One Chance To Stop The Argos
Many of us who have been attending matches at BMO Field since 2007 at varying times have experienced just about every sort of weather, good and horrible, that Toronto can dish out. Whether it be torrential rain (animals marching two by two into a big ass boat kind of rain!) snow, sleet, baking sun, damp wind, swarms of insects (not exactly weather I know, but weather related) or insane lightning strikes we have seen it all.
However if the price of getting a roof to shelter us from most of these horrid environmental hazards is bringing the Argonauts to BMO Field then I say bring on the crap weather, the snow and the rain! We have done without a roof this long. I can live without one. Simply put the cost for me is way too high.
With considerably much less supporter consultation than was originally promised from slick talking Tim Leiweke the gears are already well underway to have the Toronto Argonauts move into BMO Field in 2017 as part of a ground share arrangement that will see an extensive renovation and expansion of the facility to include a roof, additional seating and most controversially for footy fans, a sliding north and south stand to make the ground bigger for gridiron along with some sort of undetermined new hybrid playing surface replacing the footy friendly grass now in place.
The $90 million the club is planning to invest in the stadium renovation is likely predicated on the City, Province and the Feds all anteing up an additional $10 million each to pay for a portion of the overall bill.
I have made my feelings more than clear in this space previously. I abhor the thought of CFL football ruining the soccer experience at BMO Field. More than anything else the issue with a groundshare for me is the pitch. Anything other than what we have currently is a retrograde step. Spinning it otherwise Mr. Leiweke does not make it so. A hybrid/turf surface will impact the quality of the product and it will make it harder for the home club to play a reasonable brand of quality football.
One just has to take a look at how choppy and disjointed the style of football both TFC and Seattle had to play last weekend to see how much a crap surface will end up impacting the quality of the game. All we have to do is also harken back to the original surface of BMO Field, the Ronnie O’Brien injury comes to mind as well. For that matter we can also look at how Rugby League and Premier League football go so poorly together. And taking a look at how the surface at Houston’s new stadium gets chewed up by gridiron. And of course we also have the fiction that Leiweke speaks of when he states that there is technology already available to make residual gridiron lines on the surface a thing of the past.
Sadly however the ramrod to push all of this through is already in play. The Toronto City Council executive committee is expected to ‘debate’ the issue this week with a recommendation of yay or nay heading to City Council in April. The Province and Federal Government I assume have already been approached as well by this point.
At this stage I think the only way that this goes off the rails is if politicians – especially the municipal and provincial politicians soon up for re-election are made to realize that shelling out tens of millions of dollars to benefit a carpetbagging gridiron team that has never paid a god damned cent of its own cash in over a hundred years of existence for a home to play in, and MLSE, helping them to earn back some of the cash outlays they have made of their own volition is not a smart thing to do in an election year.
MLSE claims they are willing to pony up $90 million of the approximately $120 million cost for the renovation/expansion. They also claim that they require $10 million each from the three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal). As the stadium is technically owned by the City the hope for those of us who are against the Argonauts ground share can only hope that if the City decides to not spend the money it might force MLSE to go it alone and do the expansion WITHOUT the Argos.
I fear the Executive Committee will rubber stamp this.
If we truly have a chance to stop the Argonauts destroying our soccer stadium then getting the politicians to publicly declare that they are not going to take part in corporate welfare is the ONLY way to stop this.
MLSE will expand BMO Field. That is a given. If they expand it for just soccer and nor gridiron then that would be the best outcome. The roof gets installed, the grass stays and the team has what it needs to generate revenue. And (pardon the vernacular) the Argos can go and fuck themselves.
Lets flood them ALL with emails and phone calls over the coming days making sure that they understand that Corporate Welfare is not the smart play for a politician. And if we make enough of a noise it might become an issue in the upcoming Toronto municipal elections that we can use to our advantage.
Getting the politicians to act in their own self interest and to say NO to corporate welfare is the only way we stop this from happening. Here is a little list to get you started.
- Mayor Rob Ford – 416-397-FORD (3673) [email protected]
- Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly – [email protected]
- Councillor Karen Stintz – co[email protected]
- John Tory – [email protected]
- Olivia Chow – [email protected]
- David Socknacki – [email protected]