Comment 69032

By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 04, 2011 at 08:52:12

At the Special GIC meeting on Aug 29/11, Mayor Bratina talked about selling the west harbour lands for $10 Million, paying it into the Future Fund and then taking it back out to apply to the velodrome. About an hour later, he said it would cost to $3 Million to $37 Million to remediate the west harbour lands therefore the west harbour lands were an unworthy location for the stadium and velodrome. Based on his figures, Hamilton would take a $20 Million to $30 Million hit by taking that course of action.

Councillor Clark’s helpful post on RTH the other day noted that the high end of Mayor Bratina’s estimate of $37 Million is to do the excavation and removal method of mediation for residential uses and that the low end of the estimate of $3 Million to $5 Million is for the capping method of remediation which would allow the use of west harbour lands for the velodrome (and the stadium, for that matter).

Let’s say the city decides to do the capping method of remediation and build the stadium and velodrome at the west harbour within the next four years creating one of Canada‘s more impressive public spaces stretching from Bayfront Park through Pan Am Park through Central Park to its southern entrance at Cannon and Caroline Streets (which, incidentally, would be directly visible and walkable from the new $150 million Vrancor condo and hotel developments at Main and Caroline and is one block from Copps Coliseum and the Farmer’s Market). Hamilton would continue to own the west harbour land as long as the stadium and veledrome are there, perhaps 50 years or more. Land always increases in value over time. By then, the city could either preserve the public space by renovating the old stadium and/or velodrome, or building a new stadium and/or velodrome, or it could sell the land at a premium price instead of virtually giving it away now. Meanwhile, that impressive public west harbour space could eventually become a draw for new residential developments in the downtown area.

The Ivor Wynne Stadium site has a deep history and many great memories attached to it. But there is an absence of common sense in commissioning a world-class architectural and construction team to build a $152.5 Million stadium on a site that has houses 50 feet away from it on three of its four sides.

Hamilton often has the habit of selling itself short. It seems to be on the precipice of doing so once more. The Pan Am opportunity gives Hamilton a once in a lifetime chance for a team of world-class architects and builders to transform the west harbour area into the one of the great urban public spaces in Canada. Let’s allow them to do it.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-09-04 09:50:08

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