Forget Aug. 16, target is now Labour Day Classic for stadium opening
Lloyd Ferguson will tour the site on Tuesday because he wants to make sure
The new Tim Hortons Field stadium won't be ready for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats home game in August, but builders insist it will be ready for the Labour Day Classic.
Ontario Sports Solutions met with Infrastructure Ontario and city officials Thursday and presented a plan to have the stadium ready by Labour Day, the city said in a statement Friday afternoon.
The stadium was originally due to be ready by June 30. Then, delays caused the Ticats to have to play their July 26 and 31 home games at McMaster University 6,000-seat Ron Joyce Stadium, missing out on a major ESPN broadcast. Now the Aug. 26 game will be played there as well.
It'll be embarrassing for the city if it's not ready.- Coun. Lloyd Ferguson
There has been "very significant progress in the last month," the city said.
Infrastructure Ontario (IO) says the stadium is 90-per cent complete. Outstanding work includes guard rails and hand railings, and electrical and mechanical systems such as heating and air conditioning, elevators and food services equipment installation.
Coun. Lloyd Ferguson of Ancaster, chair of the Pan Am subcommittee and retired manager of a construction company, has asked to take a tour on Tuesday to make sure the $145-million stadium will be ready for Labour Day. After so many missed deadlines, he said, he's concerned.
"That’s why I’m going down for the tour," he said. "I want to see it."
"Labour Day is an absolute must. The Argonauts come into town. Interest picks up in the CFL after Labour Day. It'll be embarrassing for the city if it's not ready."
All of the project partners "are working toward a common goal and are determined to have the stadium completed as soon as possible," Infrastructure Ontario said.
The Tiger-Cats are pleased to hear there's a plan in place to be ready for the Labour Day Classic, president Glenn Gibson said.
"Kicking off the first game at our brand-new, world-class stadium on Labour Day will truly be a memorable day in Hamilton sports history."
Builders first said in January that the 22,500-seat stadium would be delayed, citing a late December ice storm and issues with subcontractors. Crews were making up for the delay by working double shifts, OSS said then. The delay grew from two weeks to six weeks throughout the spring.
With each game delay, OSS pays the Ticats up to $1 million. The stadium will also host the soccer games of the 2015 Pan Am Games, which is not expected to be impacted by the delay.
OSS says there are about 580 workers on site each day. IO is holding back $89 million of the $119-million payment until the stadium is finished.