Demographics, demographics, demographics

After listening to this debate for months on CHML, the Spec, CHCH and the forums, every once in a while somebody hints at the real reason the Cats can't make money at either IWS or the WH. It's all about demographics. Of course this isn't the most politically correct thing to say so it is avoided. The fact is that the people in the surrounding affluent neighborhoods don't want anything to do with Hamilton downtown. It's perceived to be dirty and unsafe and is ultimately despised. That is why they moved to Stoney Creek, Ancaster, East End, Binbrook, and so on. They are now used to their Big Box stores with ample parking and no hobos, panhandlers and crackheads accosting them. Their opinion of downtown will never change now.

How do I know all this? Simple. I'm a courier for a national company and I have delivered hundreds of thousands of parcels to every street in the entire city. From Dundas to the Creek and everything above. Since the start of the stadium debacle I have had the luxury of talking to hundreds of Ti-cat fans across the city. I cannot even print the expletives and resentment I heard for downtown and the WH. This distaste and hatred was virtually unanimous city wide except for the few pro WH opinions I heard. Not surprisingly those were in the North End. That being said most of the EM supporters said they would most definitely NOT be trekking through downtown with their families and children late at night after a TC game lets out. Also how many people told me that they are huge fans but got sick and tired of the parking hassle at IWS. Driving in circles along Gage and all those streets and finally finding a spot 2km away. Some of these were elderly people. Now they just sit at home and watch TSN. That translates to empty seats. So now Bob Young has to offer drastically discounted tickets to bring the attendance up. Just like now at IWS. This is a failed business model. It's amazing that some people, including the mayor, just can't grasp this. :roll: I've heard over and over from EM supporters that they would gladly pay higher ticket prices for a safer, driveway to driveway experience. This would allow the Ti-cats to make some cash for once which is the goal of every business. You also would bring in Regional fans from Kitchener, London, Niagara and so on. The Caretaker knows this also. I wish council would.

Spend $60m for a convenient driveway to driveway experience for Kitchenerites and Londoners? No thanks.

I say spend $60m for revitalising our downtown so that people want to go there for more than just football games. As you've pointed out, it needs it. Let's address that need.

Good point of view, the downtown core was a thriving and happening place in the '60's and seemed to start a downhill plunge after Jackson Square was built. Where once we had 5 major movie theaters we now have Jackson Square Cinemas. We used to have a few night spots and now sadly have peep shows and cheque cashing.
I have lived on the Mountain and Glanford most of my life, used to hang out downtown in the '60's and early '70's when it was a very active place, hard to walk down the sidewalk at times and the only interference was the legless man selling pencils.
There was a very good shopping experience as well with 4 major department stores and quite a few clothing and specialty stores. Not much down there now except offices, banks and bingo, even Jackson Square is only a small part of what is used to be.
Put a stadium in an area where people are reluctant to go and have to walk through unfriendly streets? No thanks.
Put a stadium where you can draw larger groups of people from all over who probably would spend money at any number of local establishments? Sure.
Hey CK, I think the $60 million is for the PanAm stadium and would draw from all over the Americas. Where do you think they would park the tour buses for the PanAm games?

The City got themselves into this fix, by
not collaborating with the Tiger Cats

If they don't sit down with them now
to satisfy the Tiger Cats biggest needs

the Tiger Cats will end up out of town and
many city politicians will be out of office.

P.S.

Gabe Macaluso, former HECFI director said something
like this on the 5:30 Live! Show on CH TV yesterday,

Usually sports franchise owners approach governments
with demands that they build a stadium for them,

may I add, or their team will leave town.

This situation, as he said, is "uniquely different"

Our municipal government is demanding
that the Tiger Cats play in a new stadium

that the City chose to get involved with
by initiating talks with senior governments

and the Tiger Cats may leave town because
the stadium site doesn't meet their business needs.

8) I worked in downtown Hamilton in the early seventies, and I agree with you 100%.
 The downtown was still a very popular place to go to, and was thriving, business wise in those days.

 By the way, I also remember the legless pencil man sitting on the sidewalk, outside the Right House.

  Everyone just called him, "Pencil's"  !!!     <!-- s:wink: -->:wink:<!-- s:wink: -->

Hamilton's downtown is a very confrontational place. You always have homeless people, drug dealers/abusers, crazy people or street youth (who hang out in packs) looking at you like they want to rob you or beat you up. The city's answer to this has been to hire more police officers, which only turns the area into a police state, instead of making it a nice place to visit. Under those circumstances, why would anyone want to forgo a nice, safe, friendly place like Meadowlands or Lime Ridge Mall to go to Jackson Square or anywhere else downtown? Not to mention parking downtown is always going to cost you something, as opposed to those other places. The city has failed miserably at improving downtown for so long that yes, people don't want to go down there because they are scared. And if you "work" downtown during the day, and think I'm crazy, hang out down there after work hours or at night on the weekend. That will change your point of view.

I think you missed the point. A stadium is not going to draw people to the downtown core. Nothing will. Frankly thats why the area needs to find ways to promote residential development and find a way to get a better income mix than it has now. Flipping Mac over from Longwood to downtown would be huge. The Innovation Park initiative does nothing to help the problems of the core. Frankly its a fumbled effort. That land is more valuable as a commercial property or a stadium property and the influx of Mac students and employees downtown is exactly the type of initiative that is required to jump start a boom

krisiun wrote:

                  "Also how many people told me that they are huge fans but got sick and tired of the parking hassle at IWS. Driving in circles along Gage and all those streets and finally finding a spot 2km away. Some of these were elderly people."

krisiun: Thanks for your impressions of this debate from the people you meet.
But I would quibble with people who made the above comments about the lack of parking. Have they not heard of the free Tiger-Cat Express buses that travel from all over the city to IWS? Why would you want to drive down to the stadium and walk 2km when you can ride a bus from Limeridge, downtown, Stoney Creek etc.... free???
Not only that but the bus trips are fun and you meet some great fans. It is perfect for elderly people because the Express buses take you right to the gates.
If it was not for those buses I probably would not make the trip down from Peterborough to IWS.

Reality, what a concept. You are correct in your assesment. A ten event per year football stadium is not going to revitalize the North End. The perception of Hamilton's core is that it's not a nice place to visit. That's why many people choose not to attend games at IWS and a new stadium in a worse area won't change that. The TiCats need to attract new fans to keep the team from going bankrupt once and for all.

Obviously demographics is a large part of this, and we discussed it several months in a thread I started re: low incomes.

I don't know if anyone caught the article, im prettu certain i read it yesterday on The Spec website that went into this very thing.

Essentially I took from it:

  • top 30 low income neighborhoods in CANADA are in the inner city
  • what this means is that people have significanty more health issues then more affluent areas. It produced a state that said someone coming out of a heart surgery and living in the inner city will live like 20-30 years less then more affluent people

I hope someone else caught this article because I can't be sure I quoted it correctly but that was the gist I got.

With this kind of stress no wonder the area has been depressed for years and people can't afford to fix up apartments and houses.

A couple years ago I got my first job out of college and worked downtown in the core near the BDC building. Coming from living in Brantford it was a bit of a culture shock because I wasn't used to pan handlers, mental ill, and it was sad and also off putting.

My point is there is something to say about demographics and i think the OP is right. And I also think it is the demographics that keep people away.

Hopefully someone can find the article because i tried, but it really is eye opening and shows how much of a failure the Municiple Government has been for several decades.

Think of the new report re: small business rating this area poorly for support. They NEED to be listened to, because small businesses hire the MOST Canadians.

/incomprehensible rant

Your never going get people to change there minds about Downtown Hamilton.
This guy is Right .. IO Rather shop at Wallmart with Huge Pakring lot then go to sears or Home hardware.
There nothing good Downtown and you'll never get downtown to where it needs to be .
No Pan Handlers Pee shows and Drug Houses out of downtown core.

You As blind as your Mayor if you can see it

If they realized how much it cost them in property taxes to continue to disinvest in the downtown, they might think differently. People in the burbs don't like high taxes? Well, everybody pays the same tax rate, each property owner's assessment is based on market valuation, so if you bring up the property values in the lower city relative to the mountain and the 'burbs, then the gap in taxes paid will shrink. How does a city bring up property values in an area of decline: invest in it. When all-day GO train service and LRT arrive, they're all going to wish they owned property in the north end.

Apparently you can't grasp it either. People aren't going to go downtown. You need to find another way to rebuild it

Yes, Ron, you are correct. And municipalities usually cave and get fleeced in such deals. Is that what Macaluso is suggesting the City do - roll over so it can get fleeced?
http://tiny.cc/k4bsg

Moreover, the sports leagues that are involved are FAR richer and more lucrative than the CFL: NFL, NBA, in some cases NHL.

How do you suggest?

Follow the City's own Setting Sail plan to start with. Build residential and commercial development that will draw more people, more days of the year.

Or build the TiCats' suggested rec centre and amphitheatre (land would still be remediated so there goes that excuse not to consider it).

Again, both these facilities likely to be used by more people many more days of the year. Wouldn't a rec centre and amphitheatre both be needed assets for the North End and better than a limited use stadium?

For some reason (to once again ignore any suggestions from the TiCats?), these uses were almost totally dismissed and ignored re any meaningful discussion or dialog pro and con, losing out to the irrational obsession of "a stadium and only a stadium will do" at WH.

It brings a tear to my eye to see common sense in a stadium thread.

Why Bob Young's offer to build a rec centre and ampitheatre in the WH wasn't snatched off the table and accepted by the City is beyond me. I actually think Capt Kirk might have a point that Bob pulled out of the whole discussion because he over-committed. That's a bigger slight against Mayor Fred due to the benefit it would have brought to the City.

There has to be a reason Mayor Fred is fixated on a 'WH stadium only' approach. He's even prepared to withhold critical information to protect his position. Time will tell.

But I thought you said people aren't going to go downtown?

Why is it an either / or proposition? It's possible to do everything that you've described and have a stadium on a site that doesn't result in millions of dollars in foregone tax revenues and development charges.

This was AKT's answer earlier in this thread, to your question later in this thread. Look's self-explanatory to me.

A stadium is not going to draw people to the downtown core. Nothing will. Frankly thats why the area needs to find ways to promote residential development and find a way to get a better income mix than it has now. Flipping Mac over from Longwood to downtown would be huge. The Innovation Park initiative does nothing to help the problems of the core. Frankly its a fumbled effort. That land is more valuable as a commercial property or a stadium property and the influx of Mac students and employees downtown is exactly the type of initiative that is required to jump start a boom

Great post Krisium,

Downtown Hamilton was a great place before urban planing destroyed it. In the 70's they built a fortress called Jackson Square that began the process of making small family business impossible unless you were inside the fortress. Of course family businesses could not afford to be on the inside so they were left outside to die. Adding insult to stupidity the planners added on to the fortress with Copps, the fortress got bigger and harder to pentetrate. More businesses on the outside died and finally like a bad nightmare even the fortress became fatally ill. Our urban planners truly blew it, building a suburban mall in a City core. Then we added to it !!!! WTF.

A suburban mall is designed as a destination and gets surrounded by HOMES many many homes, where was this to happen in our City core?

Things have slowly improved despite city hall building its own fortress, those family businesses have taken up locations such as Locke, James N, Hess effectively seperating them from the fortress. All well and good but it is not urban planning that has caused this its basically a survival mode for small business.

What should have happened was a spreading of the core, otherwords pick an area and expand it or surround it with City projects. City Hall is the fortress and 2 to 3 KM is every which direction there should be a major city run venue this way all things work from the outside in.