Staff reports on a proposed permanent velodrome at Mohawk College and a decision to completely rebuild Ivor Wynne Stadium will give Councillors plenty to discuss at today's GIC meeting.
By Ryan McGreal
Published August 29, 2011
Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop will be in Hamilton today to addend the special General Issues Committee meeting on the proposed Pan Am Velodrome.
In their report, city staff recommend that Council rescind their February 10, 2010 decision to locate the Velodrome at the West Harbour site and to select Mohawk College instead, with the city paying 100% of land acquisition costs and 44% of construction costs to build a permanent Velodrome at the College.
The city's capital costs would include:
Council would assume financial responsibility for the balance if other sources of funding cannot be secured.
This commitment from the city would be conditional on an annual $500,000 in operating money out of the Pan Am Legacy Fund.
The alternative proposal Staff are proposing is for the City to withdraw all participation from the Velodrome.
On Friday, the City Clerk asked members of Council to convene a special Council meeting at the end of today's General Issues Committee meeting to ratify their decision before the August 30 deadline for the City to respond to Toronto 2015. After a pushback by some members of council against the last-minute time line, Toronto 2015 agreed to grant the city an extension to September 15. The Pan Am host corporation had already extended the City's deadline from July 28 after staff canceled an earlier meeting to present a Velodrome proposal.
Meanwhile, City Manager Chris Murray is presenting a second report, not linked from the City website but obtained by Joey Coleman, which states that the city learned this past Spring that the North Stands of Ivor Wynne Stadium "cannot accommodate seats with backs", and that Infrastructure Ontario has decided after studying the options to construct a whole new stadium.
Under this new plan, the total capital cost would remain at $152 million, with 44% coming from the City of Hamilton via the Future Fund.
When Council voted to propose an Ivor Wynne rebuild rather than a new stadium at the West Harbour, the argument at the time was that it would be a partial rebuild that would preserve the North Stands and hence cost less money than a new West Harbour stadium.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young raised some eyebrows in July when he posted a message to the Ticats forum to state: "We (the City, the Province, and the Feds, and the Ticats) are not "upgrading" anything. The commitment is to build a brand new stadium on the site of the old Ivor Wynne."
Asked to clarify what he meant by this, Young stated that the stadium construction plan was still being finalized, but "it is clear that $150 million (or so) will build a lot of stadium."
At the time, Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who co-chairs the Pan Am Stadium Subcommittee, told RTH, "The City has not had a request to do anything different than was approved by Council when the Ivor Wynne site was approved. There has been no mention of any potential changes at the committee."
In response to this new report, Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr wrote in an August 28 email to constituents that he is "a little concerned over costs" and is "contemplating just sticking to the North Stands refurbishment and put the new found money toward a permanent Velodrome".
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