Published on October 13, 2012 9:26 PM by dbo.
Friday saw the unveiling of the new Hamilton Pan-Am Stadium by the Toronto 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games. This provided the first reveal of the stadium details since the existing Ivor Wynne Stadium site was agreed upon for the Pan-Am Soccer Stadium. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats provide a virtual walkthrough of the stadium and its features.
Though the initial report of the press conference was brief, the comments quickly degenerated into a lot of “shoulda done this” and selective fact slinging (and ignoring, manipulation and misinterpreting). Further reports (all 5 articles) revealed the dissatisfaction with the location by a councillor, and negative responses continued (but in a trickle more than flood), but the more passionate, lengthy ones than the norm right after the announcement. Of course some out-of-towners need to get their shots in despite having no skin in the game.
What are some of the complaints? Well, they are many:
All of these are based on solid facts. Yes, the stadium is on the current site, parking is limited on site, it is the wind tunnel design, regular stadium seating has been reduced, there is no cover and it is orientated north-south. However, most of these things were known before the announcement and the others certainly could have been guessed at based on the budget.
The critics get to tear the design and plan apart, making arguments for things whose time to argue have long passed. They offer their simple solutions, ignoring any constraints of the project. They provide sketchy examples as proof they are correct. They even go as far as saying the the city should pull the plug, let the team leave and get a team back when they build the right stadium in the right location. This seems to totally ignore the $90+ million coming from the federal and provincial governments and how rare that is. You see, anyone can say let the team leave and when we raise the $250 million, $400 million or whatever is needed, we will build the best stadium in West Harbour, but that isn’t a plan, that is taking a flyer. It’s easy because no one has to answer for their criticisms, errors, lack of details and blatant misrepresentations.
I can understand disappointment with the stadium design, but I understand the constraints involved and know that compromises have to be made. Ideal stadiums have fan cover, sunken bowls, and are at least horseshoe shaped. With a $150 million budget though, such an ideal stadium is 10,000 seats and what good is that if 2,000 are in the end zone? The compromise here provides for excellent amenities that haven’t been seen in many CFL stadiums, a proper orientation, the necessary high-end club seating and VIP suites and an ability to expand, all without adding a $10/ticket surcharge.
Moving into the 21st century will be a shock to Hamiltonians, but their 2014 stadium will so impress them they will remember Ivor Wynne Stadium fondly, but not want to return to the days sitting on the old benches.