East Mountain Leaves No Funds for Downtown Revitalization

By Ryan McGreal
Published July 14, 2010

If Council confirms the East Mountain site for the Pan Am Stadium, where will the money for remediating the West Harbour come from?

Facilitator Michael Fenn suggested in his report on the mediation process between the City and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats that the City might be able to reduce its financial commitment to an East Mountain location and divert some of the money to the West Harbour.

However, Bob Young has stated that the Ticats' financial proposal for the East Mountain - entailing $15 million directly invested into the "stadium precinct" plus $30 million for 10 years of stadium management - depends on the city committing the $60 million Future Fund, leaving nothing for the West Harbour.

Further, today's Spectator reports that another $8 million in public money will be required for street upgrades to prepare the East Mountain for a stadium - not to mention the additional strain on an already-overburdened storm water management system for the Red Hill Valley Parkway.

The mandate of the Future Fund is threefold:

  1. Grow Hamilton's economic base;
  2. Enhance Hamilton's social fabric;
  3. Enhance community life.

Needless to say, an East Mountain stadium accomplishes none of these goals. Further, the community panel that was convened to decide how to invest the Future Fund identified investment in downtown Hamilton to be a high priority.

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 wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By DanJelly (registered) | Posted July 14, 2010 at 13:50:08

Excellent points. Another point was also made by Brad Clark at a recent council meeting: The Stoney Creek land slated for the stadium also has a hydro corridor running right through it, and he also suggested that there might be sub-surface natural gas pipelines to deal with.

Mr. Clark also pointed out that the province typically only donates land for non-revenue-generating efforts (conservation, etc). Still also not addressed is the issue of all the extra parking that the TiCats have demanded. These costs will have to come from somewhere as well.

So: $15 million in added contribution from the Ticats for 'stadium and precinct' Minus: $8 million in road upgrades Minus: $4 million for on-off ramps Minus: The land aquisition,and the adjustment of gas and hydro Minus: The cost of leveling and paving acres and acres of greenfield Minus: The environmental assessments that will be needed on the new site

That $15 million is all but evaporated and we're actually further behind than we were with the West Harbour site and none of the Ticats' money.

Why are we doing this again?

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By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted July 14, 2010 at 18:30:00

I would personally like to thank Mr Clark for his bold courageous statement in the Spec article: "It is doable? Yes. Will it be a challenge? Most definitely," Clark said." Oh wait, he was talking about expanding roads on the East Mountain, not the challenges around the West Harbour.

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