The City can significantly improve inclusion for residents around Ivor Wynne Stadium by focusing on urban renewal and access to green space and recreational facilities in its renovation.
By Sarah V. Wayland
Published January 21, 2011
In previous presentations to City Council, the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction identified priorities and principles that should serve as a guide for a made-in-Hamilton social inclusion strategy for the Pan Am Games.
Our August 2010 submission examined the West Harbour and East Mountain proposed stadium site locations through a social inclusion lens, concluding that the West Harbour location provided more opportunities for inclusion.
In this brief report, we consider how the redevelopment of Ivor Wynne Stadium (IWS) Complex might impact the surrounding area in terms of social inclusion opportunities.
Any redevelopment of the land that includes the IWS Complex would be accompanied by opportunities to promote social inclusion, including job creation, improved public transit options, and the pride felt among area residents for being recipients of such significant investment.
We focus on two opportunities in particular: urban renewal and access to green space and recreational facilities. These are two areas where city investment can significantly improve inclusion for residents.
|City of Hamilton||Ivor Wynne (8 census tracts)|
|Median income in 2005 - all census families ($ range by tract, lowest to highest)||$66,810||$36,348 - 53,483|
|Median % in low income after tax - all families||14.0||23.3|
|Median % in low income after tax - ages 0-17||18.6||35.5|
|Female lone parent families (% range by tract, lowest to highest)||14.8||19-32|
|Median population density (people per square kilometer)||452||4990|
(from 2006 Census data and The Hamilton Spectator's Code Red series)
As shown in the table, the neighbourhoods surrounding IWS are high-density areas whose residents are significantly more likely to live in low income households. Compared to Hamilton as a whole, children and youth in this part of the city are twice as likely to live below the poverty line.
Moreover, the neighbourhood itself suffers from an absence of grocery stores, community and recreational facilities, and green space. The primary source of green space is Scott Park which consists of three baseball diamonds.
The "core constituency" of any stadium is not the residents of the surrounding area. Persons will travel from all over Hamilton as well as from outside the city to attend events at a stadium. However, the immediately surrounding population may benefit from commercial developments and other economic opportunities created by the presence of a stadium, and other forms of urban redevelopment.
Much of the literature on stadiums as a vehicle for urban renewal focus on creating a "precinct" with associated development of restaurants, hotels, even housing. A side benefit is that parking options will be in greater demand. The precinct notion has been present in the stadium discussions in Hamilton as well.
However, building a stadium will not ensure urban renewal. This is evidenced from many other recent stadium projects in North America. A stadium and associated development is only one part of a renewal solution. As such, municipalities should share costs with tenants and other investors.
One tested strategy for creating healthy neighbourhoods is the introduction of mixed-income housing. The popularity of recent condominium projects in Hamilton's downtown core indicates that the time may be right for Hamilton to follow the lead of other North American cities in terms of creating more higher-density housing options. This would be a positive step towards remedying the disparity highlighted in the The Hamilton Spectator's "Code Red" series.
The IWS Complex is surrounded on all sides. It is hemmed in by
As such, the amount of land available for redevelopment is relatively small. Any development must be well thought-out and make the best use of all space that is available. For example, discussion of creating more parking space must be balanced by what will best serve the surrounding community on a daily basis.
Social inclusion of children and youth implies the equal opportunity for all children to actively participate in society and to develop their capacities and capabilities, leading to equitable life opportunities. Recreation and physical activity are prime contributors to healthy lifestyle for all. They are especially important to the healthy development of children and youth.
Children and youth living in poverty do not participate in recreation and physical activity as much as their wealthier peers do. They face many barriers that restrict access to quality recreation and physical activity opportunities, including lack of facilities in the community, transportation, family support, awareness, safe places to play, and childcare.
According to the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth, children's participation in recreation activities and the frequency of participation increases with rising income quintiles.
The neighbourhood surrounding IWS is a densely-populated urban area with a few green spaces and recreational facilities. Students are in the area daily, and the area is already a hub of some recreational activity, though it lacks any multi-use recreational and community meeting space.
The closest recreation centres are more than two kilometres away (Pinky Lewis and Central). The closest playgrounds are at Gage Park and Woodland Park, which are 1-2 kilometres from the site. Smaller parks with playgrounds are farther away: J.C. Beemer Park (68 Victoria Avenue North) and Belview Park (205 Belmont Avenue).
Nearby schools do make regular use of Scott Park and the Jimmy Thompson Memorial Pool. Schools have occasionally used IWS for events such as the Terry Fox Run, and they have partnerships with the TiCats that allow them to attend various special events at IWS and sometimes receive free tickets to football games.
Brian Timmis field does not appear to be used by the adjacent schools, though one school official stated that the school would use it if it were available to them. This is unfortunate as soccer is a very popular youth sport in Hamilton. Newcomer and downtown youth have few options for playing organized soccer in the city.
In view of the above findings, we recommend that the City of Hamilton undertake the following steps to enhance social inclusion in preparation for any redevelopment of the neighbhourhood around IWS:
Solicit community input into the development process to identify neighbourhood priorities.
To create the biggest impact in a limited space, investigate multi-use facilities, for example, a stadium with football, soccer, and community tenants and adjoining fitness/ recreation centre.
Explore incorporating mixed-income housing models in the re-development.
Ensure that facility management promotes ongoing and enhanced community use of facilities.
Maintain the local economic benefits of existing stadium location, notably the parking revenues that go to nearby schools.
Ensure that any redevelopment of IWS be accompanied by an expansion of green space open for public use.
Ensure that any redevelopment of IWS be accompanied by the construction of a community centre or senior's centre containing meeting space as well as recreational facilities.
Maximize impact of existing space, including safe street crossings, streetscaping, and signage to public transit
In closing, we wish to call attention to the potential impact of the velodrome and how its construction and operation might promote social inclusion wherever it is located. Many of the key points outlined here can apply to the velodrome as well.
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