October 19, 2010
Location of Pan Am Games stadium top issue in Hamilton election
Headed into this year’s municipal election, concerns about Hamilton’s taxes and transit do exist, but the location of its Pan Am Games stadium remains top-of-mind for most, including the local construction association.
“It certainly is the buzz,” says Sandy Alyman, general manager, of the Hamilton-Halton Construction Association (HHCA). “We are most interested in making sure and promoting the use of our members in the city to build it.
“Having it go up in the city will create a lot of jobs for our members. Where it goes in Hamilton our members are not that concerned about.”
The Pan Am Games organizing body, Hostco, has given Hamilton council a deadline of Feb. 1, 2011, to finalize a deal on the stadium’s location at a CP rail lands site. The location of the stadium has been an ongoing debate since summer, pitting the interests of Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young against those of Hamilton city council.
The Tiger-Cats are considered the legacy tenant of the new stadium and want it in a location, such as its proposed Aberdeen/Longwood site, which meets sport stadium visibility and access requirements. The city has wanted the stadium built in a location where it can anchor and be the catalyst for redevelopment like its once-proposed West Harbour site.
Young has said he will give the city $10 million over 10 years toward capital construction costs for the stadium. Hamilton city council recently reported that taxpayers have footed a bill of almost $10.5 million in the search for a stadium solution.
The city reported an estimated $6 million cost for traffic infrastructure improvements to service the stadium at the CP rail lands site. The estimated cost for remediating the site is $3.3 million and an additional $300,000 will be needed to extend hydro service to the site.
Hamilton’s issues of airport redevelopment, transit and downtown renewal, issues which the HHCA has historically been involved in and followed, are still on their election radar. However, the stadium location debate casts a large shadow.
“We do understand if it were in downtown, let’s say, it would work toward improving infrastructure and a lot more long-term work would come from it in terms of transportation such as light rail,” said Alyman. “For the most part, we just hope they come to some agreement so the Pan Am committee does not remove the whole stadium from the city.”
The association has also been active in trying to make improvements to Hamilton’s procurement process and it plans to continue that work after the election. HHCA always advocates use of the CCDC2 document.
“The city’s procurement process is pretty good and we have been working closely with its purchasing and public works department,” noted Alyman.
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