Sports

Here's to Improved Clarity on the Pan Am Velodrome

By M Adrian Brassington
Published September 06, 2011

Today the Spectator published a letter to the editor regarding the proposed velodrome for the 2015 Pan Am Games. The letter reads in part:

Our city fathers would have us believe that there is only one other velodrome in North America, located in Los Angeles. In fact, there are two indoor velodromes. One is the ADT Event Center in Carson, Calif. and the other is the Colorado Springs Velodrome in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Then there are 21 other outdoor velodromes throughout the United States.

The author concludes that the velodrome "will be underutilized and cater to only a minute sector".

I read it and my immediate reaction was to think of US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's quote, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." My secondary reaction was to realize that a lack of understanding of issues isn't the exclusive domain of politicians.

Finally, I decided to get in touch with Greg Mathieu, CEO of the Canadian Cycling Association. Mr. Mathieu had made a presentation to the GIC meeting on August 29th, and I'd been fortunate enough to have been present.

He delivered a solid, evocative presentation, and as I was reading Mr. Schmiedeberg's letter, I'm sure some of the facts he'd relayed came to mind.

Mr. Mathieu writes:

Of course the LA Velodrome is the one in Carson City, so the writer is not unearthing anything not already in the report to Council.

The Colorado velodrome is not UCI standard as it is 142 meters and the international standard is 250 meters, all of which is part and parcel of the study done for Hamilton by Sierra Planning.

There are a number of outdoor cycling velodromes in Canada and USA that were largely built up to the time of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. They were built at various lengths ranging from 250 meters up to 400 meters. Of course the track cycling season was run in concert with the Road season until 2004 when the World Championships were moved to March.

Most recently, track has been run in the October to March period with World Cup season culminating with the World Championships. Therefore, preparing for the highest level of track cycling occurs in the September to March period and that is a period in Canada where we can't depend on outdoor tracks. It is for this reason that our National Team program is in Los Angeles using an indoor track that is 250 meters in length.

In any case the value of the velodrome to the community, including the Mohawk College student population, is much beyond the high performance programs of the National, Provincial and National Cycling Centre Hamilton programs. It offers a facility that can hold community cycling programs of all types including club development and safety instruction. It can provide a safe and weather proof training track for cyclists, and then there is the infield area, which is being designed to host multiple sport activities that can be run while the track is in use.

We fully expect the velodrome to be a very well used facility benefiting the cycling community, the Hamilton sport community, active living practitioners and the Mohawk student body.

It is our hope that the community use of this facility is well presented and understood when Council next meets on this matter.

Whether or not the velodrome, as it has been packaged together in the effort with Mohawk College, is a good idea has yet to be determined by Council. Whether or not the entire project is a prudent one for Hamilton, period, is also a matter to be sorted out.

Certainly every Hamiltonian has a right to their opinion, but preferably after they have full command of the facts. No matter what the topic, surely we can all agree that it's vital to be processing the same set of facts.

Hopefully Mr. Mathieu's reply has added some clarity to the discussion.

M Adrian Brassington is a Hamilton writer.

46 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By rednic (registered) | Posted September 06, 2011 at 14:21:42

First off I think the velodrome is a great idea, but there is something missing in Mr. Mathieu's comments. While the canadian team trains in Los angles, He never once says 'if we had a year round facility in Hamilton we could switch our training the new velodrome and pay an amount equal to what the americans are paid per year for the velodrome. If we are supposed to convince fellow taxpayers that this is viable project, then the Canadian Cycling Association needs to make a commitment towards the ongoing funding and upkeep. If we can't attract our own national team to the facility how can we convince skeptics, this is viable.

Permalink | Context

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 06, 2011 at 14:35:17 in reply to Comment 69102

He never once says 'if we had a year round facility in Hamilton we could switch our training the new velodrome and pay an amount equal to what the americans are paid per year for the velodrome.

He made this very statement at the GIC meeting. Clearly, succinctly, without reservation. There were all manner of aspects of economic benefits, such as National Team managers, coaches, technicians as well as riders moving to the area.

This email wasn't intended primarily for 'public consumption'. It was a response by a Hamiltonian for more information. So please don't take what isn't there as being indicators of anything except...the fact that it's not there. Nothing else.

Here's what I suggest: Get in touch with your Councillor. Ask for a fact sheet or summary of how they're making the decision on whether or not to go ahead with the Mohawk collaboration. (While you're at it, ask them what their feelings are about West Harbour still being Council's choice of locale for the facility.) I'm sure that the point you raised will be front-and-centre, and that even those charged with making the final decision will be conversant in such basic information.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-09-06 14:35:44

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By H+H (registered) - website | Posted September 06, 2011 at 17:53:51

Adrian,

Good job getting in touch with Mr. Mathieu. I agree, Council and all citizens must make their decision based on facts. Sadly, this decision seems to involve much more, or should I say less, than just facts.

Currently, the way the deal is structured, few citizens will be be spending quality time in the velodrome unless they have purchased seats to a cycling contest or to a Mohawk College game of some sort. Paying is OK, but this fantasy that kids will be introduced to cycling through the velodrome is slightly disingenuous. Sure, they may see a race and think, "That's cool and conclude that's what I'd like to do toe." But, they will not be allowed anywhere near the expensive and hard to maintain professional track.

If my position is factually incorrect, I'm prepared to be open minded. But let's all of us be careful about drawing bigger conclusions from simple statements. Kids probably will be introduced to the sport of cycling, but not while they're riding around on the track. It's like saying kids will be introduced to the sport of football by buying tickets to watch the Ti-Cats play, so therefore the City of Hamilton should put up a bunch of money so that will happen. Oh, wait a minute, we already did that.

Permalink | Context

By pakamac (anonymous) | Posted September 06, 2011 at 18:52:51 in reply to Comment 69119

H+H states that kids"... will not be allowed anywhere near the expensive and hard to maintain professional track". I suggest that a one hour trip to London, Ontario to visit the Forest City Velodrome (as should the mayor and councillors from Hamilton. There he would see the rows of engaged spectators, the elite level competition and the great kids' programme which has already produced national team and international athletes. The wonderful thing about a velodrome is that it provides a real venue where beginners can be introduced to cycling competition in a safe and controlled environment. Most competitive cycling activities take place on roads or out on the trails. Imagine swimming programmes held on a river or lake, or hockey development without the large number of arenas.
H+H states that he is open-minded. A visit to the Forest City Velodrome will go a long way towards him modifying his opinion.

Permalink | Context

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 06, 2011 at 19:43:25 in reply to Comment 69122

With all due respect...it was your comment elsewhere I referenced to Graham, whose comment you've replied to...comparing what the Hamilton velodrome would be and what the Forest City Velodrome is, is akin to comparing a Granny Smith apple with Delicious.

The Forest City Velodrome is the shortest permanent velodrome in the world, measuring 138 metres with 50-degree bankings and 17-degree straights.

Meanwhile, the PanAm Games facility...wherever it is ultimately located...would be a 250m UIC-sanctioned indoor facility, one of only two in North America.

As well:

The building was constructed in 1963 as the London Gardens, home to the London Knights ice hockey team. In 1994 it was renamed London Ice House. In early 2005 it was remodeled into the Forest City Velodrome by local cycling enthusiast and track racer Rob Good and Albert Coulier's Apollo Velodrome Systems company.

In other words, this is a re-fitted facility, not a bespoke one.

It might be best to think of this velodrome as the cycling equivalent of an indoor, International Speed Skating Federation, world-championship event oval: yes, club skaters could use the facilities, but not a classroom from the local elementary school. Its primary focus is upper-level training and competition.

These are the Pan American Games we're talking about. And the legacy can certainly include introducing cyclists to the sport. But I'm reminded of the dangers of compromise in the expression 'Jack of all trades, master of none.'

If the idea of having an uncompromised elite facility doesn't sit well with Hamiltonians...then let's do the right thing and pass on the entire endeavour. Canada's elite athletes deserve the best we can provide, and the Mohawk facility ain't that.

Permalink | Context

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 06, 2011 at 18:50:14 in reply to Comment 69119

Graham, what you've brought up makes me feel uncomfortable...and yet it's necessary to discuss it.

I appreciate the notion of 'multiple use' facilities. (Elsewhere on this site is a great comment addressing how this is accomplished at another facility.) But I have to say that sitting through the GIC meeting last week... Well, I was flinching.

No matter where this facility is built...Hamilton, Toronto, Oakville...this will be only the second UIC-standard indoor track in North America.

No matter if you respond with 'If it's such a grand idea, why hasn't someone else built it already?!?', the point is that this facility would be a world-class affair. A singular notion in Canada, and only the second in North America.

Its primary use is clear: top-level training and competition.

Surely there is room for other cycling considerations. For entry-level and everything between it and UIC Championships. But I do not support any effort that either diminishes or somehow compromises its primary function.

Which is why, given all the talk of 'public access' and 'multiple-use infield' at the GIC meeting, I was flinching.

This facility, unlike a football stadium, should be approached with a distinct degree of respect. Because for the foreseeable future, it will be unique in Canada. One-of-a-kind.

So I'd prefer to see it built right...in a non-compromised fashion, with the proper support, packaged in an uncompromised way...or not see it built in Hamilton at all.

I love what a commenter said over at The Hamiltonian last week about Hamilton:

"When you have no target, everything looks like one."

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-09-06 19:32:27

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By H+H (registered) - website | Posted September 06, 2011 at 20:11:08

pakamac

I really am prepared to be convinced. I have only watched Olympic cycling on TV. I have never been in a velodrome. What I understood from attending the GIC meeting where Mr. Mathieu spoke was that this facility would be, as Adrian has pointed out, an elite athlete facility. Of course, those elite athletes would not be using it every single day.

My concern is not with world class athletes, and their coaches, and their competitors using the facility, but rather with the number of days available to introduce kids to the sport. If a world class velodrome is located in Hamilton, built with a significant amount of Hamilton taxpayer's money at a time when we have very little to go around, then I want to be absolutely sure that all kids in Hamilton get access to and benefits from that facility. There are many kids in this city whose parents can't afford a bike, let alone one that would be allowed on this elite track. I'm not suggesting that if it doesn't work for the poorest of our kids then it's not worth doing, but $20,000,000 of city money, plus annual operating costs and long term maintenance costs, is a rather grand amount of money whether you are rich or poor.

If our city staff can provide details as to citizen access-by-demographic, it gives us something to work with. However, at the moment, we don't even know here we're getting the money for the velodrome itself not to mention the parking lot Mohawk wants replaced.

Details matter, even to people who have never been inside a velodrome. It's easy to say things such as, "We will engage the community in the ongoing use of the facility." What exactly does that mean? If we can be assured of how a youth program will work, I'm open to changing my view on this. At the moment, there is no information about this. We need some. At least I do.

As I see it, Olympic swimming pools and ice rinks are defined by their size. Both are flat areas filled with water. An olympic cycling track is a specially configured with high banks and a carefully maintained surface. You don't have to be good to get into a swimming pool or onto an ice rink. That much I know first hand. It seems to me, riding around a velodrome is a different matter.

Please educate me.

Permalink | Context

By rednic (registered) | Posted September 06, 2011 at 20:57:53 in reply to Comment 69126

Im willing to educate a little regarding track racing ... I've been to the velodrome in moscow, and put on numerous cycling races in downtown toronto ( Alley cat courier races ).

Velodromes require a track bicycle, basically a ten speed with no gears and no brakes. There is also no ratchet so when the wheels are spinning so are the pedals. THe only way to stop is to slow down the pedals.

Most Velodrome racers start on a 'grass' track to learn the dynamics of riding fixed. If this works out like it us supposed to hamilton would inherit a 'bunch' of cycling coaches, just as in gymnastics these people must always be on the look out for the next big thing, So while kids might not benefit from the 'main event' there would hopefully be a program where kids (and adults ) learnt to properly ride on this and where trained to and elite level.

Track racing is some where between chess and dog racing as sport. there is a huge amount of strategy and practice required to win. The fastest is not always the winner either. So in this sense size does matter , it is not like swimming lengths in a pool. The curves and the banking are all part of it.

It may not be every ones cup of tea, but then again I've never been to a CFL game.

I think the CCA really needs to step up to the plate here and speak about how much money they would bring to the table ( in yearly rentals ) and how many other teams they could attract for training and revenue purpose. The part im little unclear on is the 500 000 a year figure for maintenance etc .. is this a revenue short fall or an operating budget , if for example the CCA can pay a 100 000 a year rent do we only need 400 000 a year to keep the lights on ?

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted September 06, 2011 at 21:58:17 in reply to Comment 69128

The part im little unclear on is the 500 000 a year figure for maintenance etc .. is this a revenue short fall or an operating budget

My understanding is this is what the city would be expected to contribute to annual operating costs, so yes, a revenue 'shortfall'. So far all I'm hearing in favour of the velodrome is what great national asset is would be. I have yet to hear any solid information on what it will do for Hamilton to justify the enormous investment we are being asked to make. I agree. Time for the CCA to put their money where their mouth is.

Permalink | Context

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2011 at 04:46:13 in reply to Comment 69132

So far all I'm hearing in favour of the velodrome is what great national asset is would be. I have yet to hear any solid information on what it will do for Hamilton to justify the enormous investment we are being asked to make.

So let's take the revenue shortfall out of the equation...let's take away all the disturbing financial developments of late...

What city would this velodrome be better suited for? And why?

To wit, what would it 'do' for any locale?

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-09-07 04:46:31

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted September 07, 2011 at 09:46:53 in reply to Comment 69144

To wit, what would it 'do' for any locale?

Probably not much, which is why I don't think any city, least of all ours, should be asked to shoulder the lion's share of the costs. The people who have the most to gain from a velodrome in Canada are nationally ranked athletes. It should be a federal project. I can't figure out why a facility like this is being downloaded to a municipality.

Permalink | Context

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2011 at 23:51:08 in reply to Comment 69158

Developing a Sports & Leisure Strategy for Hamilton:

While the Velodrome does appear to be a downloading of a facility, we can easily turn PanAM to our advantage by some creative re-structuring of existing city wide assets to develop a new organization around this downloaded event.

Hamilton can quickly turn this downloading into a strategic opportunity by creating a new city-owned company similar to: "Manchester Sport and Leisure Trust" to own, operate and manage --all-- of Hamilton's Community Sports & Leisure Centres city wide.

Such a Trust would be able to rapidly capitalize into a $100 Million+ company, backed by its multimillion dollar asset-base. This new Trust can then be used to leverage structured institutional & private development capital to streamline and professionalize not just the HECFI facilities, but also all presently city owned & operated sports & leisure centres. Further, this Trust would act as the development & management partner (with its ability to provide second-tier funding), for all current and future projects - such as the Velodrome.

With innovative programing the user-experience of this sector would get highly dynamic and engaging for all age groups -- and new tools like a: 'system-wide, electronic usage pass' for members and guests - which is tied in with the Health and Education systems, would lead to some fascinating cross pollination between these different sectors - and could also be tied in with the travel industry affinity programs, to induce healthy living with holiday promotions for frequent system users.

Much like the OHIP card, this new sports & leisure card could fast become a standard for this industry -- to access and manage personal health and leisure outcomes.

This trust, however, --has-- to be run by new top level management team that is solely selected from a worldwide search of best-of-breed managers in the Sports & Leisure industry -(and not internally hired, as has been past practice). This would have to be the only -caveat- in forming this Trust.

This Trust's management team would be mandated to develop a state-of-art city-wide Sports & Leisure strategy - and would be directly responsible for self-financing a full-spectrum sports & leisure experience for all of Hamilton's residents & visitors -- and developing the most innovative development & operational financing, and events programing in the industry.

This new Trust will be able to move financial & human resources and capital as required to projects and events and bring about a --holistic, sustainable approach-- to this very important sector in our city.

In the case of the current Velodrome funding gap, this Trust would easily propose and develop on its own (or via a joint-venture with a hotelier), a small foot-print 100 room hotel w/ banquet facilities -- which would generate $1.5 Mil in annual revenues at 50% occupancy on a room rate of $85/day. This ancillary valuation on completion coupled with its revenues, by itself, would be able to offset any development & annual operational funding gaps for the Velodrome -- while providing strong synergies for visitors and users during events at the Velodrome.

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and healthy minds are a key ingredient for a thriving city.

Let us commit to approaching our city-wide problems more -holistically- and shed the narrow focus of our parochial turf interests. Legacies are born from such thinking.

A similar holistic approach in our Transportation sector can quickly generate astounding results -- with much higher profits for everyone in the food chain -- but first we must be willing to give up the narrow bandwidth in which we operate presently, and embrace diversity in thinking.

I am willing to give a free half-day consultation to the City of Hamilton to detail this into a reality - if it is ready for some real innovation in these sectors.

Mahesh P. Butani

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2011-09-07 23:51:34

Permalink | Context

By marie antoinette (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 09:16:54 in reply to Comment 69200

So....the velodrome isn't cake?

Permalink | Context

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted September 08, 2011 at 12:43:00 in reply to Comment 69207

marie antoinette: History did stop blaming you for the quote a long time ago :)

You will agree that when projects are structured to reduce or eliminate the burden on tax-payers, they do stop looking like cakes.

Permalink | Context

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2011 at 09:54:42 in reply to Comment 69158

The people who have the most to gain from a velodrome in Canada are nationally ranked athletes. It should be a federal project. I can't figure out why a facility like this is being downloaded to a municipality.

Excellent. Thanks for this; do you know if your Councillor feels this way?

Permalink | Context

By cyclists (anonymous) | Posted November 21, 2011 at 13:13:21 in reply to Comment 69161

My seven and five year old boys both benefit from the riding at the velodrome in London.They reap the benefit of heath competition and comeraderie in an environment which encourages sporsmanship.They are far from elite athletes and enjoy the sport for exactly what it is,nothing more and nothing less.I know where they are and what they are doing .Riding on such a facility is in my opinion safer than any road or sidewalk in ontario ,all of these things ,no amount of money can buy.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted September 06, 2011 at 21:39:08

Re-purpose the Rheem building for a small Forest City sized velodrome for public use and throw in some climbing walls as well. There is nothing horribly wrong with the Rheem building, adaptive reuse of it would save a fortune in remediation costs.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Cycling Coach (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2011 at 11:16:30

Facts:

1. Cycling Canada will run its High Performamce programs at the Hamiltin Velodrome.

2. CHCH National Cycling Centre Hamilton will run its programs from the new Velodrome.

3. The Community it all other Countries that have indoor Velos, have access to the facility, they can hire a bike at a cheapo rate, Moms, Dads, kids anybody can have a go.

4. Velodrome Cycling is the safest form of Cycling, no cars, no dogs, cats, potholes.

5. Velodrome bikes are cheaper to buy than road or triathlon and most MTB bikes.

6. The community will have access to more track hours than the "elite" cyclists.


It is best that we all deal with the facts!

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 10:40:43 in reply to Comment 69167

  1. Cycling Canada will run its High Performamce programs at the Hamiltin Velodrome.

  2. CHCH National Cycling Centre Hamilton will run its programs from the new Velodrome.

Great! So they'll be paying the majority of the construction and operating costs then.

  1. The Community it all other Countries that have indoor Velos, have access to the facility, they can hire a bike at a cheapo rate, Moms, Dads, kids anybody can have a go.

We have been given no word that this will be the case here. At the moment it is looking like Mohawk (with it's paltry $2m contribution) will be given first dibs, and when pressed have given no firm committment to giving the community access.

  1. Velodrome Cycling is the safest form of Cycling, no cars, no dogs, cats, potholes.

And the safest form of play is in a padded room, no trees, no rocks, no dirt, no water...

  1. Velodrome bikes are cheaper to buy than road or triathlon and most MTB bikes.

Irrelevant if the community is not guaranteed access to this facility, which they are not currently, and BTW, it's not 'cheap' if you have to buy a specialized bike in addition to the bike you use to get around.

  1. The community will have access to more track hours than the "elite" cyclists.

Citation needed.

It is best that we all deal with the facts!

By all means!

Comment edited by highwater on 2011-09-08 11:36:38

Permalink | Context

By Cycling Coach (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 11:32:13 in reply to Comment 69214

Without getting into banter, it is correct to say that the Velodrome will be accessible to everybody in the community who wishes to keep fit, learn new skills, or take up Track Cycle Racing.

It will provide opportunity to everybody, there is no question about that at all.

>Swimming Clubs do not build Swimming Pools!
>Hockey Clubs do not Build Hockey Arenas!

Questions?

>How many Swimming Pools make money for the City?
>How many Hockey Arenas make money for the City?
>How many Football Facilities make money for the City?
>How many Track and Field facilities make money for the City?

These are genuine questions..

Community facilities are just that, they are for the community, they provide facilities for our community to be active, provide opportunities to those who may aspire to win Olympic Medals, who was the last Hamiltonian to win an Olympic Medal, in any sport, that is another genuine question.






Permalink | Context

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 08, 2011 at 12:06:22 in reply to Comment 69219

Without getting into banter, it is correct to say that the Velodrome will be accessible to everybody in the community who wishes to keep fit, learn new skills, or take up Track Cycle Racing.

It will provide opportunity to everybody, there is no question about that at all.

(Lead-in comment edited for propriety's sake)

Please don't make the comparison of 'swimming pools' or 'hockey arenas' and 'track and field facilities' with an-only-one-of-two-in-North-America-UIC-sanctioned-for-international-competition-indoor-velodrome. Frankly, these analogies are insulting. But they sure do seem consistent with the level of discussion surrounding the prospect of a velodrome in Hamilton...as well as the stadium, for that matter.

What's important to me, if there's going to be a facility in Hamilton? Well, first and foremost is that the elite status of the velodrome not be compromised. Which is why I agreed with highwater's point about federal funding for a national-level pursuit. (No pun intended.) I'd much prefer Hamilton not get on board for a velodrome. (And prefer to see a permanent facility built by a proper approach, where the focus is appropriate, on the elite goals...while incorporating the various strata beneath this level.)

'Community access' to me is waaaaaay down the list.

If you want to establish a tradition of excellence...um, excellence is what the PanAm Games are all about, right?...then you have to do things right. And this is one of the things that's bothered me, that this clarity has been missed. Just as it was missed when the Ti-Cats essentially hijacked the stadium endeavour. (For the record, I'd have much preferred it if we'd never committed to the stadium -and events- and instead had said 'Let's do the velodrome. We can do that right.')

I'm going to finish off this tirade thusly: Hamilton has a great tradition of rowing. Of road racing. (Not just the World's in 2003. We used to have the Hess Village Criterium Classic, we had amazing road races utilizing the Escarpment in the late-80s and early-90s..,and we have some phenomenal mountain biking in the area. It's a natural to have a velodrome in Hamilton...

...if it's done right.

I'm not convinced we're capable of managing that accomplishment at this point.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-09-08 12:08:29

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 12:53:16 in reply to Comment 69222

'Community access' to me is waaaaaay down the list.

I suspect community access is way down the list for 'Cycling Coach' as well, and is only being used as an enticement to get us to pay the majority of the costs.

I have no problem with the velodrome being an exclusively elite facility either, just as long as we're not expected to shoulder the majority of the financial burden. Why is Hamilton continually being asked to make investments that far outweigh any dividends we might receive? Do we have a giant 'kick me' sign on our back or something?

Permalink | Context

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 08, 2011 at 13:16:44 in reply to Comment 69224

Why is Hamilton continually being asked to make investments that far outweigh any dividends we might receive? Do we have a giant 'kick me' sign on our back or something?

Why did we sign up for two facilities?

Nobody off-loaded this situation. Why would we think we could manage to construct both of them? Was anyone else interested besides us?

I'm not trying to churn up negativity here (!!!) but this entire PanAm adventure would be the stuff of 'non-confidence' votes in other environs. You make mistakes when striving for excellence. But I don't get the impression that was what was being aimed at.

Can you aim at excellence when you're desperate?

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 11:41:07 in reply to Comment 69219

it is correct to say that the Velodrome will be accessible to everybody in the community who wishes to keep fit, learn new skills, or take up Track Cycle Racing.

Unless you have insider information, no promises have been made that the community will have access to the velodrome, and you cannot make this claim. Until we know for a fact that the majority of the time will be given over to the public, your other 'genuine' questions do not apply to this facility.

Comment edited by highwater on 2011-09-08 11:43:56

Permalink | Context

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2011 at 11:49:14 in reply to Comment 69167

It is best that we all deal with the facts!

You're right.

And while I appreciate what you've offered, the 'fact' is that there's a ton of ambiguity attached to the entire proposal, as witnessed at the GIC meeting last week.

-There is not yet a Board of Governors to oversee the PanAm Legacy fund...so there's no way to say for certain how much money will be available to the city for the facility on a 'revenue shortfall' finding basis.

-We have no idea about the 'Land Acquisition (Lease)' costs for the relocated parking lot on Fennell.

-And we really have no firm idea about community access or specifics about potential breakdown of use.

I know I'm probably in the minority here, but to me, if everything is hinging on this community access, then we have our priorities upside down.

(BTW, I'm curious about #3; you're sure this will apply to only the second UCI-sanctioned facility in North American? And if you are, based on what?)

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By H+H (registered) - website | Posted September 07, 2011 at 11:20:02

Cycling Coach,

Thanks for the list. Where did #6 come from? Obviously you have heard something I have not heard or read. Community access is a huge issue for me, so any additional information will help all of us make the right decision.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By BossHoogg (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2011 at 13:24:30

Didn't know where else to comment about this but was by the old Revenue Canda building today and the wall along Main Street is coming down.

Wasn't this supposed to stay according to the new plans?

Permalink | Context

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 11:28:36 in reply to Comment 69175

No, my understanding was it is the west portion of the building, including the entry doors (and freizes) that is to stay in place, not the south (Main Street) wall.

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 15:00:25 in reply to Comment 69218

The entry doors and friezes are on main.

Permalink | Context

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted September 09, 2011 at 14:08:55 in reply to Comment 69243

Yes, I realize the doors are physcially on main (which is the south side of the building).

I was trying to clarify that I've never read anything about them keeping the south portion of the building, but that they would keep the western side of the building up to and including the friezes (which are facing south, but are located on the westernmost part of the building).

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted September 09, 2011 at 14:38:55 in reply to Comment 69314

FWIW, as of Aug 17, the stated plan was to save the entire west wing. Was by there today but didn't get a good enough look to see if that is still the case.

Comment edited by highwater on 2011-09-09 14:40:01

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Andrew Iler (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2011 at 21:36:07

Community access along with vibrant and inclusive youth programs are the key components to all sustainable long-term high performance sports programs.

Youth and community programs have been given a very high priority by the decision-makers at City Hall.

I can tell you from my perspective, that without guaranteed youth and community programs, I would not support the building of the velodrome.

At every meeting and every critical point along the way, I have stated the necessity of making the velodrome a highly accessible, multi-purpose COMMUNITY facility.

Those who argue that velodromes are only used by elite athletes are not basing their opinions on what is happening at successful real-life velodrome facilities.

What is amazing about velodromes, unlike most other professional sports facilities, is that young kids get to compete on the same field of play as Olympic Champions.

They held the Commonwealth Games on the Meadowbank Velodrome in Edinburgh Scotland, but it is the youth of the city that have been the real beneficiaries of this outdoor facility's 42 years of existence.

Watch the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2BXGtapKMw

The only "elite" athlete in the whole video is wearing jeans and sneakers and isn't riding a bike. The rest of the participants are kids!!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 09, 2011 at 13:56:59

Velodrome training isn't just for track racers. A large number of cycling teams venture out to London for occasional spins around their velodrome - it's really good strength and cadence training. Even Lance trains on a fixed-gear in the off-season. It's becoming a lot trendier everywhere, and I see a lot more track bikes on the road these days around here than ever before. Assuming community access is provided, this would be a pretty substantial boost to our cycling community.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 09, 2011 at 17:31:41

I feel like I need to clarify what I've been saying.

I understand the examples that have been given of other velodromes. However, I would be quite leery to be comparing things in England or on the Continent in any way with our situation in Canada, or in North America. (Feel free to shake your head at how I'm framing this part of my 'argument'.)

England is so very, very small, and is so very, very close to Europe. (Not so close as to make it possible to see it as part of Europe, at least not to me. Not even when I lived there.) Population density, culture, proximity to other centres of cycling make for an entirely different situation.

I know this may seem like 'damning with faint praise', but I'm not against this PanAm Games velodrome...no matter where it's located...having its doors open to 'the community'. But the notion of Canada's only indoor, UCI-sanctioned velodrome not have most of its capacity being used by international competitors (from Canada, the US, wherever) either at the local, provincial or national level of ability seems ridiculous. This will be only the second facility of its kind in North America. I'd expect that whoever would be running it would be looking maxing-out on the top-flight possibilities, rather than focusing on 'community access'. I guess I don't see things the same as others here: I want a mostly-elite facility with guaranteed access for development programmes, school programmes and 'community access'. But if we're going to spend the amount of money that seems to be required for this facility, I'd sure as Hell hope we have our intentions locked down. (As opposed to what we saw for the stadium.)

(And I do have to point out that we've long had top-level international competitors cycling for Canada. So the weighting of the argument in the 'we won't have any Olympic champions UNLESS we have community cycling uses...well, shaky logic at best.)

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Locke (registered) | Posted September 12, 2011 at 09:52:36

Here's an opportunity to learn more about proposed Velodrome. http://www.raisethehammer.org/wots/800/o...

For what it is worth, I personally see several clear advantages for Hamilton:

  1. Multi-use facility means the Return on Investment is quite high compared to other Pan-Am investments since the facilities will be used often and by many.

  2. A velodrome will be accessible to kids from the community through the National Cycling Centre Hamilton which last year visited many Hamilton city schools with their stationary trainers to introduce our kids to the sport -- and recruited a number of new members.

  3. A facility at Mohawk would certainly benefit the college and strong post-secondary institutions have become increasingly important to our city and our future.

  4. A velodrome would help to rebrand our image from a place of idled steel-mills to a city of education, health and sports excellence.

Comment edited by Locke on 2011-09-12 09:57:11

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By cajun (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2011 at 15:38:55

Job Description in the Spec today:

Hamilton. A city of progress

At the City of Hamilton, our vision is "to be the best place in Canada to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens and provide diverse economic opportunities". With our rich history, culturally strong and diverse communities, blend of urban and rural attractions, and ideal location in the heart of the Golden Horseshoe, Hamilton is a vibrant community of neighbours. We are also a leading employer, with many opportunities to grow and excel. Our Public Works Department currently has an opening for a:

MANAGER - PAN AM INITIATIVES
Four (4) Year Contract

This leadership role will report to the General Manager of Public Works and is responsible for leading a multi-disciplinary team for the planning and executing of the 2015 Pan Am Games. You will be responsible for strategic planning, evaluation, implementing community projects and initiatives and representing Hamilton in the 2015 Pan Am Games

If you are interested in this exciting opportunity please visit our web site for full position details and to apply on-line at http://www.hamilton.ca/careers by September 21st

The City of Hamilton, an equal opportunity employer, values the diversity of our workforce and the knowledge of our people. We thank all who have applied; however, only those under consideration will be contacted

http://www.hamilton.ca

(5759530h)




Permalink | Context

By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 12, 2011 at 15:49:06 in reply to Comment 69475

Funny how they're replacing the pan am initiatives manager job but not the rapid transit office director job....

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Locke (registered) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 11:17:31

UPDATE: Olympic Medalists Gord Singleton, Curt Harnett and Steve Bauer have all addressed City Council this morning. I've been following along on Twitter thanks to @Mattatthespec.

I'm heading down to city hall now to join a growing crowd.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By asking (anonymous) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 12:15:26

People keepsaying that this venue would be inclusive for everyone, so my question is, would entrance be free?

If you are poor and cannot afford the the users fee, how can it be inclusive to every person?

Permalink | Context

By TB (registered) - website | Posted September 14, 2011 at 08:22:36 in reply to Comment 69543

Velodromes are for elite athletes and will have nothing whatsoever to offer the general population. Even avid cyclists like myself and my family will not be able to justify spending thousands of dollars on purpose-built gear and buy insurance and memberships so that we can drive to a velodrome and then ride around in circles, indoors, for an hour twice a week. I'm not saying it shouldn't be built, but the "all inclusive" argument is nonsense.

Permalink | Context

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 14, 2011 at 11:21:23 in reply to Comment 69588

I'm not saying it shouldn't be built, but the "all inclusive" argument is nonsense.

Actually, you're dead wrong.

And there was a wealth of supporting evidence at the GIC meeting yesterday.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 13, 2011 at 20:56:50

Here is the link to a Hamilton Spectator article by Matthew Van Dongen about today’s special GIC meeting on the the velodrome. During the meeting, local businessman Mark Chamberlian asked city council to commit and additional $5 Million (for a total of $10 Million) and table the meeting to allow a four week fundraising campaign for the remaining $8 Million to $12.5 Million:

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/593466--city-should-commit-10m-to-velodrome-chamberlain

During a later portion of the meeting today, Councillor Lloyd Ferguson began to make comments and ask questions about the late disclosure of the completely new stadium build at Ivor Wynne Stadium, the uncertainty as to how Infrastructure Ontario arrived at its cost estimates to construct the stadium and velodrome, and cost information about the west harbour site, and he expressed the need to receive more information about both projects before the next meeting. Mayor Bratina angrily tried to shout him down and alleged that he was out of order. Brian McHattie, who was chairing that part of the meeting, asked Councillor Ferguson to limit himself to questions about the velodrome because the stadium is a done deal and he could make his arguments about the velodrome issue at a future meeting tabled for October, 2011. Councillor Ferguson held firm and said that he felt that both the stadium and velodrome estimates were padded and he wants more information before it is too late. Councillor Clark jumped in and asserted that Councillor Ferguson’s comments and questions were not out of order. Councillor Ferguson was permitted to proceed. Shortly after that, the online audio feed on the City of Hamilton website seized up as it had done several times during the meeting. It is hoped that Spectator reporter Matthew Ven Dongen and/or someone from RTH observed that part of the meeting and can report on what information city staff will be providing to Councillor Ferguson and the rest of council before the next meeting.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-09-13 21:51:40

Permalink | Context

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted September 14, 2011 at 11:23:40 in reply to Comment 69576

It is hoped that Spectator reporter Matthew Ven Dongen and/or someone from RTH observed that part of the meeting and can report on what information city staff will be providing to Councillor Ferguson and the rest of council before the next meeting.

I was there.

I witnessed it all...including the meeting-ending, multi-part questioning of City Staff by Mayor Bratina in which he attempted to regain his crown and reverse the smack-down that had been delivered earlier in the proceedings...even though Councillor Ferguson had at no time made it personal.

More anon...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 18, 2011 at 19:37:09

There are two Toronto articles today on the status of the 2015 Pan Am Games:

From the Globe and Mail website: "McGuinty and Hudak feud over 2015 Pan Am Games".

In this article, Tim Hudak is alleging (and Dalton McGuinty is denying) delays, cost overruns and a lack of transparency at the Toronto 2015 level.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/poli...

And by Dave Perkins from the Toronto Star: "Pan Am games team stumbles out of the gate".

"Qualified people have left the organization, including Bill Senn, an experienced venue developer. Only last week a vital position, that of project coordinator for venue development, was posted on an Internet job site.

There is a disconnect, presided over by CEO Ian Troop, between those who ran the successful bid for the Pan Ams and those in charge of the games themselves, leaving senior management short of experience in dealing with sports federations, which are key to organizing a multi-sport games."

http://www.thestar.com/article/1055612--...

Another article titled "McGuinty denies Tory charge that Pan Am Games are unravelling" by Allison Jones has been posted on thespec.com tonight:

http://www.thespec.com/news/elections/ar...

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-09-18 20:29:22

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 24, 2011 at 10:31:23

This post is about the need for clarity about the plans for the $152.5 Million Pan Am Stadium.

On June 1, 2011, the Hamilton Pan Am Stadium Subcommittee established its terms of reference and they defined the scope of the stadium precinct. Here are a few excerpts from that meeting:

“Mayor Bratina discussed the legacy issue and the need to address not just the building of the stadium but the precinct around it.”

“Co-Chair Morelli indicated that it would be his intention that this Sub-committee would deal with the full precinct and not just the Stadium. This would include the areas of Parkview, Scott Park, the pool, and the railway platforms. To accomplish this Co-Chair Morelli indicated that the Terms of Reference should have a wider scope.” http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/8124...

The Pan Am Stadium Subcommittee Terms of Reference were approved by council at a GIC meeting on June 13, 2011: http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/C942...

Questions:

  1. Did the decision to entirely rebuild Ivor Wynne Stadium happen before or after the GIC meeting on June 13, 2011?

  2. If the decision was made by Infrastructure Ontario, Toronto 2015, city representatives and the Tiger-Cats prior to the GIC Meeting on June 13, 2011, why didn’t they tell council so that the Pan Am Stadium Subcommittee Terms of Reference could be discussed and amended before they were approved by council?

  3. Has Mayor Bratina or anyone from city council, city staff or the Tiger-Cats ever disclosed to Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop and Infrastructure Ontario that the GO Train platform being planned at Gage Avenue North as part of the Ivor Wynne Pan Am Stadium precinct is only a block away from the new Hell’s Angels clubhouse at Gage Avenue North and Beach Road that opened in June, 2011? If not, why not? http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

  4. Why wasn’t this important fact discussed at the GIC Meeting June 13, 2011 before council approved the Stadium precinct Terms of Reference?

  5. Why didn’t council discuss this important fact before confirmation of the Ivor Wynne Pan Am Stadium proposal was forwarded to Infrastructure Ontario on September 15, 2011 and the Request For Proposals went out from Infrastructure Ontario to the construction bid teams on September 22, 2011? http://www1.infrastructureontario.ca/en/...

Hamilton has already been nationally and internationally embarrassed due to the loss of the main Pan Am athletics stadium and the public denigration of the original west harbour Pan Am stadium and velodrome site which had been an integral part of the successful Toronto Pan Am Games bid in 2009. Unless some drastic improvements can be made to the Ivor Wynne Pan Am Stadium precinct plans, this city runs the risk of even greater embarrassment. Visitors from across Canada and from 41 other Pan Am countries are expected to visit us in 2015. Do we really want them entering and exiting a GO platform located a block away from a biker headquarters or to make a 10 minute walk up Gage Avenue North to get to and from the stadium? If our Pan Am guests choose instead to drive or take a taxi or local public transit to the stadium, do we want them to see intermittent patches of severe urban blight along the five kilometre stretches of King, Cannon and Barton streets between the downtown and the stadium? The current Ivor Wynne Pan Am Stadium plan is clearly inferior to the original west harbour stadium plan but it is now a done deal. The mayor, city council, the Tiger-Cats, Toronto 2015 and Infrastructure Ontario will need to work very hard over the next four years to solve or at least mitigate the egregious problems inherent in their current Ivor Wynne Pan Am Stadium plan.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-09-24 11:21:28

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds