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  #201  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 3:26 PM
highwater highwater is offline
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Originally Posted by Bob Bratina View Post
My original suggestion to build a new Sir John A. MacDonald high school came in 2005, long before the Pan Ams were considered. First consideration....the sad architecture of a failed building, reminiscent of the Barton Street Jail. This is not a building that inspires pride in its students, many of whom face challenges in their personal lives. Sitting outside to have lunch or kick a ball around puts them between two major arteries, Cannon and York. The athletic field is to say the least sub-standard. Beneath it is the rubble of the old McCoy Foundry which means it is never level, and poorly sodded. The ideal location is on City-owned property a block north on Bay at Scheaffe, or on the north side of Central park which is also City property. This places the school in a less-travelled residential area, adjacent to a green space, Central Park. A school on the Barton street property could have great classroom views of the Harbour and a safer, quieter cleaner environment for Sir John
A. students. In fact most of the teachers with whom I've discussed this idea are strongly supportive, understanding that the current school and grounds are less than ideal.

This creates another positive element for Downtown development. Whether its a stadium, hotel, conference centre, the site presents what is so difficult to find in dense urban areas, namely a substantial parcel of land.
So I will continue to advocate for a new Downtown high school. The comment by "highwater" is beneath contempt and is the probable indicator as to why most of my colleagues avoid making any contributions to forums such as this.
I was involved in the board's 'revitalization' process of its elementary schools. It is disingenuous to suggest that SJAM will somehow be lifted wholesale and placed in a prettier building in a prettier spot in the same neighbourhood. This process is about one thing and one thing only: eliminating spaces for students in our established neighbourhoods in order to expand on the fringes. SJAM won't simply be relocated in the same neighbourhood, it will be amalgamated with other schools putting its unique programs at risk and damaging the city's efforts to densify and revitalize these neighbourhoods.

With the exception of Saltfleet, Waterdown, and Westmount, all our high schools, including the venerable Westdale with its IB and celebrated Media Arts programs, are on the chopping block. This is not cause for celebration, this is cause for panic.

The board's actions run counter to everything we know about economic development and sustainability. You and your colleagues should be madly lobbying the Ministry of Education to change their funding formula, or at least urging them to have a chat with their colleagues at the Ministry of Energy and Infrasructure. https://www.placestogrow.ca/index.php?lang=eng.

I realize I'm straying a little off topic, but much of your justification for your choice of the SJAM site revolves around the idea that you can convince the board to move SJAM to a nicer building in a nicer location without sacrificing spaces, programs, and other schools. The teachers you've spoken to have little say in the matter, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that the administration would go along with this.

I find it telling that you dismiss my pointed, but otherwise perfectly civil comments as "beneath contempt". While you complain on the one hand about "hokey anonymous tirades", the relative anonymity of the internet also conveniently allows you to mischaracterize and dismiss the legitimate points of view of your fellow citizens. No doubt you have given credence to far less civil rants simply because they were uttered at public meetings.
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  #202  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 3:30 PM
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Originally Posted by markbarbera View Post
The bid committee took out a downtown option, not council. Why was it taken out? Why doesn't council have the guts to say 'no, it's our dime on the line here, give a downtown location proper consideration'?

'Consultants' should not be the ones calling the shots at City Hall. How did this become an acceptable norm?




Bratina is a minority at council when it comes to building the stadium at the downtown area. The consultant finalized the waterfront or the Airport. It's now up to council to finalize the site. The consultant ruled that the downtown would be too complex, which I agree. It would be difficult to find 20 acres of open space for a warm up track and a stadium in the downtown area. I wouldn't want another York Boulevard massacre happening again with demolishing tons of buildings.

You would think Toronto's pub district would have closed up with BMO Field and Rogers Centre built.

Bratina should work as a team player and make the difference to fine-tune the stadium plan instead of doing what Merulla is doing, my way or the highway. We only have a few days to finalize the site or else the Pan Am committee will find a greenfield to build the stadium in perhaps Burlington.
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  #203  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 5:21 PM
markbarbera markbarbera is offline
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Originally Posted by SteelTown View Post

You would think Toronto's pub district would have closed up with BMO Field and Rogers Centre built.
Seriously? You are comparing the site for BMO Field and Rogers Centre to the former Rheem site in Hamilton?

BMO Field is integrated into the Exhibition grounds, is serviced by several TTC routes including the Harbourfront LRT, has a GO Transit stop, is next to the QEW and has thousands of parking spots available to fans who come to the games. Similarly Rogers Centre has GO Transit, several TTC routes including the Yonge subway, immediate access to QEW and tens of thousands of parking spots within immediate walking distance - not to mention an extensive commercial district, and all these services were in place long before either of these were built.

Do you really want to start drawing parallels with Rogers Centre aka Skydome? Are you aware of its construction history and its cost overruns?
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  #204  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 5:30 PM
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Originally Posted by markbarbera View Post
Seriously? You are comparing the site for BMO Field and Rogers Centre to the former Rheem site in Hamilton?

BMO Field is integrated into the Exhibition grounds, is serviced by several TTC routes including the Harbourfront LRT, has a GO Transit stop, is next to the QEW and has thousands of parking spots available to fans who come to the games. Similarly Rogers Centre has GO Transit, several TTC routes including the Yonge subway, immediate access to QEW and tens of thousands of parking spots within immediate walking distance - not to mention an extensive commercial district, and all these services were in place long before either of these were built.

Do you really want to start drawing parallels with Rogers Centre aka Skydome? Are you aware of its construction history and its cost overruns?
I think he was responding to Bratina's statement that the stadium might have a negative impact on the present downtown economically.
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  #205  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 5:36 PM
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Yes, I was talking about Bratina's insertion of the "Stadium Entertainment Precinct" would harm the downtown area.
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  #206  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 5:41 PM
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Originally Posted by highwater View Post
I was involved in the board's 'revitalization' process of its elementary schools. It is disingenuous to suggest that SJAM will somehow be lifted wholesale and placed in a prettier building in a prettier spot in the same neighbourhood. This process is about one thing and one thing only: eliminating spaces for students in our established neighbourhoods in order to expand on the fringes.
That's not really a fair statement. Six of the ten new schools are rebuilds of existing schools in long-established neighbourhoods such as Beasley, Corktown, Gibson, Hillcrest, Lawfield, and Scott Park.
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  #207  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 6:02 PM
markbarbera markbarbera is offline
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Originally Posted by bigguy1231 View Post
I think he was responding to Bratina's statement that the stadium might have a negative impact on the present downtown economically.
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Originally Posted by SteelTown View Post
Yes, I was talking about Bratina's insertion of the "Stadium Entertainment Precinct" would harm the downtown area.
There is every likelihood that it will have no net positive impact on the downtown and in fact could act as a detriment to the core's revitalization. The core desperately needs an new anchor to draw people in. Locating a stadium in the downtown core may have been 'complex', but it would have had a significant impact on bringing people back into the core. The west harbourfront will drive new people past the core, maybe through the core, but not into it. New retail and service industries will locate in this new "Entertainment Precinct" rather than in the core, so the empty shops and restaurants downtown that could have been filled to complement a downtown stadium will instead remain empty.

Assuming of course that an 'entertainment precinct' would even be viable at the west harbourfront location. Barton Street never enjoyed any benefits from its proximity to Ivor Wynn, so why would this new location be any different? Rather than resolving the isolation problem of the Ivor Wynn site, it is being transplanted to a new isolated site, moving the stadium from one area surrounded by residential homes to another area surrounded by residential homes. This environment is hardly a catalyst for nurturing a vibrant new 'entertainment precinct'.

By the way, comparing downtown Toronto to downtown Hamilton is really comparing apples to oranges no matter what context you choose to use.
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  #208  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 6:23 PM
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I think Flar's point got lost in the shuffle but personally I think it's the most important one made so far.

1. The Rheem lands in their current state are unacceptable from every point of view. (Environmental, community, visualy etc, etc etc.)

2. Whatever the cost of remediation it's agreed that it will be held to a lower standard than for Residential development.

3. Residential development is the prefered option for the local groups in the North End and I believe it is designated as such in some proposed plans for the North End.

4. If it is too cost prohibitive to build a non residential building at this site then it stands to reason that this land will NEVER be of acceptable quality to build houses or apartments on.

5. Since it is very likely that a residential developer will be unable to make a business case for the remediation of this land. What other options are we left with?
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  #209  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 6:24 PM
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Yes, the "Stadium Entertainment Precinct" shouldn't have any harm to Hamilton's downtown when the new stadium will probably sell out perhaps the most 15 times a year. That's not enough to support a pub or a restaurant to the West Harbourfront. So this can be disregarded by Bratina's own assertion.

The West Harbourfront site is largely surrounded by old factories and a large park. There's some residential but hardly the same amount compared to IWS.
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  #210  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 9:46 PM
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Originally Posted by markbarbera View Post
That's not really a fair statement. Six of the ten new schools are rebuilds of existing schools in long-established neighbourhoods such as Beasley, Corktown, Gibson, Hillcrest, Lawfield, and Scott Park.
Not only is it fair, it is entirely accurate. Yes, a few new schools were constructed, but with a net loss of student places and the loss of some walkable, neighbourhood schools, and all to fulfill the Ministry's funding formula which is based on the number of students and therefore forces boards to close schools in established neighbourhoods in order to expand schools in the outer suburbs. Obviously the loss of neighbourhood schools, and the loss of places for students, seriously hampers the ability to attract families to these neighbourhoods in order to keep them stable, nevermind the possibility of densifying.

As I mentioned, I took part as a parent and representative for my children's school in the 'revitalization' or 'accommodation' process, or whatever Orwellian term it was they were using for school closures. It was divisive, high-handed, and heartbreaking. I imagine the board learned a few lessons and will handle the highschool closures more diplomatically, but highschools have been increasingly offering some very creative, specialized programs, and the closures will inevitably lead to the loss of some of these programs.

Clr. Bratina is being awfully cavalier with his suggestion that SJAM could simply be moved to another location in the same neighbourhood with no loss of places and programs, let alone the idea that the board would accomplish this in a timely enough manner to free up the current SJAM property to be a candidate for the stadium location.
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  #211  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 12:09 PM
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Stadium vote ahead but questions linger

February 17, 2010
Andrew Dreschel
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/723196

And so we come full circle.

Tomorrow city councillors are expected to approve building the Pan Am Games stadium in the west harbour.

The show of hands comes almost exactly a year after they voted 12-3 to contribute $60 million to the Games from the Hamilton Future Fund, most of it earmarked for the facility supposed to replace the aging Ivor Wynne Stadium

A lot of good work has gone into stadium planning since then, but key details are still missing from the picture. Councillor Sam Merulla flagged them a year ago. No doubt he'll be sending out the same SOS signals tomorrow.

With good reason.

Costs are skyrocketing but the private sector still hasn't come to the table with anything but woolly promises of financial support.

Let's be blunt.

What we're really looking for in terms of private-sector involvement is a firm financial commitment from the Tiger-Cats, who will be the main tenant.

That was a significant issue a year ago and it remains so now for the same reason.

The city, province and feds have only committed enough money to build a 15,000-seat stadium.

To get a full-blown 25,000-seater capable of hosting Ticat games, the city needs to bridge a capital funding gap of some $66 million, which includes $16 million for land remediation and acquisition.

True, the Deloitte business plan suggests the existing $102 million from the city/feds/province might actually be able to deliver a bigger venue than the 15,000-seat stadium originally envisioned.

But tens of millions in extra funding for the full-size stadium still needs be nailed down.

Councillors made it clear last year -- and likely will again tomorrow -- they have no appetite to commit any more city money.

Nobody expects Tiger-Cats' owner Bob Young to pony up the full $66 million. But surely it's time to harden team president Scott Mitchell's vague promise of a year ago to contribute, along with other private partners, "millions to tens of millions of dollars."

Mayor Fred Eisenberger generously suggests the Cats are waiting for council to formally choose a stadium site before chipping in.

"The moment we pick a site, they're prepared to then weigh in and start looking at a business case analysis, and there's an expectation that they will contribute."

The mayor declines to attach a figure to that expectation but he thinks it will involve "significant millions."

As well it might.

As Deloitte points out, it's not uncommon for tenants to contribute financially to new stadiums. Among others, the report cites the Montreal Alouettes ($6 million) and the owners of a Toronto soccer franchise ($8 million).

Yes, there are other prospects for offsetting the $66 million other than tapping the Ticats. The Deloitte reports suggests naming rights could be sold for $5 million and up to $7.5 million could be raised from redeveloping the Ivor Wynne site.

Redirecting the city's current capital and operating subsidies for Ivor Wynne could raise almost $10 million and a ticket surcharge could pull in another $5.5 million. But that still leaves a funding gap of about $38 million.

Other potential sources include federal and provincial contamination cleanup programs and new property taxes from complementary developments near the stadium. But in the absence of a solid commitment from the Ticats, much of this is starting to sound uncomfortably like a big fat pie in the sky.

The truth is, until Young gets the ball rolling and shows some community leadership, Merulla's warnings should be echoing in all our ears.
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  #212  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 12:10 PM
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Edmonton's advice: persuade stadium-goers to take transit

February 17, 2010
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/723199

Limited parking at a football stadium can bring heartache unless you find ways to get fans on public transit.

That's the lesson for Hamilton's Pan Am stadium from Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, says general manager Brent McFarlane.

It has 800 on-site parking spots for a stadium that seats 60,000 and averages almost 40,000 for Edmonton Eskimos games. The Pan Am stadium plan has 600 spots for a 25,000-seat venue.

"It has been ugly at times," McFarlane said of fans parking on streets despite bans, stiff fines and towing charges.

The stadium, built for the 1978 Commonwealth Games and as home of the CFL's Eskimos, is served by light rail transit and buses.

But until a free ride program for ticket-holders was put in place, just under 40 per cent of ticket buyers used public transit.

McFarlane said some fans cynically defied parking bans.

"You get five guys in a van, they simply split the fine five ways."

But the "green and go" program offering a free ride has transit use shooting up -- 51 per cent the first year, 52.4 per cent the second and "we're hoping to hit 60 per cent this coming season," McFarlane said.

Conversely, parking violations have fallen, he said.

McFarlane said Commonwealth doesn't have as many nearby parking spots as Hamilton's west harbour site does, pointing out Eskimos fans often park and walk for 25 minutes to get to the stadium.

A parking study found about 5,500 spots within one kilometre of the proposed site for the Pan Am facility.
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  #213  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 12:11 PM
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Pan Am costs on target: mayor

February 17, 2010
Stories by John Kernaghan
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/723240

Mayor Fred Eisenberger says the city can hold the line on its $60-million Pan Am commitment despite pressure on the city's 2015 Games budget.

Cost increases of $16 million for the Pan Am stadium, plus uncertainty about how much the Hamilton Tiger-Cats would chip in for the facility, were at the centre of Eisenberger's visit to The Spectator's editorial board yesterday.

The cost of land acquisition and remedial work at the preferred west harbour stadium site rose to an estimated $26 million from a previously projected $10 million.

That could soar to around $50 million if the worst form of toxic waste is discovered at the site, according to a preliminary environmental assessment report.

And it could be as low as $3.37 million if there's little contamination.

"I don't see the need for additional dollars" above the $60 million committed from the Hamilton Future Fund, a confident Eisenberger said as he prepared to put the stadium location before city councillors tomorrow.

He said the $16-million budget jump could be covered by $5 million from stadium naming rights, at least $4.6 million from a $1-a-ticket surcharge over the 20 years following the Games, and a minimum of $6.4 million from the sale of the Ivor Wynne Stadium site.

He expected Ticat owner Bob Young to stick to a commitment he made last year to provide "in the millions" for a new stadium.

But the city could be looking for $50 million from the private sector to bump the stadium from a 15,000-seat, $102-million facility to a larger home for the Tiger-Cats with at least 25,000 seats.

Eisenberger said the city would immediately sit down with football club officials, assuming city council confirms the west harbour location as the official site.

"The Ticats haven't been able to do an analysis of what the stadium means to them until they have a location," Eisenberger said.

Young confirmed the club's position yesterday in an e-mail.

"The Ticats cannot begin to estimate how big our contribution is going to be until we have a clearer idea of what we and our corporate partners are contributing to."

He added the club's primary contribution will be in attracting corporate support to the stadium project.

"We believe there will be lots of corporate support available," he said.

Eisenberger said the city may also be able to use its $60 million more efficiently by looking at something less than the Cadillac of stadiums.

A business plan analysis by Deloitte noted the Pan Am construction estimates used $6,800 per seat, much higher than Ottawa's proposed MLS Stadium ($5,500 per seat), the planned Winnipeg stadium ($4,500 per seat) and Toronto's BMO field ($3,140 per seat).

But the mayor stressed the stadium needs to be Hamilton's signature facility for a world stage, and also be flexible so it can get plenty of community use.

Costs

Stadium -- $102.3 million

Velodrome -- $11.4 million

Land -- $16 million

Remediation -- $10 million*

*could vary sharply

Total -- $139.7 million

Funding

Pan Am host company -- $63.7 million

Hamilton Future Fund -- $60 million

Naming rights -- $5 million

Ticket surcharge -- $4.6 million

Ivor Wynne Stadium redevelopment -- $6.4 million

Total $139.7 million

Source: Deloitte business plan
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  #214  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2010, 2:52 PM
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Whether or not the city pursues a stadium on the Rheem site, it owns the property, possibly in perpetuity. And it will be developed (and presumably remediated) regardless of what goes there. Reported at the time the land was snapped up:

Quote:
The Rheem land has been a key property for both the Pan Am Games and the city's plans for waterfront development. It's flanked by brownfields, industrial sites and residential areas. The city wants it, even without the Games, because it's close to downtown and could create a link between the waterfront and the core.

The deal has been "in the works" for some time, said Mayor Fred Eisenberger, adding the city started pursuing the land before the Pan Am bid as part of the Setting Sail plan.

"It's strategic to the waterfront redevelopment. I think that's the overall context, and the Pan Am bid just added additional value to it all."
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  #215  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2010, 12:10 PM
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West harbour site likely to win nod for Pan Am stadium

February 18, 2010
John Kernaghan
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/723814

Proponents of a west harbour Pan Am stadium seem headed to a victory today, but it won't be like a Canada-Norway hockey score.

In fact, a couple of former yes votes on city council have gone to the nay side.

So the 12-3 vote of last February which put Hamilton in the Games bid will be something like 11-5 or 10-6 today to confirm the land near Bay and Barton Streets as the 2015 Games site.

Councillor Dave Mitchell has switched to the no side and it appears Bob Bratina, whose ward encompasses the site, is solidly against it.

Also, Bernie Morelli is reserving judgment until he hears presentations today.

Brad Clark, Sam Merulla and Margaret McCarthy have consistently opposed spending on the Games.

That leaves Mayor Fred Eisenberger supported by councillors Brian McHattie, Chad Collins, Tom Jackson, Scott Duvall, Terry Whitehead, Maria Pearson, Lloyd Ferguson, Russ Powers and Robert Pasuta.

"There's lots of reasons," Mitchell said in an e-mail, that he "is not in support at this time." He did not elaborate.

Bratina doesn't like the west harbour site because he believes people won't walk to it from core parking lots and therefore it will put traffic pressure on residential streets near the west harbour location.

Clark will centre his opposition on escalating costs he believes could be understated, especially in terms of land remediation, and the lack of private sector money.

"That $37 million for remediation the environmental report cites may not be the extreme top end cost."

Clark noted that when he was the provincial minister of transportation, he was shocked that the soil remediation at the Go bus garage in Hamilton was $9 million for a half-acre site.

"What could it be for a site that is more than 20 acres?"

Meantime, Ferguson will back the stadium location despite concerns about parking.

He isn't worried about soaring soil remediation costs, noting his experience in the construction industry tells him it isn't likely to be excessive.

Jackson supports the site only if costs are contained.

"Not a dollar more on the municipal side for me. And I will be extremely disappointed if there are no private dollars for this project."

The city is still waiting to hear what the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and other private partners can bring to the table to build a larger, 25,000-seat, $150-million version of the stadium as the new home for the Ticats.

The Pan Am plan calls for a 15,000-seat, $102-million stadium to stage track and field, the premier sport of the Games.
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  #216  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2010, 11:12 PM
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Awesome news.

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/723814

City picks west harbour site for Pan Am stadium

February 18, 2010
Emma Reilly
The Hamilton Spectator
The city has approved the West Harbour as the future site of the Pan Am Games stadium.

The motion passed 10-5 with Councillors Bob Bratina, Brad Clark, Margaret McCarthy, Brian McHattie, and Sam Merulla voting against the location. Councillor David Mitchell was absent.

The city is still waiting to hear what the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and other private partners can bring to the table to build a larger, 25,000-seat, $150-million version of the stadium as the new home for the Ticats.

The Pan Am plan calls for a 15,000-seat, $102-million stadium to stage track and field, the premier sport of the Games.
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  #217  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2010, 11:38 PM
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Awesome news indeed.

I guess I can change this from "Planning" to "Approved".

During the council meeting it was suggested the Ti Cats would be willing to give $25 million.
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  #218  
Old Posted Feb 18, 2010, 11:59 PM
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Excellent news!
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  #219  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 2:11 AM
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I hope to be proven wrong, but with the costs already spiralling significantly higher than expected, and with no definitive dollar commitment from any private partners, I fear this stadium is destined to be known as the mistake by the lake.
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  #220  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2010, 3:35 AM
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Originally Posted by markbarbera View Post
I hope to be proven wrong, but with the costs already spiralling significantly higher than expected, and with no definitive dollar commitment from any private partners, I fear this stadium is destined to be known as the mistake by the lake.

Whats the worst that could happen, we get a cleaned up site, loose a dirty use beside a nice public area and have the ticats playing there. If this doesn't have an positive effect on downtown its not like its going to make it any worse.

I don't think it will be a mistake by the lake but I think is this went near the airport it would have been a its owuld have been a "civic low blow out near munro"
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