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January 19/11 12:36 pm - Toronto Deputy Mayor Rejects Proposed Pan Am BMX Site, Velodrome Still Not Confirmed

Posted by Editoress on 01/19/11

Doug Holyday, the Toronto City Councillor for Ward 3 (Etobicoke Centre), and Deputy Mayor to Toronto's bike lane bashing Mayor Rob Ford, has come out in public opposition to locating the Pan Am BMX track in Centennial Park (just south of Toronto's Pearson Airport).

In a Globe and Mail article, Holyday stated: "We want people to come with their families [to Centennial] and be able to sit down and have a picnic. We want to be able to walk around the place without getting hit by a baseball or run over by a bike. And that's the way the place should be".

The Globe article also stated that Holyday said the BMX track would become "an unwelcome legacy". Holyday envisions Centennial Park as becoming a green space like High Park, despite the fact that it has a ski hill, ice rinks, tennis courts, soccer fields and other athletic facilities.

The Mayor's Executive Committee voted against Holyday in a meeting on Monday, but Ford was quotes as having sided with Holyday: "Obviously, he's done his homework. He says no to it. I support my deputy mayor".

The Toronto proportion of the 2015 Pan Am Games recently saw its estimated contribution to the cost of building facilities double.

Read the Globe and Mail story Here.

Meanwhile, in Hamilton, which is scheduled to play host to the Velodrome, the City Council has finally reached agreement on a stadium proposal, with a plan to invest $75 million in the current Ivor Wynne stadium. This plan now has to go to the Pan Am organizing committee for approval.

The Velodrome still does not have a confirmed site, however, consensus has been reached that the $11.4 million budgeted for the track is not enough to construct a permanent, legacy facility, with $20-$25 million a more realistic budget. Discussions are underway on how to bridge the gap, but insiders are optimistic that it will be resolved.


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