The Pan Am games stadium will have an after life

There have been a few posts that suggest that Turkstra is just bringing this up now, when so much is at stake.

Not true at all - Turkstra and a small group of residents and a few non-residents have been at this for years. They seem to have a vision of the waterfront as a low density residential neighbourhood with great parks, boat clubs and a few coffee pubs. Presumably the rest of the citizens of the city can come in by public transit on Saturday or Sunday, use the parks during the day, and get back on the bus and out of the neighbourhood by sundown.

I have a lot of respect for these people - they are very committed to this, and they work tirelessly at it, far out the glare of the "local" media 95% of the time. They fight hard against a lot of really stupid city plans - like kicking out the boat clubs because they happen to occupy shoreline seperating Bayfront Park, Pier 4 Park and Pier 8.

Where I disagree with them is that I don't think it's fair to expect the jewel of our city to be polished bright for the benefit of a few hundred very wealthy residents. Cause let's face it - as the place continues to be cleaned up, and if there's only a few hundred houses there, those 1200 sq. ft. houses will shoot up in price and be available to a very elite few.

While I find their version of utopia appealing (obviously, I lived there for almost twenty years), I passionately believe that it is a treasure that many more people should benefit from. I passionately believe that the land down there is too rare and too valuable as a potential economic driver for a economically struggling city to be locked down forever as a playground for a few hundred people. 30 politically active people can kill off billions of dollars of economic activity one project at a time if if you let them.

Well, actually these people recognized years ago that gentrification was the way to go. They took low value homes, worked hard, and created nice properties. Much like what the city should be doing with the IWS site. However, the infrasturcure in this area has homes built very close to the roads (some times just metres). I would not want a shaking metal structure all of a sudden cast in my backyard either.

Now we are talking. Good.

Re: Ontario Municipal Board Hearings

I read in the Spec recently that residential development
is being held up by VIA Rail[?] making appeals the O.M.B.

because the developers[s] want to build homes
that are to close to the dangers of their railyards.

I couldn't find the article but I found this..

[What a glorius day, November 23, 2002 when I was young and foolish.]

The low point in the history of Hamilton Harbour might have come in 1958.

A Toronto urban planning professor came to town and called the bay:

"The world's largest and most beautiful septic tank."

Or maybe the low point came 11 years later in 1969,
when in the House of Commons, Hamilton Harbour was called

"a stinking, rotten quagmire of filth and poisonous waste."

When this article was written an estimated $800 million
had been spent cleaning up the indusrial damage.

and an estimated $540 million still has to be found.

We have the Bayfront Park Shiela pitched for
now it's benefits need to be maximized.

Oh, how far we have come.

Why stop now?

Yeah, they did. I'm one of them.

But that doesn't mean that because they staked a small claim first, they have the right to decide how every scrap of land within 5KM of their homes is used forever.

Circumstances dictate that higher density development occur in order to eliminate some of these toxic brownfields - no builder isn't going to invest $5M to clean up a site in order to build 10 modest $200,000 single family homes. Yet at least some of the vocal residents you will hear from in the coming months are opposed to any higher density development in or near their neighbourhood. In a sense, they want to live in a taxpayer funded gated community, with the deserted brownfields that surround their neighbourhood serving as a crude gate that separates them from the surrounding city. So brownfields forever.

Found Merulla's quote this morning interesting - something to the effect that history will prove this (the postive vote on the stadium) to be the worst decision in Hamilton history.

Maybe there will be problems. But what about all of the decisions that allowed stretches of lower Hamilton to deteriorate into a (real or imagined) wasteland of bursting sewers and city-bus-sized potholes with no money to pay to fix them - I'm thinking that those decisions are right up there on the list somewhere.

Or even current decisions that squander a great opportunity to remediate brownflields like his would do.

Wow, Mr. Merulla is a fortune teller. The city is very fortunate to have someone with this skill set on council, difficult to find such intelligent people willing to work on a city council I'm sure. :lol:

Funny, I always thought Merulla was the worst mistake the city ever made!

The Spec has a live blog from this morning's meeting Live Blog

"... stadiums used to be surrounded by a sea of parking. The trend now, he said, is to encourage fans to use transit. Edmonton's stadium he said has no major parking and bans street parking within a kilometre of the venue, forcing people to walk or take transit. "

What would you think of a ban on parking within 1 km of a stadium, say IWS?

I like it but southern Ontario is too close to the automotive capital of NA, Detroit, where the car and everything about it is a given right to use as you wish. Won’t work here I don’t think. 8)

Wasn't there talk about the possibility of having a GO stop at the new stadium (if approved) along with a MetroLinx connection? I would imagine, public transit would also be a factor so I wonder if a parking lot is a necessity?

The metrolinx plans call for train service along those tracks out to Stoney Creek, so yes, they could put a stop/station there.

" GO train service extends to Stoney Creek via the future James Street North station at peak times, in the first 15 years of the plan. A stop wasn't identified but may be Centennial Parkway."

Even so, Ii believe there is still plenty of land available for parking outside of the 30 acre site bounded by Barton & Stauart and Bay & Queen.

I was downtown yesterday and having some time to kill before going to a local "establishment" for supper, we took a drive through the area in discussion. Certainly there is enough land and if they can manage to do something creative with the railyards it might even be scenic. We did notice though how limited access is into and out of the area. Barton St. is it for now. A lot of thought will have to go into street improvement and changing one way streets for sure. A system of shuttle buses will definetly be needed from designated parking areas (area malls?), and a Go-Station would be a good move.

Also Nicole's blog mentions that parking will be made available (comment at 10:35)

Interesting perspective from andrew dreschel today in the spec.

Two-stage stadium plan a 'shell game'

Amid all the shimmying and shuffling leading up to today's city council vote on the Pan Am Games bid, the slickest move by far was dividing the stadium proposal into two stages.

Rather than asking council to commit to the whole shebang, city staff sweetened the pill by only asking for $60 million for a 15,000-seat venue, big enough to host Pan Am events, but not Ticat games.

Only the second phase, which adds $50 million to the price tag and as many a 15,000 more seats, would allow the shiny new facility to replace Ivor Wynne as the Ticats' home field.

But council isn't actually being asked to approve that second stage.

All they're being asked to do is direct staff to pursue other "funding opportunities" for it -- public, private, lotteries, donations, asset sales, you name it.

It's a brilliant piece of stickhandling because it gives the impression that local taxpayers are only being tapped for $60 million.

But it's shell game, of course.

We all know that if those other "funding opportunities" don't materialize or fail to bring in the full $50 million, local taxpayers will be on the hook.

And we all know that once council commits to investing the $60 million, they'll be writing a blank cheque for the second phase.

That's because we don't want or need a new 15,000-seat venue.

We want and need a full-size stadium to replace the worn-out Ivor Wynne, which is already 30 years past its best before date.

We all know that the only reason Hamilton council will likely back the bid is the lure of getting that stadium through a cost-sharing plan that would see the senior levels of government kick in millions of dollars.

This is not about the Games.

A world record hasn't been set at Pan Am since 1979.

They attract only limited public interest and marginal TV exposure, at least in the United States.

This has never been about the Games.

This is all about "legacy." And the legacy is building a new stadium.

Can we afford it?

They're talking about bankrolling the $60 million through the Hamilton Future Fund, which would have no impact on operating and capital budgets, or the city's credit rating.

Councillor Sam Merulla makes a persuasive argument that the $60 million would be better spent on repairing and replacing basic infrastructure.

But it's unlikely he'll convince the majority of his colleagues. As Merulla notes, Pan Am boosters have entered a dream-like state in which a new stadium has taken precedence over all other needs in the community.

So, whether you call it a leap of faith or sleepwalking, tapping the Future Fund for the $60 million is clearly the safe way to go.

But what about the other $50 million? Can we afford that?

If the other "funding opportunities "fail, the city could always dip back into the Future Fund, which will be topped up again in a few years.

But bear in mind, the city already needs to find funding for several big capital projects it wants to do but hasn't budgeted for -- $22 million for Lister, $10 million for the proposed downtown education centre, $20 million for a new fire training centre, and unknown millions for a light rail transit system.

Also bear in mind that it costs the city $51 million annually to service its debt, which now stands at $426 million.

When you factor in the cost of a new water treatment plant, the debt will soon rise to about $1 billion.

That projected debt load has already lowered the city's credit rating, which means it now costs more for the city to borrow money.

We want a new stadium. We need a new stadium. But can we afford a new stadium?

Call me a heretic, but I'm hoping Lima, Peru, or Bogota, Colombia, win the bid so we won't have to find out the hard way


Same old arguments. It is very easy to say a city can't afford this or that if there are no specific details of plans, and Mr. Dreschel has no specific details of plans about how to make this work. So the natural response is to say we can't afford it. That is perfectly natural. But he is not a power player in this, let's see what the real power players have in the details before there is a flat out "it can't be done" by someone who I don't believe knows that much in this situation and what is actually going on behind the scenes.

Thanks for posting the link to the blog.

You're right Earl, and he doesn't really address that the heritage fund can be repaid.

Yes, thanks indeed for this link, very cool!

This would be a dream scenario for the province, too. The problem with the current urban srawl public transit model is that you get full trains heading one way in the morning and empty trains heading back, and the reverse in the evening. A prosperous city at both ends and people travelling in both directions makes public transit a much better investment for the province and it's taxpayers.

It seems to me that it would also increase the chances that the stadium won't be a Ticats only venue - people in the GTA are used to taking public transit - the GoTrains, subways and streetcars are packed - if there was something at the other end of the line worth travelling to, you're more likely to get them to venture out this way.

Expanded GO service to Aldershot has led to a huge population/density increase in Aldershot - dozens of under-utilized lots all along Plains have been, or are being, replaced with multi-unit, medium-density infill. (And some grumpy residents are fighting it tooth and nail - go figure :wink: ) There's no reason that extended all day service to Hamilton shouldn't do the same for the North End.