Special Report: Pan Am

Pan Am HostCo Swaps Track and Field, Soccer

The Pan Am track and field events will be hosted in Toronto, while soccer is moving to Hamilton.

By RTH Staff
Published July 29, 2010

It's official: after reports surfaced last night about concerns raised by Athletics Canada, the Pan Am Games commission has decided to move the track and field events from Hamilton to Toronto, and in turn move soccer from Toronto to Hamilton.

According to a report in the Star, a multi-lane track around the football field would cause a "lack of intimacy", and Athletics Canada feared that the track would be ripped up to accommodate football.

Athletics Canada also objected to the long commute from the athletes' village in West Don Lands, where the Don Valley Parkway meets the Gardiner Expressway, to Hamilton.

This new development comes during a political furor in Hamilton over the stadium location, after the Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced at the last minute that they would not play in the selected West Harbour location.

Michael Fenn, the facilitator brought in to broker a compromise, proposed a Provincially-owned site on the East Mountain instead, and the Ticats moved quickly to endorse this location. Council voted to study the two locations side-by-side and will make its final decision on August 10.

The proposed East Mountain stadium location
The proposed East Mountain stadium location

Pan Am HostCo CEO Ian Troop said today that his organization's requirements for a new track and field facility are that it can accommodate all the events (including the warm-up track), has close access to public transit, and will leave a legacy facility.

Meanwhile, moving soccer to the Hamilton stadium means it will be as simple as repainting the lines on the field to convert the stadium between its two planned uses, a change that seems to please the Ticats.

They announced in a press conference today that they have secured the permission of the national, provincial and local soccer associations to apply for a pro soccer team licence at an East Mountain stadium, and propose to build an on-site soccer academy.

The Ticats also propose diverting $7 million of the Future Fund money, plus $1.5 million from the Ticats and their corporate partners, to build a 3,500 seat amphitheatre and the Pan Am velodrome in a "Pan Am Park" at the West Harbour. $5 million of that money is already allocated to the velodrome.

The Ticats would also invest up to $100,000 a year to maintain the park, which they suggested would play host to 20-25 concerts a year in partnership with Live Nation, as well as church services on Sundays.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 19:59:14

Hmm let's think about this for a minute. Athletics Canada is upset that the track and field events are so far from the athletes village. Bob "East Mountain Albatross" Young wants to move the stadium another 13 kilometres farther away to a site with almost no transit access at all (good luck getting a GO Train up there) and then Athletes Canada asks Hostco to move the events out of Hamilton altogether. But we get soccer instead, and IT JUST SO HAPPENS that Bob wants to start a pro soccer team. But not, you know, in the Soccer Capital of Canada (the north end). No, still on the mountain. Next to a gridlocked highway. On a wheat field. Literally a wheat field. Thanks Bob. I hope all this was worth it.

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By Peter d (anonymous) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 20:13:47

Another tragic tale of a possible solution to a bewildered city gone wrong. This city has had so many opportunities and so many offers for project that would being Hamilton back from the brink of extinction but yet again we are denied a chance to grow and change. The ppl who make decisions about the future of this city are the leading cause o it's downfall. A free mono rail system by bombardier denied. A free stadium onthe old Phillips environmental site at centennial Rd and qew denied. Now a beautiful revitalization project denied. U know what. This city is not worth saving. There's nothing left to save. 20 yrs from now this city will resemble Detroit and other desolate American cities. All hope is lost because change is not wanted nor excepted by the assholes who make these damaging decisions.

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By Ramom (anonymous) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 20:32:51

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 20:39:33

I hate to break it to you Ramom, but the velodrome at the WH is a big part of the bone that the Ticats have thrown us. If we don't get the velodrome, then there's no incentive to give the Ticats what they want.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 29, 2010 at 20:41:28

The beautiful thing about an East Mountain wheat-field site is that it opens up all sorts of other farmland for development.

This development can be "green", with high-density, low-rise housing for lower-income people, plentiful transit access, parks and vegetable gardens everywhere. It can have a train station, a hospital, schools, maybe even a mall with a library, theatres and a Farmer's Market. We can build it all to conform to strict heritage building codes, encourage multiculturalism and even attempt to engender a thriving arts community.

See where I'm going with this?

Anyone wanna venture a guess on the price-tag needed (publicly and/or privately) to rebuild all the amenities available within a 20 minute walk of the West Harbour site? Billions. At least.

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By jeffzuk (registered) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 21:00:18

So long Tiger Cats, hello Hamiltion FC!

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By FenceSitter (anonymous) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 21:03:57

Soccer is to be moved from Toronto to Hamilton???

Can anyone provide a little more detail to what this actually means.

The original bid called for the finals to be played at BMO with other games to be played at Varsity stadium, plus games in Burlington (temporary structure) and Hamilton (Ron Joyce/McMaster).

If the minor games that were to be played at Varsity have been moved then there will be little funding for anything other than a temporary structure like in Burlington.

If games from BMO have been moved to Hamilton there may be some funding available for a stadium.

Maybe Braley is still pulling some strings.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted July 29, 2010 at 21:14:58

"This development can be "green", with high-density, low-rise housing for lower-income people, plentiful transit access, parks and vegetable gardens everywhere. It can have a train station, a hospital, schools, maybe even a mall with a library, theatres and a Farmer's Market. We can build it all to conform to strict heritage building codes, encourage multiculturalism and even attempt to engender a thriving arts community."

Um... Aside from within fuel-injected pondering sessions, when -and where- does any of the above take place in a modern world?

Modern non-organic development doesn't even think in terms of what you're suggesting...which is the most enormous paradigm-leap in thinking that I have to wonder if you're simply taking the piss.

You're essentially talking about 'growing a city-center'. You know, creating a downtown.

Um... We already have one that's been woefully neglected for decades...in favour of peripheral expansion...expansion which never creates either neighbourhoods or communities, but rather sterile sprawl devoid of most of the qualities we associate with humane living.

(And I'm actually flabbergasted that you're quoting Jane Jacobs.)

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 29, 2010 at 21:31:29

I'm assuming Undustrial's comment was sarcasm, and scoring as such.

I've said before, I'll say it again - we know what kinds of communities people want to live in, but we don't build them. There is no intrinsic reason to allow developers to build Mississaugas instead of Torontos. They build them because they are permitted to do so, because it is more cost-effective. If we internalize the bad externalities (make them pay the cost of the car-culture they encourage), they will build as desired. But the East Mountain isn't the place to do so - it will be cut off from the HSR. Ironically, the Aerotropolis, at the end of the proposed A-Line, would be a better location for such a planned fresh-built urban community.

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By ToldYouSo (anonymous) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 21:33:03

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 29, 2010 at 21:54:27

sigh

-SARCASM ALERT-

Sorry for any confusion.

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By Disgruntled (anonymous) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 21:56:22

So much for the Pan Am games, what a flop by all levels of government, bullied by a Bob Young, an american with no connection to Hamilton people. I am sure all the people from downtown will make the trip to the east end with their reliable transportation and the millions of dollars in their pockets. Lets raise ticket prices, increase advertisement at games and charge for parking and food to watch a second rate production. Why didn't the city of Hamilton build a 14 000 seat stadium for track and field and ignore the pressure of a football club and stick to the plan. Why didn't they think of an amphitheater before. The possibilities for the harbour are endless. I can only dream of a better Hamilton but that is all it will be a dream. f@#* Bob Young

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 21:57:13

A token park that doesn't link up to Bay, and reaches as far as Hess. It doesn't even cover half of the lands needing to be remediated, it's not linked to Central Park or Bayfront Park. This is nothing more then a poor attempt to pay lip service to West Harbor support with joke development, and we wonder why the Cat's are losing money?

There is ample room for a stadium at the West Harbor and even more room for a soccer academy at the old Studebaker lands. A location with GO and pedestrian access. I sincerely hope AEG/Katz or White Star drops a 50 million dollar bombshell on the West Harbour project.

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By Pigskin PPP (anonymous) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 22:05:56

I thought Burlington had soccer. Is that just another part of this delicious flustercluck? Did they get pulled down by a drowning man? Or was this whole "artist" angle ( http://www.thespec.com/article/815462 ) just some deep-cover Ticat manipulation?

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 23:44:47

This city is not worth saving. There's nothing left to save. 20 yrs from now this city will resemble Detroit and other desolate American cities. All hope is lost because change is not wanted nor excepted by the assholes who make these damaging decisions.

This entire issue has been very revealing. The public opinion is pretty clear and pretty strong. So now the ones trying to run a private fiefdom seem to have resorted to playing dirty.

We're about to find out whether there is any respect left for democratic principles in this city, or whether it is a privately run territory of elites who operate like the borg. Lately everytime I read an update I'm reminded of past empires that devastated their environment and populace and are now extinct. The waste is a shame that could bring a grown man to tears.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves, Aug 10 is still in the future and what actually happens still remains to be seen! There's been some very hard and very awesome work by everyone involved in the genuine revitalization attempt. Rigging web polls is easy, genuine rehabilitation of dinosaurs is hard work.

At the end of the day, remember the only thing you can control with certainty is this: be the change you want to see.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 00:22:04

This whole White Star thing has to be a joke. Hamilton doesn't need a skydome.

Should one of us miss a major deadline for our mortgages or (heaven forbid) a welfare, we'd be up a certain creek very quickly. It's nice to know that it isn't quite that harsh everywhere.

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By JMorse (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 07:49:28

I'm more excited about attending international soccer than track and field, right here in Hamilton. But the finals won't be here, so it has reduced the overall value of the city participating in this at all.

The "high profile" track events are gone. The confusion has made the Pan-Am participants uncomfortable planning to compete in Hamilton. The bickering and delays have begun to spoil this opportunity. A firm decision needs to be made NOW! How much more damage can be done before the deadline? I'm sure we'll find out exactly how much.

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 08:04:53

According too today's news media (Spec and CHCH) White Star has modified its plans for West Harbour and has dropped the stadium plans entirely. They have replaced it with a velodrome.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 08:47:04

A condo specially built for hipsters, eh?

Now there's profit potential!

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By nm (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 09:12:27

If this pathetic bait and switch actually works and fractures the consensus slowly rebuilt around the harbour, the only hard thing for the Ti-Cats will be whether to name the new stadium after Michael Fenn or Ian Troop.

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By d.knox (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 09:32:49

The only thing this changes for me, besides confirming my cynicism, is that now I don't think we should be participating in the Pan Am Games either. What's being proposed is a temporary structure for preliminary activities in the Games. Snore. But this looks like a very dangerous development if we allow ourselves to be bambozzled by it. The Ti-Cats have seized the opportunity to demand millions of our money again, for the East Mountain site. Really? Why on earth would we want this?

Let's just keep our Future Fund intact for something good. I believe we are still paying for it on our Horizon Utilities bill. Isn't that the debt repayment line? Better yet, why doesn't the city just return the Future Fund money to us if they aren't going to keep their word about how they will use it, and Horizon Utilities can reimburse us for the debt the city foisted on us. Bait and Switch!

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By red24 (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 09:40:42

Sorry to break it to you Disgruntled, but Bob Young IS from Hamilton, his grandfather played for the Hamilton Tigers in the early part of the last century.

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By facts, please (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 09:48:21

Does anyone know anything about this White Star group? Who exactly are they and who is the architectual firm?

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By marc (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 10:00:42

Is it a coincident that Bob Young had his press conference to coincide with the move by Athletics Canada? Why was Bob Young so interested in Soccer before the announcement that Hamilton would get soccer games? Apparently Hamilton city council was informed by the move weeks ago and one could argue Bob Young was as well. It all makes sense since city council has been very quite about all the moves. You would think city councilors would be outraged after that bomb was dropped by the Pan Am games committee….Regardless, Hamilton’s Future fund was mandated for downtown rejuvenation only, yesterday’s events should not change this. If the Ti-cats want to build a stadium on the East Mountain go right ahead as long as it is built without monies from the Future Fund or Hamilton tax payers. It’s a private venture to make Bob Young wealthier, as he mentioned the Ti-cats will be profitable there so therefore he can invest in it himself. We should not pay for it and we should all rally and pressure council to not fund Bob Young’s income.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 10:05:29

Bob Young lives in North Carolina and therefore has no stake in the long term economic prospects of this city. He has also called his decision to buy the Ticats the worst business decision of his life, so he's not concerned about the long term prospects of the Ticats either. If he were, he'd support the WH. He thinks that a sprawl stadium is his best shot at recouping some of his losses in the short term before he cashes out. But not before leaving us with a tax-sucking white elephant built on a wheatfield.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 10:06:14

At the end of the day, remember the only thing you can control with certainty is this: be the change you want to see.

Well said *Mikeonthemount

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 10:12:12

Does anyone know anything about this White Star group? Who exactly are they and who is the architectual firm?

http://whitestargroup.org/

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 10:14:45

According to Bob Bratina on CHML this morning, contrary to Ian Troop's claims, council was taken by surprise by this move. Young and Troop have obviously been orchestrating this behind the city's back.

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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 11:03:19

Lots of developments here...

Here's where I see the state of play right now:

  1. Track and field is going to Toronto, probably York Uni. Fine. Did Hamilton really want a long term track and field venue anyway? As Bob Young noted (and I agree), the track moves the field too far away from the fans - you lose the intimacy. This kind of stadium would not have doubled well as a soccer/football venue. So Hamiltonian's won't be hosting the signature Pan Am events for 2 weeks - big deal.
  2. Pre-lim soccer games will be played at the Hamilton site. This still allows Hamilton take advantage of the 'free' provincial cash and build a cool WH soccer/football stadium does it not? So let's do it!
  3. The EH proposal should still be discounted for all the reasons we've stated here to death. Hamilton can build their WH soccer site and if the Ticats want to use it great. If not they can work something else out. Hamiltonian's should NOT build an EH stadium under any circumstances - that much has not changed.

Have I missed anything?!

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By red24 (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 11:08:14

Highwater says: Bob Young lives in North Carolina and therefore has no stake in the long term economic prospects of this city. He has also called his decision to buy the Ticats the worst business decision of his life, so he's not concerned about the long term prospects of the Ticats either. If he were, he'd support the WH. He thinks that a sprawl stadium is his best shot at recouping some of his losses in the short term before he cashes out. But not before leaving us with a tax-sucking white elephant built on a wheatfield.

True enough, I would more or less agree with you. I don't know if he'll cash out or not (if he can recoup his lossess and make them profitable, why would he?), but I agree that he does want to recoup his losses, and that's why the parking is so critical to him, it's a major cash cow. In an earlier post I just corrected the statement that he is an American with no connection to the city.

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By G-M (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2010 at 19:41:37

The argument that there is NO PUBLIC TRANSIT in the east mountain is simply not true. There is Route 44, 43, 11, and 22 goes very close to the area. Number 2 ... HSR is flexible, it can shuttle people anywhere in the city. Number 3 ... I understand where people are coming from in downtown because I used to live there for a decade, now I live in the east end of Hamilton. I must say, east mountain is developing like crazy and there are a whole lot of sporting events that happen in the area. Did anyone forget that a professional soccer franchise also would come to Hamilton if it comes in the east mountain. As for people in downtown. Take the B-LINE EXPRESS to the east and catch a bus. Simple. Even TSN wants it in the east. The Harbour is now a pool of toxins, factories wrecked it. The odours and fumes are horrible. After seeing what downtown hold right now. I will never move back to downtown. As much as the City wants people to take public transit, there are going to be those people who just want to take their own cars. So before anyone else says that the east is no good, double check because I can take on your argument.

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