Special Report: Pan Am

TO2015 Confirms Milton Velodrome

Milton will receive the Pan Am Velodrome with the help of a $7 million donation from the CEO of Mattamy Homes, millions in additional donations and a possible partnership with Wilfrid Laurier.

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 31, 2012

In a press release issued this morning, Toronto 2015, the Pan Am Games host corporation, confirmed that the town of Milton has committed to building a permanent velodrome at Milton Educational Village (MEV) that will be used for cycling events during the Games.

TO2015 CEO Ian Troop is quoted saying, "On behalf of TO2015, we would like to thank the Town of Milton for making this velodrome a reality. This is the result of sound deliberation and an appreciation for the potential associated with a permanent velodrome."

This dashes the hopes of a group of Hamilton Velodrome supporters who have been trying to keep Hamilton's velodrome bid alive by fundraising to top up City Council's $5 million contribution cap.

Last October, TO2015 responded to Council's decision by stating that the city's contribution was too low and it would have to pursue alternate locations. By December, Milton emerged as a serious contender.

Capital Contributions

According to the staff report [PDF] presented to Milton Town Council at last night's meeting, the Town has committed to raising $19.8 million, or 44 percent of the $45 million total.

The Town will directly contribute $3.8 million in capital. $7 million will come from the Peter Gilgan Charitable Foundation, a private charity run by Mattamy Homes founder and CEO Peter Gilgan. The Mattamy Group has offered a further $2 million for naming rights.

$2.5 million could come from Wilfrid Laurier University, which is considering building a Milton campus at MEV. However, that money is not yet confirmed.

A fundraising campaign run by Gilgan and Tim Hockey, CEO of TD Canada Trust, is expected to generate a further $3 million, and the organizers hope to attract $1.5 million in in-kind capital contributions from local suppliers.

The town does have some wiggle room, as the $45 million capital construction cost is regarded as a high estimate. The actual cost could come in $5 million lower.

The report concludes that it is in the town's long-term interest not to cut corners in the construction, as a cheaper, low-quality facility will have limited capacity to attract high-profile events:

We know, for example, that the Velodrome in Los Angeles, the ADT Event Centre, has suffered as a premium international events centre as a result of being constructed with minimal investment in the quality and quantity of interior spaces and builtins within the building.

Operating Costs and Revenues

Between payroll costs and operational expenses, the velodrome is estimated to cost $1.6 million a year to run. However, after three years of operation this will be offset by between $1 million and $1.5 million in total revenues.

Some or all of the balance will be offset by annual payments from the Pan Am Legacy Fund. TO2015 cannot guarantee how much the Legacy Fund will pay out annually, as that will depend on interest rates of return on the $70 million fund.

The staff report notes that the primary purpose of the facility is not to generate a net revenue, but to provide a community resource:

As a municipal facility which represents a legacy facility for community use and for the sport of cycling in Canada, this facility represents a public investment similar to other public buildings. Many of those do not have operating account which provide a revenue neutral or surface revenues over costs, that require some level of subsidy to meet annual deficits from facility and program operation.

The town plans to generate operating revenue by selling tickets to watch sports events (it will have 1,500 permanent seats and another 750 temporary seats) and renting facilities to athletes - both the 250 metre (820 feet) track and the 1,858 square metre (20,000 square feet) infield (an appendix to the staff report [PDF] demonstrates a number of infield configurations).

The facility will also seek to generate revenue from commercial retail, food concessions, office space, and a fitness centre.

An additional proposal will study the feasibility of a geothermal heating system to reduce both capital and operating costs.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:40:28

Our inability to do anything right shines again. Now we can get back to the business of destroying our building stock to put more parking in.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 19:48:27 in reply to Comment 73523

We did do something right. We avoided a big payout for a small special interest and an on-going debt no one knows the true cost of.

$45 million to build, $1.5 million a year to run, then maybe after 3 years some costs will be off set and the rest will come from some fund but no one knows how much will be in that fund. That is just bad business all around. This city needs to get smarter with money, this was a step in the right direction.

Now let's go fix some sewers.

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By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:46:27

Wait - didn't the Mayor tell us that we were getting the Velodrome? Was the Mayor's mouth operating without an active connection to reality again?

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By tadda (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:52:12

Proofreading point "Wilfrid" not "Wilfred".

This is indeed a disappointment.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:53:51 in reply to Comment 73525

At least we have more money now to throw at bob young! MONEYFIGHT!

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By rednic (registered) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:10:41 in reply to Comment 73526

The funny part is .. the powers that be must see the CFL as amateur since, they are after all the biggest beneficiaries of legacy for amatuer sport.

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By Charlie Browned (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:56:28


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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:04:26 in reply to Comment 73527

maybe we can get the stadium yoinked too.. win win!

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By bpotstra (registered) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:09:10

ANOTHER seriously disappointing fumble by our elected officials.

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By thank god (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:52:43

What Hamilton didn't need was a facility that adds $5.4M in expenses over 3 years and only generates $1.5M for a loss of $3.9M over 3 years or $1.3M less a small amount from the legacy fund (at 2.5% per year on the entire $70M amount there will only be $1.75M for all Pan Am legacy partners)

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2012 at 12:09:13 in reply to Comment 73536

But instead of doing a little extra work to determine how to make a velodrome feasible (and it COULD have been a feasible venture) we spent all of our time and way WAY more money than you are talking about here pandering to a bully who wanted a new pro football stadium. This city is so backwards and corrupt it's not even funny anymore.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 19:49:32 in reply to Comment 73539

Two wrongs don't make a right. At least we avoided the one.

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By Who's counting anyway (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 21:23:18 in reply to Comment 73562

Oh how I wish it was only two wrongs. I lost count (and all confidence in City Hall) after four deadlines were extended to produce fruitless half-baked proposals. Agreed - not even slightly funny anymore.

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By Oakvillehomes (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 12:38:32

I hope that down the road they don't sink their claws into the HALTON taxpayer to make up any shortfall. Since this is being pushed by Gilgan and the Milton Mayor, let them pay any costs for a building catering to a personal interest of Gilgan. I have a Coloscopy wing that could bear his name if he wants to donate. It would go along with Mattamy tactics.

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By Sop (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 12:52:05

The funny thing is that the velodrome lobby appraered to be far more prepared in terms of its studies and research, and even seemed to have the inklings of a business case. A shame that they pinned their hopes on the wisdom of council. Another parable on the virtue of self-reliance.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 20:54:17 in reply to Comment 73546

Prepared? If they were prepared, then wouldn't the "more than half of the minimum $17.6 million required" been raised by last fall? http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

That may very well have altered the decision that was born from council's wisdom.

Too little too late.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2012 at 13:17:50

I don't know that I'm going to have a lot of energy to bike around in circles after riding my track bike to Milton...

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 19:50:38 in reply to Comment 73547

Ahhhh, you and your poor track bike Undustrial... ugh!

Comment edited by Kiely on 2012-01-31 19:50:59

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 14:07:20

I'm elated!

Now we can allocate that $5m to something that benefits the taxpayers - like fixing our roads.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2012 at 14:53:13 in reply to Comment 73548


on the heels of the $5 Million cap for the Velodrome, Councillor Morelli brought forward a proposal for the money be redirected to the Seniors' Recreation should the Velodrome not proceed.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-01-31 14:53:33

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 21:24:12 in reply to Comment 73551

that's turning into one heck of a 'stadium precinct'.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 14:21:51 in reply to Comment 73548

If by 'fixing' you mean re-balancing them to include pedestrians and cyclists, then I'm with you on that.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 15:21:09 in reply to Comment 73549

No, I meant fixing potholes. You don't want to get a flat tire on your bike because of a pothole on the street do you?

I wouldn't mind seeing some money going to 2-way conversion and wider sidewalks in dt.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 17:40:17

The only thing I can think of more boring than running around a track is cycling around one. Thank god Milton got this thingy.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 17:43:35

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted February 02, 2012 at 12:21:45 in reply to Comment 73556

Bob Young is too much of a weasel to be a bully. He let Mitchell do that for him.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted January 31, 2012 at 20:07:18

I was glad to see that someone else has inherited that single-use facility. Still don't buy a multi-use site in a velodrome, aside from maybe a small area for workiing out in the centre.

With Kiely 100% and Capitalist 75% (don't agree with 2-way conversions).

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2012 at 11:22:51 in reply to Comment 73564

Perhaps I misstated myself.

I support the conversion of one-way streets to two ways for most dt arteries (full conversions, not the ridiculous 3 lanes one way and one lane going the other as per York Street). Not sure if this is referred to as "two way" or "one way" conversions.

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By Congrats Milton! (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2012 at 11:45:42

Congrats to Milton. Due to the generosity of the private sector, it made this possible. Unfortunately Hamilton didn't have that support. Hamilton had its opportunity and I'm sure many will see this as a positive that Milton got the event / building. Cycling is growing in Canada and this will help it continue. Those of you that don't like cycling, look at this building as another way to keep them off your roads. Congrats again to Milton, well deserved and it will be great for your community.

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By the invisible hand (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 12:00:39

This is not what you guys all think. You need a special bike, special super skinny tires and no brakes. If you think you can go ride on it with your street beaters forget about it. This shows how much you all don't watch sports.

Milton will regret this decision one day.

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