Statement by Doug Baker
My wife and I were born and raised in the City of Hamilton. We both worked our entire careers within the city's boundaries. When married over 30 years ago we first moved to the downtown area and came to love the convenience of being able to walk to everything ! Restaurants, galleries, theatres, sporting events, cultural events, recreational activities - it was all there on our doorstep. Subsequent moves over the years have seen us stay within walking distance of the downtown core and with our recent retirements from the work force we have already planned ahead and purchased our post-retirement residence right back where we started as newly-weds overlooking Hamilton's magnificent waterfront. It has been amazing to watch the transformation of Hamilton's waterfront over those last 30 years. What a wonderful gift that all of Hamilton's citizens and visitors are able to enjoy. We were so excited when we first heard that City Council had made the decision to build the Pan Am Complex as a continuation of the waterfront development. What a fantastic opportunity for people to come to the city and experience everything that the area has to offer. Several weeks ago we attended the Elton John concert at Copps Coliseum. As we walked down Bay Street approaching Main - there was a vibrancy in the air. The sidewalks were full. It was amazing to see the crowds approaching Bay Street as they headed east and west along King. Once inside while waiting for the concert to begin we chatted with those around us. People from Guelph and Brantford and even Toronto shared their stories of coming in early and eating dinner before the concert. Hess Village restaurants were full of concert-goers. Imagine the same scenario of crowds attending sporting events at a new stadium in the West Harbour. The nay-sayers in this city point out the parking and traffic logistics as impediments to the West Harbour site but just imagine the possibilities of having a stadium so close to public transportation and the downtown core. What could I possibly see or visit before or after having to "drive" to an East Mountain site other than "more of the same" BIG BOX strip malls and 2nd rate chain restaurants. The West Harbour site is an opportunity for the City of Hamilton to do something right for our present citizens and for our future generations. Our elected officials must make the right decision and stay with their original plans to revitalize the downtown area and continue the improvements to the waterfront making the area a true people place. The building of the stadium is about far more than the Hamilton Tiger Cats Football Club. It is about ALL citizens and the future of our city.