Published on April 25, 2010 2:29 PM by dbo.
Since my previous post on the Hamilton Pam-am Stadium debate, not much has changed. Both sides are still squaring off over the stadium location.
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger fired back April 9, stating the city will select the stadium site, not minority partners like the Tiger-Cats. Concerns over access were dismissed by the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington and the west-harbour stadium site was linked to a revitalization of the north end and downtown.
Ian Troop, Pan Am Games CEO, expressed optimism that a resolution between the civic leaders and the football team was forthcoming. It is expected the Ti-Cats will submit a business plan for a stadium to city staff by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, a brief but well presented proposal to use Hamilton’s civic Chedoke golf courses as a stadium site was published as a Letter to the Editor April 17th. The location is close to the west harbour and downtown, provides ample space and could be part of a complete entertainment complex. Compared to the city’s plan to shoehorn the stadium into a small site, but present no plan for parking or other development around the area despite claims the stadium is key to west harbour and downtown revitalization. Providing a vision of how this area is to develop certainly would help people get on board a site which just lacks imagination or vision for its long term viability.
While the city’s response is expected, they do not hold all the cards. Without Ti-Cat and private sector participation, the stadium will not be expanded to the 25,000 - 30,000 seats required for a CFL team. A decision by the Ti-Cats to not contribute is one to stay in their current home, Ivor Wynne Stadium, which they have declared as past its useful life. This may be seen as a bluff, but both sides have guns to each other’s heads, it remains to be seen if either will pull the trigger. It seems possible a compromise can be made with a greater plan for the west harbour site so it isn’t another stadium dropped into a neighbourhood without any development plan around it. That will require more than the $150 million estimated for stadium construction.
On a side note, the Tiger-Cats new guerrilla marketing campaign has fooled some people, opening the club up to criticism over the campaign and though unrelated, the stadium debate.