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OMH Represents Milton on Pan Am Games Velodrome Project

February 17, 2012

By Kristine Janzen

Securing the planning approvals required to proceed with the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games velodrome in the Milton Education Village is now the biggest challenge facing the Town of Milton. Council confirmed its support to proceed with becoming a host community for the facility at its meeting Monday evening.

The green light came after receiving a business plan and due diligence prepared for the town by Sierra Planning & Management and O’Connor MacLeod Hanna LLP, respectively. The proposed MOU among the town, Infrastructure Ontario and Toronto 2015 organizers requires that the town secure the planning approvals to ensure the project proceeds within the established timeframe before signing an agreement.

“Ideally we should be in a position that we can go back and identify that all of the planning requirements have been satisfied by the end of June or July, but ideally, the end of March. The velodrome needs to be up and running in the first part of 2014, because they have to go through a year of trials prior to the Pan Am Games,” said Mann. While the site is located outside the town’s current urban boundary, the Halton regional official plan amendment (ROPA 38) that brings the site inside the town’s urban boundary is currently under appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board.  However, the town is looking to the province to assist with securing the approvals, according to Milton planning and development director Bill Mann.

“These lands are included within the Milton Education Village. We are relying on a settlement of the appeals, but knowing that there are 41 appeals outstanding and not knowing the timeframe of [their resolution,] we are looking to the province to provide those planning approvals.  The velodrome has been identified as being of provincial significance from an economic development point of view.  What we’re doing is asking the province, notwithstanding the current policies or the intended policies of ROPA 38, to essentially look at mechanisms by which the velodrome can go ahead,” explained Mann.

Provincial planning approval for the velodrome would not impact OMB appeals of ROPA 38, according to Mann.  “We don’t see it affecting any of the planning background of those appeals. Right now the velodrome lands are located within the Sustainable Halton [official plan] lands, which are outside of our current urban area, but within the approved urban expansion area or growth management area that’s identified by Sustainable Halton,” said Mann.  Servicing the velodrome site is also another significant challenge with the Sustainable Halton official plan.  “Right now the regional policies do not allow the extension of servicing beyond the current urban area,” explained Mann.  The business plan presented to council includes provisions for infrastructure, such as roads and servicing that would be paid for through in-kind donations and private sponsorships. 

The federal government is contributing $22.4-million toward the project, over half of the $40-million estimated cost. The town will be contributing $3.8-million, development charge funds earmarked for a gym in the Sherwood Community Centre in the 2012 proposed capital budget. Staff notes redirecting funds for the velodrome will provide better value for the town, as the interior of the velodrome will provide more gym space than the funding would provide at the Sherwood Community Centre.  Mattamy Homes, which owns lands adjacent to the Milton Education Village, has pledged $7-million towards capital costs of the velodrome project and an additional $2-million for naming rights through its subsidiary, The Columbus Corporation. 

Les Domestiques GTA cycling club founder and communications officer Howard Chang told council his organization has committed to raise at least $4.2-million toward the project’s capital costs.  At Monday’s meeting, Milton council also gave the green light to proceed with a secondary plan process for the Milton Education Village, awarding a $337,279 contract to Macaulay Shiomi Howson Ltd. to undertake the study. This will indicate a 2013 “shovel-ready” project, which is a major requirement for the provincial government’s post-secondary satellite campus bid process that determines university funding. Staff anticipates the study will be completed by the end of 2012.  “The velodrome will provide a central focus to the development of the Milton Education Village secondary plan. If we are moving forward with the velodrome, we should look at a comprehensive plan for the full 400-acre site,” said Mann. 

The business plan received by council includes a scenario that is not dependent on securing a satellite campus for Wilfrid Laurier University, which could potentially manage and operate the facility in the long-term.  Of the three Infrastructure Ontario 2015 Pan Am Games new construction legacy projects, the velodrome project is the furthest behind in terms of the procurement process.

However, at Monday’s council meeting, Milton councilor Zeeshan Hamid was quick to point out that the town had recently completed large projects, such as the Milton Centre for the Arts and Milton Leisure Centre, which were delivered on time and on budget, despite an expedited approval process.  The business plan for the velodrome outlines an annual operating impact of $116,000 per year on the town budget, similar to the operating costs of the Milton Leisure Centre and Milton Sports Centre.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us or directly with Harold R. Watson.