That stadium opportunity? Money may not be the biggest issue.

The size of the opportunity and the risk for the community has to be fully assessed. The optics could be a stumbling block.

By Pepper Parr

It was THE buzz in every coffee shop in both Hamilton and Burlington and all the truck stops in between.  The following from TSN – The Sports Network

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are having a serious look at moving down the road to nearby Burlington, Ontario.

The Cats are in negotiation with a Burlington developer and his partners that would see a private consortium contribute $30 million to the Pan-Am Games stadium project that would become the new home of the CFL team.

The Tiger-Cats had been working with the city of Hamilton over the past year, but that process ended last week when Hamilton council voted down the only two options the team said made economic sense.

It is believed talks between the Tiger-Cats and the Paletta family of Burlington go back months, with the understanding that a deal would only go forward if options dried up in Hamilton. That being the case, the two sides are now working towards being able to present a business case to the Pan-Am Games committee by February 1st.

The Paletta’s own 125 acres of land located east of the Aldershot GO station and bordered on the north by Highway 403 and on the west by King Road. The land has already been zoned for sport-entertainment use.

It’s not clear how much the City of Burlington or Halton Region might be asked to contribute to the project.

Council is going to hear from a lot of people.  Need to look for the facts and see  special interests for what they are..
Council is going to hear from a lot of people. Need to look for the facts and see special interests for what they are..

“I think ideally you need to have the land and a significant private-sector component and this has both,” said Tiger-Cat president Scott Mitchell. “But as it relates to Burlington it’s very preliminary and they have to make sure this works for them.”

Provincial and federal government representatives have been working with the Tiger-Cats over the past several months and would likely look favourably on a deal that would keep the team within the region.

The proposed stadium site is almost as close to downtown Hamilton as downtown Burlington and would provide easy access by car or rail for fans from Hamilton.

Ian Troop, CEO of the Pan-Am Games committee, was cautious in assessing the Ticats latest direction. The committee already has its own Plan B process underway, having already short listed Mississauga, Brampton and Markham as possible sites for a potential smaller soccer-only facility in case the CFL partnership fell through.

”I call (Burlington) an emerging idea,” said Troop. ”I understand their motives but all ideas will be subject to the same criteria we’ve been using in Hamilton. They’ve got to have the financing and the legacy in place and have it all done up with a bow by Feb. 1. There’s a lot of work to be done to have something we would consider a complete proposal.”

Some comments from TSN followers.  These are a little like talk radio stuff, usually more emotional than rationale but they do give a sense of what the sports fns think – and remember – they are the people buying the tickets.

It time to get the wrecking ball warmed up, cause Ivor Wynne is going to need to be demo’d next year!!! That’s what Hamilton City council has decided to have happen!! Maybe the city should (beg) sell that land to a home developer, so they could build some new housing on that lot!! Oh by the way, Cat fans will now need to drive to Burlington, to see their team play in a brand new stadium!!! I say the city of Hamilton gain some money in the short term and they may get some nice new houses for the downtown core, as a result of Ivor Wynne’s demo!! But they lose long term, not having the football team’s as a tenant!! Whatever happens, it’s all on Hamilton city council heads for this mess they created!!!

There are going to be a lot of opinions in the next month.
There are going to be a lot of opinions in the next month.

Another comment:  The City of Glendale built a rink because their land was cheaper than that in Phoenix and it was a great opportunity for them. The team is called Phoenix Coyotes. The senators play in Kanata, there are lots of examples like this. Hamilton simply does not have a suitable location, Burlington has a great location available. Let Burlington reap the rewards of being closely located to Hamilton and build a stadium. Hamiltonians enjoy Burlington amenities and vise versa….big deal! This area deserves to continue to have CFL football, and this will accomplish this. Way to go Bob Young. I hope something terrific gets built at the West Harbor site in Hamilton, not some office building.

 And yet another:  Been a Ticat fan for more than 50 years and now drive 300 km to get to the games. I’ll miss IWS because it’s a great place to watch a football game but it makes absolutely no difference to me if they move to a stadium in Aldershot. It just makes getting to the games a whole lot simpler with easy access from the 403. And yes I’m sure they’d still be called the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

These are opinions and they shed some light on feelings.  The decision Burlington is going to make has to be based on facts.  Let’s get the facts.

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