Hamilton’s city-owned entertainment facilities need millions of dollars in upgrades: report

File photo: First Ontario Centre. Google Street View

Immediate action is needed to make necessary repairs to Hamilton’s Convention Centre, according to a report conducted for the city.

The report says $2 million is needed to fix the crumbling exterior of the 35-year-old building to avoid the possibility of falling bricks.

Downtown Coun. Jason Farr says the report suggests the work needs to be done in the next year or two. Farr says he will be presenting a motion to have the city put up the $2 million in emergency funding to cover the cost.

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Farr says falling bricks “is a major public safety issue and one that I’m hopeful council sees as a priority.”

The convention centre fix is just a fraction of what’s needed for the city-owned entertainment facilities, according to the report.

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Friday’s city budget meeting will hear that $45million is required to upgrade the Convention Centre, FirstOntario Centre and Hamilton Place.

Farr says the money the city has been spending on maintaining those facilities has been little more than a Band-Aid. He suggests the city needs to start looking outside the box with potential private sector partners or perhaps even selling the facilities.

He says there’s no motion to that effect at this point, but Farr says “there has to be a consideration that these facilities are 30 to 40 years old.”

The owner of the Hamilton Bulldogs recently suggested he’d be willing to cover half the cost of a new 8,000- to 10,000-seat arena. Michael Andlauer believes the total cost would be in the $60 million to $100 million range.

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