No plan for this place?

Two weeks ago, Restore Cootes was asking "How well thought out is this plan?" to put a Velodrome on Olympic Park. The question was mostly rhetorical, and our concern is borne out in this latest news from the Dundas Star.

Zoning and soil do not support velodrome at Olympic Park, say city, RBG officials

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff

Published on Jun 03, 2010

Olympic Sports Park is on top of a former landfill and not capable of supporting a building, according to one conservation expert.

City of Hamilton planning staff would not elaborate on the comment made by Tys Theysmeyer, head of conservation and natural lands for the Royal Botanical Gardens, which owns property not far from the Olympic Drive natural area. But according to the city’s planning department, the property’s zoning only permits outdoor recreation.

The National Cycling Centre of Hamilton says a feasibility study it completed on building a cycling velodrome in the city concluded the Dundas park, currently home to soccer fields and a baseball diamond, is the best possible location for such a facility.

Now the NCC is suggesting the City of Hamilton relocate a Pan Am velodrome from its planned location next to a stadium at the west harbour to the Olympic Drive site.

“Number one, the area is a landfill and thus not capable of supporting a building as is,” Theysmeyer said. “Aside from that, there would be a collection of standard topics for discussion relating to site design, lighting, building footprint, traffic patterns, stormwater management and sensitive species.”

There is currently no official proposal or application to actually put a velodrome or anything else on the Olympic Drive site.

Tourism Hamilton’s David Adames has previously noted Pan Am organizers have chosen a velodrome site, and a very convincing rationale would have to come forward to change the plan.

Meanwhile, the Hamilton Conservation Authority has no information on the Olympic Drive property itself, and watershed officer Darren Kenny said the HCA only has regulatory authority over the southwest portion of the property.
“The regulated area corresponds to the erosion hazard associated with the steep ravine banks along Lake Jojo. We have no floodplain identified with this property,” Kenny said.

Community park zoning Although NCC chair Andrew Iler and other supporters of a velodrome at Olympic Park suggest the property is zoned recreational and would not need to be changed for an indoor cycling facility, city planning department spokesperson Debbie Spence said the property actually has a community park zoning, with a permitted passive recreation use.

The zoning only allows “activities that involve relatively unorganized recreational pursuits, generally in the outdoors, such as walking, sitting and picnicking.”

In addition, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment would require an environmental assessment and record of site condition before the existing land use at the park were to change.

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