. I understand he doesn't have a case but he might be able to launch an investigation which would tie things up for a while.

For those that do want to see the full funding for a stadium here from the feds and province and from the FF, then I see no other option at this point than IWS. And it's not a bad choice really for those who do want to see the full funding used.

As well, check out Katz and Edmonton. It might sound corny but if Hamilton ever did get a NHL team in the future, it might be better to play out of Copps while a new stadium and entertainment district is being constructed at the WH. Perhaps that is something worth considering as Copps continues to get old and in time shouldn't even be renovated for an NHL arena. Edmonton is considering quite an arena and entertainment complex there.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-18 14:40:23

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 14:45:19

Captain, I won't quote you because I agree with it all. The Pan Am debate aside, there have been many positives during the past 7 years. We have a strong front office now and with two home playoff games the past two years, times are certainly changing for the better all around. How much of the $30M BY lost, was due in part to his learning curve as an owner? Tiger Vision brought almost immediate benefits to the entertainment value at IW that is for certain.

We replaced all the stairwells leading up to the stands, and have given the old girl a really good coat of paint all around and I know there is much to be addressed, but we were heading in the right direction and BY had Fenway dreams from the get go. The Pan Am bid changed that.

For $20M we could replace the concrete slabs on the south side, then add seat backs on top of that price and demolish Brian Timmis for 1,000 more parking spots, and to open up the stadium for passers by to actual see - to show off the stadium becuase it isn't so bad the way it is. It just needs a plan. A vision, and money to start going into a pot whether through fund-raising or/and a certain amount set aside from council to plan to in say 10 years, add more press boxes and add more coverage on the north and south sides, or whatever.

I don't totally get $115M for the IW reno but I look forward to seeing the designs/plans. If Bob Young would still offer in the harbor what he did at CP, how would that change things? $10M of the FF has already gone into purchasing the land. How much would prepare it so it was more attractive for a builder/buyer to get us closer to Setting Sail?

We have always been prepared though from the get go, to spend the entire $115M and not a penny more, on a stadium. In the harbor originally of course, but it's still in the core of our city, is IW all that bad a location?

I also heard that the cost was perhaps leaning towards $125+M so I would like to know who we are getting quotes for this IW thing from. Or a stadium anywhere for that matter. I would think South Africa knows a thing or two about builiding stadiums. I asked this morning and I belive the number they built was like 14?

Many people have sent me emails for some impressive stadiums that were built for substantially less than what we are looking at, taking into account the size of some of these others stadiums compared to what we want to accomplish.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 14:56:13

@George said:

3) Which of the two locations best promotes our city nationally and internationally?

What are we trying to promote? Ivor Wynne has promoted our city both nationally and internationally for 60 years and many hail Ivor Wynne to be the best place in the country to watch our game.

Not saying that WH wouldn't promote us well (it would be a beautiful view of Burlington), or that we could re-create our infamous site lines and such, but IW already does promote us well. At the bottom of the television screen it says Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton. in Hamilton. We are international with those words.

The Gage Park festivals are pretty huge too so I think Ward 3 has promoted our city well on a national scale in general, and I am sure we can build on that with this latest plan.

Why I feel Ivor Wynne is best at selling our city (and I shouldn't say best becuase no place in the city deserves that title so I will say 'well' or 'nicely'), is becuase all views from within and around the stadium are of Hamiton. Steel. Esscarpment. Downtown. Hamilton. Not the view of Burlington or the CN Tower in Toronto on a clear day from Confed Park. People at Ivor Wynne and watching nationally, see Hamilton. You can hide parts of Hamilton all you want when you show it from television, but when they come here, the factories are there.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-18 14:58:45

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 14:59:55

lawrence wrote:

"The two sites provide two very different views of our city, so is the 'view' in itself really an argument that can be won, because we all have different 'views' of what makes our city beautiful. Those steel factories represent my families life line for 4 generations. To me they are not an eye sore, but a part of our history. Something to embrace. Something to work to clean up and change as the times and technology does, but those factories I am pretty sure are there for a long time so why not compliment them for what they respresent for our city."

Agree with your notions about the steel factories. My father and his brother and cousins immigrated here after WWII and that was their lifelines too.

A couple of points. The steel factories and their visuals also mean the same to me, as they do to you. On a national level it also is a (proud) Hamilton trademark (the other being the Tiger-Cats) Definitely something to be proud of, as is the view from the skyway.

But so is our new and improved WH, something I'll bet most Canadians would be surprised (in the most pleasant way) to be exposed to, especially when identifying that with the city of Hamilton. Getting people off the highway, and into our core and Wh area can do the most good for our city by painting it int he best light possible. And therein lies its greatest value IMO. Doing so does not turn our backs on, nor does it neglect the important symbolism steel production had or has in Hamilton. (We must also be prepared for the day when we will no longer be producing steel in the traditional Stelco / Dofasco mills as that is a real possibility. But that's a whole other topic)

Hamilton is much more than steel and Tiger-Cats, at least the "new' Hamilton should strive to be, as most of us here already know it is. The WH and its connection downtown, unlike our proud steel heritage, can have the power to better our city through enticing visitors and residents alike to our city, and especially its heart, the donwtown/WH core. A strong heart is essential for a strong body!






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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 15:16:00

Yes, just as Hamilton is much more than the TigerCats, the TigerCats are much more than some of the more rinky dink type owners the team has had in the past. They are a new ballgame with someone like a BY. Yes, he's made mistakes and is on a learning curve but he's not a mom and pop type of guy who happens to have $25 mill and let's see what running a football team is about.

What I say if BY is good with IWS, let's do it and save the WH for a new arena and entertainment district in the future for an NHL team. Copps will provide the temporary arena until the new one gets built as the Civic Centre did for the Senators and the Coral for the Flames and the Pacific Coliseum for the Canucks. And Copps is better than any of those temporary arenas. (Of course this goes agains't my argument that the WH shouldn't be for a large stadium or arena in the first place but I'm willing to work with this scenario).

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 15:19:04

Some great points, @Captain.

But so is our new and improved WH, something I'll bet most Canadians would be surprised (in the most pleasant way) to be exposed to, especially when identifying that with the city of Hamilton. Getting people off the highway, and into our core and Wh area can do the most good for our city by painting it int he best light possible. And therein lies its greatest value IMO. Doing so does not turn our backs on, nor does it neglect the important symbolism steel production had or has in Hamilton. (We must also be prepared for the day when we will no longer be producing steel in the traditional Stelco / Dofasco mills as that is a real possibility. But that's a whole other topic)

But why would they be surprised? What have we been doing to sell the harbor up until this point? Everyone is saying 'goodbye' Tiger-Cats and hello scaleable West Harbor stadium but if we are talking about looking pretty on television here, where is the coverage without the Cats? Why does every view on television during game-day coverage, have to be around the stadium? What's wrong with a shot of the harbor or anywhere else in the city for that matter?

I agree Hamilton is much more than just steel and lunch buckets, but all I am saying is that it isn't something to ignore or hide and I am sure there are more like you and I who do appreciate the symbolism there.

Perhaps we should more so be looking at how we can embrace both. Old and new Hamilton. Why couldn't you pick up and move Brian Timmis into the harbor for amateur sports and the soccer leagues that currently play there, and perhaps that is the Cats practice/spring training field? Opens it up more for the public. I am sure there would be closed practices that could be held at Ivor Wynne, but perhaps a view of the Cats tranining facilities during Cats coverage could highlight the beauty and wonder of our harbor?

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-18 15:19:37

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 15:31:32

save the WH for a new arena and entertainment district in the future for an NHL team

Not knocking this idea as it isn't a bad one in the least bit.

It saddens me though, to think that we are already (and I know it's been there a long time), talking about Copps Colliseum's demise.

I say oust Bettman and for the NHL to embrace an owner as passionate about the game and bringing hockey here, as Balsille was. Is? I loved the renderings of a scaled-up Copps. I like where it is.

savecoppscolliseum.com. lol

Anways, it does hold many fond memories but is it just another bldg like IW that has had little put into it to keep it modern? 'Oh we didn't get NHL hockey so let it rot.'

Sad really. Remember what that bldg once represented for Hamiltonians? Ya, the promise of NHL hockey but just the concerts and other events it has brought us has been huge I would think, for our city. Maybe not financially I don't know the figures, but quality of life entertainment wise I would think it's existnace has been very beneficial.

I love watching the Bulldogs there too and I hate that we always overlook them. We get on average what 12,000 fans a game when the Cats suck, but can't sell out every Bulldogs game at 9,000 seats when the team has been as competitive as they have been almost their entire 15 year existance here? And the calibre of hockey is great. Very comparable to the NFL vs. CFL I think. Perhaps if the AHL was our game it would be different? Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge Mr. B.

But I digress.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 15:42:54

Yes lawrence, Canadian football goes back to the 1800's and has a long and storied history, tumultuous without a doubt, like Canada I suppose, but in the end it's ours and we control it. The AHL is viewed as excellent hockey but not ours and a trophy that few care about. The quality of play is excellent but it has to be more than that. And Copps is too big for the AHL.

I think though that the Cats, apart from the actual football entertainment, really do keep Hamilton on the sports map with all games on TSN with a national audience and that is good for Hamilton. And I think this helps with an NHL team in the future, as the Cats draw well in the newer stadium and a Grey Cup here etc. more press, surely the really big multibillionaire guys like Balsillie and Katz will keep watching and say, hmm Hamilton, and maybe by that time an American NHL team will need to relocate and MLSE will relax a bit with another team close by.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 16:39:36

I understand why the AHL is not big here. I wonder about 'a league of our own.' :)

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 16:45:26

Dofasco

Our product is steel. Our strength, is people. The proof of their support in our community is all over Ivor Wynne.

Hmmmm...'Dofasco Place at Ivor Wynne Park' or Ivor Wynne Stadium at Dofasco Park. How symbolic would the stadium being named after a corporate sponsor like Dofasco be, with the steel mills in the background.

Just thinking of it while I read that piece.

...

Sorry, I guess it would be Arcelor Mittal Place. I still forget sometimes.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-18 16:49:43

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By anonymous (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 17:08:05

Lawrence,
I applaud your passion. I love Ivor Wynne myself, but for city building purposes, and for sustainability, the west harbour is the better location for a new stadium. For a stadium to be successful and for it to have the economic benefits for the rest of the city, it needs to be in a place that has better exposure to the critical mass/higher density development that will happen in Hamilton's downtown core. It can also make other large city building projects like the west harbour waterfront recreation plan more attractive to potential investors. Other considerations for making it a success should include building it within walking distance of Hamiltons other hospitality/entertainment/recreation/retail destinations. Clustering those tourist friendly industries can have a much bigger economic impact not only on the long term sustainability of the stadium, but of those other destinations as well.

Plus a view of a new waterfront stadium with a backdrop of Hamilton's escarpment and downtown would be more attractive to potential visitors watching from coast to coast. Being proud of our steel history is a good thing, my grandfather worked at Stelco for 40 years, I'm not sold on the idea of that as the backdrop for a postcard type image to promote our city.

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By WH=Investment (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 17:25:02

Further to anonymous re:investors, here was the position of Tim Mattioli, of the REALTORS Association of Hamilton-Burlington when he spoke at a press conference on the stadium issue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVGp0o7ILHo

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 17:33:59

Good watch WH. But if a stadium goes there is Hamilton jeapordizing the ability to put an NHL arena there and entertainment district for the future? By the time Hamilton could get an NHL team, Copps may well be too old to renovate but will still suffice as a temporary arena while the new one gets built.

Just saying watch what you wish for WH stadium supporters is the message perhaps. A bit of pain keeping the Rheem site as it is now for a while for some potential longer term gain.

Of course realtors don't want to wait, they want action now from their viewpoint, a longer term vision doesn't make money in the short term.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-18 17:36:15

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 19:18:35

These latest articles by Paul and Graham have given me some hope in this never ending saga. To be clear, I am very open to the idea of a revamped IWS. Going back a year, I thought it would be best to re-develop IWS, because of its central location, accessibility and I never really got a clear answer as to why we couldn't do that. Believe me, I would love to see this area get cleaned up. It just seems to boil down to a question of doing something "ok" or doing something "great". I too am getting tired of settling. I am looking forward to the report, but it is going to take a lot to convince me that our investment should not be at WH.

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By bobinnes (registered) - website | Posted January 18, 2011 at 19:54:31

The premise of this article is wrong. We, in effect, DO NOT HAVE A FUTURE FUND! We spent the money long ago and now we owe about $400m on which we PAY interest at the going rate, probably 7% or so. The supposed FF only garners interest at the going rate, 1% (ONE percent) or so. Any sensible 12 year old will tell you to take the 50 million and reduce our debt and interest costs. Continuing to dangle the FF in front of developers'/politicians' greedy guts is too much temptation which only invites rashness. Collapse it and get immediate benefit by reducing our mortgage. This is a benefit to ALL Hamiltonians, not just to a few. The future will belong to wise hardworking peoples with whom we are supposed to be competing, not to foolish spendthrifts. Our job is to make future oriented products, not distracting entertainments. But first, we the people must stop this spending madness.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 21:20:49

Great response Bobinnes, nice to see someone on here can see the truth and scale of the problem.
Not only do we not need the gov. spending like maniacs on projects we don't need, e.g. WH. We don't need the continued brain washing that is constant on this site regarding the downtown, WH and now the lrt.

Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-18 21:21:25

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 10:43:43

I am going to repost what I just added to the conversation on Ryan's latest piece.

A link was provided to the first article Ryan wrote regarding the Pan Am Games.I for one found great value in looking back, and here is my response to Ryan's original piece:

Think Long-Term, Urban

If planners and decision makers want to get the most out of the Pan Am Games, they need to keep two core principles in mind:

1.Think Long-Term

2.Think Urban

  1. Long Term - from this article, GO and transit in general, was a key objective for these games, to improve this access and jump-start long term goals such as GO service to the Niagara Region. If a GO stop is inserted at Gage Ave (GO at Gage), we accomplish this. I'll speak to this point more in a minute.

  2. Think Urban - I'll just quote the Wrigley text from above, with Ivor Wynne's location in mind:

Wrigley Field was built in 1914 on Chicago's north side, and is, along with Fenway Park in Boston, one of the two oldest remaining stadiums in MLB. ... [T]he stadium is nestled into a neighborhood that is densely populated with restaurants and bars, retail shops, and residential housing. Wrigley is famous for the apartments bordering the stadium from which the occupants can look down into the stadium and watch games as they are played. Many of these buildings, in fact, actually sell tickets to non-resident customers for rooftop viewing.

Wrigley predated the automotive culture and the exercise of monopoly muscle by professional sports leagues in the United States, and almost no large parking lots are within easy walking distance of the stadium as a consequence. Fans either arrive by mass transportation or park on neighborhood streets. Local residents also do a brisk business selling spots in garages down back alleys.

Sure, we need more restaurants and such around 75 Balsam, but Ivor Wynne today, boasts many of the same qualities the beloved Wrigley Field does. I have even seen a neighbor erect scafolding in his driveway, sitting atop the structure that was as high as his second floor window, with cooler beside him, enjoying a rare view of a sporting event.

Why could we not offer seating atop the new Prince of Whales or a refurbished/new Parkview Secondary?

I am going to take out some text from the above quote and change out a few words:

Ivor Wynne Stadium predated the automotive culture and the exercise of monopoly muscle by professional sports leagues in North America, and almost no large parking lots are within easy walking distance of the stadium as a consequence. Fans either arrive by mass transportation or park on neighborhood streets. Local residents and churches also do a brisk business selling front lawn spots or utilized their large parking lots to raise money for their charities.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:14:39

Touching on the GO portion of Graham's article:

http://raisethehammer.org/comment/57010

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-19 12:25:25

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:16:27

I think Lawrence won IWS because his comments are so long, everyone else just gave up. Just kidding buddy! I admire your dedication and passion and respect your arguments even when I don't totally agree with them.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:20:47

Thanks nobrainer. I may be a little long-winded I'll admit. ;)

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:22:49

I will add that BobInnes's response is the best one of all. Right up there with delegator Valerie's. However, if we are and have always planned to, spend that $45M on the games and a new stadium, then we have to revert back to is Ivor Wynne an acceptible location?

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By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:56:53

lawrence, that fancy "Permalink" button at the bottom of your posts is a wonderful bit of technology! Save us a bit of monitor space eh? =)

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 12:26:41

For sure, Transitstudent. I was able to do as such with my last long comment, but too late for the first one. I'll keep that in mind.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 23, 2011 at 15:45:29

Good point Lawerance, the $45 million is designated for the games and a full size stadium. Not some unwanted development that would be placed at WH because a couple of tree huggers will get a kick at looking at the polluted bay.

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