By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Ontario Sports Solutions and the city’s building officials are working against the Sept.1 clock to get the $145.7 million Tim Hortons Field ready in time for the Labour Day Classic between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts.
Ed VanderWindt, director of building, told reporters Aug. 28 tests are continuing at the stadium for fire alarms, sprinklers, the inspection of guardrails and railings and it could take until Aug. 31 to issue the needed temporary occupancy permit to open the facility.
VanderWindt said a Sunday afternoon deadline has been established for city officials to sign off on building documents and issue a temporary occupancy permit for Sept. 1 only.
“We have draft temporary occupancy permits ready,” he said. “We have Sunday afternoon to do our work. It is very tight.”
The city has two inspectors currently at the stadium reviewing the work as soon as it’s completed, said Ann Lamanes, communications advisor for the city.
VanderWindt said the occupancy permit will allow for the use of the stadium only for the lower bowl area. The upper level is not completed, and the concessions are also not ready, he said.
Work is being completed on the washrooms Aug. 28, with the systems working properly, he said.
The site is also being cleaned up as requested by building officials, including at the entrance areas. The public will be using the stadium’s south plaza on game day. The turf field and the stadium scoreboard have also been installed.
And the north patio will be used to accommodate people in wheelchairs.
If the city doesn’t issue an occupancy permit, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have two options: holding the game on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. or moving the game to the Rogers Centre, also for Sept. 2.
Last year the classic was cancelled because the former Ivor Wynne Stadium was being demolished. The stadium had been scheduled to be “substantially completed” by June 30 enough time to host the Tiger-Cats’ home games in July.
Greg Stack, vice-president of Kenaidan Contracting, was hopeful enough work and testing will be completed over the weekend need to get the occupancy permit from the city.
“The next few days are critical,” he said. “A number of tests will be done. Safety will not be put at risk.”