New Ivor Wynne Stadium might run north-south
Reported by John Kernaghan
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
If city councillors were surprised by the twists in the Pan Am velodrome proposal Monday, here’s a real turn in the stadium story for them.
The Ticats have pushed for – and may be getting their way – a new stadium that will have a north-south field, not the east-west alignment for football employed at the east end site since 1930.
Three sources close to Pan Am planning and the Tiger Cats confirmed the proposed new configuration, which squares with a city report noting the facility will be totally new – not a partial renovation.
The new 22,500-seat project (down from the 25,000 cited earlier) would turn the current Ivor Wynne site 180 degrees and also take over the footprint of Brian Timmis Stadium, the smaller soccer facility just south of Ivor Wynne, if approved by city council.
The north-south alignment proposal was not revealed to council Monday.
How and where Timmis, one of Ontario’s finest small soccer venues, will be replaced is unknown, but there is a $2.5 million figure in the latest budget for the stadium and adjacent city property to replace it.
The new stadium configuration would bring Hamilton’s facility in line with most stadiums in North America. The north-south field avoids direct sun in the faces of players.
And the application likely means bigger and better restroom and food concession facilities.
Another highly-placed city hall source privy to stadium talks says “this north-south idea doesn’t have legs in my view.”
As well as Brian Timmis, another unknown is how much parking the Ticats will want in what has been identified as a recreational development. And what is the future of the former Scott Park School and Jimmy Thompson Pool, which dates to 1930?
The football club has ponied up $9 million towards construction in exchange for naming rights, a figure that may be difficult to recoup due to a location that isn’t on a major highway. Parking revenue has been a constant key in the football club’s stadium negotiations.
Owner Bob Young has promised in the past to pursue a pro soccer franchise and create a soccer academy for young players to increase activity at the stadium.
Several councilors were puzzled Monday that a totally new stadium could be built for $152.1 million, the same amount as a new build/renovation at the current east-west field.
TO2015 CEO Ian Troop said there are savings due to the fact Infrastructure Ontario is bundling the stadium, velodrome and a track and field facility at York University in its request for proposals to be issued in mid-September. Three design/build/finance teams have been shortlisted to bid on the work.
“There is an economy of scale and better pricing when the work is bundled this way,” he explained.