Full speed ahead to Games but McCarthy remains skeptical

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The forms have been submitted, and $100 million in bid spending has been approved. But Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy is still waging war against the city's Commonwealth Games bid.

McCarthy has been the lone dissenter on record in council chambers against the Games, which are estimated to cost $835 million if Hamilton gets the nod. Although Ward 14 councilor Dave Braden has spoken publicly against the Games, he has been absent for votes on the issue, citing the futility of the battle as his reasoning.

McCarthy feels it would be irresponsible for Hamilton to commit to an expensive, large-scale project, when day-to-day business isn't taken care of.

"Basic services, basic level of quality of life issues, have spiraled for the constituents in our communities, quite honestly, to the point where it is unaffordable," she said.

Supporters of the Games have cited an injection of infrastructure funding - up to eight dollars for every dollar the city invests - from the provincial and federal governments and the public sector, as a reason to charge ahead.

"What is it about that equation that people don't understand?' asked mayor Larry Di Ianni.

But McCarthy is skeptical.

"We may get funding. Perhaps. Some day. Maybe," she said, adding that the operating cost of the complexes that money would build would be unsustainable once the 10-day sporting event is over.

"Hamilton has enough white elephants," sad McCarthy. "We need a garage sale to get rid of our white elephants, not get more."

She's also concerned that the plan calls for large-scale building projects, rather than much-needed upgrades and repairs to community arenas and facilities.

"We'll be left with buildings no one can afford to rent," she charged. "And we'll have to dip into your pocket to pay for it."

But Di Ianni insists that the plan calls for a mix of world-class venues as well as community-based projects, to draw both local recreation and athletic tourism. The venues would also provide permanent employment opportunities long after the Games close.

"This is a community effort," he said, noting that Burlington, Mississauga and St. Catharines are excited about the Games. "We want Flamborough to feel part of the effort."

But not everyone is excited, said McCarthy. She has been flooded with calls from furious citizens living across the entire city, who don't want the Games. And callers to a recent Roy Green call-in show on CHML "were 110 per cent against the Games. But that's not making it into the local media," she charged.

McCarthy is also concerned because Jagoda Pike, publisher and president of The Hamilton Spectator, was permitted access to an in camera council meeting dealing with land acquisition issues involved with the Games bid. She claims that citizens outside of city staff, particularly ones with such a "vested interest," have never been privy to in-camera discussions.

"It's never happened in my 12 years (on council)," she said. Although the entire bid committee was present, according to Di Ianni, McCarthy has particular concern with a prominent member of the local media being present.

"The media was to be excluded. Well, they were there," she said.

"It's the only city paper," she said of The Spectator. "Every politician depends on the press and publicity. It's indefensible."

Di Ianni feels that's not only a "cynical interpretation of the (committee's) volunteer efforts," but he says it was wholly appropriate for the entire committee, including Pike, to be present.

However, he's unsure whether the meeting was unprecedented. The private discussion delved into land deals, financial matters and competitive strategy, which are routinely held in camera. He feels Pike, as bid committee chair, needed to be present to answer questions and had the right to hear information first-hand. He added that no secrets have been divulged in the Spectator.

But overriding the entire debate for McCarthy is funding. The money just isn't there, she said.

But it's just for that reason that Hamilton should be behind the bid, said Di Ianni. The cost, which he claims will be matched eight-fold, is stretched over 10 years, "and we always invest in capital projects," he said.

But McCarthy won't buy that logic. She's unwilling to scrape more from taxpayers, either in her own ward, or across Hamilton.

"There's no low-lying fruit to be picked here. Where the heck do they think this money is going to come from? There's zip. Zilch. Nada," she said.

"I feel like I'm the only one there who gets this. I'm flabbergasted. I feel like I'm Alice in Wonderland."

Full speed ahead to Games but McCarthy remains skeptical

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The forms have been submitted, and $100 million in bid spending has been approved. But Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy is still waging war against the city's Commonwealth Games bid.

McCarthy has been the lone dissenter on record in council chambers against the Games, which are estimated to cost $835 million if Hamilton gets the nod. Although Ward 14 councilor Dave Braden has spoken publicly against the Games, he has been absent for votes on the issue, citing the futility of the battle as his reasoning.

McCarthy feels it would be irresponsible for Hamilton to commit to an expensive, large-scale project, when day-to-day business isn't taken care of.

"Basic services, basic level of quality of life issues, have spiraled for the constituents in our communities, quite honestly, to the point where it is unaffordable," she said.

Supporters of the Games have cited an injection of infrastructure funding - up to eight dollars for every dollar the city invests - from the provincial and federal governments and the public sector, as a reason to charge ahead.

"What is it about that equation that people don't understand?' asked mayor Larry Di Ianni.

But McCarthy is skeptical.

"We may get funding. Perhaps. Some day. Maybe," she said, adding that the operating cost of the complexes that money would build would be unsustainable once the 10-day sporting event is over.

"Hamilton has enough white elephants," sad McCarthy. "We need a garage sale to get rid of our white elephants, not get more."

She's also concerned that the plan calls for large-scale building projects, rather than much-needed upgrades and repairs to community arenas and facilities.

"We'll be left with buildings no one can afford to rent," she charged. "And we'll have to dip into your pocket to pay for it."

But Di Ianni insists that the plan calls for a mix of world-class venues as well as community-based projects, to draw both local recreation and athletic tourism. The venues would also provide permanent employment opportunities long after the Games close.

"This is a community effort," he said, noting that Burlington, Mississauga and St. Catharines are excited about the Games. "We want Flamborough to feel part of the effort."

But not everyone is excited, said McCarthy. She has been flooded with calls from furious citizens living across the entire city, who don't want the Games. And callers to a recent Roy Green call-in show on CHML "were 110 per cent against the Games. But that's not making it into the local media," she charged.

McCarthy is also concerned because Jagoda Pike, publisher and president of The Hamilton Spectator, was permitted access to an in camera council meeting dealing with land acquisition issues involved with the Games bid. She claims that citizens outside of city staff, particularly ones with such a "vested interest," have never been privy to in-camera discussions.

"It's never happened in my 12 years (on council)," she said. Although the entire bid committee was present, according to Di Ianni, McCarthy has particular concern with a prominent member of the local media being present.

"The media was to be excluded. Well, they were there," she said.

"It's the only city paper," she said of The Spectator. "Every politician depends on the press and publicity. It's indefensible."

Di Ianni feels that's not only a "cynical interpretation of the (committee's) volunteer efforts," but he says it was wholly appropriate for the entire committee, including Pike, to be present.

However, he's unsure whether the meeting was unprecedented. The private discussion delved into land deals, financial matters and competitive strategy, which are routinely held in camera. He feels Pike, as bid committee chair, needed to be present to answer questions and had the right to hear information first-hand. He added that no secrets have been divulged in the Spectator.

But overriding the entire debate for McCarthy is funding. The money just isn't there, she said.

But it's just for that reason that Hamilton should be behind the bid, said Di Ianni. The cost, which he claims will be matched eight-fold, is stretched over 10 years, "and we always invest in capital projects," he said.

But McCarthy won't buy that logic. She's unwilling to scrape more from taxpayers, either in her own ward, or across Hamilton.

"There's no low-lying fruit to be picked here. Where the heck do they think this money is going to come from? There's zip. Zilch. Nada," she said.

"I feel like I'm the only one there who gets this. I'm flabbergasted. I feel like I'm Alice in Wonderland."

Full speed ahead to Games but McCarthy remains skeptical

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The forms have been submitted, and $100 million in bid spending has been approved. But Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy is still waging war against the city's Commonwealth Games bid.

McCarthy has been the lone dissenter on record in council chambers against the Games, which are estimated to cost $835 million if Hamilton gets the nod. Although Ward 14 councilor Dave Braden has spoken publicly against the Games, he has been absent for votes on the issue, citing the futility of the battle as his reasoning.

McCarthy feels it would be irresponsible for Hamilton to commit to an expensive, large-scale project, when day-to-day business isn't taken care of.

"Basic services, basic level of quality of life issues, have spiraled for the constituents in our communities, quite honestly, to the point where it is unaffordable," she said.

Supporters of the Games have cited an injection of infrastructure funding - up to eight dollars for every dollar the city invests - from the provincial and federal governments and the public sector, as a reason to charge ahead.

"What is it about that equation that people don't understand?' asked mayor Larry Di Ianni.

But McCarthy is skeptical.

"We may get funding. Perhaps. Some day. Maybe," she said, adding that the operating cost of the complexes that money would build would be unsustainable once the 10-day sporting event is over.

"Hamilton has enough white elephants," sad McCarthy. "We need a garage sale to get rid of our white elephants, not get more."

She's also concerned that the plan calls for large-scale building projects, rather than much-needed upgrades and repairs to community arenas and facilities.

"We'll be left with buildings no one can afford to rent," she charged. "And we'll have to dip into your pocket to pay for it."

But Di Ianni insists that the plan calls for a mix of world-class venues as well as community-based projects, to draw both local recreation and athletic tourism. The venues would also provide permanent employment opportunities long after the Games close.

"This is a community effort," he said, noting that Burlington, Mississauga and St. Catharines are excited about the Games. "We want Flamborough to feel part of the effort."

But not everyone is excited, said McCarthy. She has been flooded with calls from furious citizens living across the entire city, who don't want the Games. And callers to a recent Roy Green call-in show on CHML "were 110 per cent against the Games. But that's not making it into the local media," she charged.

McCarthy is also concerned because Jagoda Pike, publisher and president of The Hamilton Spectator, was permitted access to an in camera council meeting dealing with land acquisition issues involved with the Games bid. She claims that citizens outside of city staff, particularly ones with such a "vested interest," have never been privy to in-camera discussions.

"It's never happened in my 12 years (on council)," she said. Although the entire bid committee was present, according to Di Ianni, McCarthy has particular concern with a prominent member of the local media being present.

"The media was to be excluded. Well, they were there," she said.

"It's the only city paper," she said of The Spectator. "Every politician depends on the press and publicity. It's indefensible."

Di Ianni feels that's not only a "cynical interpretation of the (committee's) volunteer efforts," but he says it was wholly appropriate for the entire committee, including Pike, to be present.

However, he's unsure whether the meeting was unprecedented. The private discussion delved into land deals, financial matters and competitive strategy, which are routinely held in camera. He feels Pike, as bid committee chair, needed to be present to answer questions and had the right to hear information first-hand. He added that no secrets have been divulged in the Spectator.

But overriding the entire debate for McCarthy is funding. The money just isn't there, she said.

But it's just for that reason that Hamilton should be behind the bid, said Di Ianni. The cost, which he claims will be matched eight-fold, is stretched over 10 years, "and we always invest in capital projects," he said.

But McCarthy won't buy that logic. She's unwilling to scrape more from taxpayers, either in her own ward, or across Hamilton.

"There's no low-lying fruit to be picked here. Where the heck do they think this money is going to come from? There's zip. Zilch. Nada," she said.

"I feel like I'm the only one there who gets this. I'm flabbergasted. I feel like I'm Alice in Wonderland."