Special Report: Pan Am

Councillors to Continue Velodrome Discussion September 13

Councillors will meet in a special General Issues Committee meeting on September 13 to continue their discussion on the Pan Am Velodrome proposal.

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 30, 2011

According to an email from the City Clerk, it is confirmed that Members of Council will meet again in a special General Issues Committee (GIC, formerly committee of the whole) on September 13, 9:30 AM to continue yesterday's discussion on the Pan Am Velodrome proposal.

General Issues Committee (Special)
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
9:30 a.m. to ?????
PURPOSE: Continuation of discussions re: Pan Am Velodrome

Last Friday, members of Council pushed back against a request to convene a full Council meeting on the same day as yesterday's GIC meeting to ratify the decision of the committee. Toronto 2015 had given Hamilton a deadline of August 30 to present its Velodrome proposal, after extending the deadline from July 28.

Councillors Lloyd Ferguson and Brad Clark objected that this did not provide enough time for Councillors to give this important proposal due consideration.

In response, Toronto 2015 extended the deadline to September 15, allowing Councillors more time before having to make a final decision. According to Ian Troop, CEO of TO2015, September 15 is a real deadline, "the first moment where we've established a date we need to hit".

The staff report on the velodrome proposal recommends that the City increase its capital contribution from $5 million to $10 million, and would be responsible for an additional $8 to $12.5 million if alternate sources of funding cannot be found.

Under the proposal, Mohawk College would provide a site at its Fennell Campus and would contribute $2 million toward the Velodrome and a parking facility that would be shared with an adjacent $15 million sports facility for the exclusive use of Mohawk students.

Between now and September 13, city staff and TO2015 will attempt to provide Council with more details on how to close the capital funding gap, as well as providing a more complete picture of what the operating costs and revenues will be.

Late Notice

Several Councillors expressed surprise and frustration at yesterday's meeting that the staff report on the Velodrome, which was posted to the City website the on Friday afternoon, was the first report they have received this year.

A Velodrome Advisory Committee comprising four councillors, members of staff, stakeholder representatives and community volunteers met five times between October 2010 and May 2011 to discuss the velodrome plan. The Velodrome committee did not post agendas or publish minutes for its meetings, but RTH obtained agendas and meeting notes from two of the meetings - on April 20 and May 26.

According to Councillor Russ Powers, who is one of Council members on the advisory committee (with Brian McHattie, Terry Whitehead and Rob Pasuta), this is because an advisory committee reports to staff, not to the the GIC or Council.

The City's Procedural By-Law, Section 6.2 (e), states:

all minutes and reports [from an advisory committee] shall be submitted to the Standing Committee to which the Advisory Committee or Task Force reports

The October 2010 Terms of Reference for the Hamilton Velodrome Advisory Committee states:

The Hamilton Velodrome Advisory Committee will report through the Manager of Pan Am Initiatives, City of Hamilton.

According to the City Clerk, "The General Issues Committee has pretty much had carriage of the Pan Am matter, so any follow up would likely be forwarded to that committee."

There are no rules as to the frequency at which a committee should submit reports.

Until Monday, the West Harbour was still officially the preferred location of the Velodrome. According to Troop, the City and TO2015 considered a number of possible sites and Mohawk came up as a serious site consideration in late spring.

On July 26, a Spectator article quoted Trish Chant-Sehl, at that time the City's manager of Pan Am Initiatives, saying, "Our efforts rights now are focused on Mohawk."

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 14:27:13

According to Troop, the City and TO2015 considered a number of possible sites and Mohawk came up as a serious site consideration in late spring.

No.

With all due respect to Mr. Troop, the document I received at yesterday's GIC meeting clearly states that on January 7th of this year, 'The Velodrome Advisory Committee collectively endorsed Mohawk Sports Park as the preferred velodrome site, with Olympic Sports Park and T.B. McQuesten Park as alternative options for Council to consider.'

(Yes, that's right: no mention of West Harbour.)

My question to Ryan...through to Mr. Powers or any of the other three Councillors on this Advisory Committee: Was anyone on Council made privy to the ongoing movement towards Mohawk from last October to the 'vote' on May 26th by this committee?

If so, who?

If not, why not?

This isn't so much a 'procedural' issue as it is one of common sense and transparency.

I can't believe that intelligent people don't 'get' how this erodes confidence in people. (Read that as: Hamiltonians. Their constituents...and their bosses.)

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 14:56:02 in reply to Comment 68696

With all due respect to Mr. Troop, the document I received at yesterday's GIC meeting clearly states that on January 7th of this year, 'The Velodrome Advisory Committee collectively endorsed Mohawk Sports Park as the preferred velodrome site, with Olympic Sports Park and T.B. McQuesten Park as alternative options for Council to consider.'

I assume Troop was referring to Mohawk College. Mohawk Sports Park is a city-owned sports complex on the east mountain.

Comment edited by highwater on 2011-08-30 15:03:43

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 15:07:21 in reply to Comment 68700

I assume Troop was referring to Mohawk College. Mohawk Sports Park is a city-owned sports complex on the east mountain.

Actually, the point I was making was that the Advisory Committee had already decided by January...and that it wasn't 'Mohawk College', it was Mohawk Sport Park. Presumably, it was in the spring that the College got involved...

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 15:39:34

What has happened with Councillor McHattie? He was the biggest proponent for the West Harbour as a location for Pan Am facilities, yet he sits on this 'rogue' velodrome committee that felt no need to report to council about venue changes. How can he reconcile the prior, highly vocal pro-WH stance changing to this new position where he quietly allows the committee to drop the WH as a velodrome location. And it cannot be spun as a trade-off for a partnership with Mohawk College, the committee dropped WH for Mohawk Sports Park months before the college option became available. Where is McHattie's voice now? His silence is deafening.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 15:43:42 in reply to Comment 68708

I imagine the councillors are worried about building a massive, rarely-used building for a catastrophic amount of money. That's what I worry about with the Velo.

Mohawk means they get more financial backing and likely the facility will see more use as it integrates in with their complex.

However, the debate should've happened out in public either way. McHattie does owe the public answers to these questions.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 16:06:55

I imagine the councillors are worried about building a massive, rarely-used building for a catastrophic amount of money. That's what I worry about with the Velo.

Apparently Ryan is geting in touch with Greg Mathieu, CEO of the Canadian Cycling Association, who gave a presentation at the GIC meeting yesterday. (For the record, it was entirely out of place: this stuff SHOULD have been 'sold' to Council at the beginning of this entire process, back in the last decade.)

He was thorough, he was extensive-yet-pithy-and-personable...and he provided a context for this facility. Here are a few brief points:

-There is ONE international-calibre indoor facility in North America, the Carson City Velodrome in Los Angeles. http://ci.carson.ca.us/content/departmen...

(And for balance, check this out: http://www.dailylocal.com/articles/2010/... )

This means that all Americans and the Canadian contingent have to train here, because...

-The season was recently changed to October-March (I apologize if I'm off here.)

So. As far as it being 'unused', this simply isn't true. While indoor cycling isn't really understood in mainstream Canada, there's a huge opportunity here. I'm not saying this is a great opportunity to 'make money', I'm saying that this velodrome-thing is far more of an opportunity to provide Hamilton with something unique, something to build on, especially with the changing face of the city and local greenery, far moreso than...a rebuild of an extant stadium.

yawn

You could well see quite a number of cyclists moving here. And managers and coaches and trainers and mechanics...their families, teams visiting, yadda, yadda...

But this shouldn't be about money-spinoffs. This should be about vision. A visionary opportunity for Hamilton to have something nobody else in Canada has...and to become the centre of indoor cycling in Canada...and a centre for North America...and a place where regular international competitions are held.

Look; we have rowing. We have some great road and mountain bike offerings, courtesy of the Niagara Escarpment. The idea of a velodrome is a natural fit for us.

It's just too bad it's become this 'tag-on' item, it's too bad that so much energy and effort was spent on that horrid débacle that surrounded the PanAm Games Stadium Site Selection Process....and it's too bad that even this time around, we've got a mess unfolding.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 30, 2011 at 20:39:31 in reply to Comment 68712

this stuff SHOULD have been 'sold' to Council at the beginning of this entire process, back in the last decade.

That doesn't work. You can convince them to accept some visionary approach that falls outside their comfort zone; but as soon as you stop reminding them why they agreed to it, they promptly forget and revert back to status quo thinking.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 16:34:29

I tend to agree Graham. This bid started out as a downtown focused, city building exercise The location that was used in the bid was the West Harbour and there were synergies between the velodrome, the stadium, the new GO station and light rail. Downtown redevelopment was front and centre in the debate.

Look at current plans, it has become scattered and the focus has been lost. There will be no new facilities downtown and what's worse, this will actually delay rather than expedite the construction of light rail. I would be happy if Hamilton backed out of the Games altogether and focused on city building initiatives that were one of the Pan Am's selling points after all.

Comment edited by Jonathan Dalton on 2011-08-30 16:35:58

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 31, 2011 at 16:47:16 in reply to Comment 68717

This bid started out as a downtown focused, city building exercise

There are many people in this Amalgamated City of Hamilton who would take issue with that statement.

I would be happy if Hamilton backed out of the Games altogether and focused on city building initiatives that were one of the Pan Am's selling points after all.

You're right, a major impetus has been lost.

But I have to say this: I believe the focus would have been much different were there not 'outlying' interests. (Yes, I'm talking about Hamilton never having had its needs diluted by the priorities of peripheral entities. By way of amalgamation.)

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-31 16:49:00

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 17:22:05

We need a final decision by the 15th, so naturally let's set our meeting for the 13th that way if we need City Staff to get any additional info for us, or want to ruminate it on a bit, we'll be all out of time!

I stand by my July 12th comments:

"Come watch the amazing last-minute council! See how they dither away precious time avoiding real decisions! Watch as they are ambushed by deadlines communicated well in advance. Laugh as you watch them twist and turn their way through a last-minute deals that they likely have next to no information on, involving sites that were never properly evaluated and have received little input from the cycling community. Weep as they express shock and outrage at the lack of information available and contemplate requesting an extension!*




*Note, actual contents of program may vary. The above represents dramatic hyperbole in the style of a side-show carnival promoter. Reality may be far more mundane, and sad."

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By Mchattie? (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 17:25:39

Indeed he has been silent. Clearly he has become on of the clowncil members. Sad to see him sink so low.

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By Whitby (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 20:44:26 in reply to Comment 68722

insult spam deleted

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By SpaceMonkee (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 17:29:08

The 13th? Holy smokes... what a bunch of procrastinators.. unbelievable!

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By Whitby (anonymous) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 20:53:04

insult spam deleted

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-08-31 06:44:54

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted August 30, 2011 at 23:15:25

I didn't vote for any one of our current councillors and the majority of Hamiltonians didn't either so...... And I agree, this is not downtown revit. Or city building (well, sort of) in the sense that's been promoted over the last several years. I'm getting too old for the constant frustration with this city.

Comment edited by Woody10 on 2011-08-30 23:26:20

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 11:10:25

A velodrome will be underutilized and a waste of money. I'd like to see if anything at the velodrome gets on national television like IWS does and with the number of viewers. My guess - NO.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 15:47:42 in reply to Comment 68771

Because people see IWS and say "Wow, I need to get to Hamilton to see that amazing stadium in person!", right?

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted September 05, 2011 at 09:44:00 in reply to Comment 68785

Lol

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 31, 2011 at 14:39:15 in reply to Comment 68771

A velodrome will be underutilized and a waste of money.

a) No. b) That's a subjective declaration.

I'd like to see if anything at the velodrome gets on national television like IWS does and with the number of viewers.

LMFAO.

Please come out to the next RTH coffee night. I want to shake your hand. (But probably not for the reason you think.)

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By Blackwater (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 22:03:52 in reply to Comment 68779

insult spam deleted

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted September 05, 2011 at 09:44:47 in reply to Comment 68821

Me, and I'll never use it.

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 15:13:46

Since when is m adrian brassington the name and face of RTH?

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted August 31, 2011 at 18:00:25 in reply to Comment 68783

Kevin: Are you Kevin Somers? Your email ID does appears to be the same as the author on RTH. I am curious as the contrast between the two approaches to writing is quite stunning!

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 15:32:00

Apparently Mayor Bob Bratina will be on the spec online tomorrow to answer questiosn about the Pan Am games! :-)

Also, apparently any media can talk to him, if they make an appointment, so Ryan, I'd take that as an invitation to ask the mayor for an interview.

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By Vod_Kann (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 16:07:01 in reply to Comment 68784

Can somebody please ask him what will happen with "Brian Timmins Stadium" just to see him potentially freak out?

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By I'm Scott Thompson (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 16:06:38

I second that. Get Ryan to ask some REAL questions and not the CHML filtered crap.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 31, 2011 at 16:23:58 in reply to Comment 68787

I second that. Get Ryan to ask some REAL questions and not the CHML filtered crap.

So how about we give Ryan a hand and come up with a list of questions we want answered?

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 16:42:39 in reply to Comment 68790

I didn't get to hear much of the interview but when Scott Thompson tried to get him to entertain the thought of moving the stadium location (to Confed Park) the mayor told him there was no way we're going to move the location and basically almost hung up on him. I want to know "why not open up the thought of moving the locale?" Also, I would like Ryan to nail him down as to the figures the mayor keeps pointing at about what Mohawk is going to put into the velodrome vs what Mohawk is ACTUALLY putting into the velodrome? I keep hearing conflicting figures from the City Manager's office to what the mayor is saying on CHML. (And of course, ask him the Brian Timmis question as well - I love a good freak out!)

Comment edited by RightSaidFred on 2011-08-31 17:19:12

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 31, 2011 at 17:48:58 in reply to Comment 68792

Also, I would like Ryan to nail him down as to the figures the mayor keeps pointing at about what Mohawk is going to put into the velodrome vs what Mohawk is ACTUALLY putting into the velodrome?

Those numbers are quite clear. I'm looking at them right now.

Mohawk Students Association: $17M

Broken down: Mohawk Rec Facility (going ahead regardless): $15M. Contribution towards Velodrome: $2M.

As opposed to these (just a selection): Velodrome Site Preparation costs: $1.5M. Velodrome Site Relocation, Development and Parking (relocating the parking being displaced by velodrome): $3M. Land Acquisition (Lease): NOT YET DETERMINED.

So.

Mohawk is putting $2M towards the effort...while just in this short list, we're on the hook for $4.5+M. ($3M of this is NOT a shared amount with 2015 organization.) Naturally, I haven't brought the big numbers into play. Still...

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-31 17:49:28

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By Vod_Kann (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 17:26:43 in reply to Comment 68792

"when Scott Thompson tried to get him to entertain the thought of moving the stadium location (to Confed Park) the mayor told him there was no way we're going to move the location and basically almost hung up on him."

That just makes him a citzen of the world. I mean who DOESN'T want to hang up on Scott Thompson?

Comment edited by Vod_Kann on 2011-08-31 17:27:04

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 17:37:33 in reply to Comment 68796

I taped foam around the front of my radio in the car so my hand doesn't hurt when I punch it repeatedly whilest listening to Thompson's show...but his show, I must admit is like a car crash for me, I just can't stop peering in to see if there is someone in there who ISN"T brain dead. My search continues and that's why I keep listening.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 18:56:02 in reply to Comment 68798

Ah! So you punch the radio! And all this time I've been dealing with it by punching myself in the head for listening. Your way is much healthier. Must. Learn. To. Direct. My. Frustration. Outward.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 18:56:26 in reply to Comment 68805

Even healthier: punch Bill Kelly.

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By Blackwater (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 22:01:53 in reply to Comment 68806

insult spam deleted

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 19:19:23

An article by John Kernaghan on the Open File Hamilton website today reports that the Tiger-Cats are pushing to have the new Ivor Wynne Stadium run north-south instead of east-west. Yet another reason to build the stadium at the west harbour- no major changes would be necessary as the preliminary stadium plans have always been north-south.

http://hamilton.openfile.ca/hamilton/fil...

http://www.google.ca/imgres?q=hamilton+p...

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-08-31 19:30:20

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 21:35:25 in reply to Comment 68807

This actually makes a lot of sense. It would further distance the new stadium from "tradition", but it would open up the end-zones for far more temporary seating to host a major event like the Grey Cup. The block on which IWS and Brian Timmis sit is longer north-south than east-west (though not square along Cannon).

Many people feel that the Tiger-Cats do little or nothing for the city in terms of economic spin-offs (and personally, even though I have a die-hard fan bias, I never bought into the figures that were released in that report the team had commissioned last year; to me there is a socio-cultural impact that far outweighs the team's economic one). However, hosting the Grey Cup would bring money into the city, and we should be maximizing the potential of that by being able to handle as many people at the game as we can.

A cynic would argue we'd have to get more of those Grey Cup fans to stay in the city, instead of shacking up in Toronto or Niagara Falls hotels. That cynic would be correct, because if people stay in other cities they would likely spend a lot of their cash in those places instead of Hamilton. And to get them to stay we need more hotel rooms. But that's a debate for a different article or blog entry.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 20:06:39

I have a few questions,

1) given the risk of the veledrome and the full rebuilding of the stadium, why has council/staff not addressed the usage of the west harbour as a joint site?

2) what advantage(s) would the current sites have over the WH when LRT and go are considered?

3) please tell us why these sites meet the future fund objectives?

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 31, 2011 at 20:18:04 in reply to Comment 68809

I know these are probably questions for Ryan to shoot to Mayor Bratina, but indulge me, because I was there at the GIC meeting Monday.

1) Because Chris Murray replied to a question about WH this way: "The Ticats aren't interested in being there, we need a legacy tenant to fulfill the PanAm requirement..."

2) If you'd seen the implied disarray of Council...bad communication on someone's part re: the velodrome and the 'new' stadium, and I'm being generous here in my description...then you'd understand that there seems to be no oversight happening. I don't know what management style Mayor Bratina exudes (I do, actually, but I'm keeping my lips zipped for propriety's sake), but we do not have a consistent, complementary, fortified stream of energy moving through our elected officials. I think when a Mayor runs away from reporters, and Council hies their way to their own chamber to lick their wounds and recover, you can safely assume that there's no synergy going on...and many may be forced to hope to merely survive the term with some modicum of dignity.

3) Good Lord, you're presuming that this could even be part of the process at this point. When you've got four Councillors that -apparently- don't think to let their colleagues in on a major development re: the velodrome, when 'staff' don't think to let Council in on a pivotal development such as the construction of the stadium being shifted to an entire new build...then I doubt that such considerations are on the radar.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-31 20:36:56

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted August 31, 2011 at 21:53:09 in reply to Comment 68810

All excellent points, but they are they questions that the mayor should answer. Besides being all last minute decisions, there's not even a hint of vision for this money being spent. I could accept the result (even results that drastically differ from my opinion) if I believed the mayor/council/someone had a vision for our city that tied these decisions together. All I see are bad deicsions, no direction, no synergy, and vast potential being sold for minimal benefit at zero cost.

edit - in regard to the legacy tenant, I say call the bluff. If BY wishes to walk, let him go.

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-08-31 22:08:40

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 00:12:29

There was a second legacy tenant for the Hamilton Pan Am Stadium- Athletics Canada. But the Tiger-Cats basically drove Athletics Canada, the Pan Am athletics component of the stadium, and about one-third of the annual interest from Pan Am Legacy Fund, out of town to York University in July, 2010 by demanding the removal of the track after the Pan Am Games and the city acquiesced to their wishes due to the pressure of the threat to move the football team to another municipality. Once the Tiger-Cats became the only legacy tenant, they took control of the Pan Am stadium process and city council became spectators much like the rest of us.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 16:06:24

Guinness Book of records- HERE WE COME!
(just think how much salad we could pout in there!)

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 16:10:32 in reply to Comment 69248

"Pout" it or "put" it in.

That's still gonna beat Peoria for most tossed salad mixed in a public place.

Now for a 5 year debate about what kind of dressing to 'pout' on it, or do we 'pout' dressing on it at all?
Coming Next! Scrambled eggs!

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