Volume 96, Issue 98
Thursday, April 3, 2003

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McMaster gets new stadium, Games

Still located in stupid city

By Diana Whellams
Gazette Staff

The mouths of Hamilton politicians are watering with the chance to host the Commonwealth Games, and McMaster University might be getting a new multi-million dollar stadium – with students footing part of the bill.

"The stadium will be financed through the university's fundraising," said Evan McIntosh, president of McMaster's student union.

However, in a controversial move, $20 million towards the $30 million athletic complex may be drawn from student fees if an upcoming vote is successful, McIntosh explained, noting students may be expected to pay $60 to $100 extra in student fees to help pay for the project.

"[Our stadium's] stands were overcrowded during playoffs last year," McIntosh said, adding the proposed renovations are long overdue. The new facilities, scheduled to be completed in September of 2006, include an indoor track and two new gymnasiums, he added.

"The Commonwealth Games are a huge opportunity for McMaster," McIntosh said. If successful, existing plans for the stadium and athletic facility will be expanded further, he added.

According to Karen O'Neill, the chief executive officer of Commonwealth Games Canada, Hamilton was selected as the venue for the upcoming games because of its existing infrastructure and the strong relationship between the city and McMaster University.

"I think [the Games] in Hamilton will serve as a springboard for national amateur sports and augment sporting in general," O'Neill said.

McMaster's situation is similar to the one Western faced a few years ago when London hosted the Canada Summer Games and the TD Waterhouse Stadium was built.

"[Funding for TD Waterhouse] was a combination of funds from the Canada games, fundraising and the university," said Dave Riddell, associate vice-president of Physical Plant at Western. Riddell added no money for the project was garnered through student fees.

"I think the city of Hamilton and McMaster will benefit tremendously," said Barry Martinelli, manager of athletics at Western.

"[TD Waterhouse Stadium] has opened up a lot of opportunities for us," Martinelli said, citing an exhibition Canadian Football League game and a national field hockey tournament as examples.

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2002 THE GAZETTE