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
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
“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
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