Finally, everyone seems to be at peace again in Hamilton due to the unanimous decision by the Hamilton City Council to renovate the Ivor Wynne Stadium.
The city of Hamilton is happy because this decision ends the dispute with team owner Bob Young and means the city will keep the Tiger-Cats for the foreseeable future at the cheapest possible cost to taxpayers.
The taxpayers are happy because the city will keep the CFL team at the cheapest cost.
Owner Bob Young is happy because he now has a stadium in a place that is suitable to him, and he can end his fruitless search for a new location for the team. Now all he has to do is find a temporary home for one year while the renovations take place (probably Moncton).
And the CFL is happy because Bob Young is happy.
It seems no one remembers the damaging revelations made during the negotiations and squabbling about the team's future.
Originally, a new stadium was to have been built to meet Hamilton's obligations for Toronto's 2015 Pan American games. It seemed a perfect opportunity to provide the Tiger Cats with a long-term new home.
Instead, what developed was a three-way war between the City Council, Young, and the CFL.
Young denounced the new location for the stadium as unsuitable for transportation reasons, and threatened to move the team to a different city.
The CFL, particularly Commissioner Mark Cohon, backed Young to the hilt, denouncing the City Council and threatening never to return to Hamilton should the team leave.
Cohon also revealed that Hamilton has not been considered to host the Grey Cup because of the size of Ivor Wynne Stadium.
In light of that, please explain why renovating Ivor Wynne Stadium is the best choice for Hamilton.
The seating capacity will be reduced from nearly 30,000 to 25,000. It is still in the same location. How can Hamilton ever host the Grey Cup?
If the present stadium is not good enough to host the Grey Cup, how will this new model be better?
The Grey Cup can bring in big bucks for a host city. Every other city in the CFL has a better chance of hosting it than Hamilton. Even small Moncton, should it join the league, has a better chance.
Naturally, the three parties involved in this dispute are saying nothing now that they are all friends again. And Ivor Wynne Stadium is no longer "inadequate." It's now "historic."
While it is commendable for the City Council to think of the taxpayers, especially in regard to the fickle nature of professional sports teams and their owners, they also have an obligation to develop a facility for the long term.
The Pan American Games should have provided the opportunity for the Tiger Cats to settle for at least another quarter of a century, and to correct the inadequacies of the present stadium.
This should have been an exciting time and opportunity for the fans, the owner, the City Council, and the CFL. Instead, peace was bought at any price, and ugly revelations were made.
The dispute has made hypocrites out of everyone who was a party to it.
The City Council was prepared to spend millions to renovate Copps Coliseum in order to please the NHL, a league that has always snubbed and degraded it. Had Jim Balsillie returned triumphant with a team, they still would not spend more than they had to on the one professional team they do have.
Young now gets a smaller stadium in the same location, instead of one that can be expanded and further developed. He still must find a temporary home for the Tiger Cats to play for a year.
And the CFL, which publicly denounced Ivor Wynne Stadium and said it was not suitable to host the Grey Cup, now gets a smaller model in the same location.
Of course, the CFL also accepted an Ottawa design that was less than 25,000 seat capacity and is supposed to be the league standard.
How can Hamilton ever host the Grey Cup?
Everyone just wanted to placate everyone else. The Tiger Cats have a new lease on life in Hamilton, but do they really have a future?
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