Does A Stadium Enhance A Neighbourhood?

March 2009 after City Council voted that the West Harbour be submitted as the preferred site for the Pan Am Stadium, NEN requested of City Manager Chris Murray and David Adames, the Pan Am “point man”,  that NEN be kept informed during the site selection process.  That did not happen.

On Thursday Feb. 11, 2010 a meeting organized by Councillor Bob Bratina was held to inform residents of the up-coming recommendation by City staff to select the West Harbour location for the stadium site. The business plan had been completed, and the preferred site was in fact going to be recommended to council on Thurs. Feb. 18.   About 75 people attended this meeting, organized on very short notice, hotly discussing this decision & the process, and asking many questions about the affects to the neighbourhood. 

NEN’s position has been that until we can properly assess the effects of a stadium, NEN continues to support the residential land use designation on the Barton-Tiffany land in Hamilton’s Official Plan: (medium-density residential, small shops/commercial, and parkland).

Board members read the 200 page business report which includes the IBI traffic report (80 page appendix) , that will be presented to Committee of the Whole on Feb. 18.  In addition, we spoke at that meeting focusing our comments on our concerns for our neighbourhood. 

Issues that have been brought forward and discussed are: before and after game “partiers”,  noise, what the stadium will look like, what kind of use it will get, will it be a “wall” facing the neighbourhoods, how lights will affect neighbourhood and harbour, shading, traffic, parking, community use, how streets will be blocked off, which streets will become main arterials and more. 

We are interested in making sure a stadium built in the West Harbour is transportation friendly, with shuttles  bringing people in rather than driving through residential streets.  We are interested in a LEED stadium built with excellence, incorporating environmentally-friendly designs and concepts.

NEN is not opposed to the Pan Am Games.  We do want to know how building a stadium will enhance our neighbourhood, enhance residential growth, and be true to Hamilton’s vision of the Best Place to Raise a Child, promote innovation, engage citizens, and promote business.

A West Harbour Stadium combined with the West Harbour Recreational Master Plan which recommends over 75,000 sq. ft. of commercial buildings,  puts our neighbourhood under pressure.  Change will happen, and we need to be part of the process to maintain our community and as we continue to work toward becoming a Child and Family Friendly Neighbourhood.