Spectator Editorial: Cats say no at a terrible time

Here is the link to a well reasoned editorial titled "Cats say no at a terrible time" by Howard Elliott in today's Hamilton Spectator.

http://thespec.com/Opinions/article/765571

That article is complete BS. Young and company have been telling the city this all along. They have not been listening. There is no hint of negotiation going on and no hope of arbitration from HOSCO so he had no choice but to lay his cards on the table to the public at some point to kickstart real negotiation. I applaud Young for trying not to undermine negotiations by keeping a positive public spin on things while tough negotiations were going on in private. In short Howard has it all wrong IMO. This is not a last minute thing, its just a declaration of what has been told to the city all along. The best deal for Hamilton is not one that involves the city building a stadium without the Ticats as a tenant. I really cannot fathom what part of that people don't understand

The west harbour location remains the best option in terms of city-building, and that has to be the main driver for key proponents such as the mayor and city council.
My understanding, after reading plenty of articles about this the past couple of days, is that one of the main reasons that Hamilton was awarded this stadium so that it could finally replace Ivor Wynne. I believe a councilor or two has said this, as well as David Braley. It seems that without the Cats, the city never would have been awarded the stadium. I understand that city-building is important, but that's not why the city got the stadium.

Excellent editorial,succinct and to the point. The Ticats have had a couple of years to be proactive in this debate and they choose not to. If they truly wanted to work with the city and they truly wanted input they could have come to the table as a partner a long time ago. As an out of towner, I fully support the West end site. When I come to Ivor Wynne, (which I have for 15 years), I have no trouble finding parking on Sherman Ave and walking to the games. It gives me time to chat with friends, it gives us time to discuss what restaurant we want to experience on the way home. A win-win for me and my friends and a win win for the restaurants in the city. If we follow Bob’s dream, we will get in the car, jump on a highway, wait in line to get into an overpriced parking lot and sit in traffic on the way out. The Ticats proposed location is inconvenient and will do nothing to support the businesses in Hamilton. The building of a stadium with taxpayers money should be for the benefit of the taxpayers, not to the benefit of an exclusive group or a single business operator. To back out now and try to re-jig this will inevitably see the Pan-Am group walk away from Hamilton. If Bob decides to walk away so be it, catering to him and the Ticats is not the way to go. Catering to the people of Hamilton and an attempt at rejuvenating a devastated downtown core is. I was in Pittsburgh a month ago to see the regrowth of their inner city and it is interesting that the two sports stadiums and the arena are all within a few blocks of the city core, contributing to the vibrance of the city. Hamilton is wise to follow the same lead. I have been a Ticat fan for over 40 years and if they fold, or leave so be it. The health of the city is more important than the ego of one man.

A couple of points that need to be brought into this city initiated circle jerk are a) the city's claim that Bob Young's statements are sudden and unexpected are just straight up lies. Access and parking has been disussed at council meetings as far back as Febuary and one councilor in particular (Bratina) says he's tried pointing out the shortcomings in these areas and suggested options but council refuses to budge. So after months of council refusing to acknowledge issues that were presented to them Bob Young FINALLY said no thanks to the Harbour front unless some changes are made. Not suddenly, not unexpectedly, FINALLY, after months of not being heard. They've known of the teams concerns since day 1 and the team didn't suddenly pull out, they just got tired of banging their heads against a brick wall. Mitchell may well have been at the meetings but what's the sense of him being there if they're just going to ignore suggestions and concerns brought up by someone they call a "partner"?

b) Freds claim that we (taxpayers) subsidize the Cats to the tune of 1.3 million a year is an intentionally misleading statement designed to turn Hamiltonions against the team, That number is the exact amount of yearly maintenance of IWS, so he'd have us believe that the city gets absolutely no revenues from the team whatsoever and that whole amount is paid through our taxes. Where's the money go that the city gets from their take of the concesions, the rent the team pays on the entire building year round, their piece of the parking etc... the city gets a piece of almost every dollar the team takes in so if that's not going to maintenance costs of IWS then where the hell is it going?
If I'm Bob I'm packing things up and getting the team the hell out of a city that not only won't support it but conspires against it. I think it was Sam Merulla a few years back during Bobs early years that said "maybe they can run it better" refering to the team and IWS, now I have to agree with him, I'm sure they can.

To say I'm deeply disappointed in the Spec's editorial would be to put it mildly.

The odd thing about this article is their claim that somehow we "sucker-punched" the Mayor. It is almost as if they have not been reading their own paper for the last three or four months. We've been quite clear that the West Harbour site has major problems and our concerns have been well documented in the pages of the Spectator.

The Spectator is welcome to their opinion, I just wish it had been a more fact-based opinion.

The Spec is a wishy washy rag I cancelled it years ago. As you've said Bob it's like they don't even read their own pages.

If city council thinks that the Rheem site is a good site then we as citizens of Hamilton know that it must be wrong. Our coucil is always wrong. We have one of the highest tax rates in Canada and we get nothing for it. I will make my feelings known in the election in November.

Stand your ground Bob. I'm right behind you.

Mr Young: Fair enough.
But you said on CHML that you are optimistic about the negotiations. How can you be if the city and Mayor say the West harbour site will go ahead regardless?
Also..do your options include a shared stadium with David Braley?
I am pulling for you to find a profitable solution to keep the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton.
Thanks.

Bob, you think you would know by now that the media always puts drama before facts. :slight_smile:

How do you feel about the Confederation park area?

The shared stadium idea was just one guy trying to find something to write about. I doubt very highly that this idea would ever come to fruition.

In order to be successful this stadium needs parking. The arguement that parking is convienent at Ivor Wynne is laughable at best. The parking at Ivor Wynne and the harbour site gives nothing to the game day experience. When is the last time you cracked a bbq on someone elses lawn or in the middle of Sherman or in a city owned parking lot. I imagine if the Ticats owned parking onsite some rules could ignored on game day to help with the experience. To me football just isn’t about the game itself its the entire days leading up to it and the entire day of and yes to me and my friends the parking close to the stadium and few over looked laws goes a long way (ie charcoal bbqing and having a few pops.) Now I am not advocating total lack of laws and a full out drunken tailgate like the NFL. For myself the tailgate is about socializing with fellow fans, tossing a ball around, and bbqing on hot coals. As well parking for gameday given this situation could be a huge revenue stream since the lot would open 4 hrs before game and remain open late for the after game bbq could easily bring 15-25 for a spot and much like other stadiums cheaper parking can be found around and close by the stadium for people who just wish to enjoy the game. Thats what is lacking currently and will continue to lack with the proposed site. Lot j only fills this void somewhat due to size limitation, but just look over the years how quickly it has grown. Yes the parking situation will work for the Pan-am but city council is not taking into consideration the unique aspects of the football game day experience. Nothing can replace that day not a bbq in your back yard before the game nor going to the bar before the game. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoy going to games, but still personally myself and many friends want more. West Harbour just lacks in so many ways for football that I see where Bob is coming from. The fact he said no now shouldn’t come to any surprise as he has been very up front from the get go that this is not his first, second or third choice. As fan’s we have lived with inadquecies of Ivor Wynne, made the best of it and each year game day experience improves. I just don’t want to suffer the same inadquecies at new stadium for the next 50 years (which the new site offers and it could be argued that we would be worse off with a new stadium.)
My career field is risk management and can fully agree with Bob that the risks are just too great. There is just too many hurddles to clear, too many unknowns and no business guarenteeing to even step up and assist in this project. We are no better off then Ivor Wynne. Ivor Wynne is infact a better location which is sad. It offers lot j parking, better visibility, even though Ivor Wynne isn’t in the best area its still better then the very run down downtown and lastly better traffic . All these things I mentioned are what is considered the inadquecies of Ivor Wynne and we plan to use tax dollars to build a stadium that isn’t better in any of these important catergories. Sure the new stadium will offer a nice view and in all honesty thats about all it offers.

ADAWG:

How about the risks if a stadium is built near the QEW or in Aldershot?
Are they any less than at West Harbour?

Months ago bob challenged the City to come up with their own developers
who would commit to invest in a stadium projectin the West Harbour site.

Why?

Stadiums have to have a massive sports and entertainment precinct
associated with them to be commercially viable on a long term basis.

The city paid for Deloitte report even reported that to the City.

Has the City found any top retail or commercial developers
who have interest in the West Harbour concept as it exists?

The Tiger-Cat still haven`t found one, so

Mr Bob Young had to JUST SAY NO! to draw attention to the fact
that the City is $50 millions dollars short of enough money

to build a stadium even close to suitable for the Tiger Cats
to use after the Games at the West Harbour front site.

The Rheem site as it exists is a poor retail site.

It takes a lot of love to own a CFL franchise, even more so in Southern Ontario.

Yes, a poor retail site for sure ron and that's a big problem with the Rheem site but the Mayor won't acknowledge it, it's about cleaning up the site.


Bob, you think you would know by now that the media always puts drama before facts

Precisely zen, that editorial is just a catalyst to keep the debate going, nothing more, nothing less. Many of the posts in this forum are far more informative and insightful than that opinionated piece.

The Spectator is owned by the Toronto Star which has a mandate to promote the socialist agenda. Both papers are highly suspicious and critical of independent business and free markets. Essentially, they are the backup quarterbacks who always think they can outperform the starter.

I also pose the question to the OP when you say rejuvenating downtown is more important then someones ego and a few other questions. One how will this stadium rejuvenate downtown with no major tenant. Two comparing this stadium to hines field and the new Pittsburgh arena can't be done. At best the Cat's will attract 25,000 fans 9 times a year, plus a possible playoff game and 1 exhibition game that will get under 20,000. The Bulldogs will bring in around 3500 people 42 times a year. Now our franchises will not bring enough people in year round to even think of luring business back downtown (hense why none have stepped up to the plate.) For an entire year we get maybe an extra 350,000 people downtown, but its hardly worth moving a business there because only 3500 show up to a dog game on regular basis.

Now the the reason why stadiums would rejuvenate things in Pitt. Hines field brings in 60,000 + 8 times a year plus 2 exibition games and possible playoff as well college bowl games are held there as well. Pens will bring in 18,000 - 20,000 42 times a year plus playoff and if the Pirates are located downtown they bring fans in 81 times a year. It is easy to see why downtown Pitt is happening because of stadiums and business relocating because of it. Over a million people likely visit the downtown of Pitt because of sporting events held. To say a stadium that attracts 20-25,000 9 times a year possibly 10 will do the same for our downtown is laughable at best. We will however put this stadium downtown and nothing will change it will still be the same abandoned store fronts, run down housing and a giant dollar store for a mall.

I feel for you, the author slaps you for being polite and working in the spirit of collaboration, than he slaps you for making a decision at the end of the process ???

just the fact that they are off by 30 million dollars in the remediation of the site proves these people either have no clue what they are doing or lied to the other levels of government to get more funding and further in the article the author and his sources (IE: The Mayor) suggest you join them in their "creative" shell games by making shady demands to make up for the fact the site does not work for your team.

You'd have to be nuts to go in business with these people. It is one thing to lose your money but to have your reputation dirtied and put your health at risk in such a battle is another. You deserved better from the city. All that is missing is Don Garber or Vern Troyer showing up.

Hey Bob,

Wouldn't sweat anything written by the Hamilton Speculator. Its the trashiest, worst written newspaper in Ontario. Hardly ever fact based writing with mostly crackheads for sources. Ask Susan Clairmont, the Queen of trash writing. And you dont have to look to far back to remember the lousy beat writing of our very own TiCats reporter Ken Peters.

The Editor of the Spec is also thrives on sleezeball writing. If your relying on the Spec for unbiased fact based reporting, good luck...as good of a chance of getting a city politician in this city to look you in the eyes and not lie......

Of course, I mean no offence to Drew Edwards, who IMO, has done a nice job of reporting and keeping his opinions to himself.

This is a shell game by the city. They get 64 million of money. This is enough to clean the site and build the 15k stadium. City is not putting any money in this. The remediation and the price of the stadium were inflated by 60 million dollars. Then Young has to come up with 50 million dollars to fix something that is worth 15 million. Just not worth it...