CFL

Hamilton council approves renovated stadium plan

Hamilton city council has backed a renovated Ivor Wynne Stadium as the city's preferred option for the 2015 Pan American Games. Council voted 10-6 on Monday night in favour of a motion to forward the Ivor Wynne project to Pan Am officials.

Cost of unfunded portion of Ivor Wynne project estimated at $55 million

Hamilton city council has backed a renovated Ivor Wynne Stadium as the city's preferred option for the 2015 Pan American Games.

The renovated stadium would be used for the Pan Am Games and serve as the new home for the CFL's Tiger-Cats.

But Hamilton council also capped its contribution to the project at $45 million, leaving an estimated $55 million unfunded.

Ontario Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli says the province doesn't have a "blank cheque" for the Pan Am stadium project.

Chiarelli says that Hamilton will have to be more precise about what it wants, but adds the province is ready to see if a solution can be negotiated.

Chiarelli says money can be moved around within the infrastructure budget but the government is determined to stay within its set budget.

"There's some flexibility of adjusting various envelopes and items that are in that budget, but we're very determined to stay within our spending envelope," he said Tuesday.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan also stressed that the province plans to stay within the budget it has set out for the Pan Am Games.

On budget

"So far, we are within that budget," Duncan said.

"We'll continue to work with all affected parties as we move towards the games," he added.

A city report has estimated the cost of overhauling Ivor Wynne at up to $174.5 million.

The estimate for a no-frills renovation to meet Pan Am and CFL requirements is $156.5 million.

That cost includes demolishing and rebuilding the south side of Ivor Wynne, renovating the north stands, and "transition costs" to ensure the Ticats don't lose money during the construction.

The Ticats would sign a 20-year lease and attempt to bring in a soccer team and at least two Grey Cup games to Hamilton over the next decade.

Pan Am organizers are expecting final proposals on the stadium to be submitted by Feb. 1.

Monday's 10-6 vote by Hamilton council also officially took the city's west harbour off the table as a potential stadium site.

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