Brampton will look at finances before spending $35 million on cricket stadium

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Published October 18, 2021 at 3:26 pm

Brampton will consider its finances before councillors commit $35 million to build a cricket stadium.

During a Committee of Council meeting last week (October 13), Council listened to delegates for and against the new stadium, but a decision regarding whether they intend to move forward with it won’t come at least until after it is discussed at the next budget meeting, later this year.

Mayor Patrick Brown continued to voice his support for the project, suggesting it is necessary given how popular cricket has become, as well as for the health benefits it provides in the form of fostering physical fitness and exercise.

However, while Brown has suggested there would be far less concern among citizens if the City was considering building such a facility for hockey or soccer or baseball, that may not actually be comparable.

According to Anand Patel, director of Recreation for the City of Brampton, there is no facility in Brampton that is similar to the proposed cricket stadium. “We don’t have anything comparable in the City of Brampton,” Patel said during the meeting.

Additionally, Councillor Martin Medeiros expressed concern for investing so much into a stadium that could potentially only have one use.

When asked about the feasibility of a shared-use facility, Faraz Saleem, president of the Brampton Cricket League, suggested the stadium could be used for other sports, but it would depend on what those other sports are, as he specified certain footwear, such as soccer cleats, could damage the cricket pitch.

Saleem, along with Praim Persaud, president of the Brampton-Etobicoke and District Cricket Leagues, emphasized that, due to how popular the sport has become, it might not even be available for other use because of how many people want to play cricket.

Both Saleem and Presaud said their leagues have not been able to accommodate everyone who wants to play due to a lack of available facilities across the city.

Saleem added that, despite how popular cricket has become in Brampton, the sport only accounts for 0.6 per cent of the City’s parks and recreation budget.

However, while both Saleem and Presaud suggested the stadium would provide a boost for the City’s economy, Sylvia Roberts, a Brampton resident who also spoke at the meeting, suggested it could actually be a drain on City resources.

Roberts stressed the size of the stadium — it’s expected to be able to seat up to 25,000 spectators with temporary seating — will lead to traffic congestion.

“This could be significantly more expensive than $35 million if more money has to be spent on improving transportation infrastructure,” she said. “How are 25,000 people supposed to access the site? It’s supplied by a single, four-lane road. Where’s the evidence it can handle anything remotely close to a 25,000-seat stadium. The intersection at Kennedy and Steeles is already a disaster on a good day, and this has the potential to make it much worse.”

The City will have another six weeks to deliberate on the stadium, as Medeiros proposed a motion which passed that would refer the matter to the City’s next budget committee meeting which is scheduled for November 29.

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