Hamilton city council has approved a Pan Am facility agreement without knowing the costs for a soccer stadium to be built for the 2015 games at Ivor Wynne.

John McKendrick, senior vice-president of project delivery for Infrastructure Ontario, told councillors Thursday he wouldn’t give them the numbers in public because that would make it possible for bidders to figure out what is in the agreement.

"The concern is that if we publicly say what the soft costs are, bidders will be able to figure out hard costs and then contingencies," he said.

The cost for the facility is in three categories, said McKendrick — hard, soft and contingency.

Hard costs cover construction while soft costs cover things like management, architectural and legal fees.

Councillor Lloyd Ferguson questioned why council couldn’t be told the cost before passing the facility agreement.

"It’s just bad business practice to sign a contract without knowing the cost," Ferguson said.

Ferguson proposed that council go behind closed doors to learn the exact costs but was told that would contravene the Municipal Act.

Gerry Davis, general manager of public works, assured council that staff is "comfortable" with facility costs.

"We’ve seen the numbers. We’re within budget," Davis said of the $51 million allocated for the stadium.

Councillors Ferguson and Brenda Johnson opposed the vote to approve the agreement.

Three bidders are in the running for the contract to design, build and construct Hamilton’s soccer stadium, as well as the track cycling velodrome and York University track stadium in Toronto.

Bird/Turner Stadium Co., Ontario Sports Solutions and United Sports all made the short-list of bidders. Each company has named their developer, architect, contractor and financial advisor.

McKendrick told reporters after the meeting that Infrastructure Ontario and Hamilton council already have the successful bidder in mind.

The successful bidder will be announced at the end of September, he said.