Province pledges $22.5 million for Ivor Wynne
The Ontario government is giving Hamilton an additional $22.5 million to renovate Ivor Wynne Stadium for the 2015 Pan American Games.
The one-time payment announced Sunday helps cover a funding shortfall left after the city council approved a new motion on the reconstruction of the home of the CFL's Tiger-Cats earlier in the week.
Sophia Aggelonitis, the MPP for Hamilton Mountain, said there are many reasons why the provincial Liberal government stepped up with the extra money.
"There's a lot to this, it's not just building a stadium," she said. "It's about building a sports legacy in Hamilton, having our Ticats stay in Hamilton.
"It's also about creating sports opportunities for kids and community groups. There is a lot to this."
Hamilton's contribution to the $154-million project is capped at an estimated $54 million, or 44 per cent of the construction costs.
Aggelonitis said the Ontario and federal government will combine to contribute about $70 million to the project.
Pan Am officials set a Tuesday deadline to have the matter resolved before turning to their contingency plans.
The renovated stadium will be used to host some soccer matches at the Pan Am Games, and serve as a refurbished home for the Ticats.
The project involves a reconstruction of 15,000 seats at Ivor Wynne along with a 10,000-seat renovation of the north stands.
Hamilton city council must still approve the project but is expected to do so Monday night.
And that would end months of speculation regarding if or where the stadium would be built and the Ticats' long-term future in Hamilton.
"I am very hopeful that city council will like what it sees and will put the bid forward," Aggelonitis said. "Our deadline is Feb. 1 and I am very hopeful this is it."
But Aggelonitis did admit the path to a stadium resolution in Hamilton has indeed been a long and winding one.
"Along the way we had some good debates going on regarding some very important issues about Hamilton," she said. "At the end of the day it took those debates for us to get to this point and now I think we have a great package."