The Pan Am Stadium is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We chose to build it at the West Harbour. Now it's time to stand behind our choice. Show your support.

Statement by P B

Dear Council,

While many in this community are (were?) Tiger-Cat fans for 10 days a year, we are Hamiltonians for 365. For this reason, words cannot express the frustration and disappointment many of us possess regarding Council’s seemingly overnight change of heart with respect to the Pan Am Stadium location.

- This city has recently attempted to stop the drain of young, educated professionals from the city; perhaps sadly and pathetically, even studies and surveys have been conducted. It does not take a rocket scientist (or surveys) to discover what young professionals are looking for in a city; young professionals are looking for progressive, modern, interesting, pedestrian-friendly URBAN communities. A suburban sprawl stadium, humourously and fittingly located behind a Home Depot, will do very little to convince young URBAN professionals that this city is on the right track. Even McMaster students, who have historically been disinterested in this city and often have very little desire or reason to stay upon graduation, have put their support behind the West Harbour stadium! These young professionals are the future of this city, the ones you must be convincing to stay. LISTEN TO THEM!

- Against all common sense and logic when it comes to sustainable and progressive urban planning, we have allowed ourselves to be bullied and threatened by private interests. Making matters worse is the paltry sum (fifteen million “vague” dollars) we are potentially being bought out for. Are we really willing to risk the future health, character and sustainability of our city for fifteen million dollars? Are we that desperate and pathetic?

- The East Mountain location also fails to adhere to the criteria of BOTH the Future Fund and Places to Grow vision. How could you possibly justify using these monies to build an urban sprawl parking lot for Bob Young and keep PJ Mercanti happy? (PJ Mercanti?! HA) These monies are to be used for city-building, not city-destroying.

- How does this city expect others to invest in its downtown core when the city itself may choose to ignore such an opportunity? Every 6 months in this city there is a significant project proposed for the downtown core that inevitably fails. Is this yet another demoralizing defeat and loss for the downtown, the city, and its citizens?

I ask that you please consider the long-term impacts of your decision. A decision to build a sprawl stadium will confirm what many citizens already suspect: that Hamilton is well on its way to becoming a soulless, car-centric, sprawling Toronto suburb interested only in “driveway to driveway” experiences. Many of the downtown’s small successes over the past few years will have been for nothing, and you will further perpetuate the stereotype that Hamilton is a regressive, dated, and backwards city (is it a stereotype if it’s true?).

The right decision is obvious, and the citizens of Hamilton are counting on you to make it. Not that one individual matters to any of you, but a decision to build a suburban stadium in the year 2010 (may I remind you that this is not the ‘60s!) will be all that this cynical Hamiltonian can take; the final lost opportunity of MANY. As a young urban professional who has moved downtown to become a part of Hamilton’s renaissance, it will signal to me that there is very little hope that this city will ever become anything more than what it sadly already is. I will refuse to live in a community that puts private interests before the public good, and I will be taking my tax dollars to a community that knows what to do with it. Thank you.

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