Statement by Christopher Ryan
As the civic right and duty of any citizen, I felt the need to vocalizes what most agree on. I feel that I represent the sentiments of the future of a collective Hamilton that aspires to be something more than a failing city. We can see where we went wrong; never having developed prime real estate (being the waterfront for starters) is one grave mistake. Our city has become the antithesis of a destination for every Canadian because of bad choices built upon more bad choices.
Investing in the long term (football team or no football team) means investing in the development of the waterfront; a GORGEOUS part of our DYING CITY that will be a catalyst (in tandem with ratification of commercial property tax) in attracting private sector to invest in Hamilton once again. Unfortunately an east mountain stadium will not.
Thankfully Hamilton's waterfront is the most socially, culturally and geographically appealing part of the city which makes it a prime destination. Location is key and creating a "destination" is paramount. When has waterfront property not been a sought after as a focal point to any city for commercial, residential, and entertainment purposes? Unless the East Mountain has something to compete with our lovely waterfront? Where is the east mountain lake I never knew existed or an east mountain downtown that needed development so badly it was called "the arm pit of Canada"...Perhaps the east mountain has things to do once after a Tiger-Cats game? What to do for a night on the east mountain? Catch a wedding at a banquet hall, buy a car, get some fast food, or watch as our IQ shrinks while staring at strip mall after strip mall in one of the most aesthetically unattractive, culturally void and pedestrian unfriendly parts of Hamilton. Don't get me wrong, we need a place for farm land, an airport, and car dealerships but this does not equate to a destination.
I guess we could ask ourselves why our successful neighbours down the highway (Burlington, Oakville, Toronto) have so many of their prime entertainment districts, cultural centres and top tier residential and commercial spaces on their waterfronts? Advocates of the Mountain idea must know something they don't and I'd like in on their secret. When I read the allure of real estate I usually read tags like: close to parks, shops, and restaurants. These are usually in reference to places that are not on the east mountain like Pier 4, Locke street, James street, Westdale. I've never read close to banquet halls, steps away to the airport, or a stone's throw away from your nearest strip mall. Could it be private interests fuelling east mountain advocates to petition their cause for the greater good of themselves?
Many of my good friends who spend millions in Hamilton on business, real estate, and leisure would never even consider jaunting up the hill to a barren wasteland void of culture and community unless it were absolutely necessary. Thank god a sports team in a stadium will never elicit a necessity for me, nor will it ever result in a massive progress for this city...Creating a destination, however, will and can make a city attractive again. The WATERFRONT IS THE RIGHT CHOICE!