Special Report: Pan Am

Velodrome: Burden or Opportunity?

Councillor Terry Whitehead argues that we should regard the Velodrome as an investment in a better quality of life, an improved image and an enhanced community college.

By Terry Whitehead
Published September 02, 2011

A lot has been said in the last number of days regarding the Pan Am Velodrome and process. I want to take this opportunity to provide some clarity on the issue.

First of all, I would like to start off by indicating that in this term of Council, I believe this is one of the best Councils I have had the honour and privilege to work with. Secondly, Chris Murray has a high level of integrity and my colleagues and I have full confidence in his role as City Manager.

Many members of Staff have been working tireless hours on the Pan Am file, as these files are very complex and involve a lot of due diligence as well as a constant state of flux. I can appreciate the frustration and the fair criticism on these type of initiatives.

This is not unique to Hamilton. In fact, there have been many articles that speak about the challenges, whether it is regarding the NHL arena in Edmonton, or many of the cities across North America that have been involved in these types of initiatives.

I believe that some of the criticisms and issues have been well-received by Staff. I know that lessons have been learned throughout this process. I believe that our decision-making at City Hall will only be improved from the lessons learned.

At this point, I do not want to dwell on the "What could have, should have" scenario. It is now time to focus on the job at hand.

Staff Report

What we know from the staff report that was presented to Council is that Toronto 2015 has increased their financial commitment from the original to cover 56% of the cost for a $12 million Velodrome, to cover their cost now based on an approximate $55 million Velodrome.

Our contribution is expected to be 44%, which brings our commitment to around $20 million.

Mohawk College is contributing the land, $2 million towards the Velodrome, and $15 million towards a facility that will accommodate the students at Mohawk College for a much needed healthy living space that will address their significant deficiency in this area. Their facility will also complement and be synergistic with the operations of the Velodrome.

We also know that the City of Hamilton's original financial commitment towards the Velodrome is $5 million. In addition, Staff recommended in the report that for us to go forward with the permanent Velodrome, it must be conditional on receiving $500,000 from the Pan Am Legacy Fund on an annual basis into perpetuity.

If TO2015 agrees, this is a significant breakthrough. Unlike many of our recreational facilities or even HECFI, we would have a commitment to offset the ongoing operating cost while building up the capital reserve to sustain the Velodrome for years to come. This is a significant improvement from the ongoing subsidies we provide for the HECFI facilities.

What Is Our Vision?

The key issue at this time is the approximate $15 million shortfall on the capital for the development of the $55 million facility. Staff has been given 2 weeks to better clarify, as well as to identify partnerships and opportunities that would reduce the financial shortfall.

So the question becomes, "What is our vision of our community?" I believe that one of the measures of our City's strength is the quality of life, opportunities we provide for our residents, and healthy living.

We build arenas, recreation centers, swimming pools, soccer pitches, baseball diamonds, cricket courts, tennis courts, and more. This is just an example of some of the many investments that the City makes on behalf of the residents of this community.

None of these facilities make money. They are subsidized; however, they provide for a healthier community and a higher quality of life.

Velodrome Benefits

I see the Velodrome as a hybrid. Firstly, it enhances our image and provides national and international opportunities to our community.

Secondly, like many of the facilities I have identified, we can have a facility that provides for many of the cyclists' interests in our community, as well as provide a recreational amenity space for many of the residents - something that is already a part of our mantra and responsibility.

Thirdly, we understand the importance of having post-secondary institutions in our community. They enhance the City's position for economic development opportunities, an ability to have well-educated graduates that can feed into the job market makes Hamilton a very attractive place for investment.

The Velodrome would further enhance the status of Mohawk College provincially, nationally, and internationally, which benefits the City of Hamilton and all of its residents.

With the commitment of the $500,000 Legacy Fund, the Velodrome would be the least City-subsidized public facility in Hamilton.

It is important for Council to balance our financial capacity with decisions that would truly transform, strengthen, and enhance our quality of life, as well as increase our national and international profile and status as a city in this great country of Canada.

In conclusion, I know that Staff will do everything they can to provide us with the best and most accurate information so that Council can arrive at an informed decision as to whether the Velodrome would be an opportunity or a burden for the residents of this community.

Terry Whitehead is the Councillor for Ward 8 (West Mountain).

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By thehighwayman (registered) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 14:40:48

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 14:42:37 in reply to Comment 68982

Public tax money should NOT be used for professional sports facilities - only for facilities for use by the children of the city!

So you're against the stadium but for the velodrome? Count me in!

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted September 04, 2011 at 22:24:24 in reply to Comment 68984

You do realize, just about every highschool and pre-university football in Hamilton utilizes Ivory Wynne at points. As well there being a plan to start a soccer academy at Ivor Wynne.

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted September 05, 2011 at 09:02:29 in reply to Comment 69051

There's not a lot of deep thinkers out there so they probably don't realize that. The old phrase, think before you speak (type) comes in handy sometimes.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 15:09:43

Thank you councillor Whitehead for taking the time to articulate your position and engage with people interested in these events. In regard to your letter, I have three questions:

1) You have stated Mohawk Student Assc is providing 2M and Mohawk is providing the land. One cost not adressed is acquiring land to replace the parking that will be removed to build the facilties. Is the acquisition and total cost of replacing the lot anticipated to be anywhere close to 2M? If not, then what is the estimate?

2) An investment in the community with a unique, world-class facilty is why really do want to see the velodrome in Hamilton. Beyond the elite athletes, I think it provides my son, and all chidren in Hamilton, an opportunity to aspire to something greater than video games and the mall. I can appreciate "not want[ing] to dwell on the 'What could have, should have' scenario", but has anyone addressed the "funding shortfall" if the facility were to be placed in the West Harbour? It seems there are synergies to be at least expored with LRT, city building, toxic land rmediateion, and existing land owned by the city. While I agree there are syergies with Mohawk, I find the current mayor/council justifications lacking and frankly I am disturbed by what appears to be misinformation being spread for an unknown agenda.

3) Toronto 2015 has said that a $500,000 Legacy Fund amount is an impossible request because the Fund will only pay a proportional amount based upon the interest made each year. This looks like a poision pill. Will council consider rewording their request to at least allow for flexibility, for example, ask for a gauranteed average from the Legacy Fund?

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-09-02 15:16:45

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 02, 2011 at 19:00:47 in reply to Comment 68989

1) You have stated Mohawk Student Assc is providing 2M and Mohawk is providing the land. One cost not adressed is acquiring land to replace the parking that will be removed to build the facilties. Is the acquisition and total cost of replacing the lot anticipated to be anywhere close to 2M? If not, then what is the estimate?

As I've noted elsewhere on RTH, the 'Velodrome Site Relocation, Development and Parking' is estimated at $3m. (600 parking spots at $5k per.) This is to be borne entirely by the city. (PanAm agreement)

As well, there is the 'Land Acquisition' (Lease) figure of '0'...which means they just don't know what the cost (if any) will be at this point.

So to answer your question, Mohawk is chipping in $2m...and for starters, Hamilton is coughing up $3m...and counting. (Just for the land.)

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-09-02 19:26:47

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By Freedom Seeker (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 16:15:11

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By DanielRodrigues (registered) - website | Posted September 02, 2011 at 16:34:31

I must say that I was a bit perplexed that RTH would allow a blog submission from a Councillor who's Ward will be home to the heavily-debated Velodrome. The post almost reads as if we were in 2014, and a municipal election was in a few months :)

That said, congrats should be given to his writer who very carefully crafted a 'motherhood' contribution on why the proposed velodrome would be nothing short of a positive addition to Hamilton's recreational facilities.

Unfortunately, tucked nicely into the post is a statement which holds some curious undertones on the Veledrome's viability/profitability with the following statement regarding the existing facilities in Hamilton: "None of these facilities make money. They are subsidized; however, they provide for a healthier community and a higher quality of life." This statement could lead one to believe that the citizens of Hamilton will be subsidizing the veledrome for years to come...all in the name of a healthier community.

Since discussions on why the process arrived at its current state of angst is not up for discussion, perhaps the Councillor could elaborate further on what the citizens of Hamilton can do to make this goal a reality? Other than just sit idlely by nodding our heads with aimless appreciation for a veledrome, absent of its costs and tax implications.

Like many, I too would like nothing more than to see a world-class cycling (and most recently published in The Spec - multi-use facility) in Hamilton. But I'd also like to see LRT become a reality; improved infrastructure in our roads and waste-water; better connectivity between the Mountain and the lower-cities; higher commercial tax base to minimize residential tax levies...the list continues.

Perhaps, as the Councillor's post suggests, a veledrome will assist in bringing some of those wishlist items to fruition. But then again, so too are the new Ivor Wynne stadium; all-day two-way GO train service; the LINC/RHP expressways; Copps Coliseum...the list continues.

At some point, we have to stop looking for the "magic answer" to our percieved woes.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 16:38:36

If the city goes ahead with this plan to have the velodrome at the college either the college needs to put up more money or the velodrome especially the basketball courts or whatever the infield is used for needs to be under city control. There is always a need for more rental gyms and basketball courts in the city. Try renting a couple of basketball courts for a weekend to host a tournament and you will see how difficult it is. One would assume a new structure would have really nice courts which could rent at a premium. Rents together with a refreshment and food service would help at least a little bit with reducing the operating cost.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 02, 2011 at 16:52:03

Thanks for directly submitting this to RTH - I agree, it's pleasant surprise to see a councillor's name as the submitter in this site.

I can see the appeal of the Velodrome being integrated into a larger athletic complex instead of being an isolated facility, as much as I'd love to see something like this appear on the West Harbor. Does this mean that the new Mohawk athletic facility will be available to the public in some fashion or another? Realistically, Velo isn't exactly a casual sport - Hamilton cyclists will be using the Velodrome about as much as Hamilton's football fans will be playing at the new stadium. This facility will be a venue for professionals and competitors, and that's a good thing, but realistically I don't think it will be part of Hamilton's recreational services. But still, it would be good to know that Mohawk will be operating this as a public building rather than their velodrome.

Either way, it sounds like Council is looking to move ahead with the Velo while simultaneously trying to minimize the cost and still procuring a world-class facility. I hope that's what we'll see, but I'm worried that this is a recipe for another long, drawn-out mess that ends up being completely subverted... repeatedly... in the final act like the stadium was.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 17:19:42

The people who really need a "better quality of life" in Hamilton are not going to use a velodrome.

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By Biloxi (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 19:10:27

Terry, Terry, Terry,

Firstly, you should learn how to edit. The article contains many illiteracies. Secondly, you should learn how to think. Of course the velodrome is a burden on the tax dollar; you recognize this by neatly couching your support conditional on a $500G yearly contribution, which has already been nixed by Ian Troop. So, you will be able to have it both ways. Finally, stand up and be counted. Support is unconditional and your already nixed qualification makes your support a non-starter.

If the velodrome needed a hero, it has certainly not found it here.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 02, 2011 at 19:30:09 in reply to Comment 69000

...by neatly couching your support conditional on a $500G yearly contribution, which has already been nixed by Ian Troop.

Um, when?

When was this declared?

I was there at the GIC and Mr. Troop was adamant on several occasions that the $70m Legacy fund's interest (guesstimates are in the neighbourhood of $1.5m/year) would be split between three facilities, with one of these being the velodrome.

Could you please point me towards information to the contrary? (To be fair, the Board of Directors for the Legacy Fund has not been chosen yet, so there is no 'guarantee'...but I recall no 'nixing'.)

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-09-02 19:31:09

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By Biloxi (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 19:36:11

Mr. My StoneyCreek, please read this magazine's editor's interview with Mr. Troop. Let me quote it for you,

"On the operating side, the City report to councillors on the velodrome states that a capital commitment from the City would be conditional on an annual $500,000 operating fund from the Pan Am Legacy Fund.

Asked about this, Troop said, "I understand the motivation from staff, but that's not practical." As one of the Pan Am legacy facilities, the velodrome would receive its "fair share" of annual interest on the $70 million Pan Am Legacy Fund, but there is no way to guarantee how much that would be.

The Fund will be managed by an independent board of trustees who will allocate the interest on the $70 million fund to the Pan Am legacy facilities, including the velodrome, the York University stadium and Ivor Wynne stadium.

Troop added, "Interest rates change from year to year. There's a big difference between 2% of $70 million and 3% of $70 million. None of us can make a guaranteed statement around a number."

Maybe that doesn't sound like 'nixing' to you, but it sure does to me.

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted September 05, 2011 at 09:11:21 in reply to Comment 69002

Doesn't sound like "nixing" to me, just not making a promise to a set number.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 02, 2011 at 19:48:13 in reply to Comment 69002

Maybe that doesn't sound like 'nixing' to you, but it sure does to me.

No, it doesn't.

He's saying they can't guarantee any particular amount. (Who could? Who knows what the split will be, or what the going interest rate will be?)

So yes, he can't guarantee the asked-for $500,000 per year.

That's all.

(And if you think this was the limit of what was thrown around Monday of 'Maybe if's...then you shoulda been there, because those who were wanting the velodrome at Mohawk...such as Mayor Bratina...were quite willing to play a shell game.)

But Mr. Troop was, as I said, adamant that there will be funds in perpetuity for those three facilities.

For the record, I'm against the Mohawk location...and the Mohawk financial numbers...but I still believe in a velodrome in Hamilton. But I think the whole effort has been pooched beyond recognition...and it's time to move on.

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By Biloxi (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 21:37:30

Well, I wasn't at the GIC meeting. But I can read words; and when Terry asks for a guaranteed $500G per year, and Mr. Troop says "That's not practical" and then proceeds to tell us no number can be 'guaranteed', we are being told that the condition isn't going to be met.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 03, 2011 at 07:06:20 in reply to Comment 69004

"That's not practical" and then proceeds to tell us no number can be 'guaranteed', we are being told that the condition isn't going to be met.

Yes. The number cannot be guaranteed.

Will interest income be spilt amongst the three efforts in perpetuity? Yes. That part was 'guaranteed'.

So between $1m and $2m in interest will be doled out by the PanAm Games Legacy Fund. In perpetuity.

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By johnny velvet (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2011 at 23:17:29

This is the same councillor that got sued for defamation and found GUILTY! As articulate as the article may sound, anything ever written by him is done in self interest. I wonder if he would consider putting the velodrome on the Auchmar site instead?

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By Balance (anonymous) | Posted September 03, 2011 at 00:52:35

The whole thing is ridiculous......Pan Am. Let's not forget that there is only one taxpayer that funds the Federal, Provincial and Municipal Government and that is you and I. Ask yourself, what did the Canadian and World Cycling Championships really bring to Hamilton? At the outset there were all these promises of legacy, promotion and economic spin-offs for the City yet, years latter we are still complaining about the City. There is a dinky little cycling shop set up in the Arena in Ancaster serving a few people.

I'd rather live in a City that is financially sound with a sustainable plan for the future than a City with these "jewels" that turn out to be white elephants that cost us dearly. Anyone doubting this simply needs to take a walk around Copps Coliseum and take a close look at the burnt out light bulbs and peeling siding. Then add all the negative news around HECFI.

Time to get back to the basics. Whitehead along with others simply don't understand because they have no long term committment to the City, it is simply a paycheque for them and a way to get their names in the paper. Anybody who really cared about the citizens wouldn't propose such ridiculous initiatives.

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted September 05, 2011 at 09:13:45 in reply to Comment 69006

Are you trying to say that there is only one dinky cycling shop in Hamilton????

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By Biloxi (anonymous) | Posted September 03, 2011 at 08:07:59

Mystoneycreek, what is it about the councillor's and city's request for a 'guaranteed' $500Thou per year don't you understand? So, if PanAm comes across with $50,000, you are ok with it? or $100thou? or how about ten bucks?

The point is that council is asking for a sum which will NOT be given and it gives them an out when they say no. Is that unconidtional support for the velodrome? Hardly! It isn't even tepid support.

Same as Bratina saying he's not ready to give up on Velodrome and then builds so many conditions that it just can't be achieved.

I prefer Merulla simply telling it like it is and saying let's just cut bait and move on.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 04, 2011 at 12:51:30 in reply to Comment 69009

Mystoneycreek, what is it about the councillor's and city's request for a 'guaranteed' $500Thou per year don't you understand? So, if PanAm comes across with $50,000, you are ok with it? or $100thou? or how about ten bucks?

The point is that council is asking for a sum which will NOT be given and it gives them an out when they say no. Is that unconidtional support for the velodrome? Hardly! It isn't even tepid support.

sigh

I understand everything about the request; I was there on Monday, I got the full context of the GIC meeting. (And paid for it with a numb bumb.)

For the final time: there's a $70m PanAm Games Legacy Fund. The three main pieces of construction, of which the velodrome is one, will draw the yearly interest. At 1.5% per year, that's just over a million bucks to be divided amongst the three. I'm sure you can do the math.

Is the actual amount 'guaranteed'? No. Will there be a massive amount to be divvied-up each year? Yes. Has this entire situation been botched? Beyond reckoning or argument.

As I've been saying for the longest time...there's a stage production in there somewhere...probably a musical farce.

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By AETHERMAN (registered) | Posted September 03, 2011 at 13:18:27

IF I had my way, money was not an objective, and IF tree hugger Chad Collins was out of the Matrix, I would have a Skydome style STADIUM AND A CASINO built at Confederation Park! IMAGINE the revenue from the Casino alone! As it stands, so many people are spending their Gambling and Entertainment money at Flamboro, Niagara Falls, Toronto, etc., and not directly in Hamilton! A myriad of events like Festival of Friends, Concerts, etc. could be held all year round at a roofed Stadium to bring in plenty of revenue too! Access, parking and noise would be non-issues! How come nobody has thought about this idea? Yes-No-Maybe? (db)

Comment edited by AETHERMAN on 2011-09-03 13:20:01

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted September 05, 2011 at 09:26:51 in reply to Comment 69021

Confed. Park has THE worst access of every site proposed! One way in and out. Plus, since a dome is out of the question, the weather in November off the lake is brutal. Let's not forget exhibition stadium. I'm still shivering from games there.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted September 04, 2011 at 12:36:46 in reply to Comment 69021

Where do you think the bulk of the money spent in a casino goes?

OLG.

Agree with you though that other events should be part of our new sports facilities. I don't think a dome would make economic sense in Hamilton - it would probably cannibalize demand from Copps as far as trade shows and such go. But there are probably very inventive ways we can host events at IWS-New... and I'm not talking about big rock concerts, which seem to be what people refer to most often. I'm talking about events that are more neighbourhood friendly and culturally diverse, in more of a festival mould, which might make use of the entire area from King right to Beechwood or even along Barton too.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 04, 2011 at 17:28:06 in reply to Comment 69036

I'd love to hear those ideas because I like where you are going with it. I wouldn't mind a concert or two per season but I agree that we don't have to think traditionally with alternative music arts or other types of activites at IWSII. Feel free to add your ideas and thoughts in comments section on SaveIvorWyne in the Stadium District tab.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-09-04 17:59:26

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted September 06, 2011 at 22:34:46 in reply to Comment 69045

To be honest, I haven't thought of many. But they're definitely worth thinking about and discussing as a community.

A few ideas... What about Shakespeare in the Stadium (and I'm not talking about Stevie Baggs). Can be small, big, whatever the demand is. It works in High Park in Toronto, why not in a place that has seats?

What about a festival for Hamilton's Asian community? Dance, food, history, culture. For that matter what about some of our European communities that remain a strong component of the city's population?

A sports and fitness themed festival, aimed primarily at kids but for their parents too. Invite popular players from the major sports leagues and Canadian Olympic standouts. Share the history of sport in our country.

A film festival - set up some big screens in the stadium, find a way to keep the soundtracks from drowning each other out, or just use the big screen to show one film at a time and put exhibits and stuff outside in the plaza area and surrounding lots.

Stair-climb for charity - get people to sign up for different time slots over a weekend to use the stairways to generate donations, maybe get corporate support and have some celebrities involved too. Charity marathons and walks have really taken off the past few years, the CN Tower has an event, why not the new stadium?

Just a few... I'll copy them over to your site too.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted September 03, 2011 at 23:21:32 in reply to Comment 69021

Would go well with the proposed Walmart down there. Watching football and baseball and soccer are times to be enjoyed outside and if it rains or snows or its really frickin cold, you bundle up and prepare for it and everyone 'huddles' nice and close and we gather for hot cider and a big pot of chilly after the really cold days and we make some fond memories. Confederation should maybe expand the waterpark, add a couple of more beach-style restaurants offering alternatives to Hutches and Barangas. Its a beach with nice quiet bike and roller blade and walking trails. It most certainly and neither does Hamilton, need a Casino at Confed or Scott Park or a Skydome. Leave confed alone and build an House of Blues in West Harbour and Let's be a community minded Canadian City and not Walmart Corp America with biggy sizes and a car-friendly community. Let's get agressive with bike lanes and Lrt and accent what we have in Cootes paradise and a half dozen conservation areas and an escarpment and well what's left of Red Hill and Dundas Valley and our harbour. Let's look at what is beautiful about this city and build off of that.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-09-03 23:30:10

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By Biloxi (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2011 at 19:18:25

Sigh and Sigh again:


Councillor Whitehead: "We also know that the City of Hamilton's original financial commitment towards the Velodrome is $5 million. In addition, Staff recommended in the report that for us to go forward with the permanent Velodrome, it must be conditional on receiving $500,000 from the Pan Am Legacy Fund on an annual basis into perpetuity."

Mystoneycreek: "I was there at the GIC and Mr. Troop was adamant on several occasions that the $70m Legacy fund's interest (guesstimates are in the neighbourhood of $1.5m/year) would be split between three facilities, with one of these being the velodrome."

Mystoneycreek (again) "So between $1m and $2m in interest will be doled out by the PanAm Games Legacy Fund. In perpetuity"

Mysotneycreek (yet again): "At 1.5% per year, that's just over a million bucks to be divided amongst the three. I'm sure you can do the math."

So, even your numbers are somewhat fluid...because nothing can be guaranteed. I am NOT splitting hairs, but the request by the city/councillor was firm....$500G's had to be guaranteed. That is the essence of the position. Splitting far less is far less than the demand. And if you think that the money will be split evenly, think again as to what has been the city's focus.


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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 04, 2011 at 20:19:53

Unfortunately, the city staff report on the velodrome is no longer available online via the Agenda from the Special GIC meeting on Aug 29/11: http://www.hamilton.ca/CityDepartments/C...

However, the report was available online for a brief period of time early last week. In the report, city staff did recommend making it a condition to proceed with the velodrome only if the city receives a minimum of $500,000.00 per year from the Pan Am Legacy Fund.

At the Special GIC meeting on Aug 29/11, Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop said that $500,000.00 per year from the Pan Am Legacy Fund cannot be guaranteed to the city for the velodrome. It could happen, but it cannot be guaranteed.

Mr. Troop said that $70 Million will be invested in the Pan Am Legacy Fund after the Games have ended and the annual interest, minus administration costs, will be divided between the York University athletics stadium, the aquatics centre, and the velodrome.

Mr. Troop did not say that the payments would be divided equally between the three facilities.

Example "A"- Let's suppose that it is divided equally. If the $70 Million is invested at interest rate of 2.3% per year, it would generate $1.61 Million interest per year. This would garner each of the three facilities $500,000.00 per year after deducting an estimated fund administration cost of $110,000.00 per year.

Example "B"- An interest rate of 2.14% would only generate $1.498 Million per year, an insufficient amount to pay $500,000.00 to each facility and whatever the actual administration cost turns out to be.

Toronto 2015 cannot guarantee that a bank will pay at least 2.3% annual interest into the Pan Am Legacy Fund in perpetuity. City staff is therefore recommending a condition that Toronto 2015 cannot guarantee.

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By Biloxi (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2011 at 20:51:26

Thank you Renaissance and that is the crux of my issue. Also, remember that Hamilton 'banked' $100M for a Future fund that was to help the city 'in perpetuity'. We all know how that story is going..so don't count on the $70M being there for anyone to enjoy 'in perpetuity'.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 04, 2011 at 23:54:01

None of these facilities make money. They are subsidized; however, they provide for a healthier community and a higher quality of life.

Am I the only one who thinks this statement actually makes a whole lot of sense? Since when do these sorts of things ever turn a profit? It's a service, an investment, an attraction - but let's not delude ourselves into thinking it's going to be free in perpetuity.

Anyone else find it funny how, amidst all the fury aimed at public spending for something as frivolous as a velodrome, the $3 million for replacing the parking lot isn't being brought up as an option for cost-cutting or further revenues? Or is it not "theft" when the government steals our tax dollars to pay for automobile infrastructure? Frankly, I'd prefer if part of the velodrome's legacy is one less parking lot.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 06, 2011 at 05:24:47 in reply to Comment 69052

Anyone else find it funny how, amidst all the fury aimed at public spending for something as frivolous as a velodrome, the $3 million for replacing the parking lot isn't being brought up as an option for cost-cutting or further revenues? Or is it not "theft" when the government steals our tax dollars to pay for automobile infrastructure? Frankly, I'd prefer if part of the velodrome's legacy is one less parking lot.

'Funny'? Well, not in a 'funny, ha-ha' way...but not surprising at all. It shows how entrenched the culture is. This aspect was not a bone of contention at the meeting, it wasn't anything to be debated, discussed, nuthin'. Parking would be removed by building the velodrome...that parking would have to be replaced. Period.

Frankly, I didn't blink at this figure. We rely on automobiles, they need parking spots to accommodate them...end of story. Maybe it would be another story if the land being proposed for the velodrome didn't currently have parking on it and they were insisting more was needed...but I doubt it.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 06, 2011 at 09:52:08 in reply to Comment 69080

I just don't want to look back five years from now on the parking lot that was "just too valuable" to lose by constructing a world-class cycling facility.

New auto sales have fallen farther in the last decade than they did during the oil shocks, and much more dramatically (#2 on the link below). It's easy to claim that "people aren't going to stop driving any time soon", but when you look at the effects of high gas prices and recessions over the last few years, it's beginning to look as if this will happen whether or not we build trains and bike lanes to replace them.

http://www.businessinsider.com/a-few-thi...

(Yes, it mentions a slight upward tick lately, but given all the nightmarish economic news in the last week, how long can we expect that to last? Also, check out what's happened to corporate profits while everyone else has been scraping by...)

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By PedZing (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 16:22:22 in reply to Comment 69084

If a city does nothing to improve transit across the city & make it viable for all, this is a self fulfilling prophesy.
If you have no other way to get to work, school, the supermarket, the doctor, or public transit, or the Go station
..... you are going to Drive my friend, because that's all you have.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 06, 2011 at 15:13:13 in reply to Comment 69084

It's easy to claim that "people aren't going to stop driving any time soon", but when you look at the effects of high gas prices and recessions over the last few years, it's beginning to look as if this will happen whether or not we build trains and bike lanes to replace them.

Fair enough.

But would you 'expect' Mohawk to shrug and say 'Don't sweat the parking...which has always been an issue for us...we'll just assume some magical urban transit solution will make up the difference.'?

People in government...be they 'City Staff' or Councillors...they don't do their projecting according to anything other than what they can see in front of them. (More or less.) So what you're suggesting...in much the same way as Hollywood studio execs fifty years ago could never have been capable of envisioning how differently their revenue pie would look about now...is beyond their ken.

Which is why nothing is being planned to take into account what peak oil, etc proposes.

Which is why Mohawk wants their parking lot replaced.

: )

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By PedZing (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 19:45:09 in reply to Comment 69106

If politicians are unwilling or unable to look at any other kind of stats, they might want to try "Aging Population" stats that are available on pretty much any topic from Alzheimers to Wheelchair /Universal access to public buildings & transit.

It shouldn't take an Einstein or Chomsky to understand that "The needs of the many" will probably result in The Many raising some kind of Hell. (We do it better than any other generation. Lots of practice!)

I used to think that any idiot could get their minds around the fact that a whole lot of Geezers are on the very near horizon. (I'm one of them) But the Boomers have been around for 6o to 65 years, & few politicians have taken notice of the obvious fact that people Age, & probably should not be driving a car at some stage of the game..never mind needing more health care & housing.

Gas prices & insurance prices go up..Pensions & fixed incomes stay about the same. Driving is the least smart choice for low income people. However if you have no public transit options, & are less physically able to schlep 20 lbs of groceries home for a km., you will probably bite the bullet & keep driving if possible, to avoid being 'house bound', dependent, & isolated.

More public transit, more accessible public transit, more DARTS type services are going to be needed in the Very Very Very near future-EVERYWHERE!

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 06, 2011 at 23:03:38

Here is the link to an article titled "Councillors: Pan Am Stadium budget 'fat','padded'" by Matthew Van Dongen posted on thespec.com tonight. The article notes that Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, chair of the Hamilton Pan Am Stadium subcommittee, commented during a meeting today that millions of dollars of "budget fat" from the stadium should have been reallocated to the velodrome project.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-09-06 23:04:26

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted September 06, 2011 at 23:47:42

Funny Mr. Ferguson failed to mention that often building new is more cost effective than renovating where hidden costs can escalate due to unforseen circumstances that won't allow for renovation. I suppose Mr. Ferguson has limited knowledge though of some basic construction information.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 07, 2011 at 07:38:07 in reply to Comment 69140

It is certainly more cost effective to build the two new Pan Am facilities on one large site rather than building them at two locations several kilometres apart.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-09-07 07:39:27

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 16:16:10

Burdens x 2! What ever happened to that initial plan for Ivor Wynne? Did it disappear in a bit of smoke & mirrors? (I wish the TiCats had disappeared via smoke & mirrors.)

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 09, 2011 at 22:05:47

Here is the latest city staff report on the velodrome released ahead of the Special GIC meeting on September 13, 2011: http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/3525...

1. Capital Funding For the Velodrome

The RFP will be released to the three construction bid teams on September 15, 2011 and will close in Feburary, 2012 with the winning bidder to be announced in Spring, 2012.

Here is the breakdown of the estimated total cost of $39.5 Million to $49.5 Million for the Mohawk College velodrome: Construction cost $35 Million to $45 Million (Hamilton pays 44% or $15.4 Million to $19.8 Million) Site preparation $1.5 Million (Hamilton pays 100%) Parking $3 Million (Hamilton pays 100%)

Hamilton must therefore pay in the range of $19.9 Million to $24.3 Million toward the total cost of the velodrome.

To date:

-Hamilton has only officially committed $5 Million to the velodrome;

-Mohawk College has offered to contribute $2 Million to the velodrome;

-The capital funding shortfall is $13 Million to $17 Million

The following potential sources or contacts have been approached by the city for additional funding but no new funding commitments have been made to date:

-Senator David Braley;

-MP David Sweet;

-MP Dean Allison;

-MPP and Minister of Revenue Sophia Aggelonitis;

-Mohawk College;

-Private Sector Interests.

Unless Hamilton votes to take full responsibility for the Mohawk College velodrome capital funding shortfall for the velodrome before September 15, 2011, a location for the velodrome will not be noted in the RFP.

Toronto 2015 has offered Hamilton a four week extension to October 11, 2011 to find additional funding sources but the RFP will go to the bid teams without identifying a velodrome location.

2. Operational Funding For the Velodrome

A Pan Am Legacy Fund corporation will determine the portion of the fund interest to be paid annually to the velodrome after the Games have ended.

75% of Legacy Fund monies received by the velodrome will go to operational expenses and 25% will go to support high performance sport programs.

City staff is still recommending that Toronto 2015 guarantee an annual payment of $500,000 out of the Pan Am Legacy Fund toward the Hamilton velodrome as a condition to participating in the Pan Am velodrome project.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-09-09 22:49:08

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 10, 2011 at 10:07:41

Based on the latest city staff report for the Special GIC meeting on September 13, 2011, it would seem prudent for city council to first vote on the staff recommendation to make its financial participation in the velodrome conditional on Toronto 2015 guaranteeing an annual payment of $500,000 from the Pan Am Legacy Fund before it even addresses the capital funding gap issue.

If council votes in favour of the staff recommendation, the permanent Hamilton velodrome proposal is at an end because Toronto 2015 has stated that it cannot provide such a guarantee.

Only if council votes against the staff recommendation does it have to vote on spending or finding more money than the $5 Million it originally allocated for the temporary velodrome in 2009 to bridge the current capital funding gap for a permanent velodrome.

One question arises from the former scenario. If the velodrome proposal ends, will council then vote to leave the existing $5 Million velodrome commitment in the Future Fund or will the money be siphoned into the construction budget for the new Ivor Wynne Stadium?

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-09-10 10:08:55

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 11, 2011 at 21:53:18

An article by Daniel Nolan on thespec.com website tonight reports that a London, Ontario company sent a proposal to Toronto 2015 today offering up to 20 acres of land in south London as an alternate Pan Am velodrome site. Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop has called the proposal "speculative" and said that his organization is still committed to Hamilton:

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

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