The builders of the new Tim Hortons Field have applied to partially open the stadium by Labour Day, although the Hamilton Tiger-Cats still can't say if there will be a Labour Day Classic game there.
Ontario Sports Solutions, the consortium building the $145-million stadium, applied for an occupancy permit Wednesday morning for the east side of the stadium and the lower west bowl, allowing for a Tiger-Cats game attended by 18,000 people.
But if there are problems with the inspection, builders will have to address them, which could delay the stadium's opening. The Ticats will decide the fate of the Labour Day Classic at the stadium early next week.
The Ticats aren't publicly talking about any possible contingency plans right now, president Glenn Gibson said.
"We're not discussing that right now. I'd rather wait until we know."
The 22,500-seat stadium has been plagued with delays, many attributed to a winter ice storm and problems with subcontractors. The initial opening day target was June 30.
The Labour Day Classic is key, as that’s when the Tiger-Cats take on the Toronto Argos in an annual CFL tradition.
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It will take five days for inspectors to examine the building and determine if it’s fit for occupancy, said city spokesperson Ann Lamanes.
“There are parts of the building that will not be ready,” she said. “Safety and security is the top priority.”
Inspectors are on site Wednesday looking at elements such as drainage, sewers, water systems and fire exits.
The Ticats have been playing at Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster University. If the Labour Day Classic is played to 18,000, it will be a smaller crowd than usual, Gibson said.
But the team is trying to remain positive, he said. "That's the only way you can approach something like this."
"I’ve been to the stadium many times during the course of construction. It’s a marvellous facility," he said. "I think the fans will be very impressed with the stadium."
Our priority will be ensuring the stadium is safe and capable of delivering a game experience that meets the expectations of our fans.— Hamilton Tiger-Cats (@Ticats) August 20, 2014
All fans that have purchased tickets for the Labour Day Classic will be accommodated.— Hamilton Tiger-Cats (@Ticats) August 20, 2014
A final decision regarding the Labour Day Classic will be made early next week.— Hamilton Tiger-Cats (@Ticats) August 20, 2014