Comment 47889

By Policy Hack (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 18:46:50

The Confederation Park option as a site for the stadium was dead in the water the moment it was raised. Confed. Park is a rarity among North American cities - a space in which the general public of a municipal jurisdiction can actually access their own waterfront. The land is low, narrow, and not sufficiently large enough on which to build even a "small" stadium (as if there is such a thing as a "small" stadium, as some have claimed). Further, to try to build it there anyway would send a signal to moneyed developers and those supporting the park supposedly as a stadium site, but are in fact more interested in profiting from acquiring the land, that the city is prepared to offer the land for purchase and development. There can be little doubt that high priced housing and/or condos would be the result. A park which currently attracts many thousands of people per year, almost year round, would no longer be available for recreational purposes, opportunities for exercise, or as a natural setting that provides a myriad of stress-relieving health benefits for its users. Building the stadium at Confed. Park would be counter-intuitive - a poor example of progressive and inclusive public policy, and a public relations nightmare for the current council, who would then have to try to explain why the public funds and the greater public interest was handed over to private business interests.

We went through this once before in 1989 when a consortium of investors secretly tried to push a deal through the city to build a large hotel development on the park. The council got wind of it and duly told the media, at which point developers backed away in anger, knowing that, the moment their proposal became public, it was as good as finished(1). Let's not go back to that - that park, as is, remains an example of effective public policy that serves the public interest on a variety of levels. Leave it alone - there are other options that are far more effective as potential sites for a stadium - and the council know this, which is why Confed park is off the table as a stadium site.

(1) See Robert Fick: The Zero Option - Urban Renewal and the Clearance of the Van Wagner's Beach Community, Hamilton Ontario, 1958-1963. M.A. Thesis, McMaster University: Available at Special Collections, Hamilton Public Library.

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