By Ryan McGreal
Published August 09, 2013
An article this week on CBC Hamilton featured an interview with Glenn Gibson, the new president of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. One line in particular really jumped out at me:
Why couldn't Hamilton be the soccer capital of Canada? Why couldn't Hamilton take out a whole layer of buildings on Barton Street and build ten soccer pitches that integrate with the big stadium? Why couldn't we do something like that?
The standard pitch measurement for a soccer field is 105 by 68 metres, for an area of 7,140 square metres or 1.76 acres. Add in room for teams and spectators to congregate around the field, and you're looking at a well over 2 acres per field. Ten soccer pitches along Barton Street would consume more than 20 acres of land.
To get an idea of how much area that covers, here's a map of the stadium with a little over 20 acres along Barton shaded in blue:
To make room for Gibson's vision of ten soccer pitches on Barton, we would have to demolish approximately 200 buildings. Say what you want about the current economic and social state of the neighbourhood, but these are people's homes and businesses.
Demolishing that much property would be utterly devastating to the community: dispersing its residents, destroying its social cohesion and discarding all the embedded energy and value in those buildings.
How on earth is it, in 2013, that there is still anyone in a position of power in this city who believes mass demolition is somehow a good thing? Have the past 70 years of rampant stupidity in urban planning taught us absolutely nothing?
I would just dismiss this as casual musing ... except that the Ticats have a real knack for getting Council, the Province and taxpayers to accept and bankroll their business plans.
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