Sports

Farr on Ivor Wynne Stadium Proposal

By RTH Staff
Published January 11, 2011

Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr just sent a detailed email to RTH in response to an earlier request for comments about the Ivor Wynne Stadium proposal. We sent several questions and he was kind enough to answer each in turn.

Raise the Hammer: What do you think of this proposal?

Jason Farr: I have always been a strong proponent of these games and the legacy. Also, I have clearly supported the importance of our 141-year-old professional football franchise and the measurable and immeasurable benefits the Tiger-Cats bring to this community (national image, over 1200 community visits last year, thousands of dollars to charity, inspiration to our youth, etc. - to these points, even they know they have some repairing to do in Ticat Nation).

So far, it appears to be the only option the Ticats will entertain. With that, I do think this proposal, at this time, is our best option to keep a major Pan Am legacy project alive in the Hammer.

With this plan:

And, should this motion pass tomorrow, I look forward to moving on to other more very pressing issues in the heart of our great city.

RTH: Does it fulfill the City's community building objectives?

JF: I do not believe it will hurt.

RTH: Will it leave enough money either to remediate the Barton-Tiffany property or upgrade the Velodrome to a permanent, high-performance facility?

JF: It would be great to see both (certainly I am sure that is what many of the RTH readers would like to see come to fruition) but let's first focus on tomorrow's (Wed. Jan 12 Council) motion.

I do intend on speaking to the WH issue (to be clear I favoured Setting Sail from the start of the campaign).

Last month I was encouraged to find one million dollars added to the total cost to date on the WH city purchased lands. The million is slated for demolition of the property that now sits vacant and is not only an eyesore, but serves as a reminder of a fouled up process (all parties sharing blame).

Upon being elected, one of my first questions to our senior managers was, "How soon can we tear down and prepare ground at WH?"

A large scale stadium would have been terrific at your site. Unfortunately, my commitment to SS and the reluctance of Hamilton's only legacy tenant to play there has been its only two down-sides (in my view).

While it is impossible to make everyone content on any one issue - this is important - I feel very strongly about getting the WH ready (hopefully with a commitment of monies as it relates to the IWS deal) for a very bright future in an extremely important, and soon to be very impressive, neighbourhood of ward 2.

RTH: Do you think Toronto 2015 will accept this as a legacy for the Pan Am funding?

JF: I am confident they will.

32 Comments

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 21:59:58

It's interesting that councillor Farr mentions his support for Setting Sail. Setting Sail has been cited many times on these boards by many individuals who oppose a West Harbour Stadium.

Do we really have a tremendous number of fans of Setting Sail, or do we have many crafy anti-west harbour advocates citing a cause that they may not fully believe in?

I think that, with the west harbour stadium essentially dead, we'll have an opportunity to see how many people really are committed to Setting Sail, but watching how quickly the plan is moved forwards to implementation.

My guess, is that in four years, Setting Sail will, like so many plans before it, be "on the books" and yet unimplemented.

Heck, I don't even think they can get Randle Reef cleaned up in the next four years, and that's just shameful.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 22:07:57

I sent a couple of emails to Farr as he is my councillor, and got a somewhat vague, but polite and prompt response back. But this response is extremely weak. He supports remediation of the WH, but at the same time supports using the ENTIRE PanAm allocation to renovate IWS? The two are mutually exclusive, as everyone knows. There is no money left for WH if the IWS reno motion passes tomorrow. The IWS solution will leave no amateur sports legacy for this city, and does not in any way contribute to "the best place to raise a child." Also, not sure where his confidence that PanAm will accept the IWS solution, as it really does not fulfill the amateur athletics legacy requirement, and Ian Troop's statement gives me not a bit of confidence.

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By Valour (registered) - website | Posted January 11, 2011 at 22:19:50

But the IWS Solution IS leaving us an amateur legacy.

My bad.

I mean a legacy left for us by amateurs...... Amateur mayors, amateur Councillors and amateur football teams.

different things.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 11, 2011 at 22:22:43

@Zephr, how does it not meet the amateur athletics legacy? It already serves this purpose (aka 190 other uses besides the Cats), and a large stadium in West Harbor or CP or East Mountain, was also to be a community use stadium like Ivor Wynne. Ivor Wynne wasn't supported by HostCo because the Cats wouldn't play there and a 30,000 seat stadium needed a major legacy tennant.

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By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 22:32:14

Using all of the Pan Am money (fed/prov/FF) on IW leaves nothing for a permanent year-round velodrome. Whether you believe no one would use it or would not personally use it is irrelevant, there is a community of people spread out across eastern North America who potentially would use it and that is the amateur legacy that is being abandoned in this plan.

If BY is indeed planning to put in a soccer academy, that is a positive step but the problem I see there is that the funding for that facility is not encompassed by the Pan Am monies as the proposal stands today.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 22:35:59

@Zephr, how does it not meet the amateur athletics legacy?

Well, for starters, we won't be able to build a permanent velodrome. Now THAT would have been an amateur athletics legacy.

Comment edited by highwater on 2011-01-11 22:36:38

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 23:00:32

Jason Farr responded

With that, I do think this proposal, at this time, is our best option to keep a major Pan Am legacy project alive in the Hammer.

That may be true, but perhaps a "major" Pan Am legacy project isn't what is best for Hamilton and it's citizens. Perhaps a "moderate" (eg. scalable 6000 seat stadium) is what is best for Hamilton and it's citizens. If our 'best' option is to blow all of the future fund money on a bad idea, it doesn't mean we should go for it.

With this plan: * I look forward to the wind-fall 2 Grey Cup hosting opportunities in just 8 years will bring to our city. * I look forward to potential of professional soccer, and finally the return of major outdoor concerts.

2 Grey Cups would be great. However, is the Ivor Wynne area the part of our city we want to be showcasing to Canada? Wouldn't 2 Grey Cups at the West Harbour be even better?!

The return of outdoor concerts? At Ivor Wynne?? I don't think so. How do they get away with saying things like this?

Comment edited by SpaceMonkey on 2011-01-11 23:00:59

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 23:02:15

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 23:11:25

Renoing IWS gives us an improved version of what we already have. No remediated land open for private investment. No world-class velodrome. I suspect some of the promising soccer ventures (including the Canadian youth development program) would no longer be interested. I cannot think many amateur athletics programs would want to entangle themselves with Ti-Cat management after what I have observed in the past year. They have behaved like ignorant thugs out to secure public money to benefit their own organization.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 23:19:12

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 11, 2011 at 23:20:30

RTH: Does it fulfill the City's community building objectives?

JF: I do not believe it will hurt.

That, my friends, is vision

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted January 11, 2011 at 23:46:28

I would cut him a bit of slack, he is new to the position and it will take him a while to get used to being the one on the hot seat. Certainly his manner of speaking, while not yet profoundly "visionary" is at least more professional than what some seasoned councillors have had to say, not mentioning any names.

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By Tnt (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 00:13:24

Not mentioning any names, we'll call him B Morelli no too obvious Bernie M.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 01:14:35

Well, you have to give Farr credit for one thing. As likely knowingly the most controversial member of council regarding this issue, he hasn't hesitated to talk with RTH (a site of whom many users have frequently screamed against his impartiality) regarding his position on the issue, and that is admirable I would say.

Do I agree with his statements, some yes, others...not so much but at least it's good to see we don't have another screamin' Sam Merulla on council, whose points and positions are lost due to his conduct.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 01:37:15

Anyways, as far as Farr's comments.

I fully agree the Ti-Cats bring a lot to the city both tangibly as a business, charitable donations (Marwan Hage should be given the key to the city) and the intangibles such as city image, history and civic pride. I do agree I want to see another Grey Cup in Hamilton although wonder just how they plan to pull it off with a 25,000 seat stadium (40 I think being the minimum the CFL has set for a Grey Cup, and Hamilton's last cup wasn't a resounding success). I certainly would like to see a professional soccer franchise, and a NASL team seems fairly likely (lets take the Reds down a peg before they become the next Leafs and infest Hamilton sports fans) but concerts are VERY unlikely to fly again there.

I'm glad he's taking an interest in the West Harbour, and I'm glad he's seems to be implying that any money we save with an Ivor Wynne project are going to the West Harbour. Still, I don't know if I share his optimism regarding Ivor Wynne being approved, nor do I feel this rebuild is fulfilled all the city building objectives. (that is unless the Ti-Cats/City unveil a GO Station at Gage St and a massive overhaul/removal of the eyesore industry surrounding said station and improvements to Stadium Mall). I think the West Harbour should trump Ivor Wynne, but if it's not in the budget (which I'm not so sure of) and we finally have an agreement for a large facility with the Cats, I'm willing to compromise.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 01:44:02

As far as sports legacy, I will also mention (and not to favour the site, just stating a fact) minor football and high-school football still uses the facility quite a bit from my understanding. Add a soccer academy there at Brian Timmins and replace Scot Park (not the pool though) with an up to date athletics facility (YMCA kind of stuff) and you have quite an amateur sports legacy for the area, especially if it's open to the public, Recreation Centre style.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 02:53:05

RobertD

Setting Sail has been cited many times on these boards by many individuals who oppose a West Harbour Stadium. Do we really have a tremendous number of fans of Setting Sail, or do we have many crafy anti-west harbour advocates citing a cause that they may not fully believe in?

I believe in the West Harbour and it's potential, if Setting Sail is the plan and vision for the area then I believe in it too. Does that make me a crafty anti west harbour person?

A small stadium at WH will only be a sparsely attended black hole there that will contribute very few of the results you dream of. For all of these current IWS rentals a small WHS would support there are only the participants present and their supporters; just parents, husbands, wives and at most only two of them in the stands for each person on the field. The very occasional event such as a high school championship game might bring a couple of hundred people at best. Some special events could fill a 6000 seater very, very occasionally.

I went to the community meeting about Barton/Tiffany at You Me Gallery to learn more about what the people who actually live there want for their neighborhood. Guess what, they believe in Setting Sail to. How about involving and considering those residents, and if they like SS are they subversive crafty anti-west harbour citing a cause they don't fully believe in? I think your over thinking things Robert, and it's really making you paranoid.

Comment edited by mrjanitor on 2011-01-12 02:54:41

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By wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 03:38:42

I liked the time Jason Farr took writing this.

And I do have faith in him seeing something develop with WH, whatever the plan ends up being. I'll bet now he's one of the few that cares for more than just the condos.

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By Setting sail? (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 04:29:49

If you believe in setting sail then vote against IWS and use the $45M from the FF to clean up and develop WH around an awesome community velodrome athletics facility.

the future is WH and not a pro football team.

Council should back the WH and then give IWS to the ticats and the land around it for free and let them do and pay for it.

the audacity of the Cats to still have no money on the table yet kill our future fund.

time to start looking for a better city to bring up my family

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 07:48:47

@Mr. Janitor,

I certainly did not mean to imply that everyone who supports Setting Sail is doing so for disingenuous reasons. I'm well aware that many people support the plan. What I'm concerned about is the number of vocal setting sail advocates who seem to have appeared only recently and seem to use setting sail as a reason for being against the west harbour site. I question whether some of these people are truly committed to setting sail or merely paying it lip service.

I also made no attempt to guess at how many people made up each side, rather I said we'll be able to see, based on how many of them continue supporting setting sail after February 1st, how many people truly believe in the cause versus how many are disingenuous.

Personally I don't think setting sail is a bad plan, I myself support it, although I think that with subsequent Pan Am considerations, it would make a fine stadium site.

If you personally took offence I'd ask you accept my apology, but also ask that you carefully re-read my post to understand that I was not trying to write off setting sail supporters as all having a hidden agenda.

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By W3RA (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 08:22:01

@SpaceMonkey,

Please stop putting down the neighbourhood around IWS. While the area has commercial and industry challenges many of the people who live there put a great deal into their homes and community. They deserve better than derision based on your outside perception on the quality of the area.

W3RA

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 09:19:34

That, my friends, is vision

Exactly, we make way too many decisions in this city because 'it can't hurt'. It can, and it always does.

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 09:37:57

Thank you W3RA (anonymous). One thing this should not be is a fight between neighbourhoods that both could use some investment but are not anything nearly as bad as portrayed. Both neighborhoods are full of hard working lower income people that take pride in their homes. A walk through the IWS district has some of the best maintained landscapes in the city. Simple and inexpensive but meticulously maintained. A walk through the North End also has more examples of caring owners than uncaring ones

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By told you so (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 09:41:50

@Robert Although I agree there are some that are just using Setting Sail as an excuse my belief is that the entire process has made many more people aware of what is happening in the North West/WH/downtown area. The Setting Sail Plan quite frankly hasn't been on everyone's radar and when people find out what its really all about many are now embracing it. JMHO

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By Serendipity (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 09:51:29

@HamiltonFan, I agree, Jason Farr is not profoundly "visionary" yet miles apart from the vitriolling councillors responding to the new news re IWS. Farr made a big boo-boo erroneously confirming outdoor concerts; however, to fly through the EA process, as BY has stated IWS will pass EA, a clause has perhaps already been written outlining in fine detail that there will be no outdoor concerts, save one or two a year perhaps and only with the Prior Consent of the neighbourhood.

@mrjanitor, there were many residents who stuck with the years-long process - 9 years and counting as North End traffic issues, stemming from Setting Sail, are still being decided at OMB (which began early November 2010 for three weeks and returns for a further two weeks on January 24).

The truth is, the Setting Sail planning process was open to all interested from '02-'05. I was interested, became involved, learned a lot about environmental assessments, government funding, and the highs and lows of working with the City. It was an arduous process at times, but overall very satisfying as well because the City listened to all residents who voiced their concerns and in '05 almost everyone was pretty much happy with the results and the plan was complete and approved by Council. Some, like the residents of the North End, Cp, and a few others, were not so happy with some aspects; the residents issues related solely to traffic, both current and future uses. The North End, it was decided (to avoid an OMB hearing) would have a City initiated North End Traffic Management Study, beginning in January 2006. Things were looking up for the North End because traffic is indeed a horrendous problem here. First proof: go to Pier 4 or Bayfront Park any day after school, or after dinner in the summer and you can count the kids from the North End, 1200 beautiful children presently, on one, maybe two hands. Some days, most days, even in the summer mornings, there are no kids. No parent in the North End is crazy enough to have their kids walk to these "jewel" parks here at the West Harbour. We had, and have, a problem.

North End residents, the spunky people we are, came up with a traffic plan that they felt suited their neighbourhood more than what the City was coming up with, primarily because we live and breathe the traffic here every day, live here day and night, and not one of the City side did. We had the knowledge on this one and we were quick to use it.

What made sense was to calm and civilize the traffic in the North End, which in turn would make it a beautiful and unique gateway to the West Harbour, parks, boat clubs, and all businesses that encompass our extremely high-density neighbourhood. The residents came up with a Pilot Project that would see the North End as Canada's first CHild and Family Friendly Neighbourhood with max speeds of 30k. A real head-turner for North America but a given in Europe and Asia.

The City agreed to the CFFN/30k, immediately, back in August of 2006 when it was first presented at a Community Advisory Group comprised of City and stakeholders; in reality, the residents hung it out while stakeholders, a very long list, barely, if ever, made it to the table. But, the City had a hook, James and Burlington would remain at 50k. The residents disagreed and for good reason - every expert the residents could find, going back half a century, stated that the calmed zone must be a whole zone, not a fragmented one like the City wanted. Why, with James and Burlington remaining at 50 (real speeds much higher), our parks would still stay vacant because the very large residential neighbourhood east of James and south of Burlington would still be faced with the same problem we've always had...we can't cross, won't cross, are too scared or young to cross, James and/or Burlington.

The residents and City sparred for 4 1/2 long years over the James/Burlington issues , street classification, traffic calming and traffic management measures (calming deals with speed, management deals with volume)...James and Burlington were to stay at 50 and the holistic (City used to love this word) nature of the Pilot Project would be lost completely.

So, a dedicated team of people, NOrth End residents, are at the OMB to fight for what every expert, other than City traffic engineers, states is best to have a successful, safe and extremely healthy CHild and Family Friendly Neighborhood. Yes, OMB hearing is open to the public.

@breeze and @zephyr...It's rather sad and absurd that you both scream so much about issues and planning processes and a lot of volunteer work that you both seem to have missed out on for the last 8 years. Where were you? I remember a few dissenters back then but the "loudest voices" were overwhelmingly (over 90% in a large neighbourhood poll) happy that the North End could be home to a fabulous initiative that will put our City in a beautiful light. I'm gobsmacked, yes gobsmacked, that you don't see it, don't get it, and, disturbingly, come out knocking and fighting the visionary initiatives residents came up with; after long, hard and steady volunteer activity, and duty I may add, you're now coming to the table...to do what?

I would encourage all residents of every neighbourhood to dream big and then get involved in making your neighbourhood better, more civilized, safer, healthier. Don't wait for the City because it ain't gonna happen.

BUT, don't sit on your duffs for close to a decade and then cause deliberate and harmful upset by screaming blue murder at the closing arguments.

Now, I wish Jason Farr would get just a thread past his small talk about Setting Sail and start gushing about Setting Sail's visionary pilot project that's coming down the pike soon - the North End's Child and Family Friendly Neighbourhood. I hope Jason knows that the CFFN is part of Setting Sail.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 09:53:23

@W3RA,

Please stop saying things that aren't true. I never put down the area around IW. I posed the question, and implied the belief that the West Harbour is a better area to showcase Hamilton to the rest of the country. I never said anything about the people that live there or the condition of the houses in the area. Perhaps it is you that needs to change your perception of the area? As to my outside perception of the area. You have no idea how much or how little time I spend in the area. Do you see the irony of your post?

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By Steve (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 12:16:47

Spacemonkey, In defense of w3ra the way you phrased your question is in a form of looking down ones nose, and the 'However' is a pretty damning comment on the neighbourhood.

Really, I guess your questions are actually rhetorical in nature based on their phrasing. You aren't really looking for an answer, more for agreement that WH is better then IWS area.

I'm just pointing my oberve out, not looking to dispute or debate.

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By michel (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 15:24:38

How much are the TC putting up into this new deal?

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 17:28:16

Steve,

Yes, I do believe that the WH is a better location to showcase to the world compared to the area surrounding IWS. That is not to say that I think the IWS area is bad, I just think that there are areas (such as WH) which "show" nicer than that area. I went on a tour of Hamilton for prospective investors in the city. Do you think the tour stopped for lunch at the WH or at IWS? (yeah, that's another rhetorical question).

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 21:51:25

Having just listened to Farr tonight, I'm still not sure what to make of him. Sometimes he seems rather reasonable and has well thought out points. Other times he seems to focus on tangental items and talks at length with really nothing substantive to say...

Maybe he's still just getting used to his role as councillor. I hope he continues to improve.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 22:05:13

I'm pretty sure he voted for it in the end. Didn't sound like he supported it from his comments though. I agree with Robert D. He's all over the map. Seems well-intentioned though. Hopefully he'll improve as he gets more comfortable.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 12, 2011 at 22:15:34

He sounds like he is hosting a radio show...oh wait a minute ;-)

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