Published on March 26, 2010 8:28 PM by dbo.
While I have followed the stadium debate in Ottawa closely, I let the situation in Hamilton fall off my radar after the awarding of the 2015 Pan-Am Games. I revisited the Ti-Cats’ situation after hearing Scott Mitchell on the Fan’s Prime Time Sports on Monday. I needed to get back up to speed in order to complete the Stadium Status page, and digging into the Hamilton situation motivated me to complete this new page.
The new status page will be an up to date document on the state of all CFL and potential CFL stadiums. It is meant to provide the latest summary of stadium discussions, proposals and projects affecting the CFL. I will try to keep the page up-to-date, but sometimes news on stadium construction and improvements can slip by me. If you find any information out-of-date or incorrect, please bring it to my attention and pass on any resources which update the situation.
In Hamilton, after the Golden Horseshoe bid for the Pan Am games was successful, the debate over the stadium location began and still continues. Hamilton council selected a west harbour site last year as the preferred site. The city has begun environmental testing on the properties of the selected sites.
The debate focus is on the best location for the stadium. A private group was reported as examining alternate sites to the west harbour site, with an intent to support another site and contribute construction and business plans along with financing behind a new site. Currently, the members of this business group are anonymous, but they will have to make themselves known eventually. Councillor Bob Bratina has suggested Confederation Park as an alternative location for the stadium.
The Ti-Cats have now weighed in on the location, stating there is no business case for the Ti-Cats to relocate to a west harbour stadium. Ti-Cat sponsors have backed the club, stating the proposed location suffers from access and visibility problems. David Braley, former Ti-Cat owner and current Burlington resident and BC Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, along with Ron Foxcroft, Fluke Transport owner and Fox40 whistle inventor, have denied being involved in the anonymous group proposing new sites.
Hamilton is committed to building a 15,000 seat stadium for the Pan Am Games. The city was looking to combine the $102 million in public money for this stadium with another $50 million in private funds expand the stadium capacity to 25,000 and provide a new home for the city’s CFL club. The Tiger-Cats statement that the new stadium location does not make business sense for them to relocate places the city in a bad position. If they stick to their selected location, they could lose any opportunity to construct a larger replacement stadium. This would leave them with the current Ivor Wynne Stadium and its high maintenance costs, diminishing returns and no opportunities for anything more than 10 Ti-Cat games per year along with another small stadium with no real practical use.
I have put together a map with indicators of the the sites mentioned in the reports of possible stadium locations. I’ve indicated the current (1) Ivor Wynne Stadium, to show its location nestled in a residential area with limited parking.
Three alternative sites are suggested as better than (A) the city’s selected site. They are (B) the Lafarge Canada slag site on Windermere Road; (C) the former Studebaker property at Victoria and Burlington streets; and (D) a parcel of land near the QEW and Centennial Parkway.
The selected site does potentially provide a nice view of the harbour and Harbourfront Park, but it ends up sandwiched between a rail yard and a residential area. While the site might be twice as large as the current stadium area to provide some parking, it doesn’t provide any great transportation links or other advantages. It is hard to see why the city has selected this site since they do not own the land and there would be additional demolition costs.
While an open site with available transportation, an industrial area doesn’t seem like an ideal place for a new stadium. It is likely there would be environmental cleanup required for the site. Being close to the waterfront is neutralized by the other aspects of the location. This aspect would rule out this location for me.
I don’t know which corner of this intersection is the described property, but this is another industrial waterfront location. It likely has environmental cleanup and transportation issues. I do not see any value to this location to overcome the surroundings.
This waterfront location provides transportation arteries needed for a large stadium, nice surroundings and a separation from residential or industrial areas. The only question is whether a stadium can be located in the area while maintaining the necessary setbacks from the QEW.
Hamilton faces the same challenge all cities face when trying to find space for a new stadium and not move it to the outskirts of the city. Available space may not be large enough, be located to close to residential or industrial areas, or have the necessary transportation facilities to serve the site. Of the sites proposed, if the Confederation Park site is not an option, I think the West Harbour site is the best option of those listed. For the West Harbour site to work the plan may require changes to handle additional space for parking and changes to the streets to provide better access.