The Future Fund Board of Governors will meet tomorrow, in part to discuss whether their endorsement of using Future Fund money for the Pan Am stadium is still warranted if the stadium goes on the East Mountain.
By Ryan McGreal
Published July 26, 2010
In his report on the Pan Am Stadium mediation process, facilitator Michael Fenn suggested that some funds might be made available to remediate the West Harbour, but did not specify where that money might come from.
His report suggests that the City might hold back some of the Future Fund money earmarked for the Pan Am stadium, but the Ticats are counting on the full $50 million for the East Mountain stadium.
Proposed East Mountain Pan Am Stadium site
The Future Fund Board of Governors, an advisory group that includes several community volunteers and councillors Brad Clark and Chad Collins, will be meeting this coming Tuesday, July 27, 2:30 PM at the Council Chambers, City Hall, 71 Main St. W., to consider whether the East Mountain is an acceptable location in which to invest the Future Fund money.
Citizens and representatives of organizations are welcome to attend the meeting as spectators and may request to make a five minute presentation to the Board. To request permission to address the board, send an email to Andy Grozelle, the City Clerk.
The mandate of the Future Fund is to grow the city's economic base, enhance the social fabric and build community.
The Governors can make recommendations to Council but those recommendations are non-binding.
Councillor Brad Clark argued to the governors in an email that their previous recommendation to commit the Fund to the Pan Am stadium "was not site specific" and questioned "the intention and the propriety of unilaterally changing the conditions to a previously approved funding allocation."
He added that it is "unrealistic" to think the change of site should "nullify the funding allocation" and concluded it would be "outsite of our authority" to add a stipulation that the stadium should be on a brownfield site.
In an email reply to Clark, Councillor Brian McHattie argued that Council decided to use the Future Fund for the stadium "without any input from the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors role really ended up being a bystander on this, which was unfortunate."
He concluded that while it's true that Council has the right to "bypass the Board of Governors and ignore any comments offered", the Board still has "the right to pass resolutions and share their thoughts with Council." McHattie agreed that the "legacy (i.e. city-building) aspects of the new proposal" are "less supportable".
Clark maintained in a subsequent email that the work of the Board "was completed when we forwarded our report to Council" and that a new meeting to reconsider the appropriateness of using the Future Fund money to build a greenfield Stadium "would be at best inappropriate and in the worst case deemed out of order."
Councillor Bob Bratina concured with Clark's assessment and added that the Board "should avoid clever interpretations and allow the process to be completed." He added, "End runs around the process will only diminish the process underway which has already had imperfections."
After reviewing the procedural rules for the Board, Clark acknowledged that they are entitled "to pass a proactive motion to provide unsolicited advice to the Council." He closed by reaffirming that the Board has "no real authority."
In a follow-up email, Councillor Scott Duvall wrote that he "would be happy to hear the Future Fund Board's thoughts before deciding whether Council would/could override their (or any other Boards) decisions, when we have requested that they make the best recommendations for the City."
Duvall added, "I find any suggestion of them having no authority to be insulting."
Councillor Terry Whitehead, in turn, affirmed, "It is good thing that the majority of councillors are very interested on what citizen volunteers, who take time to sit on boards and committees have to say."
Bratina, in turn, reminded that Council voted to direct $750,000 of the Future Fund toward purchasing a building on James North for Hamilton Artists Inc. after the Board had recommended against it.
He argued, "The Board has every right to make a statement, but its effect will be somewhat diminished by what will be seen as expediency related to recent events, not considered important when the Airport site was the preferred alternative."
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