Hamilton stadium location debate rehashed in court filing

News May 27, 2016 by Matthew Van Dongen The Hamilton Spectator

Turns out it's never too late to reignite Hamilton's years-old stadium location debate.

The city and Hamilton Tiger-Cats have filed new court documents with details about stadium delay damages they claim against each other, the contractor, province and Pan Am organizers.

Last month, the city filed notice it would seek $35 million from the province and contractor Ontario Sports Solutions over a litany of deficiencies, construction delays and contract disputes related to the $145-million Tim Hortons Field.

The city separately claims about $4.7 million in damages from the Ticats, while the team claims about $13.8 million against the city, contractor and province.

The city's latest filing alleges its tenant "caused or contributed to the delay of the stadium reaching substantial completion by the positions it took on the location of the stadium and by its interference with the process." The claim has yet to be tested in court.

Spokesperson Andrea McKinney said the city can't comment on details of ongoing confidential negotiations to settle stadium issues. But she added Hamilton's statement of claim "takes an expansive approach, including early discussions about the stadium, so as not to prejudice the city's rights."

City council originally planned to build its new stadium in the West Harbour. The expropriation process for area homes and businesses was already underway when the football team announced in 2010 it wouldn't support the proposed stadium site.

That spurred an acrimonious debate and increasingly desperate search for an alternative ahead of a deadline to qualify for Pan Am infrastructure cash. After rejecting several sites, council ultimately agreed at the last minute to tear down Ivor Wynne Stadium and build anew on the same land.

The contractor was unable to finish the stadium by the original June 30, 2014 deadline and handed it over still unfinished just months before the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Infrastructure Ontario assured the city local taxpayers would not be liable for late stadium costs. But the agency filed its own legal notice action in May claiming damages of $50 million from all parties. The Spectator was not able to reach the contractor Friday while the provincial agency declined to comment.

Ticats spokesperson Aaron Gogishvili called the court filings a routine protection of the team's legal rights and emphasized negotiations continue. While the team listed 30-plus outstanding stadium problems in its claim, Gogishvili said the "vast majority" should not be noticeable to fans.

McKinney said work continues to fix various deficiencies and prepare the stadium for the football season. Notable new allegations in the team's court filing, which have not been tested in court, include:

•The Keith Urban concert in the stadium Sept. 27, 2014 resulted in unspecified losses to the team. About 20,000 people attended, but 3,200 seats were off limits due to elevator problems. The team previously said it spent $1 million to bring in artists;

•The stadium delays stopped the team from hosting "soccer events" in 2014, resulting in unspecified losses. It's not clear what events are being referenced;

•Blocked views from 878 stadium seats and "unusable" seats surrounding the eastside tunnel openings.

If you could turn back the clock, where would you put the stadium?

mvandongen@thespec.com

905-526-3241 | @Mattatthespec

Hamilton stadium location debate rehashed in court filing

News May 27, 2016 by Matthew Van Dongen The Hamilton Spectator

Turns out it's never too late to reignite Hamilton's years-old stadium location debate.

The city and Hamilton Tiger-Cats have filed new court documents with details about stadium delay damages they claim against each other, the contractor, province and Pan Am organizers.

Last month, the city filed notice it would seek $35 million from the province and contractor Ontario Sports Solutions over a litany of deficiencies, construction delays and contract disputes related to the $145-million Tim Hortons Field.

The city separately claims about $4.7 million in damages from the Ticats, while the team claims about $13.8 million against the city, contractor and province.

The city's latest filing alleges its tenant "caused or contributed to the delay of the stadium reaching substantial completion by the positions it took on the location of the stadium and by its interference with the process." The claim has yet to be tested in court.

Spokesperson Andrea McKinney said the city can't comment on details of ongoing confidential negotiations to settle stadium issues. But she added Hamilton's statement of claim "takes an expansive approach, including early discussions about the stadium, so as not to prejudice the city's rights."

City council originally planned to build its new stadium in the West Harbour. The expropriation process for area homes and businesses was already underway when the football team announced in 2010 it wouldn't support the proposed stadium site.

That spurred an acrimonious debate and increasingly desperate search for an alternative ahead of a deadline to qualify for Pan Am infrastructure cash. After rejecting several sites, council ultimately agreed at the last minute to tear down Ivor Wynne Stadium and build anew on the same land.

The contractor was unable to finish the stadium by the original June 30, 2014 deadline and handed it over still unfinished just months before the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Infrastructure Ontario assured the city local taxpayers would not be liable for late stadium costs. But the agency filed its own legal notice action in May claiming damages of $50 million from all parties. The Spectator was not able to reach the contractor Friday while the provincial agency declined to comment.

Ticats spokesperson Aaron Gogishvili called the court filings a routine protection of the team's legal rights and emphasized negotiations continue. While the team listed 30-plus outstanding stadium problems in its claim, Gogishvili said the "vast majority" should not be noticeable to fans.

McKinney said work continues to fix various deficiencies and prepare the stadium for the football season. Notable new allegations in the team's court filing, which have not been tested in court, include:

•The Keith Urban concert in the stadium Sept. 27, 2014 resulted in unspecified losses to the team. About 20,000 people attended, but 3,200 seats were off limits due to elevator problems. The team previously said it spent $1 million to bring in artists;

•The stadium delays stopped the team from hosting "soccer events" in 2014, resulting in unspecified losses. It's not clear what events are being referenced;

•Blocked views from 878 stadium seats and "unusable" seats surrounding the eastside tunnel openings.

If you could turn back the clock, where would you put the stadium?

mvandongen@thespec.com

905-526-3241 | @Mattatthespec

Hamilton stadium location debate rehashed in court filing

News May 27, 2016 by Matthew Van Dongen The Hamilton Spectator

Turns out it's never too late to reignite Hamilton's years-old stadium location debate.

The city and Hamilton Tiger-Cats have filed new court documents with details about stadium delay damages they claim against each other, the contractor, province and Pan Am organizers.

Last month, the city filed notice it would seek $35 million from the province and contractor Ontario Sports Solutions over a litany of deficiencies, construction delays and contract disputes related to the $145-million Tim Hortons Field.

The city separately claims about $4.7 million in damages from the Ticats, while the team claims about $13.8 million against the city, contractor and province.

The city's latest filing alleges its tenant "caused or contributed to the delay of the stadium reaching substantial completion by the positions it took on the location of the stadium and by its interference with the process." The claim has yet to be tested in court.

Spokesperson Andrea McKinney said the city can't comment on details of ongoing confidential negotiations to settle stadium issues. But she added Hamilton's statement of claim "takes an expansive approach, including early discussions about the stadium, so as not to prejudice the city's rights."

City council originally planned to build its new stadium in the West Harbour. The expropriation process for area homes and businesses was already underway when the football team announced in 2010 it wouldn't support the proposed stadium site.

That spurred an acrimonious debate and increasingly desperate search for an alternative ahead of a deadline to qualify for Pan Am infrastructure cash. After rejecting several sites, council ultimately agreed at the last minute to tear down Ivor Wynne Stadium and build anew on the same land.

The contractor was unable to finish the stadium by the original June 30, 2014 deadline and handed it over still unfinished just months before the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Infrastructure Ontario assured the city local taxpayers would not be liable for late stadium costs. But the agency filed its own legal notice action in May claiming damages of $50 million from all parties. The Spectator was not able to reach the contractor Friday while the provincial agency declined to comment.

Ticats spokesperson Aaron Gogishvili called the court filings a routine protection of the team's legal rights and emphasized negotiations continue. While the team listed 30-plus outstanding stadium problems in its claim, Gogishvili said the "vast majority" should not be noticeable to fans.

McKinney said work continues to fix various deficiencies and prepare the stadium for the football season. Notable new allegations in the team's court filing, which have not been tested in court, include:

•The Keith Urban concert in the stadium Sept. 27, 2014 resulted in unspecified losses to the team. About 20,000 people attended, but 3,200 seats were off limits due to elevator problems. The team previously said it spent $1 million to bring in artists;

•The stadium delays stopped the team from hosting "soccer events" in 2014, resulting in unspecified losses. It's not clear what events are being referenced;

•Blocked views from 878 stadium seats and "unusable" seats surrounding the eastside tunnel openings.

If you could turn back the clock, where would you put the stadium?

mvandongen@thespec.com

905-526-3241 | @Mattatthespec