Statement by Mayor Fred Eisenberger re: Stadium and Ticats

Statement by Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of the City of Hamilton
May 06, 2010

The City’s involvement in the Pan Am Games is an important initiative. We’ve always believed that this is about building community and leveraging this investments with our many other investments. This is about more than just a two-week sporting event, and more than a professional football franchise. This is about the community, and community development. This is about what’s best for the people of Hamilton – today and into the future. To respond to some of the concerns raised earlier today in the media and by one of our partners, I want to reassure the community that we are moving full steam ahead on the West Harbour site, and we will not waiver from that because it is best for Hamilton. The community is behind the West Harbour site. The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the Jobs and Prosperity Collaborative, and hundreds of private citizens and business leaders are behind it because it is best for the community. The West Harbour stadium location is best situated for people to access the stadium by taking public transit including GO Transit and eventually the Rapid Transit line planned for the downtown. A West Harbour stadium location is within short walking distance of hundreds of existing parking spaces which can be used at no additional cost to the taxpayers. As for the Hamilton Tiger Cats, I want the public to know that we are committed to ensuring that the necessary conditions are put in place in the council-approved West harbour stadium to help the TigerCats achieve success. We have been working diligently to find common ground with the TigerCats so today’s revelation from Owner Bob Young that the team will not play at a West Harbour Stadium is disappointing to say the least. Bob Young and the TigerCats are on record as saying they would work with the City on “any site?. Up to now, we have been proceeding on that basis. At the same time, it is important for the public to know that he Hamilton Tiger Cats is a tenant that the taxpayers subsidize to the tune of $1.3 million per year. The West Harbour site was confirmed by council two years ago and was part of the Pan Am bid book. It was reconfirmed by council 90 days ago. Statements made by Bob Young only talk about what is best for the Tiger Cats organization. There is no mention of the community. Bob Young needs to understand that the community is important and the purpose of this project is community building. Bob Young’s statement that there has been no collaboration is puzzling. Scott Mitchell has been a member of the Pan Am Advisory Group since the very beginning. As recently as two weeks ago, I met with Scott Mitchell of the Hamilton Tiger Cats and we re-affirmed that we would continue talking and working together. It is hard to reconcile this with the statements made today by Mr. Young. It is important to know that the Pan Am HostCo has imposed a May 17 deadline for site verification and as a key partner, the City is required to meet that deadline. I assure you that we will meet that deadline. I want everyone to know that progress on the West Harbour site is well advanced. Today, I would like to announce that, together with the City Manager and the City’s Pan Am staff team, I will be hosting a Pan Am Community Engagement Session – which will include the TigerCats and other stakeholders – to review the benefits of the West Harbour site, and the long-term benefits of revitalizing the West Harbour precinct. We’ll be providing more details as plans are firmed up. -30-


"As for the Hamilton Tiger Cats, I want the public to know that we are committed to ensuring that the necessary conditions are put in place in the council-approved West harbour stadium to help the TigerCats achieve success."

How to mesh the needs and resolve the issues of the Tiger Cats seems like an impossible task.

How can perceived shortcomings of the Rheem location like high visibility and easy access be overcome? Move the west harbour closer to the QEW? Some sort of spatial shift? A 4th dimension?

The City (some politicians) are set in their agenda and it doesn't look good.

Doug Rye, Bob's financial advisor will be back on CHML just after 5:00 pm with Scott Thompson to respond to the Mayor's new statement

Which you can listen to here

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Mayor Eisenberger:

You have accused Bob Young of not considering the community...have YOU considered the community?

Have you considered the hundreds of people employed not only by the Tiger Cats, but also by the various support companies, ie HSR, concession staff, the landlords who house American players during the season, the hotels who house the visiting teams, the restaurants and grocery stores who profit from their business, etc?

Have you considered the effect of possibly ringing the death knell of an institution that is nearly as old as Hamilton itself, that is a source of pride for native & transplanted Hamiltonians worldwide, that receives major television access via TSN which Hamilton also profits from via free advertising? Have you considered the benefit to the local economy that would occur providing a stadium is built that can host Grey Cups regularly? Have you considered that the Tiger Cats are a Hamilton icon and a major symbol of the image of the city, even after such major symbols such as Stelco have had their images tarnished? Do you really want to be remembered as the mayor who lost the city the Tiger Cats?


Does Young want to go down in history along with beloved figures like Robert Ersay and bail on an intitiution even after tax payer money was going to buy him a site and half the stadium ?

Bob Young hasn't bailed, but to expect him to continue to lose millions unnecessarily is ridiculous.

Get out of this corrupt city of Hamilton Bob, take the Cats to Burlington/Oakville and work with Braley and the Argos and make something happen along the QEW there that could take the CFL in this area to new heights. Fred is a non-workable sort to deal with it seems to me. Let's try and keep the Cats in the area.

Bah, they're big boys. Surely they can come to some kind of agreement. Clock's ticking though!! Should be interesting. Didn't realize Mitchell was on the Pan Am Advisory board. That changes my opinion a bit....eeesh.

...and expecting the city government to turn around and bail on their plan for the city they were elected to lead and cave in to one private sector opposition after all this time is just as ridiculous.

In the 60s and 70s The Spec and a lot of Hamiltionians used to decry (with some cause) how Ham. civic government was in the hip pocket of the private sector. From the 80s onward they moaned about a govt with no vision.

Now we have a govt with a vision, at least, and now people mock it and are begging the private sector to control a city decision. Unreal.

And Zontar, Hamilton can have a 15,000 seater that is basically useless while the Cats are in a nice 25,000-30,000 seater along the QEW or 403 and doing just fine.

But hey, if that's what you and Fred want, go for it my man. But Fred will bail on the Pan-Ams, or let HOSTCO do his dirty work for him to be more precise, he now wants to use that $60 mill for Copps is my bet showing disgust for the Tiger-Cats. For a team that still Hamilton doesn't have.

Bottom line, Fred doesn't give a shiiite about the TigerCats.

What I want is the City to lead and not be led around by the nose by the private sector using my tax money and the threat of leaving as the whip.

If Young is using money as the deciding factor to bail where is he going to get the money to build a stadium on the highway ?

Between him, Braley and sponsors, look out, Bob Young does have some personal money, Braley as well - and so do sponsors. Combine that with some real estate people for other construction and retail. The more I think about it, maybe Fred is doing the CFL a huge favour in the long run getting on Bob's, and David's, bad side. :thup:

Can you say "Ottawa Tiger-cats"? :frowning:

CHML phone lines are open right now for this topic......

(905) 645-3221

So what the hell is the problem then ? Let Young do that. Why hasnt he done that ?

Just as long as its not my tax money helping him make money for himself and not trying to blackmail the city govt with the threat of quitting the Cats.

:thup: Agreed

What do you mean Zontar why hasn't he done it? Get real, he's a proud Hamiltonian as he's said, proud TiCats fan from way back, he'd love nothing better than to keep the Cats right here in the Hamilton confines if he can. But if he's forced to, like it seems he is, he'll have an alternative plan maybe, hopefully, with David Braley as a partner. The TiCats are bigger than the city of Hamilton afterall, just like the Colts were bigger than the city of Baltimore despite the history. It's about the team when you get down to brass tacks my friend. People wear Colts jerseys around and the team is supported in Indy despite the crap that went on moving them from Baltimore to Indy. Cats could be no different but at least we can keep them close by and I'll give big kudos if Bob can do this without the help of Hamilton city council.

Bob Young doesn't want to profit for himself, he just wants a stadium that will help the community and the team be successful. Im sure if Bob was losing $10,000 he would be happy and the team would have no problems. But he doesn't want to be losing 1mil-7mil each year..

Well said Cheat. :thup: :thup: