While we’re in Canada, it was announced last week that Ivor Wynne Stadium, home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, won’t be getting a renovation as approved last February, but instead will be completely demolished and replaced. The rebuild, city officials promised, could be done under the same $152 million budget, so why not buy a new stadium instead of keeping half an old one?
It sounds reasonable enough, except for the bit where this was apparently decided back in April but not made public until now. As the Hamilton Spectator editorialized last week:
By the way, how does it happen that a complete rebuild will cost the same as rebuilding the south and renovating the north? Again, we’re told, don’t worry your little heads about it. According to senior city staff, more study on the project resulted in a more “refined” cost estimate. So the original estimate was too high? But why? And since city council made the Ivor Wynne decision based on the original cost and project description, doesn’t this mean the decision was made on inaccurate information?
So the north stands will go from benches to seats. But how much money could have been saved by sticking with the original plan — $5 million, $10 million? Shouldn’t council have had the option of making that decision instead of being presented with a fait accompli? Shouldn’t council have had the chance to decide between applying the savings to other projects — say the increasingly expensive velodrome — or putting the money back into the Future Fund where it came from originally?
Apparently not. The decision was made and communicated to a bewildered city council. Poof. New stadium. Don’t worry, be happy.