I want to take this last opportunity to remind Council of the many reasons we have chosen the West Harbour as our stadium site. It's about changing the course of development in our city and laying the groundwork for a future economy that is robust, vibrant and desirable for people to come and be a part of.
As Councillors Pearson and Pasuta so eloquently put it during the last council meeting, an unhealthy heart makes for an unhealthy body. The whole city suffers when our heart suffers. Hamiltonians are tired of hearing talk and grand ideas for renewing our downtown area. The time for action is now!
I believe that the majority of Hamiltonians support Council's desire to make a great investment in our city that will help turn the tide here in the 21st Century.
At the risk of overgeneralizing or marginalizing anyone, I would like to point out the consistent demographic differences that continue to show up in stadium polls or surveys. Simply put, younger people want the West Harbour. That isn't to discredit the fine community of older folks in Hamilton, but Hamilton needs to start attracting and retaining the talented young people who will take our economy into the future. Go hang out on James North or Locke Street for an example of this community that is slowly growing in Hamilton.
Also, many East Mountain supporters are big Ticat fans who have been scared by Bob Young's tactics and threats to leave. There is still no business report has been publicly released by the Cats explaining their opposition to the West Harbour.
On the contrary, West Harbour supporters continue to write letters, blogs and emails filled with studies, numbers, reports and factual evidence supporting the Harbour site.
Even folks in Buffalo are weighing in on this discussion and warning us to learn from their mistakes.
I heard Councillor Ferguson on the radio yesterday and once again I applaud his level-headed comments and discussion on the issue. He referred to a conversation at the recent Economic Summit between him and Bob Young in which they both agreed that failure is not an option. If Young really believes that, he'll provide something, anything, to make his case. Council shouldn't be the only party to bend and cave and give in to demands.
Mark Cohon and the CFL should be ashamed of their attempts to meddle with Hamilton's decision making. Cohon's letter to Mayor Fred was an absolute embarrassment. In 2008 Montreal held the Grey Cup at Olympic Stadium in the middle of a residential neighbourhood without a highway or parking lot nearby and it was the second highest attended game ever in the CFL.
Montreal always hosts their playoff games at Olympic Stadium because they are too popular and tickets can't be found for their 25,000 seat downtown stadium (without either a parking lot or highway nearby).
I've said before and I'll say it again, I love the Cats, but I love Hamilton more.
I realize no one wants to be the council that loses the Cats, and I realize that there has been some serious politicking going on behind the scenes with wannabee mayoral candidates and higher levels of government, but I urge Council to stand firm and continue to do the right thing for Hamilton.
Closing down our Waterpark or paving over the jobs of our future at McMaster Innovation Park is not the answer.
And once again I'll remind you: the Cats have yet to provide their business case discrediting the West Harbour.
Buffalo sits in envy at Pittsburgh and Detroit who have moved all professional stadiums and teams to their downtowns. Hamilton has no excuse to repeat simple mistakes that have been made and are now being fixed in similar cities all around us.
This is a defining moment in revitalizing our city and focusing our attention on building a community that everyone can be proud of - from Ancaster to Stoney Creek.
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