Posted August 07, 2010
We spoke up and they had no choice but to listen.
That's the inescapable conclusion from the most recent twist in the never-ending stadium saga: the federal Conservative government has reversed its position on the stadium location just 24 hours after shocking the Hamilton community with a pro-East Mountain veto, issuing a statement that says "Federal funding is not contingent upon the location of the stadium."
According to a Hamilton Spectator article, "the only conditions Ottawa has for funding the stadium is that the city own the stadium; the stadium must be used for the 2015 games; the stadium must be used for high-performance sport after the 2015 games; there is no objection to a professional football team (CFL franchise) using the stadium as tenants: and that the board for the 2015 Games approve the construction of the stadium and that it be ready on schedule and within budget."
The article says the statement issued by Sports Minister Gary Lunn denies that the federal government said they would not fund a stadium if City Council selected the West Harbour as its location.
So what's going on behind the scenes?
It seems likely that the feds floated this idea to see what would happen. Clearly, what happened was a clear and unmistakeable response from Hamiltonians that they would not tolerate outside interference with their preference for the West Harbour.
Pressure was applied and that's how we won this victory. But the crucial decision still lies ahead, as Tuesday's Committee of the Whole meeting has regained its significance.
The federal government heard us loud and clear. So did the province. Let's make sure that Council is still hearing from us right until the vote on Tuesday.