Sports

Put the Brakes on the Velodrome proposal for Dundas

By Julia Kollek
Published May 17, 2010

I'm horrified to read that Councillor Powers (and Councillor Whitehead who doesn't live in Dundas) have decided that the Olympic Park soccer field would be the ideal place for the Pan Am Velodrome.

There are many flaws with this idea.

The field is close to wildlife, including Blue Herons, that live on Lake Jojo (best seen from the top of York Road). A velodrome and the inevitable increase in traffic will disrupt nature, which is so important to Dundas

National Cycling Centre, Manchester, England
National Cycling Centre, Manchester, England

The National Cycling Centre in Manchester (mentioned as a model and pictured above) is wonderful - but structurally it's a giant curved building with parking; Olympic Park is a field with trees.

As a city, we're committed to retaining permeable surfaces that naturally drain rainwater. This takes the pressure off our already burdened city water system. Paving more than two acres of a field does not achieve this

I, and other members of Protect Our Dundas, just spent many volunteer months of meetings & fund-raising - not to mention four weeks at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing - to stop four self-storage buildings going up just down the road from Olympic Park.

Paving this field and putting a large building on it makes a mockery of what we and so many Dundas residents fought so hard for.

Dundas soccer parents are already driving their children to Ancaster for practice sessions: we need Olympic Park so our children can benefit from being outdoors in the fresh air and playing on grass (not an artificial surface).

Can we afford the inevitable maintenance costs (which will surely be more than tending a field of grass & trees?

But my main objection is that to my knowledge, no-one in Dundas has been consulted on this proposal. If as a community we decide a velodrome is a great idea for Dundas, then let's be involved in the planning.

No one likes to read about our future in the media first.

This blog entry was first published on Julia's website

Julia Kollek lives in Dundas and considers herself one of our city's environmental guardians. For more info visit www.juliakollek.ca.

30 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted May 17, 2010 at 22:50:48

it's too bad Hamilton doesn't have any brownfields to locate facilities like this instead of paving over parks.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By rrrandy (registered) - website | Posted May 17, 2010 at 23:41:19

Yeah, I wasn't sure how this project gets approval from the councillor without any input from the community - nor could I make sense of the rationale for locating a facility like this on the edge of Cootes Paradise - the people behind this seem to be jumping around without much thought - there is a buried dump under the soccer fields, there is no decent transit, and they talk about using existing mountain bike trails nearby, which I take to mean the RBG north shore, or the Bruce Trail, neither of which are meant for bikes, being footpaths through environmentally sensitive areas. (http://restorecootes.blogspot.com/2010/05/footpath-or-cycle-path.html) Originally the Velodrome/Pan Am folks were talking about how they would have synergies being built together at the Pan Am stadium site (http://restorecootes.blogspot.com/2010/05/rational-for-velodrome-site-hits-wall.html), but that baby's been tossed too, it appears.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By woody10 (registered) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 02:30:31

Russ Powers has no clue as to what is going on in Dundas. I've met him a few times and he is totally out to lunch with his "people". Put it where it's supposed to go, with the other stadia in the West Harbour. Please make it stop, the stupidity is killing me.!!

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 09:02:02

Based on what I've heard the people who are really pushing for this move are cyclists themselves. They say the downtown stadium doesn't link to any cycling routes and is hard to access. By contrast they say Dundas has good connections with existing cycling routes, and is near where many cycling clubs meet anyways. City council seems to have jumped to their side rather quickly.

Not sure how much money these cycling clubs are contributing...

Truthfully though, if we build a velodrome, I think it'll be an attraction regardless of where it is. There are so few of these things in North America that I don't think moving it across town is going to achieve dramatically different results.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By airport fan (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 09:22:10

Robert D,

You're right, location doesn't matter, so let's put the stadium out by the airport.

It will be the only stadium in Hamilton, so it really doesn't matter where it goes.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 09:34:28

@airport fan

Upvoted because I think you're just being sarcastic.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By woody10 (registered) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 09:40:56

I hope he's just being sarcastic

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 09:49:49

Robert D. Plans for the west harbour location tie in perfectly to the waterfront trail and the new cycling route along Strachan from Bayfront Park to the Hamilton General (which connects to the Ferguson Ave route). Coming from the west end is very simple via the waterfront trail along Cootes and the Harbour shore.

And yes, you're right. I think there's only one other of these facilities in Canada - out west somewhere. I don't think the place is going to sit empty on Hamilton's waterfront in the middle of the Golden Horseshoe.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Gwyn Livingstone (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:27:38

"A velodrome and the inevitable increase in traffic will disrupt nature, which is so important to Dundas"

Will a velodrome really bring more traffic than slow-pitch and soccer leagues? This is based on sober studies, or casual supposition?

And is Dundas is capping its development? Or is the opposition to a cycling facility intended to attone for the town's decades of enthusiastic sprawl off York, Sydenham and Governors which essentially butt right against the escarpment (not to mention Pleasant Valley's seeming incursion into the conservation area)?

Oh, wait... election year. Forgot for a moment. As you were.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Gwyn Livingstone (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:43:24

Speaking of Olympic Park and "nature, which is so important to Dundas," I've always been curious about what kind of remediation will be needed on the former Veldhuis lands on King East? Nurseries and greenhouses that were operational for a half-century, especially in the environmentally naive days of the mid-20th century, must surely have a legacy other than the Cactus Festival. Do we know what's in the soil/table water?

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By bike hell (anonymous) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 22:42:33

It never was about "access to cycling trails"

The users of such a facility will almost exclusively access it by car, with bikes strapped to the roof. Track bikes are highly specialised and rather unsuitable for riding on the road.

The NCCH are afraid of having to bring their BMWs downtown and having to look at the people down there.

or *shock* letting them actually use THEIR track!

How nice would it be to have a location in their back yard with plenty of free parking and no buses to drag in the riff raff.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By woody10 (registered) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 22:55:22

Build it all in the West Harbour. The prelim plans look great and the majority of people want it!

ANd, The cactus lands must have some soil problems, I agree. Not to mention the whole surface needs to be scraped because of the tremendous amount of broken glass on the ground.

Comment edited by woody10 on 2010-05-18 21:57:09

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted May 18, 2010 at 22:58:56

It never was about "access to cycling trails" . The users of such a facility will almost exclusively access it by car, with bikes strapped to the roof. Track bikes are highly specialised and rather unsuitable for riding on the road. The NCCH are afraid of having to bring their BMWs downtown and having to look at the people down there. Or shock letting them actually use THEIR track! How nice would it be to have a location in their back yard with plenty of free parking and no buses to drag in the riff raff.

Before anyone accuses you of belittling these guys, I hate to say it but this sort of mindset is still alive and well in Hamilton. Recently I read through the discussion forum on the Ticats website regarding the stadium and you should have read the stuff coming in from the suburbs. One resident said "the west harbour is a non starter. No way I'm going to park my car and have my kids walk through the north end of Hamilton. Not gonna happen. Sorry".

Yes, the same north end where someone just forked out $750,000 for a home on Ferrie St at Bay St North.
The same North End where over 1 million people purchased coffee, lunch, ice cream or a boat tour from the waterfront trust last year. The same North End where 100,000 people WALK to Bayfront park each Canada Day for fireworks and all don't get held up en masse while trying to leave the park at the end of the night.

To many of us, downtown renewal seems to happen at a snails pace, but consider this - when my wife and I moved downtown almost a decade ago we got our house for a song. Currently there are bigger homes on quieter streets with bigger properties on the Mountain that we could buy in a snap, but choose not to because we don't want to leave our downtown neighbourhood. And I'm talking very nice family homes on streets like Upper Horning and Wycliffe Ave. Homes that would be unaffordable for us in our current neighbourhood (no, we aren't in Locke South or Durand). A 10 year snapshot shows that quite a lot has changed in that time. We could afford a home on the Mountain or Stoney Creek, but we can't afford a slightly larger home in our own downtown hood.
But whatever you do, don't let your kids walk around here....or use your velodrome.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-05-18 22:00:51

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By jackson square dance (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2010 at 00:18:37

west harbour is not downtown. it will destroy the residential area and render it useless for generations if a stadium is built there. king and james is downtown. bay and cannon is downtown, the propesed stadium location is quite a hike from downtown hamilton. lower city yes, the core, miles away. take a walk from king and james sometime to the rheem plant and see what i mean.

get it through your heads people. there just isn't the economic pressure to link the types of built up areas a downtown stadium would need to act as a catalyst to growth. if things are too spread out people wont fill in the gaps.

i don't oppose a stadium downtown, i oppose a stadium in the west harbour area. it would be like putting a stadium in the beaches area of toronto and calling it "downtown"

this site is depressingly random when it comes to what its proponents think is good planning. just because a stadium out by the airport is a bad idea doesn't mean the next slightly less worse site is ideal. i am sure we can figure out somewhere better.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2010 at 07:30:00

I asked my friend who is an international touring musician about this whole stadium debate and he said this:

"Every North American city we've toured - the areas around their stadiums is just dead. Nothing happening - complete duds."

He also mused that "only in Hamilton would we consider a waterfront stadium. No one is building stadiums next to bodies of water anymore."

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Praise the Hummer (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2010 at 09:48:02

If the stadium goes to Stoney Creek, it seems like odds are the GO station could be displaced from James North, too. (Not that there's anything much going on down there -- aside from a day or two a month, there's nothing happening.)

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Keith Mann (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2010 at 09:54:19

I find the arguments presented in the article to be weak. There's no actual evidence presented that wildlife will be disrupted, that the impact on rainwater drainage will be significantly negative, or that the maintenance costs will be borne by entirely by the community and not offset by revenues. Each of these points needs to be addressed, certainly, but they're open questions, not necessarily flaws. As for the availability of play fields: I think it's reasonable to ask that new fields be built in other locations to replace those lost to the velodrome.

The one point to which I can agree is that public consultation should be part of the process. Overall, though, the article doesn't persuade me that a velodrome in Olympic Sports Park (which is a _sports_ park, after all) is necessarily a bad idea. I think we need more information.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By z jones (registered) | Posted May 19, 2010 at 10:06:44

There's no actual evidence presented that wildlife will be disrupted, that the impact on rainwater drainage will be significantly negative...

You kidding me? Turning a big rainwater sink into an impermeable asphalt surface won't have a 'significantly negative' impact on rainwater drainage? Come on.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Keith Mann (registered) - website | Posted May 19, 2010 at 10:31:35

I'm not kidding you. Precisely what is the impact? All I'm hearing is FUD.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By justthink (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2010 at 14:51:50

Seems to me that there has been a 'long time between drinks'. I am no 'expert', yet as I understand the Pan Am Games were officially granted in NOVEMBER 2009!!!! It is now almost JUNE 2010!!!!
And here we are discussing a site, deciding to appoint a 'facilitator' so that the key stakeholders have the opportunity to have input into a site etc etc.... I totally agree that 'all people' in an area where there is a proposal to build any facility should be consulted and I am sure that will occur, community input is important to ensure that lifestyle & development has a balance.

I am all for the environment, and if there is proof that building a facility on a Sports & Recreation site will be detremental then that must be evaluated on the Facts presented.

I am also all for having top class facilities,lets remember that this facility is a Recreation facility, its main reason for being after the Pan-Am Games is to encourage people to ride and maybe race bicycles. It is not a speedway, it is not a motorbike trail, it is a facility that will encourage more people to actually be echo friendly and ride a bike to the shops and not drive their car, whether it be a BMW or an old bomb!

The Pan Am Games will come and go, the Velodrome will not, wherever the facility is built,the residents in the area will be proud to be associated with a World Class facility that will put the area on the "World Map"!

I am also sure the small business owners in the "area" will be very appreciative of the economical impact this facility will have to their businesses, I think they will have positive input when the Community Consultation begins, this is about balance for everybody!!!!

A legacy must be left behind after Pan Am that will develop & encourage active lifestyles, now that has to be good for OUR environment... Lets look at the Big Picture, not our own little picture people!!!!



Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Gwyn Livingstone (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 03:17:29

Forgive the detour, but now that I've started wondering about the cactus lands I can't stop. In addition to the troubles possibly resulting from the fertilizer used by the 10 or 20 Veldhuis greenhouses (nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and resulting eutrophocation and/or groundwater contamination), you have the unpleasant business of Cold War-era pesticides.

Many of these kind of semi-volatile chemicals (eg. DDT, toxaphene, chlordane, hexachlorobenzene, dieldrin, mirex) weren't banned until the mid 1980s and are known as "Persistent Organic Pollutants" since they bioaccumulate in the food chain, which in this case is readily available since the site borders fields, ponds and wetlands.

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants counts the above pesticides as nine of the worst POPs ever created and ascribes four qualities to them: They are highly toxic; they are persistent, lasting for years or even decades before degrading into less dangerous forms; they evaporate and travel long distances through the air and through water; and they accumulate in fatty tissue. Does anyone care to venture a guess as to how may of these may have been in use at the greenhouses over their 40-year lifespan? We've seen what happened when a blatant pesticide spill hit Spencer Creek in 2007, but what about the possibility of a spill into the Desjardins Canal... quietly taking place over the course of decades?

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By trevorlikesbikes (registered) - website | Posted May 20, 2010 at 11:32:28

I find the title of this article quite comical.

Brakes on a track bike? Newbs.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By z jones (registered) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 11:38:18

We've seen what happened when a blatant pesticide spill hit Spencer Creek in 2007, but what about the possibility of a spill into the Desjardins Canal... quietly taking place over the course of decades?

Gosh, maybe those environmentalists aren't so crazy after all, eh?

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By rrrandy (registered) - website | Posted May 24, 2010 at 15:22:46

This proposal lands right in the middle of an Environmentally Sensitive Area and is included in the Cootes to Escarpment Plan, as well as a key component of a (hoped-for) Urban Eco Park Gateway for the east end of Dundas. The "nearby" stores will be Canadian Tire and the beer store if this goes in the Olympic park site. At least West Harbour has potential to develop mixed use in close proximity without harming natural areas. Still wondering where they think the "nearby" mountain bike trails are...

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted May 24, 2010 at 15:56:00

^The only 'nearby' trails I can think of are the RBG and the Bruce trail which of course are off limits to cyclists. Maybe they're hoping they can get that changed if there's a velodrome in the neighbourhood.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Gwyn Livingstone (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2010 at 06:28:37

"an Environmentally Sensitive Area... included in the Cootes to Escarpment Plan, as well as a key component of a (hoped-for) Urban Eco Park Gateway for the east end of Dundas"

Again, not to harp on about this, but does anyone have any information on the toxic legacy of the Veldhuis greenhouses? I find it extremely difficult to believe that the lands are pristine after 40 years of fertilizer and Cold War pesticides. Has testing been done and will test results be released to the public?

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2010 at 01:59:59

Quote:"Speaking of Olympic Park and "nature, which is so important to Dundas," I've always been curious about what kind of remediation will be needed on the former Veldhuis lands on King East? Nurseries and greenhouses that were operational for a half-century, especially in the environmentally naive days of the mid-20th century, must surely have a legacy other than the Cactus Festival. Do we know what's in the soil/table water? "

I can tell you what's Not in the water anymore. The Trumpeter Swans that used to nest there every year, until the storage unit proposal reared it's head for that area.

I doubt that after years of nesting there, that chemical pollution caused them to leave. They & many of the other birds that used to nest there are just plain GONE. Only a few pairs of Canada Geese seem to be left.

Having an endangered species like the Trumpeter Swans nesting there might have caused problems for the developers. But now they are gone, I guess that's another hurdle surmounted?

Co-incidence?
Or another case of fallout from the Dundas Spencer Creek fire (Rat poison) from a few years ago that killed everything from the fire sight in Central Dundas to Cootes Paradise?
I think it's Very odd that no one seems to be asking what happened to these birds.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Gwyn Livingstone (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2010 at 11:27:37

Cityjoe: "I think it's Very odd that no one seems to be asking what happened to these birds."

I agree. Maybe everyone is so starry-eyed over the OMB mechanism that they've forgotten about the food chain. After all, the death of marine wildlife can impact higher-order fauna like trumpeter swans. Chemicals, whether spilled or leached into adjacent bodies of water, can kill fish, frogs and insects that would otherwise provide a compelling reason to visit or even stay and raise a family. I have seen trumpeter swans in the Valley Inn Road area near the RBG and the old trestle bridge, so I doubt they've left the area altogether. Maybe they just don't like what the valley town's increasingly lifeless streams and ponds have to offer.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted February 19, 2011 at 08:53:51

By way of update, this article by Emma Reilly titled "Pan Am construction call rolling" in today's print version of the Hamilton Spectator and titled "Hamilton on track it appears on velodrome" on the online version on thespec.com, notes that the City of Hamilton is "...still working out how to pay for a permanent velodrome.", and that city staff will present velodrome location recommendations to city council in March, 2011 from among 20 sites currently on the table: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Velodrome (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2011 at 12:25:26

To all of yous that whant the velodrome in Dundas Ontario as yous call your self and not Hamilton ... the Stadium and Velodrome was given to Hamilton ... and don`t forget it .. when yous say were yous are from ... and the City of Hamilton already has a site and that is the HARBOUR FRONT were it was all the time ... the land is city owned and thats that :)

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

Comment Anonymously
Screen Name
What do you get if you multiply 5 and 1?
Leave This Field Blank
Comment

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Site Tools

Feeds