By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Hamilton businessman David Braley, who helped the community win the 2015 Pan Am Games, says city councillors made a mistake in building the new stadium for the games on the former Ivor Wynne Stadium location. He said Confederation Park was the best place to build the new facility.
“If I was to build it, I would not be building it on the site its being built,” said Braley.
The Burlington resident and Ontario senator told about 60 people during a fundraising event Sept. 18 at the Lakeview on Van Wagner’s Beach Road, said if Confederation wasn’t available, then the next option should have been to drop it on 100 acres of land, and then add commercial and retail building, including a hotel, to support it. He said it would have benefited the city’s business community, and for Hamilton’s economic development sector.
“We should have developed the land with retail, and hotels” (that other municipalities have done, includingOttawa), said Braley.
After the 2010 municipal election, an agreement emerged between the city, Mayor Bob Bratina, and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to build the new $145.7 million stadium at the Ivor Wynne Stadium site on Balsam Avenue North. The new 22,500-seat facility is scheduled to be open in time for the Tiger-Cats 2014 season, and will be named for 10 years Tim Hortons Field.
The facility will host all of the event’s soccer games in 2015.
Braley, who sat on the Pan Am committee that brought the games to southern Ontario, including Hamilton, said he sat in former mayor Fred Eisenberger’s office talking about possible stadium locations, and urged him not to identify any sites. City staff was examining about 30 possible locations that could accommodate a stadium.
“We have not done our due diligence of all the sites,” Braley said he told the mayor.
But then a report emerged that identified three sites, Bayfront, the airport, and Confederation Park, which Braley said, none had been properly evaluated, although he was confident Confederation would have been the top site for the facility.
But Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins pushed his colleagues to take Confederation off the site list as a stadium location.