Mohawk a favourite for the velodrome
Mohawk College is winning the race for the Pan Am velodrome.
Trish Chant-Sehl, the city’s Pan Am manager, says there are no other sites on the table that are being examined as intensely.
“Our efforts rights now are focused on Mohawk,” she said.
However, city council has yet to officially choose the site of the Pan Am velodrome. Meetings scheduled for council to officially pick a location have been postponed twice in the past several months.
And while the city was expected to name a velodrome site before the end of July, that deadline has now been pushed back an extra month.
Infrastructure Ontario, the arms-length provincial agency in charge of construction for the 2015 Games, planned to issue a request for proposals for the velodrome, Ivor Wynne stadium and York University stadium on July 28. Their new date is Aug. 30.
The delay raises the spectre of last summer’s heated Pan Am stadium debate, when deadlines came and went without any agreement on location between the city and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
However, the decision to move the velodrome date had nothing to do with Hamilton, Chant-Sehl said. Infrastructure Ontario (IO) has several other Pan Am projects on the go and wanted to stagger their progress.
“It was not our decision — it was an Infrastructure Ontario and TO 2015 decision,” she said.
Terence Foran, project communications adviser at IO, said the new Aug. 30 deadline was firm.
“The initial date mentioned was a proposed date,” he said.
About 20 site possibilities initially on the table were narrowed to one option that will be presented to council for approval sometime in August.
The west harbour — originally proposed for the location of both the Pan Am stadium and velodrome — is still technically designated as the city’s preferred site for the track. However, council will not need a two-thirds majority vote to overturn that decision since that vote was ratified last term.
Current plans for the velodrome call for an $11.4-million temporary facility. However, the city hopes to build a permanent velodrome, with a price tag rumoured to be as high as $50 million.
Partnering with Mohawk College brings the possibility of new funding for the velodrome, both from the college itself and from the upper levels of government.