On June 19 Hamilton City Council received a report regarding a 200,000 square foot proposed Multi-Sport facility costing $60 Million from The Hamilton Collaborative Partnership Group. The Bay Observer published this article. . Kevin Gonci, the Chair of the organization making the proposal provided the Bay Observer with the following context. Mr. Gonci’s letter follows:
I was just reviewing your recent article with regards to the “cool reception” our proposal received re. proposed multi-sport facility development. I must admit, I question the timing of this report and apparent lack of details that would have better reflected the merit of this project taking into consideration that we were only given a days’ notice of its submission. We look forward to providing a list of responses to the Committee members within the next couple of weeks.
I couldn’t agree more with the context of your article in so far as this couldn’t be the worst time to be making such a pitch however please consider the following.
Our project team has been working (along with over 30 community sport, recreation, cultural and social service organizations) for the past five years on this project and we have been awaiting the appropriate time to make our pitch to City Council taking into consideration that we have been aware of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program being available over a year ago.
Unfortunately, when the ICIP program was announced, it only provided a few weeks notice of the November deadline at a time when we had not yet formalized a partnership arrangement with the City of Hamilton. Hamilton City Council was made aware of our circumstances at the time and we felt it necessary to submit our application to the ICIP program anyways, along with the accompanying Letter of Support provided by the City of Hamilton.
Upon submission of our proposal to the City of Hamilton staff (July 8, 2019) we provided a very in-depth and detailed plan which recognized areas that needed to be resolved. We had an understanding and expectation that there would be more, back-and-forth discussions with City Staff to overcome any of these unresolved areas however they never followed up with any meeting requests and the report deadline was delayed several times until the Committee on June 19th.
With this being said, along comes a worldwide pandemic resulting in a record-setting public deficit. So, what do we do?
Based on the identified community need and benefit of our project, the potential to offer significant cost-savings to the City of Hamilton who was considering a Commonwealth Games bid and the fact that the ICIP program was still in motion, our project team felt it best to keep moving forward.
Having said all this, our project team questions the hurried approach City Staff took in submitting this report (which is for information purposes only) did not reflect fairly on the many benefits detailed within our proposal. Combined with an apparent pre-occupation and the many comments of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games, leads me to question why the report had to be submitted now rather than waiting for the results of the ICIP selection process. I suspect that the vast amount of CIty Staff resources that have been directed at exploring a potential Commonwealth Games bid may have caused a delay in our report submission.