Statement by Linda Hall
I remember the vibrant and exciting place that our Hamilton downtown became when the world cycling championships were held here a few years back. The streets were filled with people, our stores and restaurants were busy, there was excitement in the air everywhere, AND the television cameras loved our breath-taking cityscapes - the Tiger Cats would photograph beautifully on national television against a stunning Hamilton Bay and our landmark, picturesque bridge, Bob.
You just need to give people a reason to come to downtown Hamilton and it will happen, as seen by the crowds that flock to Copps Coliseum and Hamilton Place for entertainment and to Bayfront Park for recreation.
Already the waterfront area is jamb-packed with sailors, walkers, cyclists, and rollerbladers summer, spring and fall, and a new outdoor skating rink will be operating this winter to keep the people coming. The one little restaurant down there has lines of people snaking through the doors every weekend morning, winter included. Don't tell me, that businesses can't "make it" in that area!
The current reconstruction on York between Queen and James, including the library and market areas, will soon make this a more open and inviting place. This, too is a key area of our downtown because it links the core to the vibrant "arts scene" on James north.
All the pieces are in place to bring the core of our city back to life, except for one - the west harbour stadium. Let's get those brownfields and that post industrial rubble out of there, and create a continuous flow of people friendly places from the Gore to the Bay. This is Hamilton's future, and the west harbour stadium is a vital piece for our city's continued growth!
As many have said before, the building of this Pan Am complex is about more than the Tiger Cat football club. It is about city building - our city! Councillors, you absolutely MUST muster up some courage and vision to use our tax money wisely, and to decide that west is best!