Sports

Burlington Staff Report on Aldershot Stadium

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 19, 2011

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While the report acknowledges that the Ticats and Paletta have "effectively withdrawn the proposal", it nevertheless spells out the risks that would accompany it.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.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 07:03:11

Thanks Ryan for this piece. This isn't surprising though how the world of business and business and pro sports works with cities. How about the scenario of the Baltimore Colts packing up in an 18 wheeler one night with all the equipment and heading to Indianapolis. And that actually happened!

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-19 07:03:47

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 07:58:43

Thanks for the update, Ryan.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 08:42:39

I love how now Hostco and Burlington don't believe the Cats numbers. Maybe Moncton will. I dare the Cats to go give it a shot after council ratifies the WH. Hopefully we don't prove to be the only suckers willing to broker a lousy deal for these guys in the Golden Horseshoe.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 08:54:35

HamiltonFan, check out the story on Ivor Wynne on SIWS site. At the very end there is a link to some clippings from the Ivor Wynne Stadium scrapbook. There is one article from the Ballard days that is very similiar to your Colts story above. He brought in a moving van too and emptied the Cats locker room. Then the city came by and put new locks on the gates, and later Ballard requested access to empty the freezers and donated all the food to the Good Sheppard I believe it was. Charitable guy. :)

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 08:56:48

My question is if it costs the City of Hamilton $1.7M yearly to maintain IW, how would a new Aldershot stadium cots $5M per annum to maintain? Do we only pay $1.7M of the X no. Of dollars it costs to maintain IW?

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By JM (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 08:58:09

i love the comparisons with NFL teams..... when will people realize the CFL cannot compare in any way whatsoever!?!?! sure the cats could try to pack an 18-wheeler and leave overnight...... but where would they unload the next morning?! sure people say moncton, but can they really make more money and live "the good life" like they have it here? never gonna happen...........

JM

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By jim (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 08:58:28

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By Lucid (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:02:36

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:03:52

@Jim,

This article will be of interest for you. It's the first article that was published on RTH about the stadium, in Nov 2009. It clearly states how these projects are money losers, so that makes it imperative to reap the biggest bang for our investment buck in long-term infrastructure and city-building legacies. It was written by Ryan and has been his (and most of ours) position from Day 1.

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/973/ok_gta:_we_won_the_games_now_don't_screw_up_the_legacy

Screwing up the legacy, as we appear poised to do, really makes this a rather fruitless, expensive and long-term poor decision.

EDIT: sorry, not sure why the link won't show up active. If someone else's account is working properly please feel free to re-paste the link for us. Thx

Comment edited by jason on 2011-01-19 09:05:35

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:09:08

Why didn't you make that observation when Hamilton staff gerrymandered the East Mountain report with all kinds of costs designed to make that site seem unaffordable;

You mean the way Burlington just mentioned that all the highway and infrastructure costs must be factored into this decision in Aldershot, even though the long term plan is to develop that land someday? Sorry, but I never bought that argument from Carmens Banquet Centre. If I have a 10 year plan to renovate my home that works with my budget and a home renovation company comes along and says "just do it all now! You're going to be doing it eventually anyhow, so it's all the same". No it's not. Furthermore, let's all please remember one hugely important fact about EM - it was the Cats, not the city, who pulled out of that location. The reason: insanely high costs on their end. Even when a few councillors floated the EM site a couple of months later, I heard Mitchell on CHML re-iterate that the site doesn't work for the Cats.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:19:48

Thanks for this, Ryan. I appreciate you expressing things as you have.

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.

It should go without saying, but unfortunately doesn't, that the same framing can be applied to almost every element of how all 'this' has been handled by everyone. By City Council, by the Ti-Cats, by The Spec, by CHML...and yes, by RTH.

Often what irks us, what triggers us in others is simply a subconscious acknowledgement about this same attribute or quality in ourselves. When all is said and done, it would behoove RTH (and its faithful) to honestly review its behaviour, its tack throughout this quite-frustrating interlude. Because many of the criticisms of the aforementioned entities can be applied to the goings-on here.

'Fomenting ain't constructive engagement...no matter how much you wanna believe that it is.'

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By Lucid (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:21:05

@Jason: No I mean that the same treatment was not given the WH site. Costs were purposely eliminated from that site, especially the cost of bus transportation to the stadium, LRT or otherwise. Not to mention the shortfall in building at WH.

And you are doing it again. The EM is a straw man. The issue is transparency and honesty in writing reports and doing analysis.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:23:21

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:30:32

Why haven't you just told it like it from day 1, Ryan: that you don't agree with a stadium at all?

Because it's not true. Staff went through a long process that included all the stakeholders - including the Ticats, who were partners in the Pan Am Games bid - and determined that the West Harbour presented the best opportunity to leverage the stadium for city building.

The process may not have been perfect (no process is) but it was sound; and our desperate, last-minute scramble over the past several months to find an alternate site has clearly demonstrated that the alternate sites were dropped from consideration for good reason.

The reason we threw so many thousands of staff-hours at the issue is simply that Council panicked when the Ticats started playing hardball and threatening to leave. It was purely an emotional decision, fueled by abject terror at the prospect of being "the council that lost the Cats".

The evidence overwhelmingly tells us that the Ticats' threats were hollow. They were simply bargaining hard for a better stadium deal that saddles more of the cost with the City and directs more revenue opportunities to them. There's nothing wrong with that: any business will try to maximize its benefits and minimize its costs in any contract negotiation.

The problem is that Council forgot whose interests they were supposed to be promoting. Instead of doing the same as the Ticats and bargaining for a contract that maximized the city's benefits and minimized its costs - like the Burlington staff report recommends - Hamilton Council instead made it clear that they were willing to sacrifice the City's objectives to keep the Ticats happy.

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By Lucid (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:42:05

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:42:52

Thanks Ryan for report, forwarded report to the Mayor and Councillors noting the RISKS!

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By Lucid (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:45:49

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:50:53

The city was building a football stadium for a professional football team and (some other uses, granted) but for the Ticats primarily. Does it then not make sense to drop the 'us vs. them' rhetoric...at least at this late stage?

No... actually, they weren't and still aren't.

We are building a stadium for the Pan-Am games with the Tiger Cats as a tenant. People that think like you who believe that we are building a stadium for the Tiger Cats, with the Pan-Am games on the side are why we have wasted the past 8 months and are about to walk into a horrible deal.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 09:56:25

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By Lucid (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 10:04:09

MattM said, "We are building a stadium for the Pan-Am games with the Tiger Cats as a tenant."

If you think we are spending $125M (at least) on a two week event, you are being very naive. The PanAm event, which is Toronto's games, was given to Hamilton so Hamilton could contribute to the cost AND so that the old IWS could be replaced or upgraded. Period. And who plays at IWS? The Ticats of course. Check and Mate.

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

JM, I wasn't comparing at all, just showing that in the world of pro sports business anything can happen. Even if the Cats have no where to go, there could be a scenario that BY could fold the team overnight say as wacky as that might seem which still isn't as wacky as an NFL team getting peeved off because a city wouldn't build a stadium and packing everything up in the night and heading out of town. All I'm saying is, as others have mentioned, is nothing would surprise me with the current situation here in Hamilton or any situation with any team in the world in any league. Remember, the Calgary Flames played out of a 7000 seater for a few years, the Coral, before the Saddledome was built. So BY moving to a 10000 makeshift stadium in Moncton for a few years again isn't something totally far fetched if he had a deal in place there for an upgraded stadium that would be of CFL calibre.

lawrence, good read about the old Ballard days, what a character.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-19 10:09:15

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 10:19:06

The PanAm event, which is Toronto's games, was given to Hamilton so Hamilton could contribute to the cost AND so that the old IWS could be replaced or upgraded. Period. And who plays at IWS? The Ticats of course.

According to Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop:

It's important for us to keep a balance. The predominant reason why the Federal and Provincial governments are investing in the Pan Am Games is to provide infrastructure to support high performance sport.

The stadium debate has to be balanced. It's not about providing a stadium for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. If that's part of a solution, terrific, but that's not our mandate.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 10:36:38

@Jason, thank you for posting that link to take us to the beginning of it all. 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.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-19 10:41:59

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:15:19

Touching on the GO portion of Ryan's original article:

The talk for some time has been a GO station on James Street North at Liuna Station. I am not sure if that would replace the Hunter Street terminal (I hope not), or if it would just enable more trains to go into Hamilton and open an opportunity for a Niagara bound GO train. Currently, the last morning train leaves around 7:30 and in the evening, only every other train goes all the way into Hamilton, with GO buses located at Burlington (Fairview) GO), to shuttle people into Hamilton, Niagara, etc.

When Ivor Wynne Stadium was put back on the table last week, people talked of a GO stop at Gage. They made reference to other such stops in Ontario that this location would resemble but either way, how beneficial would a GO stop there be?

As I have stated before on this site, it would be huge for me. It would greatly reduce my current 1 ½ hour travel time from the Center on Barton to the Appleby GO. I could hop on at Gage and be at Appleby in 15 minutes probably. Add approximately 15 minutes to walk/bike over and I just saved myself an hour. Not to mention avoiding a very crowded morning/evening Barton bus ride.

How much land is available around Gage Avenue and the CN ROW? I already demonstrated with this map, how many bus routes pass by Ivor Wynne and now you add GO service. Is Gage more accessible as a main station than Liuna even? Just posing the question. Obviously Liuna is a nice location and it’s easily accessible to downtown, but so is the Hunter station. I would think only one station would be required for dropping passengers off downtown (every other train as it is now), and a second stop further down at Gage perhaps (every other train going to this station), that continues on to Niagara.

Is there more parking available at Gage, than there ever would be at Liuna, considering the lots at Aldershot, Burlington GO on Fairview, and Appleby are all jam packed? Hamilton has long been the weakest link in the Hamilton to Toronto GO/Lakeshore line. I haven’t been to the Oakville terminal in awhile but I remember it always being very busy as well.

Does Liuna then become the ‘stop along the way’, and Gage the main Toronto/Niagara terminal? I am not trying to take something away from downtown here, it just made me wonder.

Not to knock my own neighborhood, but the area around the tracks is certainly not the least bit as attractive as Liuna or even Aldershot which is the nicest location on the route that I travel, but how does a new terminal surrounded by tones of parking and some newly planted trees and greenery change that dynamic?

Appleby (my stop), is fairly new residential on one side of the tracks, and industrial (mind you a well kept industrial), on the other. Poor bus service in my eyes exists on the north side, and the smell of dead pig and an asphalt plant not far off, make it one of the smelliest stops along the way. But that lot is jam-packed every day, and GO recently purchased and paved over, a very large piece of adjacent land to be able to offer even more parking.

If Aldershot, Fairview, and Appleby are any indicators, there must be substantial space surrounding a proposed GO station to allow for parking growth. Does it exist at Liuna? Does it exist at Gage?

When we were presented with a 6,000 car parking lot in the EM plans, we wondered what would happen with all those spots the other 354 days of the year? If Bob Young is talking about satellite parking lots, if they are at or adjacent to the GO station, we now have a 365 day a year use for all that surface parking. Cat’s games are on the weekend or a Thursday night, so for the most part those lots would be open for large events like Cats games, soccer games, or even Festival of Friends parking/shuttles. A portion of one of these lots would simply have to be reserved for weekend GO passengers.

But of course, the Cat’s wants to own and get revenue from these satellite spots. My answer, no. They should be GO lots which are free for its ‘customers’ like every other lot, and use of these lots would be a complimentary service in a deal worked out between the Cats/City and GO. If the Cats were to charge parking for their events or the stadium management committee was to charge for parking, it should be a minimal fee with ALL proceeds going to wages for the persons who run the lots during events, and for upkeep of those lots which would offset some GO overhead. But not for money to go into anybodies wallets.

That of course would be between the parties involved, but that is just my take on how I would see this all working. Brian Timmis will give the Cats 1,000+ extra spots and its associated revenue, plus what they make at Scott Park FIELD. FIELD

More parking in the area alone (even free parking) would seem to be a benefit, making it easier for their fans to get to the stadium, in itself creating more revenue.

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By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:44:16

http://www.gotransit.com/public/en/impro...

Under "Environmental Assessments" at the bottom of the page, "Niagara Peninsula rail service expansion"

All of the details on current expansion plans of GO Train service to the Niagara region, including plans for the James North and Centennial Parkway stops. This service would not replace the services to Hunter St, but would supplement them. Also, significant study has gone into station location selection.

A station at Gage has not been presented as an alternative at any stage of the study. If Ivor Wynne goes ahead, there could be sufficient cause to include one, especially in support of the Pan Am games and connectivity. The opportunity for transit oriented development around a Gage station would be a big plus for the neighbourhood as well. I would suggest submitting your comments to the planning team as listed on the website above, but after the stadium decision has been finalized.

Comment edited by transitstudent on 2011-01-19 11:45:01

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:46:53

Thanks for that @transitstudent. I will definately do that.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 13:07:38

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 13:34:13

My gut feeling is should the Hamilton stadium not pan out, the Cats won't be on the phone to Burlington and say let's make it work. Rather the Cats will wait by and see who does contact them, including Burlington, for consultation unless there is some other agenda at work where the team really wants to go out east or even fold, that I don't know.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 16:04:46

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By pokerstar (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 16:46:15

BY is out of options plain and simple. The Ticats will go where there is a stadium for them to play. I'm amazed that they have had this much leverage in the process thus far. It's like a game of poker where everyone assumed the Ticats had a winning hand only to find out that they were bluffing. My issue is that we are STILL considering handing over the whole pot because we feel bad for them! Where is our backbone to at least get this settled on the public's terms which would still give the Ticats a home?

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 19:00:32

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-19 19:00:57

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By PeterF (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 19:40:07

@pokerstar, You got that right. Eisenberger had it right all along too bad Bratina blinked when he did not need to. They really never had leverage except for a few of our councilors buckling when they did. Any leverage perceived or real was lost with this IWS decision.

Hammy, as for Bratina being a game changer, sure was! What a shrewd set of negiotiations he carried out. The real fun is 4 more years of this.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 21:14:51

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 22:10:34

Peggy? Is that you?

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 07:55:01

It's interesting that all these anti-WH posters seem to consider us a tiny but vocal minority, yet that fails to explain the fact that WH passed seven council votes.

They also forget that BY plainly stated that they would never play at Ivor Wynne beyond the current lease. Yet here we are...

The bottom line is that the stadium has to benefit the city primarily given the fact that there are so many tax dollars going into it. If Bob wants more say, Bob needs to put up more coin. Why is that hard to understand?

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 09:02:42

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-20 09:04:33

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 10:13:20

And councilors, who, I believe, were voted in by the citizens at large, not just RTH, have supported WH seven times.

It does matter what was said last year because we were told that there was no chance that BY would leave the 'Cats at Ivor Wynne. We were also told that they would never play at WH.

Now BY is willing to talk about Ivor Wynne. Are you seriously telling me that if the only option for him was to play at WH or fold the team he'd fold the team? I, for one, don't believe it for a second.

He made a play at the last minute to maximize his revenue from the deal but it hasn't worked. If you could kindly explain to me why taxpayer money should be funneled to maximizing Bob Young's profit I'd love to hear it.

My stance has always been that if taxpayer money is involved, it should benefit the most people it can. Cleaning up a brownfield and encouraging development in an area that badly needs it is a perfect use of that money. Putting a stadium somewhere that Bob can own everything around it isn't.

Seems pretty cut and dry to me.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 11:39:46

It's not cut and dry to me in the least. You must remember that the game of negotiations change in the business and public world. Some people don't seem to understand that. If you don't want to funnel money to allow the TigerCats to make a profit, remember football is only 10 home games a year, then you must accept and I'm sure you do Brandon and most likely aren't concerned at all, that the TigerCats will leave this city.

Again, as I've pointed out, Paul Shaker's 2003 article indicates nicely the gem WH is. Something will happen with that site and I believe that it could be used for an arena and entertainment, light retail area if the NHL ever comes to town in the future. Copps may be too old to renovate at that point.

We have lived with the Rheem site and brownfiled this long, why rush into something unless the primary tenant says they wish to lease from that site? Bob Young will not lease from Katz or any second party IMHO so if you or others are going to try and "force" him to play out of WH, you better see to it that he is able to lease from the city with a larger development for some revenue generation. And why would you do this for "just" a close-to billiionaire as some suggest, why not wait it out for the really big boys, the ultra-billionaires, who want to bring an NHL team here?

The area of IWS is city building according to the FF mandate I would think. If it isn't then I'm missing something.

In the end if council sees that the best use of taxpayers money isn't spending on IWS2, I can accept that. It is their decision. But again, this is not a black and white issue(s) as far as I'm concerned.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-20 11:42:31

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 11:52:39

Bob Young will not lease from Katz or any second party IMHO so if you or others are going to try and "force" him to play out of WH, you better see to it that he is able to lease from the city with a larger development for some revenue generation.

Revisionist history much? The city was willing to jump through all kinds of hoops to make WH work for the cats, but the cats just stamped their feet and screamed no. It was the cats who refused to look at alternative revenue-generating options at WH. No one was 'forcing' them to play at WH without doing everything possible to make the site work for them, but they flat out refused to even discuss it. Just like they flat out stated that they couldn't make money at IW and would be gone after 2012.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 11:56:29

All the hoops except that that Cats would have to lease from a 2nd party and not be involved themselves in the development aspect with their developers? Was he truly allowed to find developers for WH and were there developers willing to jump on board with him as the controller or as a main controller?

Again, the gamesmanship of negotiations.

WH will not get BY unless they give him the key. And why would you when there are ultra-billionaires in the wings like Katz?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 12:32:42

All the hoops except that that Cats would have to lease from a 2nd party...

And we know this how? Any discussions with Katz at the time were strictly preliminary. We'll never know what the deal might have been because the cats refused to talk.

...and not be involved themselves in the development aspect with their developers? Was he truly allowed to find developers for WH and were there developers willing to jump on board with him as the controller or as a main controller?

And what 'developers' are we talking about at IW, exactly? Apart from a brief mention of some nearby industrial lands and Scott Park, there has been little or no talk of a 'precinct' being part of the IW deal. Whither Osmington?

Again, the gamesmanship of negotiations.

Except there were no negotiations because of the cats' intransigence, so we'll never know, will we? That is, unless council votes for WH and BY's deep and abiding passion for this city draws him back to the table.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 12:57:53

"That is, unless council votes for WH and BY's deep and abiding passion for this city draws him back to the table."

Well, they can test his "passion" out if they want. That is their choice. One never knows in the gamesmanship of negotiations. Not all negotiations end up as planned. But I believe the TigerCats that they will not play at WH as they have said because they know the city won't give them the control there they want. So it's not all about passion of course. Money talks, control and power talks.

What would the city look like if they gave BY the key to WH and HECFI etc. such that Katz or Balsillie or whomever would have to lease from BY? Some of you don't like Brattina now. If that happened, you'd light him up pretty quick I think.

I think Hamilton should take the IWS2 compromise and if cleaning up WH ASAP is such a deal for some and get it capped or that, then from what I've read cleaning up the Rheem site isn't as much as originally planned. Put a soccer field on it or whatever, something really easy to get rid of if a Katz type wants to develop the land with an arena, entertainment district. As I've said, I'm willing to pay up to a $5 surcharge on my Cats seasons for help replenish the FF, I want to see the site cleaned up as well eventually.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-20 13:03:04

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 13:13:07

You believed the 'Cats when they said they'd never play at IWS too.

What is cut and dry isn't the negotiating process, it's the fact that I don't want to see tax dollars going to fund Bob Young's bank account.

What isn't cut and dry is what the specific issues the 'Cats have with WH are. They've come out with a few items, but each of those items was worse in the locations that they chose as alternatives. I'm sure that the city would be willing to work with the 'Cats to try and make it more palatable if Bob would negotiate honestly instead of last minute gamesmanship.

Regardless of what everyone's personal feeling of the WH location, no one has been able to say why it has passed 7 council votes with the 'Cats being involved from the beginning if it is such a bad site. I agree that Bob would make more money if he could build Bob's World around it, but that shouldn't be the primary concern when significant tax dollars are involved. Sure, other cities have bent over double for their sports teams, but who gets left holding the bag when the team moves to a new arena? Somehow it's acceptable to privatize the profits and socialize the losses. Not in this world with the economy lurching around.

This is why we should build a scalable stadium and when Bob realizes his options aren't as open as he thought, he can come back.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 13:21:43

They can vote for WH a million times, it doesn't change the situation that now exists.

But I have to admit Brandon, part of me would like the city to once again, and this time it's final I believe if we can believe Troop, vote for WH and see what happens. I think I will be proved right and you won't see the Cats play there but it's just what I think. I could be wrong.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-20 13:22:09

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 13:26:38

They can vote for WH a million times, it doesn't change the situation that now exists.

Sorry, I'm starting to lose track. Are we talking about this week's situation, last week's situation, or the situation the week before that?

...and this time it's final I believe if we can believe Troop, vote for WH and see what happens. I think I will be proved right and you won't see the Cats play there but it's just what I think.

So wait, you mean it's come down to either believing Troop or believing the cats? Hmmm. Thinking, thinking...

Comment edited by highwater on 2011-01-20 13:28:58

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 13:56:46

Talking about believing in people. I wonder if the past Mayor went around telling people don't worry, we'll wrap the Tigercats at WH no problem? And some people probably believed him hook, line and sinker I'm sure, well, if he did try and make people believe that was going to be the case.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 14:56:11

I think the past mayor thought the 'Cats were on board until the last second based on what he's telling everyone. If the 'Cats truly had a problem with the WH location why didn't they tell them at the beginning that they wouldn't play there?

SEVEN VOTES!!!

It's not like Bob was blindsided with the choice.

And as far as trying to decide who to believe, since Troop is the one cutting the cheque and he's the one setting the terms, it's far better to believe him than someone who's interpreting the terms to their own benefit. Ahem, coughBobYoungcough.

Somehow Young got it in his head that it was the 'Cats or nothing, but Troop is telling us that we don't need the 'Cats, we just won't get the extra funding for the bigger stadium. No worries, we'll build something smaller that can be expanded and welcome Bob when he realizes that his options are limited.

Comment edited by Brandon on 2011-01-20 15:02:22

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 17:00:16

Brandon, the past mayor thought all sorts of things and also tried to communicate what he believed to be the truth to all sorts of people to make his world sound real to the believers out there. I must admit, he could be convincing at times with his make belief world.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 17:47:20

His make believe world included the fact that Bob Young would deal with him honestly. Poor guy.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 19:02:55

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-20 19:03:56

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By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 20:15:40

Hammy quit slagging "RTH", you look like a paranoid nut.

Oh wait...

http://www.raisethehammer.org/comment/57...

I hereby call for a moratorium on all discussion with commenters unless they present decently thought out arguments with evidence to back it up, all references to the RTH conspiracy machine, and mentions of downvoting in any context. The whole thing has jumped the shark, to use internet parlance.

Comment edited by transitstudent on 2011-01-20 20:16:37

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 20:51:13

Very surprising a "corporate welfare bum" as some have called BY and dishonest person as others suggest could be involved with something like this. Ah, I'm sure this must b a spin article put out by BY himself, again, as some will say:

"Lulu Helps Provide Education for Fallen NYPD, NYFD Children"

"RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Silver Shield Foundation, 501 (c) 3 public charity, has a lofty goal: Provide college tuition, tutoring, and counseling services to as many families and children of fallen police officers and firefighters from the New York tri-state area (NY, NJ & CT) as possible. And as college applications continue to rise – up 28% at some schools in 2010 according to USA Today – the organization, founded by late Yankees franchise owner George Steinbrenner, is opening fundraising opportunities to the general public for the first time. In search of a fundraising solution, Joe DeBono, a volunteer for the Silver Shield Foundation, and president of MBA Corps, turned to Lulu, the leader in open publishing. Working with the company, Silver Shield was able to create a full-color calendar of firehouse and K-9 unit dogs. The custom calendar left space for sponsoring companies' logos and buyers could even vote on which of their favorite dogs would appear in the calendar before it was published. In less than one week, over 25,000 people voted online. "It was amazing to see so many people honoring the memory of these police officers and firefighters by helping to further their children's education," said DeBono. "Lulu made the project possible through its print on demand capability – there was no capital outlay required to launch and they provided a collaborative, literally, one-stop shop, where we could tweak our calendar as much as we needed to, which just made sense. We are using Lulu for marketing distribution, order fulfillment and payment collection. Lulu truly is the best turn-key solution for non-profits that are cash poor and content rich." "Stories like this never get old," said Bob Young, Lulu's Founder and Chief Executive. "Lulu was started to help a new generation of authors and publishers profit by enabling them to bring their remarkable works to their customers more easily than ever before and I am constantly amazed to see how authors and organizations like Silver Shield use our services to better the world." ...

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/...

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-20 20:52:36

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 22:10:37

Did Bob donate Lulu's services? It sounds like Lulu was used exactly as it was intended which is a low-cost publishing service and Bob made money from it. How is that philanthropic? I too have a service that saves my clients thousands of dollars a year, does that make me philanthropic?

I have no idea what Bob is like as a person and I don't judge him as a person. All I can judge him by are his actions in this latest scenario.

If you could explain to me how he can say at one point that he'll play anywhere (a good friend of mine works with the reporter who interviewed him when that comment was made and there was no doubt that that's what he intended at the time) and then at the last possible second flat out refuse to go along with the plan as it has been laid out for ages I'd appreciate it.

I'm not saying that he kicks puppies or throws children out of their homes, I'm saying he saw an opportunity to channel a significant amount of taxpayer money into some significant revenue streams for himself. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that he was willing to invest $10 to $15 million building around the stadium, but not a penny in the stadium itself beyond some operating costs amortized over 10 years. This doesn't make him a bad person, but it does mean that he bargained in bad faith and tried to use the pressure of an election to turn things his way.

Now they're talking about IWS again, despite the fact that they swore up and down that they were done with the facility and wouldn't play there again once the lease was up.

Sigh.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 07:15:55

Things change in the word of negotiations Brandon and you and everyone else aren't privy to all the details at any one time. Have you ever changed your mind in life based on new information? Of course you did.

Fred Eisenberger bargained in bad faith from the beginning with a hidden agenda to never take WH off the table. I'm sure you wont' admit that.

Of course Lulu is a company with a profit in mind. Is that a crime? Did I use the word philanthropic? No. Drug companies make billions of dollars with their CEO's earning in the 10's of millions of dollars a year, even during a recession. But their drugs help save lives. It is called the way the world works.

Also football has 10 games a year, difficult to make a go of it on it's own.

Did BY use pressure? Probably, again it's called negotiations, my boss pressures me all the time, most bosses do. My wife does as well, my parents did as well... Fred used a bad faith under the table approach IMHO.

And good on you for your service saving money for your customers. Bravo sir!

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-21 07:17:10

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By PeterF (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 08:36:53

@HamiltonFan

What was the purpose of posting the story in the first place, philanthropic or not. You trying to say that Bob Young is a great guy etc. I do not doubt that he is a decent fellow but waht does this story have to do with anything, He provided a service to a not for profit company for free or a low fee and it worked out, kudos, so what. Funny how if Bob played hardball with the city that is called negiotiations, if the city tried to do what is thought was right as a city that is underhanded. The leverage should of always been with the city period. The cats grossly overplayed their hand and we pay for it the end. What a bloddy waste of time.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 08:56:05

Hey Peter, read this, some more waste of your time. Seems the Hamilton Community Foundation should be very thankful Bob Young's business venture in Red Hat panned out thanks in large part to his aunt that believed in him. And perhaps one day when Bob is old and retired, he will give directly to a Hamilton organization such as the HCF as his aunt did with the money Bob has earned over the years from his business ventures.

The city can choose what they want therefore they have the leverage IMHO. Negotiations are difficult sometimes Peter, that is the way the world works:

"Joyce Young of Ancaster, Bob's aunt, made a stunning donation of $40 million in Red Hat stock to the Hamilton Community Foundation in 2000. It was then the second-largest single gift by a Canadian. It immediately doubled the $2 million HCF was handing out to more than 200 local organizations. The remarkable act also had unforeseen consequences in inspiring Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation's successful and unprecedented $100-million Cornerstone of Care campaign. As then foundation president and CEO Mike Farrell said of Joyce Young's contribution: "A sea change started then in philanthropy in Hamilton."

http://www.foreverhenderson.ca/philanthr...

Also : http://www.hcf.on.ca/donors_stories_youn...

And kudos to Mark Cripps of the Stoney Creek News for writing this piece:

http://www.stoneycreeknews.com/opinions/...

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-21 09:33:42

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 09:33:08

BY tries to get the best stadium deal he can = good negotiator

City tries to get the best stadium deal it can = underhanded

BY opens side talks with Paletta = good negotiator

City opens side talks with AEG = underhanded

Got it.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 09:39:38

Hey nobrainer, all I'm saying is it's a 2 way street here and that is really my point by pointing out the positives of BY. Here on the RTH there are more negatives to BY I've noticed but in the end, you are correct. We are talking about negotiations. So I'm trying to keep it balanced but I'm perfectly fine if you want to call a spade a spade: both the city and BY have been good negotiators and both have been underhanded. I'm good to go with that since this is the case with the art of business deal negotiating the world over and is more than likely the truth right here in Hamilton.

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By PeterF (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 09:45:21

@HamiltonFan

First off, the waste of time I was refering to was the Stadium Debacle , not the article. My apologies if that is how it came across. All I am trying to say what BY and the Mayor and Councillors do as private citizens really has little to do with the stadium issue. I do not hate BY, I do not think city council is great but on this one issue, the stadium BY and/or his advisors etc should take most of the blame of where we are now with the Stadium. I will blame council in part for not sticking completely to thier guns. Some of them did waffle which allowed the circus to continue.

Comment edited by PeterF on 2011-01-21 09:47:46

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 09:48:45

Hey nobrainer, all I'm saying is it's a 2 way street here and that is really my point by pointing out the positives of BY.

No, you're just trying to make people feel emotionally toward BY by telling us what a lovely nice guy he is. He probably is a nice guy, but he has played extreme hardball with the city, saying whatever he needed to say (or Scott Mitchell said it for him) to get a stadium where he and his backers get to reap all the benefits and the city picks up the tab. Go back and look at your comments over the past year or so, every time BY said some new thing about where the stadium would go, you just parrotted his words and told RTH we were out of luck, it was going to go to that place - wherever that place happened to be from one moment to the next. Aren't you a tiny bit embarrassed about that? By didn't just play the taxpayers for fools, he played his supporters for fools too.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 09:51:19

You can choose to see what has happened through your own lens sir, that is your right. And I'm not embarrased in the least by what you write, not one iota. To be honest, I actually feel a tad sorry for you. Have a nice day - sir.

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By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 10:07:30

"By didn't just play the taxpayers for fools, he played his supporters for fools too."

So true! That's why there are so many long time Tigercat fans on RTH talking about how tired they are of BY's games (yes there are quite alot), they wish the Tigercats would of just stopped playing these games and look at the potential for West Harbour to be a huge success like sports experts are telling us. Bob might be a super nice guy but his "experts" are giving him very bad advice and we're all stuck paying the price.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 10:21:07

Not the case with me race. If BY doesn't get to deal directly with the city on a lease and development project for WH, I hope he never agrees to play at WH even if it means taking the team to another community or even folding the team. I'm not the only one that feels like this.

Bob deserves that right and if the city doesn't choose to give him that right, then Bob has done what he could in my books.

I am hoping IWS2 works out though, keeping my fingers crossed. This will beneficial for me as it means the Rheem site is saved from a stadium or arena type development which I don't want to see there. Would love to see an ampitheatre and more of an arts/music focus added to the area.

As well, for those that wish this, the area is "saved" for an arena and entertainment complex for those that want to see this in the future that would see more activity than a stadium ever would. At some point Copps might not be worth renovating for the NHL but Hamilton is on the radar with the likes of Balsillie and Katz types. So they can play out of Copps while the new arena/district is being developed at the Rheem site.

Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2011-01-21 10:36:59

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 10:33:31

My prediction is that if a stadium deal is struck for a new again IWS Tigercat season's ticket sales will go up not down as will single game ticket sales. My prediction is that the Tigercats win more customers than they lose. Nobody wants to lose customers but the reality is that you lose some to gain more its good business and a healthier Tigercat team benefits both the team and the city over what we have now

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 10:43:27

Hamilton Fan, I fail to understand you. First you trumpet BY's involvement in a firefighter's children educational calendar as some sort of proof that BY is incapable of doing anything wrong, then you say it's just the way the world works.

As far as Fred's supposed agenda for WH, that may have been the case, I don't know, but if it was then why did the rest of council vote it as the best location seven times? The mayor has one vote, that's it. If Fred was such a strong mayor then BY never would have been able to derail council at the last minute.

The only time that I've seen anything that Fred did that was questionable was not tell the council that there was potential help from the province to make EM work, but since that potential was very ephemeral to begin with and disappeared the next day anyway, it would have made no difference.

Bob, however, pulled a last minute hissy fit that is still threatening to derail the whole process.

It wouldn't surprise me to discover that you were employed by BY based on the incredible bias that you're showing. Katz does the exact same thing in Edmonton and it's a bad thing, Bob, however, is a negotiating genius.

You aren't seeing through a lens, you're seeing through a kaleidoscope!

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 10:48:55

Hey Brandon ever consider that a person can be considered somewhere between God and Satan?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 11:02:41

Hey Allan Taylor/turbo/toldyouso/say what, ever consider reading someone's post before you reply?

Brandon wrote:

I'm not saying that he kicks puppies or throws children out of their homes, I'm saying he saw an opportunity to channel a significant amount of taxpayer money into some significant revenue streams for himself...This doesn't make him a bad person, but it does mean that he bargained in bad faith and tried to use the pressure of an election to turn things his way.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 11:05:39

I am actually sweetening to the idea HamiltonFan suggested of an entertainment/theatre precinct at the West Harbor, but even given that I am still highly cautious of the Ivor Wynne thing given BY's usual absentee numbers and "just trust me" statements. The more I think about it, the less I see a 22,000 seat stadium as a good fit for the harbour. I vision something more like Toronto's Molson amphitheatre, with a shopping district. Not sure about an arena, as I feel those should always be built right in the core with connected infrastructure. Although Copps is rather dated, you couldn't possibly find a better location than where it is now with it's connections to Jackson Square/Sheraton/Farmers Market/Library/City Centre/AGH/Convention Centre/etc. Very much like what is now happening with the ACC in Toronto and how Maple Leaf Square and Longo's are going up, directly connected to it. Arena's just don't work in isolation. They have to be snug with other destinations in the core.

tl;dr: West Harbor stadium not too good, Ivor Wynne deal worse. Lets see some numbers.

Comment edited by MattM on 2011-01-21 11:07:18

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 11:12:40

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 11:56:29

"It wouldn't surprise me to discover that you were employed by BY"

Brandon, in my dreams, in my dreams.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 12:58:18

@Hamilton Fan,

Send him copies of what you've posted here, he'll hire you as a PR flak in no time.

@Say what,

My post suggested that Bob Young was trying to spin the whole Pan Am games deal to be a Ti-Cat stadium issue. Troop clarified that by saying that the deal was not dependent on the 'Cats, but extra funding for a larger stadium was available if they were on board.

Hamilton Fan posted something about a charity using Lulu to print their calendars as proof that Bob couldn't possibly be the sort of person that negotiated in bad faith. I strongly disagree with that statement. I've never suggested he was a bad person, I only suggested that he made a last minute play to hijack taxpayer money to generate money for himself over a larger group of taxpayers. Does that make him evil? No, but it kind of precludes him from sainthood.

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By DBC (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 14:31:42

@HF "I am hoping IWS2 works out though, keeping my fingers crossed. This will beneficial for me as it means the Rheem site is saved from a stadium or arena type development which I don't want to see there. Would love to see an ampitheatre and more of an arts/music focus added to the area."

Stop talking as if this land is in the middle of a quiet greenspace. It would sure be nice to be at an arts/music event with locomotives shunting trains right across the street wouldn't it?

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By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 22:11:42

My prediction is that

No one gives a rat about your predictions Allan, lets stick to the facts please.

At some point Copps might not be worth renovating for the NHL but Hamilton is on the radar with the likes of Balsillie and Katz types. So they can play out of Copps while the new arena/district is being developed at the Rheem site.

This is a truly comical carrot being dangled by Bob's Army right now. Very creative but give it a rest. Stick to the facts please.

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 22:25:26

My guess is that very few Hamiltonians give a rat about your views either but you are still free to share them.

Part 2 is that Katz is a fraud and is only using Hamilton as leverage to get a better deal in Edmonton just the same as the dozen or so previous promises of an NHL club before a truly interested Balsille came along. I don't hear anyone but Hamilton fan saying that Katz and the NHL will or even could happen from Ticat fans. Thats strictly the domain of the WH scalable 6000 seater crowd

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