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Hamilton mayor fires back Add to ...

The Gloves have come off in the dispute over where the City of Hamilton should build the stadium to hold the 2015 Pan-Am Games and the potential future home of the CFL's Tiger-Cats.

Thursday morning, Tiger-Cat owner Bob Young who released a statement criticizing the city's plan to build at the West Harbour, a location Young says would force the team to endure millions in additional losses.

"All successful landlords always take the needs of their tenants into consideration when they decide important issues such as location, size, and accessibility," Young wrote. "The success of any new building is dependent on the success of your tenant.  Without successful tenants, landlords do not have a hope of getting a return on the investment they are making in their building."

Later on Thursday, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger fired back with his own release.

"Statements made by Bob Young only talk about what is best for the Tiger Cats organization," wrote Eisenberg. "There is no mention of the community. Bob Young needs to understand that the community is important and the purpose of this project is community building."

"To respond to some of the concerns raised earlier today in the media and by one of our partners, I want to reassure the community that we are moving full steam ahead on the West Harbour site, and we will not waiver from that because it is best for Hamilton."

Young, who favours a site away from downtown that would give the stadium proximity to nearby highways, has may have his share of opponents on Hamilton City Council. But Bob Bratina, the city councillor responsible for the ward where the stadium is being planned, isn't among them.

"Bob Young rescued the football team, Bob Young committed to an investment and is still committed to an investment but he doesn't want to throw his money down the toilet," said Bratina, who is a former broadcaster for the football team. "What he's trying to do is battle against hard-headed irrational people who don't have a good reason for what they are doing."

Bratina claims the city has no real idea of the costs of developing the West Harbour site and that it is foolish to push on with without the Tiger-Cats on board. The Tiger-Cats have been advised their current home, Ivor Wynne Stadium, is deteriorating to the point that it will soon need tens of millions in repairs.

"The whole idea is 'what do we do with Ivor Wynne Stadium?' because it's falling apart and it costs us money," Bratina said. "Then we got the Pan-Am Games stadium so great. But then it turns into 'let's rebuild the waterfront of Hamilton.' We forgot what the mission was - replace Ivor Wynne."

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