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Isolation or built into the fabric of a city?

Is Dundas more of a "cycling town" than Hamilton? Not sure I'd buy that, but regardless of the designation, the idea that NCC's Andrew Iler puts forth that "the Dundas location does not create barriers to use that exist at the planned west Harbour site" is very arguable.

His reason against the west harbour site:
“An urban core deadlocked by big urban streets is not ideal,” he said.
We see, I suspect, a suburban bias in this decision from the NCC. How else does an urban core become a liability? It means being closer to more potential users of the facility, based on urban density, with decent public transit available.

Other benefits of an urban location would be spinoff improvements to the "big urban streets" that could then sport bike lanes and wider sidewalks and the development of other urban commercial, retail and other amenities. Same can't be said for the Dundas site which is isolated and accessible primarily, if not exclusively, by car. It will be drive in, drive out.

We mustn't forget that the original proposal for the stadium/velodrome had them together to save money. Why aren't we talking about that?

A plan perhaps?

Restore Cootes is interested in seeing the east end of Dundas developed as an ecologically enhanced and protected area, building on the existing natural strengths. The area needs a plan, not big projects thrown in without thought or community input.

As we have heard previously:

"What is needed for this entire area is a broader vision that can direct urban growth and development in ways that enhance its unique natural setting.

The vision encompassing this area would involve

"Creation of the urban eco-park and establishing a clear future for the lands between Cootes Paradise and the escarpment are decisions commensurate with the significance of the creation of the Niagara Escarpment Commission or Rouge Park (connecting the Oak Ridges Moraine north of Toronto to Lake Ontario)."
Cycling organization says Dundas would support velodrome
Olympic Park suggested for facility
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on May 20, 2010

An organization suggesting the relocation of the Pan Am Games velodrome to Dundas’ Olympic Park believes residents would support the new facility.

But a couple of readers contacted the Dundas Star News early this week with concerns about the impacts on the environment, traffic and youth soccer fields if a recommendation from the National Cycling Centre Hamilton convinces the City of Hamilton to relocate the indoor cycling facility from the planned west Harbour site to Dundas.

The site, across from Westoby Ice Surface, is located within an environmentally significant area and is part of the Cootes to Escarpment land management strategy.

It’s not clear whether the organization’s study pointing to the Valley Town as the best home for the velodrome will even be considered by the city.

But community members will apparently have an opportunity to participate in a consultation process.

Tourism Hamilton executive director David Adames acknowledged the NCC’s belief that Olympic Drive would provide a more sustainable home for the velodrome than the west harbour, but stated Hamilton city council has already approved a site and included it in the Pan Am bid book.

Adames said the city has started a business planning process for the velodrome, which will include meeting with the Canadian Cycling Association, Ontario Cycling Association, Hamilton Cycling Committee, National Cycling Committee and the community. But he did not say whether the facility’s location is up for discussion.

“It must be developed as a multi-purpose venue for sustainability reasons, so there is much work to be done and I think there will be different views about location during the consultation phase,” Adames said.

Andrew Iler, president of the NCC Hamilton, said the organization began a feasibility study for a Hamilton velodrome before the local Pan Am bid was made, and concluded the Olympic Drive site is by far the best suited location in the city. The study was apparently conducted completely independently from the city’s own search for a Pan Am velodrome and stadium location.

Iler said the Dundas location does not create barriers to use that exist at the planned west Harbour site.

“An urban core deadlocked by big urban streets is not ideal,” he said.

Instead, he suggested, the Olympic Drive site provides direct access to one of the area’s most popular cycling routes, and is within Hamilton’s strongest cycling community.

“It’s a cycling town,” Iler said. “Dundas will support it more than other communities would.”

Because the NCC’s preferred location, across from Westoby Ice Surface, is now home to soccer fields, Iler said replacement space for local users would have to be found.

“We don’t want to displace any organizations without having viable alternatives,” he said.

Dundas Youth Soccer Club secretary Duncan McIntosh said the organization’s president supports new recreation facilities in Dundas, as long as the soccer fields are replaced.

McIntosh noted Hamilton is already short 19 soccer fields, according to a consultant’s report to the city.

“So the loss of Olympic field number one would be devastating to local soccer,” he said.

Iler said his group visited velodromes in Pennsylvania and Manchester, England, to learn what made them successful, then developed a plan for what would be needed at the Hamilton velodrome, before considering location as the final step.

“I think the city has done it backwards so far. They looked for the location then what’s important for the facilities,” Iler said.

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