North Enders offer a Resounding No on Considering Ball Diamond Development Option

Hello, Breezes readers and thanks again for the opportunity to engage with you in this latest edition.

I am just back from our meeting tonight with North Enders at Bennetto Recreation Centre so I cannot think of a better topic than a recap of the events there.

As you had learned in a recent letter that came to your door, a motion was passed several months ago that requested city staff host a discussion with you and I about Eastwood Arena.  We wanted to hear from residents on whether or not developing some housing and parking on the North West corner was worth pursuing as one option in gaining needed funds to restore Eastwood Arena.

I am not going to leave you hanging on the results. 65 folks attended and 64 said no way.  Therefore, the option will not be pursued.  This Councillor will not proceed.  The brakes are on before the car started rolling. Time to move on…

That is exactly what we will do.

The message from North Enders was clear following the input from staff.  Staff offered stats that included, but where not limited to: Eastwood Arena being the least utilized rink in the city since minor hockey pulled out 10 years ago.  Utilization rates and operating / capital expenditures are related.  Baseball is making a comeback (Bluejay factor).  Hockey enrollment is on the decline across the country.  The City of Hamilton over-all Facilities deficit is currently 500 million.  To meet new federal safety regulation for rinks, a minimum 3 million is needed for Eastwood by 2020…

So, what was the message(s) from North Enders? I was very impressed by these and other thoughtful comments:

  • We should never sell parkland for any reason.
  • We should leverage funds from the Pier 8 Development.
  • We should be fixing our roads (we will).
  • We should get house league hockey back.
  • We should grow the Skate the Dream Program (we are).
  • We should consider a parcel from the Federal base.
  • We should be talking about rejuvenating the park and the rink.

The last bit is where we left it at the wrap up of the 2 and half hour session.  After the 65 to 1 straw poll NO vote on whether or not to proceed on considering a development on the diamonds that aids in the rejuvenation of the rink, we all agreed that we should hold a public meeting on revitalizing both the rink and park.

That is what we will do.  Keep reading the Breezes for date and time and thank you all for never failing to tell me exactly how you feel.  It counts.

One thing has always been certain respecting Eastwood.  We want the best community facility (and Park) we can have and that we deserve.

Until next time Breezes readers, consider the diamond idea buried for good.  Never to be resurrected.  Done like dinner.  DOA…Jay