Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday April 29, 2015
“Embarrassed in front of the world:” Stadium woes put Pan Am ‘at risk’ says councillor
The city and its stadium contractor are at odds over whether the unfinished $145-million facility can open before the Pan Am Games — or even in time for the international event.
Councillors were outraged to learn Monday the 10-month-late stadium won’t be completely outfitted with furniture and equipment until the end of June — two weeks or fewer before Pan Am soccer matches kick off.
As it is, ongoing construction and repairs to faulty waterproofing have already forced cancellation of dozens of stadium bookings, with a community welcome event and an international women’s soccer friendly on the bubble for late May.
“The Pan Am Games are now at risk,” said committee chair Lloyd Ferguson, who urged committee members to write the province demanding a guaranteed stadium delivery date or risk being “embarrassed in front of the world.”
Terence Foran, spokesperson for provincial project overseer Infrastructure Ontario, said the agency doesn’t believe the games are in danger.
“From our perspective, anyone suggesting that furniture delivery equates to an incomplete stadium is choosing to ignore all the successful events hosted at the stadium last year,” he said, referring to Hamilton Tiger-Cats football games held in the partially finished facility.
David Kirkland, a representative of contractor Ontario Sports Solutions argued the stadium would be “essentially complete” and usable for events after May 8, even if negotiations continue over contract disputes.
But the stadium isn’t expected to reach “substantial completion” under the contract until the end of June, said Mayor Fred Eisenberger in a letter sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne and top Infrastructure Ontario brass late Monday. (Hamilton Spectator)