Tim Hortons Field: 'Failure is not an option' says Ticats owner

Ticats owner Bob Young is keeping the pressure on stadium builders, but city officials say it could be the end of the week before there’s a verdict on whether it’ll be ready for the Labour Day Classic.

Keith Urban will be the first concert the Tiger-Cats host to make money for the team

Builders are scrambling to finish the new Tim Hortons Field by the CFL Labour Day Classic. But there's still a lot left to do. (Adam Carter/CBC)

There are key elements of the new Tim Hortons Field stadium that are still in the way of it getting an occupancy permit, city building officials say. And it could be the end of the week before there’s a verdict on whether it’ll be ready for the Labour Day Classic.

But Ticats owner Bob Young is keeping the pressure on, saying Monday that failing to have the stadium ready for the Monday game "is not an option."

Stadium builders applied for an occupancy permit last Tuesday, a process that usually takes five business days, said Ed VanderWindt, the city’s director of building services.

But it’s taking longer than that because there are key safety elements, such as handrails, sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems, that aren’t finished. Building officials are on site every day, approving elements as they’re completed, trying to go as fast as possible, he said.

“We’re doing all we can to expedite whatever approvals are required,” VanderWindt said.

Some elements still require several steps to complete. For example, a sprinkler system is required for an occupancy permit, but an engineer has to verify the system before city inspectors sign off on it, he said. And the sprinkler system isn't finished yet.

The Tiger-Cats still plan to hold their Labour Day Classic in the new stadium on Labour Day. In a media conference Monday, neither president Glenn Gibson or owner Bob Young would say what the contingency plan was, just that they had one.

"Failure is not an option," said Young.

"We are determined to play Labour Day at one o'clock. We have no interest in discussing back-up plans."

Young also announced that Keith Urban and Darius Rucker would play the stadium on Sept. 27, the team's first venture into hosting concerts to generate revenue for the club. The Tiger-Cats are spending about $1 million up front to hold the concert. 

"I've been assured that it doesn't get bigger than Keith Urban," Young said.

Infrastructure Ontario has hired Ontario Sports Solutions to build the $145-million, 22,500-seat stadium, but several opening dates have been missed.

Originally, it was due to open on June 30. But that was changed to the end of July. The new target is Labour Day.

The Labour Day Classic is an annual CFL tradition. The Tiger-Cats are due to play the Toronto Argos. 

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