Ivor Wynne Stadium in its current east-west field configuration.

Ivor Wynne Stadium in its current east-west field configuration.

The city has inadvertently confirmed a plan to rebuild Ivor Wynne Stadium along north-south lines.

Infrastructure Ontario, the project manager for new Pan Am Games venues, has steadfastly refused to confirm the long-rumoured, 90-degree stadium swivel — or any other design details other than the 22,500-seat capacity — citing the need to protect competitive bidding.

City and Hamilton Tiger-Cats officials have also declined to discuss stadium design because of confidentiality agreements with the province.

But a new city report headed to committee Monday officially lets the Ticat stadium orientation out of the bag. The report recommends the city obtain a public school parking lot south of Ivor Wynne because “the proposed stadium design would have the new west stands encroaching on to (school board) lands.”

RELATED: Ivor Wynne neighbours want more than a new stadium

Ivor Wynne’s existing incarnation doesn’t have any “west stands” and the 100-space parking lot is significantly south and west of the stadium.

“I think that change is now pretty common knowledge, officially or not,” said Coralee Secore, the city’s point person for Pan Am planning. “The north-south orientation is considered best practices for (soccer) stadiums, so that’s what they’ve decided to do.”

The layout change would help keep direct sun out of the eyes of CFL football and Pan Am soccer players, as well as a majority of fans. It would also affect neighbourhood planning around the stadium block bounded by Beechwood Avenue, Melrose Avenue, Cannon Street East and Balsam Avenue, including changes to traffic patterns, parking, entrances and exits.

Secore said talking about the footprint flip won’t endanger the competitive bidding process because all preferred bidders now plan at least some stadium orientation changes.

That argument wasn’t enough to convince Ticats president Scott Mitchell to comment on the turnaround, however.

“We cannot comment on anything until after the bid is awarded (in September),” he said in an email.

RELATED: Financial stability in sight for Ticats: Mitchell

Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, chair of the Pan Am stadium precinct subcommittee, was also surprised to hear about a reference to the stadium orientation in the staff report.

“I’ve signed a confidentiality agreement, so I’m treading on uncertain ground on anything about design,” said Ferguson.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board agreed in principle to the idea of giving up the required parking lot, used by Prince of Wales school, at a meeting in late June, said board spokesperson Mark Taylor. But the provincial Ministry of Education still has to sign off on the plan, he added.

The city report also suggests leasing replacement parking spots to the school board at a future “parking facility.” But the report doesn’t identify the size, type or location of the parking facility.

“That’s up to the successful bidder,” said Secore, adding city planners are still sworn to secrecy about design details until a public announcement in September.

Secore did swat down neighbourhood rumours about looming parking-related expropriation.

“We’re not obligated to buy any new land for parking,” she said.

She also said the city is still searching for new sites for Brian Timmis Stadium, a 5,000-seat soccer facility that will disappear as a result of the Pan Am project.


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