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Games bid promises to transform Hamilton

Hamilton council got its first look at the vision of The Commonwealth Games bid consortium, Hamilton 100 last week. The plan is built around the idea of returning the games to the city where it all began 100 years ago, when Hamilton conceived and hosted the first ever games, then called the British Empire Games. The bid includes a list of sports facility new construction and upgrades that includes:

• Either the redevelopment of First Ontario Centre or the construction of a new, smaller arena, as seems most likely. The bid indicates an arena in the 7,500 to 10,000 seat range would “more than meet Commonwealth Games standards.”

The Commonwealth bid plan proposes to improve water quality around Pier 4 and Bayfront park by cutting two channels through the park. The park would be the venue for the triathlon event.Organizers believe the improved water circulation will solve the water quality problems in the area and make it suitable for public swimming after the games are over.

• Redevelopment of the Convention Centre with the acknowledgment that a new convention centre would already be up and running years in advance of the Games. The Convention centre main hall is being suggested as the venue for boxing with seating for 3,000

• 3 new multi sport centres suitable for table tennis, volleyball, basketball, netball and parasports.

• A renovated aquatic centre at McMaster.
Upgrades to the existing facility are part of McMaster’s facilities planning.

• A 1500 unit apartment complex for games officials, would be added to Hamilton’s affordable housing inventory postgames.

• The plan anticipates making use of many of the existing sports venues in the city, including

• Dundas’ new Grightmire arena a possible alternative boxing venue.

• Mohawk Sports Park which would be the venue for field hockey as well as non-sports activity. A new field house would be built on the site and temporary additional seating would be added to Bernie Arbour Stadium.

• Dave Andreychuk arena for wrestling and judo

• Cycling events would follow the route that was successfully mapped out for the World Cycling Championships in 2003.

• Athletes would be housed in McMaster Residences. One of the more interesting concepts in the proposal is a suggestion to make Pier 4 Park an island, and then cut off the tip of the park to create a second island, in order to improve water circulation, which in turn would make the bay swimmable. This would accommodate the triathlon event. Reads the report, “We propose to reshape the island to allow for the natural water movement from west to east to circulate around the south of the main body of the island and also move the north arm of the beach farther west to allow water to move past the beach. The two created islands would be connected with bridges. The proposed location encompasses Bayfront Park for Swimming and Running, Pier 4 Park for the Transition Area and the residential/commercial area to the east for Cycling. The resulting water movement is expected to fully address the green algae issue.” A recurring theme throughout the bid is the commitment to make all new facilities environmentally sustainable and fully accessible. Bid organizer Jasper Kujavski says it would be at least six months before any cost figures are attached to the bid. So far no public funds have been used in the preparation of the bid package.

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