According to Perkins, the alternative site... and tenant... have been chosen:
Perkins: York U will grab Pan Am stadium if Hamilton dithers[url=http://www.thestar.com/sports/panamgames/article/821188--perkins-york-u-will-grab-pan-am-stadium-if-hamilton-dithers]http://www.thestar.com/sports/panamgame ... on-dithers[/url]
By Dave Perkins
[i]If the two sides in the Hamilton stadium standoff can’t get their act together, 2015 Pan Am Games organizers will pull the plug and build the new facility at York University.
The Toronto Argonauts would be the long-term tenants of a new 25,000-seat stadium to hold Pan Am track and field events, plans for which are moving ahead as the alternative if Hamilton stalls out. Allegedly, the subway will be extended to York by 2015. Switching the Pan Am’s marquee events there would be an impetus to finish a transit job on time. For once.
Pan Am organizers, already facing numerous problems due to short-sighted and agenda-driven venue locations, say privately they won’t allow Hamilton’s indecision on a stadium site to screw up the Games. The event, more than three times the size of an Olympic Winter Games, already is only five years away and too many wheels are spinning.
“We don’t want to be held hostage by a team that plays eight games a year at home,’’ one member of the host committee said, not for attribution.
The city of Hamilton and the Tiger-Cats, who have deemed unacceptable Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger’s proposed location in the West Harbour, are using a $600-an-hour facilitator to try to solve the problem. They have a July 8 deadline and at that price, what’s the hurry?
York was in the running several years ago for a combined soccer/football stadium, the one later built soccer-only at the CNE in order to enrich Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. With another $32 million from each of the federal and provincial governments earmarked for the 2015 stadium, York is anxious not to miss the boat again. Such a stadium, one that would come with warm-up facilities, would solidify York as one of Canada’s premier athletic universities. Travel times for track athletes from the Ataratiri athletes’ village wouldn’t be ideal, but would be better than training to Hamilton.
David Braley, owner of the Argonauts, initially was a member of the Pan Am Games board, creating an obvious conflict of interest with government millions being poured into a stadium designed to be home to one or possibly two Canadian Football League teams. However, when Braley recently was named a senator, he became ineligible for the board and resigned; Pan Am committee bylaws specifically prevent elected officials or senators from serving.
The federal government, which controls five of the 13 spots on the Pan Am board, is considering Braley’s replacement and federal sports minister Gary Lunn, who makes the call, should be naming someone with a Toronto amateur sports background to replace Braley. The board is woefully short on sports representation, perhaps one reason the venue locales are such a mess. (Many sports, from swimming to track and field, rowing and paddling and bicycling, are upset about their location in relation to the athletes’ village; travel times are hours in some cases.)
The board as comprised under chair Roger Garland now features three representatives from Quebec, two from Vancouver, one from Ottawa and one from Calgary; it’s obviously light on reflecting the area that will actually play host to the $2 billion event. The Quebec representation is led by Marcel Aubut, head of the Canadian Olympic Committee, who has openly stated his interest in landing an Olympic Winter Games for Quebec City in 2022. As such, there are some in the amateur sports community who wonder whether Toronto screwing up the Pan Ams would thereby eliminate itself permanently as a potential Olympic Summer Games host city. Such a chain of events certainly wouldn’t hurt a Quebec 2022 bid.
It’s an excellent conspiracy theory, if you’re in the mood for one.[/i]