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295 Meetings
The next meeting of Division 295 will be held on March 14th at 19:00.

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Published: September 14th 2010
Emma Reilly Hamilton Spectator

LATEST OFFERINGA new site, a new deadline and new costs are all on the table as council votes Tuesday on the future of the Pan Am stadium.

City staff are recommending a different location for the stadium directly beside the McMaster Innovation Park lands — a 51.29-acre CP rail yard running alongside Aberdeen Avenue between Studholme Road and Highway 403.

City manager Chris Murray said CP approached the city with an offer to launch discussions about the land.

“It was quite clear that we were pursuing MIP,” Murray said. “It wasn’t us approaching them.”

It’s the latest in a string of three sites the city has considered since the end of August: the west harbour, the MIP lands on the east side of Longwood, and the CP yard.

The staff report suggests a new deadline of Oct. 12 for staff to report back to council. That Committee of the Whole and council meeting on Oct. 13 are the last two meetings before the Oct. 25 municipal election.

The report also recommends staff approach the federal and provincial governments to ask for additional funding to build a larger 25,000-seat stadium. Currently, the funding on the table from all three levels of government will only fund a 15,000-seat stadium, a venue too small to house the Tiger-Cats.

The report also makes it clear the MIP lands east of Longwood was a no-go because it would disrupt McMaster’s plans for the innovation park.

“They were very good discussions, but we were unable to find a way to bring our different interests into congruency,” said McMaster University president Patrick Deane.

The report council will consider today offers more questions than answers about the new site. It doesn’t include information about land acquisition costs, remediation, parking or traffic, or whether the city will have to spend more beyond the $60-million cap council has put on Pan Am spending.

Murray said the Pan Am organizing committee, HostCo, knows of the city’s new plans.

The new site emerged “since Council’s most recent direction to staff,” reads the report. “Based on a preliminary, high level analysis, the CP site appears to meet the needs of the City, the Tiger-Cats, as well as maintain the integrity of McMaster Innovation Park.”

CP spokesperson Breanne Feigel said the new site has been used as a rail yard since the early 1900s. CP purchased it from TH&B in 1977. It is actively used as a rail-truck transfer yard and for car switching and train building.

Feigel said the city and the Calgary-based business are in the very early stages of negotiations.

Sophia Mavumba, spokesperson for Mayor Fred Eisenberger, said the mayor would not speak about the issue before today’s meeting.

HostCo representatives declined to comment and Ticats’ president Scott Mitchell did not return a call.

Mayoral candidate Larry Di Ianni questioned how the city would pay for the CP lands. Councillor and mayoral candidate Bob Bratina said, “It’s better than ruining the integrity of MIP, but is it feasible?”


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