Pan Am Games Now In Council's Hands

Pan Am Games Now In Council's Hands

Fears Ticats may leave if new facility rejected

February 19, 2009
The Hamilton Spectator
(Feb 19, 2009)

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/516268

The location part of this article is being discussed in another thread

I would like to address the funding news...in the latter part of the article.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger and other members of the Hamilton contingent of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games bid

met with The Hamilton Spectator editorial board yesterday.

Eisenberger said he hopes city council will agree to provide the
full $60 million stadium expenditure from the Hamilton Future Fund.

This cash came from a Hamilton Hydro financing arrangement in 2001
that gave the City of Hamilton $137 million to use on future legacy projects.


This sounds good to me. This fund was set up for something like this In 2001.
Barring that, the city could fund the commitment either by:
  • Borrowing the funds, requiring a 1 per cent municipal tax increase this year.

  • Taking the cash from the city capital budget before replacing it
    from the federal/provincial infrastructure program.

But Eisenberger made it clear the so-called "future fund" would be the best option.

"We have the ability to do this out of the future fund with no impact to the taxpayer,"

he told the editorial board.

"The legacy funds would mean the taxpayers would not take a hit."

Hamilton council will also be asked to approve other
parts of the city's involvement in the Games.

This includes:

  • A new 50-metre pool to be built at McMaster.

  • A permanent velodrome for cycling, volleyball for Copps Coliseum
    and soccer for the Ron Joyce Stadium.

With McMaster expected to pay the local portion for the pool,

it's the stadium costs and location that
are expected to stir the most controversy.

Adames said harbourfront is the preferred site

because of the effect the stadium project would have for

both waterfront development and downtown renewal.

"It links those two principals very well," Adames said.

The derelict industrial lands, he added, are
a mix of private and public ownership

with a small housing component that
would likely have to be expropriated.

But Adames was vague when asked about the
necessary parking that would have to be provided.

"That is something we do need to look at," he said.

Eisenberger said the new stadium would
replace the aging Ivor Wynne Stadium.

He told the editorial board

the city will have to pay $20 million over the next five years

just to keep the nearly 80-year-old stadium
in operation for the next 15 years.

After that, city taxpayers would be on the hook
for a complete $96-million renovation.


Not spending $60 million to build a new stadium by 2015
will result in a $96 million cost to fix it up soon after.
A December snowstorm caused damage to one of the stadium's eight lighting structures.

The repair cost for that alone is $50,000.

Eisenberger said he's confident a majority of city council
will back the city's involvement in the Games.

Excellent article, Ron, thanks for posting it.

I sure hope Council approves this. It looks like a no-brainer based on the amounts given in the article.

Agreed 100%.

A terriffic opportunity that should not be squandered. Is there any better way to remdiate that brownfield?

I don't see it. Timing and opportunity are everything. Now is the time.

I'm excited at the prospect of this happening and then Balsillie getting his NHL team for Copps. Downtown Hamilton would be totally re-invigorated!

Yes, it certainly does look like a no-brainer, which should fit right in with City Councillors.

Unfortunately, it still might not be enough as most Councillors ride the fence until they hear from the vocal minority and vote whatever way they think will get them re-elected in their ward, not do/vote what's right for the City overall. (ie, media hawk Murella and even the sinking-in-ethics Collins (his deliberate embarrassment of the Mayor with the standing City Hall "WOW" vote)).

This City survives despite City Hall, not because of it.

...

This might sound radical but if it isn't approved, I would suggest rather than spending the millions and millions to reno IWS over the course of the next few years on a stadium in an area that doesn't justify spending this money, let's do all taxpayers a service and tear down IWS and see what fallout happens to the TiCats. And I'm being dead serious.

When I said

Not spending $60 million to build a new stadium by 2015
will result in a $96 million cost to fix it [IWS] up soon after.

That $60 million figure was apparently for the minimum 15,000-seat stadium
with a total cost of $102 million and a cost to the City of Hamilton of $55 million

to host the Pam Am Games track and field

and a velodrome [twinned with the stadium?]

at a total cost of $11.4 million with the City portion being $5 million

for track cycling

but, as I recall, it should cost $40 million more
for a 24,000-27,000 stadium to suit the Ticats

that is, approximately $95 million cost to the City.

The same cost it would be to patch up Ivor Wynne Stadium

A spanking new stadium certainly sounds like a far better idea
to me, even aside from, the stimuation it will give to development.

Good post, Ron!
Up until Eisenberger guested on CHML, I had never before, heard the 96 million dollar figure quote which would be used after the initial 5 year period of renovations at IWS. Isn’t it odd that we would just be getting this figure now? I would think that council knows that IWs is almost ready in many areas to collapse and that they have already pushed their luck for a stadium which was only designated for a 50 year life span to begin with.

As I have said in several posts, “in the long run, it is cheaper to build a new stadium.” Don’t forget the fact that in addition to the $96 mil, we have to spend another $5 mil for annual upkeep too.

I would like to point out that as recently as 2 years ago when some of us pointed out the peril of continued use of IWS, we took a lot of flack from the majority of posters here; most of whom are now singing a different tune.

To me, the $96 million dollars pretty well represents a virtually new stadium on Ivor Wynne’s current site, which could easily be 5 -10 years away.

I wonder why this number was hidden until yesterday.

So it's down to this:

Does Hamilton want the TiCats to survive in Hamilton?

Yes!

I hope that Council makes the correct decisions and votes to host the Pan Am games and receive funding for the new stadium.