As Infrastructure Ontario and Ontario Sports Solutions scramble to make the $145.7 million stadium safe for the 18,000 fans patiently waiting for their beloved Labour Day Classic to take place in what will be a construction zone, questions continue to drip like a water torture over how it came to this.
The most obvious question is how could such an embarrassing situation happen? But the more troubling issue is, were taxpayers lied to by provincial officials and/or Ontario Sports Solutions when they guaranteed the stadium would be completed on time and on budget to host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ home games?
Ever since January, during what had been a severe winter, those building the facility were dutiful asked if the six-week delay would affect the June 30 deadline. The answers from the Tiger-Cats, the builders and provincial officials has always been no.
Even as late as April, during a tour of the stadium, questions about delays and missed timelines were brushed aside much like annoying gnats. But then strange things started to happen. The consortium missed the June 30 deadline. But don’t be alarmed, they said, the stadium would be ready for the Tiger-Cats home games in July. When those deadlines fell by the wayside, July turned into August and they said the deadline for the football club’s next home game, while on target, wasn’t definite. Even during August there were rumblings that Hamilton’s Labour Day Classic on Sept. 1 with the Toronto Argonauts was in jeopardy.
Yet those concerns were constantly dismissed. Now with the Sept. 1 deadline fast approaching, the implications of what has to be considered bureaucracy incompetency, if nothing else, need to be answered.
Infrastructure Ontario officials have slowly become the city’s best friend, ratcheting up the pressure on Ontario Sports Solutions to get the stadium completed before the Labour Day Classic is abandoned. Yet the reasons for the delay that have been offered — weather, business bankruptcy — don’t make sense. Infrastructure officials acknowledged under media questioning that, yes, there were some issues with the design of the stadium, but they still don’t completely absolve the builders for the stadium taking so long to be completed. Then what is the cause? Incompetence? Were people misrepresenting what was going on at Balsam Avenue to city officials and the public? Or was the project simply too much for Ontario Sports Solutions to handle?
You can be sure there will be legal ramifications that will certainly involve Infrastructure Ontario and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. But what the public needs to know is, how did what should be one of Hamilton’s crowning achievements in its rejuvenation become instead the laughing stock of the sports world?
Do you think the public was misled about Tim Hortons Field’s progress?
- Yes (78%, 38 Votes)
- No (22%, 11 Votes)
Total Voters: 49