By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Wednesday January 4, 2012
Hamilton too late to recoup velodrome: McMeekin
Hamilton can’t buy its way back into the Pan Am velodrome race with mystery millions, says Liberal cabinet minister Ted McMeekin.
Sources told The Spectator last week a private corporation is willing to make a multimillion-dollar commitment to a permanent indoor cycling oval in Hamilton — even though Pan Am officials recently announced Milton as the facility host.
Milton has until Jan. 24 to sign a binding agreement to help fund the facility, which could cost up to $45 million.
“I guess if it doesn’t work out in Milton, everything is back on the table,” said McMeekin, the Minister of Agriculture and MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale. “But the Pan Am people have been pretty clear Milton has been selected as the (velodrome) site. Clearly, the Pan Am people have moved on.”
Unless Milton backs out, McMeekin said he didn’t know how new mystery funding could help Hamilton’s cause “after the horses have left the barn.”
Hamilton was originally the preferred site for the cycling venue, but lost that status after Pan Am officials rejected the city’s $5 million offer towards building costs. A local fundraising group has continued collecting pledges and lobbying government to build in Hamilton and, in a recent year-end radio interview, Mayor Bob Bratina cited a deep-pocketed “prospective partner” for a local velodrome. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)