Posted August 24, 2010
We all breathed a well-deserved sigh of relief when City Council voted decisively to reaffirm their commitment to the West Harbour Pan Am stadium location as the best place to invest our Future Fund in the interests of our future.
This was such an important victory of the public interest over narrow private interests that it drew praise from both Toronto Mayor David Miller and the Globe and Mail's editorial board, among other national and international supporters.
But the campaign is far from over. The Tiger-Cats still refuse to return to the bargaining table to work out a deal with the City, and a handful of their well-connected supporters, along with many in the sports media, are busy spreading misinformation about the West Harbour and heaping ridicule on the Councillors who voted for it.
They're predicting - one might even say hoping - that Hamilton will lose the Pan Am stadium altogether.
We have to make sure that doesn't happen.
The Province has confirmed and reconfirmed that it will support City Council's decision on where to put the stadium. The Federal Government, after a bizarre claim surfaced that it would only fund an East Mountain stadium, quickly clarified that it, too, will support Council's decision.
Pan Am HostCo, the committee that oversees the games, still has to approve the West Harbour location, but it is the Provincial and Federal Governments, as well as Hamilton itself, that will foot the bill.
We need to send a clear message to HostCo, Queen's Park and Ottawa that we expect them to keep their promise. We don't appreciate the Ticats putting words in our elected officials' mouths, and we hope that our elected officials don't like it either.
We also need to counter the false claims flying around by reaffirming the facts:
- There are over 4,700 confirmed parking spots within walking distance of the West Harbour.
- The West Harbour and its nearby parking lots are accessible via several major, multi-lane streets from several directions.
- The West Harbour is also easily accessible by municipal transit (including planned east-west and north-south LRT lines), regional transit (with a planned GO Train stop st LIUNA Station), walking, cycling, and even by boat from the Harbour. For more on West Harbour accessibility, read The Myth Of The Inaccessible Stadium.
- Consulting firms hired by the city have carefully prepared a business case for the West Harbour stadium, and a plan for transportation and traffic management for the site. The claim that the city has failed to demonstrate the suitability of the West Harbour is false.
- Meanwhile, the Ticats have yet to produce a business case demonstrating why the West Harbour will not work for them.
You can be sure that powerful interests are busy, right now, lobbying the higher levels of government through back-channel connections. There is $100 to $150 million in public money up for grabs. They will not tire or relent so long as they can influence where it goes.
We need to counter that with the only tools we have: an open, public citizens' campaign calling on HostCo, Queen's Park and Ottawa to follow through with their promise to honour local democracy and accept the final vote of our City Council.
What You Can Do
1. Contact your local representatives at the provincial level. Click here to email Ted McMeekin and Sophia Aggelonitis from the governing Liberal Party, as well as Andrea Horwath and Paul Miller.
2. Contact your local representatives at the federal level. Click here to email David Sweet, Dean Allison, and Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport) from the governing Conservative party, as well as David Christopherson, Wayne Marston and Chris Charlton.
3. Contact the Pan Am Games Host Committee (HostCo). Click here to email all of them. (Please note: we are aware that some of these email addresses may not work - this appears to be either be an issue with HostCo's email systems, or a deliberate disabling of accounts on their part.)
4. Contact all of them at once! Click here to do that.
If you have any problem with the links provided above, here are the email addresses so you can cut and paste them.
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org, Christopherson.D@parl.gc.ca, Marston.W@parl.gc.ca, Charlc@parl.gc.ca, email@example.com, Lunn.G@parl.gc.ca
Pan Am HostCo:
Roger.firstname.lastname@example.org, Marcel.email@example.com, Sylvie.firstname.lastname@example.org, Martha.email@example.com, Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org, Tony.email@example.com, Doug.firstname.lastname@example.org, Sandra.email@example.com, Carla.firstname.lastname@example.org, Walter.email@example.com, Victoria.firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew.email@example.com, Ian.firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com