Wilfrid Laurier University involved in Milton’s velodrome bid

Wilfrid Laurier University campus coming to Milton

Wilfrid Laurier University could be getting a $40-million velodrome.

Not at its home campus. Nor at its satellite school in Brantford.

We’re talking about constructing a slanted oval for 2015 Pan Am Games cyclists on the site of a potential Laurier campus to be built in Milton.

The velodrome, if it materializes, might also boast gymnasiums and other recreational facilities.

“We’re very supportive of Milton’s velodrome aspirations,” Laurier spokesperson Kevin Crowley said on Tuesday. “At the moment, we’re giving them moral support.”

Laurier sent a letter to boost Milton’s bid — but not the $2.5-million pledge the town is asking from the university to help pay its $17.6-million share of a velodrome project.

Some important things must happen before money changes hands and rubber hits track.

The province, still mulling over new policy establishing satellite campuses, must commit millions to building a new Laurier campus on 450 acres — 150 for the university and 300 for education villages — set aside by the town at Tremaine and Derry roads.

That’s a big one.

“We’re still very keen on building a campus there,” Crowley said. “We can’t commit a financial amount at this point because we’re not sure where the province is going.”

Also, Toronto’s Pan Am organizers must settle on Milton as its cycling host site.

But after Hamilton backed out of the velodrome sweepstakes, Milton looks like the only community left on the track, according to Mayor Gordon Krantz.

“Things really are moving ahead,” said Krantz, who spoke with Pan Am infrastructure chief Murray Noble after Milton council approved pursuing a velodrome on Monday. “We’re ready, willing and able to participate.”

But if the province won’t approve a Laurier campus for Milton, the town will have to come up with that $2.5 million from another source.

Krantz is optimistic the province will OK a Laurier location in Milton.

“Every signal we’ve gotten the past number of months is that it’s going to go ahead,” Krantz said. “It’s not etched in stone yet. But every indicator is definitely there.”

Laurier athletic director Peter Baxter, a cyclist, sees value in a velodrome.

“It’s a growing sport,” Baxter said. “We’ve had triathlon clubs that are part of our emerging sports that are coming here. There’s certainly alumni interest in the cycling component.”

Krantz expects a decision on its velodrome bid within a few weeks. He agrees with Crowley that a velodrome-recreation complex would go nicely with a university campus.

“One will complement the other,” Krantz said.

From the Hamilton Spectator

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