The debate over the future of a new arena in Hamilton has been put off until the next General Issues Committee (GIC) meeting next week.
Debate at Wednesday’s (Sept. 11) city council meeting grew heated at times when the issue of Michael Andlauer’s, the owner of the Hamilton Bulldogs, unsolicited proposal to build an arena at Lime Ridge Mall arose.
Much contention seemed to surround the fact that councillors could not address public speculation due to the proposal’s confidentiality.
Councillor Brad Clark weighed in with a motion to have Andlauer present his proposal at the next GIC meeting on Sept. 18.
“We need to see a presentation,” he said. He pointed to the fact that much of the information in the confidential proposal was vague and needed more clarification as a reason why council members need to hear from Andlauer directly.
Clark’s motion proposal was seconded by councillor John-Paul Danko who said: “we don’t know what they’re putting on the table.”
The motion to ask Andlauer to present the proposal passed with relative ease but things became further complicated when councillor Sam Merulla, who expressed frustration at being hamstrung by confidentiality, put forth a motion to have the confidential proposal released into the public domain.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger agreed that in order to address some of the public speculation making the proposal public would help but said that getting legal advice would be “worth our while.”
Councillor Esther Pauls voiced concerns over releasing the information without consulting Andlauer first.
Danko seemed to take exception to the notion that if the city could legally release the information contained in the proposal that they had to consult Andlauer before doing so.
“He wasn’t elected to this council…he isn’t mayor,” Danko said, implying that he felt uncomfortable with the appearance of deference on behalf of the city.
A short time later, when Pauls expressed here frustration with Danko’s sentiments, deputy mayor, and chair of the meeting, Terry Whitehead, was forced to intervene to rein the discussion in and move the referral motion forward.
Ultimately, council decided to seek legal advice in regards to making the proposal public in time for the next GIC meeting.