It's refreshing to read the City of Burlington's report [PDF] on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats / Paletta International bid to build a Pan Am stadium in Aldershot.
While the report acknowledges that the Ticats and Paletta have "effectively withdrawn the proposal", it nevertheless spells out the risks that would accompany it.
The annual operation costs "could exceed $5 million" and the Ticats might be "unable to deliver on the zero operation cost promise", with the result that "the city could face a multi-million dollar exposure."
The City may have to absorb capital cost overruns. The report notes that Toronto 2015 "is of the view that the quoted capital budget for the project is not sufficient" to cover the actual cost of construction.
Finally, assuming another large asset could undermine the City's capital asset renewal program, which is already underfunded for the next ten years.
The report further noted that the proposal would require the City to amend the Official Plan and zoning by-law for the Aldershot site, which are subject to Ontario Municipal Board appeals, as well as an Environmental Assessment.
The report concluded that if Hamilton is not interested in partnering with Burlington on the project, "staff's advice is not to undertake any further work on this project.
Based on the foregoing, it is the staff's opinion that the City of Burlington not pursue any scenario where the City is the sole owner of the facility.
The report closes by noting that the Aldershot stadium project would consume significant staff resources. "If this project was to move forward, the amount of staff directions that could be handled, as well as ongoing projects that are currently underway, would be impacted."
This is what a financial impact report looks like when it is not coloured by emotion. Contrast this cool analysis with the City of Hamilton's obvious desperation to find some deal - any deal - that accommodates the Ticats.
Consider the opportunity cost of Hamilton City staff person-hours dedicated to the stadium project, right up to the City Manager - time that could not be spent on other pressing matters.
Finally, consider that after using Burlington as a bargaining wedge, the Ticats ended up accepting - indeed, rhetorically embracing - a site they had previously insisted could not work for them. All of the posturing, the threats, the "pro sports extortion" has led us on a wild, expensive, acrimonious tail-chasing fiasco that has landed right where it began.
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