Published on July 6, 2010 11:25 PM by dbo.
The report from Michael Fenn, facilitator between the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats over the Pan-Am Stadium location, recommends an East Mountain site for the stadium. The recommendation in the leaked draft report suggests the city should continue with land acquisition at the West Harbour and East Mountain sites while details are worked out over the next seven weeks on the ultimate configuration of both sites. Not waiting for the final report to be presented to Hamilton council, Ti-Cats owner Bob Young responded quickly with a open letter to the necessary parties with an outline of his commitment for a stadium at the new site.
Location of proposed East Mountain stadium site (Google Maps)
Mr. Young again presented his position very well and produced the figures of his investment that many detractors have been asking for. He calculates his commitment to the new stadium in excess of $74 million with a $15 million contribution to stadium construction, 10 years of operating costs totalling $30 million, transition costs of $10 million, $14 million to acquire two Grey Cup games as soon as possible and $5 million to launch a NASL team in Hamilton. While certainly not all costs are out-of-pocket, they are substantial and not without risk for such a commitment to break even in Hamilton.
Mr. Young has also committed to hold Grey Cup festivals in the West Harbour area and use the stadium site for community youth programs. He has partnered with Osmington Inc., a sports and entertainment complex developer, and brought on Denis Braham from the leading North American stadium construction advisory firms as a consultant. He has nailed his commitment to this project and the City of Hamilton to the door and awaits their response.
The simplified position Mr. Young has taken from the facilitator’s report is that the waterfront and West Harbour can be developed independently of a stadium located there. The East Mountain location may reduce the city’s commitment and therefore allow those additional funds be funnelled to other waterfront development projects. Events such as Grey Cup festivals will help bring focus and people to this area to assist in the commercial attractiveness of the area. This is the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too scenario that makes much more sense than revitalizing an area by putting a stadium with 600 parking spots there.
The East Mountain site isn’t without issues such as residential neighbours and likely adjustments to roadways and relocation of power line infrastructure. Council seems supportive and hopefully detailed plans can overcome any objections.
Michael Fenn’s report was detailed and comprehensive on the issues beyond the simple location, investigating stadium design, revenue streams and hosting the Grey Cup among the critical issues of access, parking and the lack of a Plan “B” with incomplete studies on these items. Bob Young’s letter knocks it out of the park, outlining his commitment that he has been criticized for withholding and providing an exciting vision of what Hamilton can have. He backs up his commitment with a fan survey, comparison of Ti-Cat to CFL averages and letters from CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon and NASL Chairman F. Selby Wellman. If Hamilton’s leaders balk at this offer, they will have killed the goose that laid the golden egg.