Bill Kelly: Hamilton council’s ‘paralysis by analysis’ is hurting downtown’s revival

FirstOntario centre opened Nov. 30, 1985 as Copps Coliseum as an attempt to bring an NHL team to Hamilton. 900 CHML

Here we go again!

City staff are recommending spending another $200,000 for an independent study to tell them what they already know; Hamilton’s entertainment facilities are outdated and in poor repair and the cost of fixing the multitude of problems is prohibitive, to put it nicely.

FirstOntario Concert Hall, a.k.a. Hamilton Place, is probably salvageable, but the arena and convention centre are archaic and in need of replacement.

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In fact, the arena’s major tenant, Michael Andlauer’s Hamilton Bulldogs, have already started exploring the possibility of a new arena, which is yet another indication that the former Copps Coliseum is long past its best before date.

Do we really need another study to re-affirm that our convention centre, with its outdated design and limited capacity, is embarrassingly uncompetitive with convention halls in Toronto, Ottawa and Winnipeg, to mention a few?

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Past city councils have been guilty of overanalyzing every controversial issue to the point of creating a “paralysis by analysis” that has resulted in missed opportunities to grow and improve.

Let’s hope this new council, with new faces and new perspectives, can move beyond that penchant for indecision.

Clearly, the city has neither the money nor the vision to fix the problem and it’s another indication that the city probably shouldn’t be in the entertainment facility business anyway.

Instead of spinning our wheels with yet another report, it’s time to look for private sector partners who have the vision, the expertise and the money to make this happen.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.


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