The Mayor is right. And wrong.

Mayor Eisenberger is quite right that Stadiums are all about community. And for the record I have great respect for the Mayor and every other politician who serves our community. Elected public service positions are difficult and not very rewarding jobs.

But he is very wrong when he suggests that he is surprised by our position. While we have attempted to work with the City on their proposed West Harbour location there have been no credible attempts to financially analyze the economics of either the City or the Tiger-Cats running a successful business from that site.

We have been -very- clear with the Mayor and his staff that unless they could come up with plans that they had yet to show us, to address the concerns we (and others) have raised, then a sports stadium would not be a good use of that location.

The West Harbour is a great location, and should be put to more valuable use than it is currently being used for, but it is not a good retail location. And at the end of the day sporting events are a retail business they need to be accessible for them to work and the West Harbour just does not have the access.

Cheers, Bob.

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-

Source:

http://www.mayorfred.ca/posts/view/171

Wow, I take one day off and all getout happens. I'm disappointed but not surprised by this development as illustrated by my contributions to the 100 plus pages thread. Its sad indeed that you are so frustrated by the stubbornness of the mayor and council that you feel it necessary to air your concerns so publicly and in such detail illustrating the unwillingness of the city to work to find a stadium plan that works for the Ticats and therefore the taxpayers of Hamilton. It is clear now to me that communication has been lacking between the city the Ticats and HOSCO. Hitting your partner over the head in public is never a good development but in this case its important that the other real partner (Hamilton Taxpayers) be informed on how our money is being spend. Let me make this perfectly clear to those who disagree with the position that taxpayers shouldn't have a say, the money being spend does not belong to the federal government, the provincial government or the city government. They are only agents elected to manage our money and we the taxpayers have a right to know whats going on BEFORE major spending decisions are made, not after when nothing can be done about incredibly stupid wasteful spending. Thanks for taking care of us the taxpayers when our mayor refuses to even if its for your own business reasons more than the public interest interests I believe you are considering as well.

It looks obvious from the outside that the mayor does not see this as a "regional" multi-use stadium. Trying to force people in to a painful funnel is a little simplstic IMO. Hope you have a good "hand" ...

Bob,
I can agree to a point that the Ticats are a retail business, however I would further classify the team as specialty retail. One of a kind with zero competition. It's not like I can shop at your football team or someone elses football team.
I'm pumped about the west harbour location and look forward to doubling my season ticket purchases once the new west harbour stadium is built. I look forward to walking from a downtown parking location with thousands of other fans, and then walking back to my parking spot at the same time celebrating with others after a Ticat victory.
Help us all to understand how the team will lose $7 million per year if a west harbour location becomes the only choice.

HfxTC: It's not surprising the Mayor does not see things this way, given the 60 million the city needs to put into the project.
If this was meant to be a regional multi-use stadium then Hostco should have said so and other communities in the region should been told to contribute to the cost.

I too was puzzled by the Mayor's assertions yesterday that the city was always working closely with the Tiger-Cats. It just didn't wash with me when all I've heard so far from the Mayor is that the West Harbour site is full steam ahead, a done deal, best for Hamilton, the Tiger-Cats are only a minority stakeholder etc, etc, etc..........and the city has all the say because they are putting up the most cash (tax payer cash mind you)

And besides all of that, I read in the Spectator this morning that the City has already purchased 85% of the necessary properties which makes me think the Mayor is now painted into a corner and can't get out. This might explain why he is taking desperate swipes at the Tiger-Cats when he just got caught putting the proverbial cart before the horse........a common thing in Hamilton politics over the years.(which is easy to do when the Mayor and Council are not spending their personal cash)

On an even more serious note (if that's possible), watching Cable 14 last night, Councilor Bratina was on and sounded the alarm that less that 60' down under the Rheem property is quick-sand which affects the load-bearing capacity of the site (makes sense since it is all back-fill piled onto a former swamp)..........a problem Rheem already ran into in the past when they had to limit the size of their machinery. He appeared very concerned that the geological shortfalls on that site haven't been addressed and seem to be ignored in favour of ramming his stadium through.

I also notice Fred whining about a yearly subsidy to the Tiger-Cats (probably meaning rent relief). Funny how he doesn't mention the countless economic spin-offs because of the Tiger-Cats (purchasing of goods and services), employment they create, intern opportunities, taxes they pay, utilities, charitable work they do, upgrades at the stadium (offices, private boxes, press box, technology, $2 million scoreboard and a million other things that would take too long to list including general goodwill the team brings for the city countrywide.

That was the single most dumb thing Fred could have brought up in his lame attempt to demonize Bob Young and the Tiger-Cats and indicates clearly what his mindset is.

So in practical sense the 60 million becomes a "fee" to host the PanAm games...

What I don't understand is how can Moncton build a 10 000k stadium for 5 million expandable to 20k for an additional 10 million, Vancouver build a 27 000k stadium for 14.9 million why is Hamilton's 20k stadium so much money ???

Looks toxic to me...

"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?."

and

"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."

Yes, Mr Young and the TiCats have stated they would work with the City on "any site" but they also clearly stated they would be doing their own business case study and according to that study, the chosen West Harbour site appears to be unworkable re many top-level requirements to run a successful business, not pie-in-the-sky dreams and maybes.

How or why is that difficult to understand? The TiCats are looking at it from a successful business case perspective (I assume using best situation scenarios) and the City (Mayor and others) are looking at it as it affects Hamilton downtown and community development, which doesn't appear to have solid data to back it up but many "ifs" (if a developer creates a commercial area around the site, if Hamilton gets LRT funding (LRT isn't even assured vs bus routes), if, if, if )

After the 2 weeks of PanAm Games, what happens to the stadium?

Though some state the TiCats only use it 10 times a year so should have little say, I would guess those 10 games draw more people than usage throughout the remainder of the year. Other than high school games (regular season and playoffs), what other major events now populate Ivor Wynne during the CFL off-season? It basically sits empty.

The City put itself in a corner by automatically and too quickly dropping Confederation Park, other potential sites and even Chedoke Golf course to myopically focus on the West Harbour... common sense and successful financial realities be damned. Wishes vs facts.

re Chedoke... talk of a waste of valuable space. At least with the ski runs it was used a combined 8-9 months of the year but used strictly for golf, it's used by a relatively small minority of the population for maybe 6 months while it sits empty the other 6. And how much is it being subsidized (vs Eisenbergers comment of $1.3 mil subsidizing the TiCats)? Build a stadium in an environmentally friendly way as possible (ie save as many trees as possible) and make it into Gage Park West.

It would appear another perfect opportunity is going to be wasted due to the dysfunctional, myopic, agenda-driven politics of Hamilton.

"Reality... what a concept" (Robin Williams)

City politicians should try it sometime.

If this was meant to be a regional multi-use stadium then Hostco should have said so and other communities in the region should been told to contribute to the cost.

That's an excellent point Hf. Again points to Hostco not providing enough leadership on this whole situation from the start. I think they have failed to understand the uniqueness of the city of Hamilton and how it fits in with the other very close communities here and with the TigerCats. And how it is situated along a very busy highway corridor between the Falls and Toronto-Oshawa. Hamilton is not like a London that is more isolated.

Hostco I think was in the back pocket of those in all levels of government wanting to clean up the environmental mess of the Rheem site. Someone else mentioned this is as well. I think they were very biased from the beginning and it's starting to show now.

deerhunter wrote:
"watching Cable 14 last night, Councilor Bratina was on and sounded the alarm that less that 60' down under the Rheem property is quick-sand which affects the load-bearing capacity of the site (makes sense since it is all back-fill piled onto a former swamp)..........a problem Rheem already ran into in the past when they had to limit the size of their machinery. He appeared very concerned that the geological shortfalls on that site haven't been addressed and seem to be ignored in favour of ramming his stadium through."

deerhunter:

Well...there it is. An out for the city. All they would have to say is "oops".
Then turn the Rheem site into a park instead. :wink:

Earl: I wrote that..not HfTC!
But thanks.
Y'r welcome. :smiley:

mayor Fred is definitely not thinking clearly. All he can think about is his own agenda.

That better change when he sits down in front of Ian Troop and the Pan Am Games HostCo.

P.S.

A face-saving device and the Mayor has made no reference to it
since councillor Bob Bratina first brought it up several months back

I am sure that will be laid out on the table for HostCo to see.

The Mayor won't have to fall on his sword after all. 8)

Bob,

Thank you very much for keeping your fanbase abreast of what's happening with the city. Personally, I really appreciate the communication -- helping us to all form more educated opinions.

The only thing that concerns me, as a fan and a citizen, is neither the city, nor the Cats, have really shown how their preferred location is going to benefit the community and/or have additional commercial spinoff opportunities. Given the adjacency to downtown, I find it easier to come to the conclusion that the West Harbour is better for Hamilton than Confederation Park. That's simply based on anecdotal evidence/ experience of being among large crowds downtown. And, transit potential -- albeit, with no confirmation of funding -- would only be capitalized on with central location.

So, overall, I'm hoping I can be sold to better support the Ticats position.

Regardless, I hope that common ground can be found with whatever location is chosen so that the city and the Ticats can prosper.

Earl: I wrote that..not HfTC!
But thanks.
Y'r welcome

Yikes, sorry 62! :oops: :oops:

I'm starting to lose it, information overload with this topic in different threads... That's my excuse anyways. :wink:

The Harbourfront Stadium is going to be a colossal failure. Glad someone with your cohones is standing up against city hall on this issue. I can say from a personal standpoint I have no interest in going down there for any type of event, or shop and do that kind of stuff after. Bob, you are bang on with all your points. Dont budge on your stance.

The ideal location is Confederation Park for everyone, including this cities image. It doesnt take me any longer to get to either location, but this is the optimum location short and long term.

Way to stand up to the Mayor.

Earl: Welcome to geezerhood. I've been there for a while now. :cry:

Stadium talk coming up after the 10:00 am news (in a few minutes) … with Jamie West 900 CHML

…in Jamie’s pre-amble a minute ago, he wondered if the Mayor has gotten himself in too deep and can’t get out now…I also alluded to that possibility in an above post

it should be an interesting segment

geezerhood, like that one 62! True enough.

The other thing here is that the TigerCats not seeing the West Habourfront as viable is just like the NHL team. What I was reading on the NHL forums at the time from people around southern Ontario that wanted another team "here" is that "here" mean't Kitchener right by the 401. My family for example in London would have preferred it there they said rather than going into the bowels of downtown Hamilton for games, not as accessible. And many posts I read on the web said the same thing.

So why should the TigerCats be that much different really with the stadium? Mayor Fred says this is a surprise stance by the TigerCats? Yeah right Fred, give your head a shake. No one wants anything to do with downtown Hamilton or near downtown Hamilton other than a select rather small group who live in this city and are familiar with it. That's the way it is, NHL fans in the southern Ontario area are the same as well. But I shouldn't be saying Mayor, I should be saying Ian Troop of Hostco. Oh, I forgot, you signed something with McGuinty and others about cleaning up the Rheem site, that's what this is all about anyways, of course.

Aside from all the facts and figures, pros and cons, in Mayor Fred's statement yesterday, I got the distinct feeling that he has come to look at this as HIS "Legacy Project" and that might be part of the unwillingness to compromise.

Well that's certainly refreshing and a nice change to read on this site.

But he is very wrong when he suggests that he is surprised by our position. While we have attempted to work with the City on their proposed West Harbour location there has been no attempts to financially analyze the economics of either the City or the Tiger-Cats running a successful business from that site.

We have been -very- clear with the Mayor and his staff that unless they could come up with plans that they had yet to show us, to address the concerns we (and others) have raised, then a sports stadium would not be a good use of that location.


Is it all possible for someone else to do a study, to crunch numbers, to make that site viable for CFL football? Can the city be convinced to re-imagine the development around the west harbour site to address access and parking?

Can it be located sightly south of the Rheem property, and closer to downtown nearer Cannon or Sir John A MacDonald high school as Bob Bratina propses, and still link downtown with the waterfront. Its `pretty much all city land there.

Develop the southern- downtown portion of the swath of land for retail and entertainment and make the nothern portion more park and waterfront like.

The West Harbour is a great location, and should be put to more valuable use than it is currently being used for, but it is not a good retail location. And at the end of the day sporting events are a retail business they need to be accessible for them to work and the West Harbour just does not have the access.
Must it absolutely be beside a highway? Is there no other accessible location in the downtown vicinity that would satisfy the needs of both the Tiger-Cats and the city's city-building initiative? In other words, can a $60m investment of the city's future fund be put to good use for both interests?