Statement by Tom Ciancone
I am a Ticat fan and a citizen of Hamilton. What is good for me in both cases is a wonderful stadium in the heart of the city. Even though I live on the mountain, I would much rather take public transit or even walk to a new downtown stadium. But it's not all about football. It's having a beautiful and alive city.
Since I have part-time work in downtown Toronto, I have recently been taking the GO Train to reach there. I love it! All the years, I have fought traffic on the QEW. Yes, I'll still drive my car to Toronto, but during rush hour, or for a big sports event, the GO transit is the only way to go. From what I understand, Premier McGuinty's policy is to promote "smart growth" and public transit. So why is the government offering the Mountain site when it contradicts the policy of the premier? I am asking Minister Aggelonitis to stand up for Hamilton and let the premier know that he is on the right track with "smart growth". He would be on the wrong track if he does not support downtown renewal and public transit.
My father worked for 43 years at Stelco - at Ontario Works in west end and lived on Ray Street - right where West Harbourfront development is. He later lived, as I do, on central Mountain. I am sure he would be proud, if living today, to see that the area where he lived and worked had become a beautiful cultural and entertainment centre.
We, in Hamilton, have always identified with Pittsburgh in the U.S. From what I read and hear, Heinz Field, a downtown stadium, has helped in the revitalization of that city.
All the arguments in favour of the downtown site are solid - good for people and the environment. The arguments for the suburban site are pretty flimsy. In fact, promotion of more cars and urban sprawl seem to be downright contrary to common sense.
Is Hamilton culture going to be symbolized by:
* great tailgate parties -10 times a year ? or ...
* a lively entertainment district with sporting events, concerts, restaurants and people enjoying the streets and neighbourhoods of downtown Hamilton - 365 days a year ?
Every time I see our central core, knowing that our politicians' decisions destroyed the historic city hall, Birks building, Century, Palace, Tivoli, etc., I cringe. Please do not continue to make stupid decisions that further ruin our beloved city.
Do the right thing. Follow a comprehensive plan of urban renewal.