The velodrome is the first-ever UCI-regulated, class 1 indoor velodrome in Canada, and only the second in North America along with the VELO Sports Center in Los Angeles. It features a 250-metre timber track with two 42-degree angle banks. During the games the velodrome will have 2,500 seats. After the games the velodrome will be the home of Cycling Canada’s national track cycling program, with the seating being reduced to 1,500. The facility also includes community recreational space including a cardio and strength training fitness centre, group fitness studio, 300 metre walking/jogging track and three sport courts for volleyball, basketball, and badminton.
The facility was originally scheduled to be built at Mohawk College in Hamilton, however the city withdrew after its city council voted to spend a maximum of only $5 million. In October 2011, Milton council was given six weeks by organizers to sign a binding agreement. “We only have six weeks for binding agreement. That’s not enough time for public feedback and that makes me nervous,” said Ward 8 Councillor Zeeshan Hamid. On January 31, 2012 Milton town council voted in favour of building the velodrome in their town.
The facility will cost a total of $56 million to build (with $47.4 million to build/design the facility and the rest going to operation costs after the games have finished).
Milton will pay 44 percent of the cost to build the velodrome ($25 million), which will come from the town itself, the proposed Milton Education Village and private donations. The rest ($31 million) will come from the Toronto Organizing Committee for the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games.
After Montreal failed to sustain its track cycling venue from the 1976 Summer Olympics, some Milton residents and town councillors have questioned the long-term viability of such a facility in Milton after the 2015 Pan Am Games. “There’s a lot of suppositions,” said Councillor Rick Malboeuf. “This could happen, that could happen. The business plan doesn’t make sense.” Malboeuf is convinced history will repeat itself in Milton. Communities such as Hamilton and Vaughan passed on the Pan Am velodrome, he pointed out. “They had a good reason. It’s such a highly specialized sport. Where are the regular participants and events going to come from after the games are over? Just like the other venues like Montreal, this one will sit empty.” As to his constituents, he said, “Twenty to one, they’re against it. They want to know why we’re worried about a velodrome when we don’t even have a hospital. That’s what they want. But it’s going to get done. They have the votes. I’m still not going to vote for it.”
In June 2013 Milton Mayor Gord Krantz said “We are committed. Some of us may not like how this has evolved, but we are at least in my opinion, at the point of no return.” He said, down the road, he hopes he can hold Malboeuf accountable to his words that he be the first to stand up and say he was wrong should the project turn out to be a success. “I predict he will. He’s a man of his word and I believe he’ll say he’s wrong,” said Krantz.
According to Community Services Director Jennifer Reynolds, the initial $40 million price tag was expected to be covered by the following sources listed in a 2011 staff report:$19.8 million from the “host” community
$3.8 million from the town (mostly funded from development charges)
$7 million from Mattamy Homes President and CEO Peter Gilgan
$2 million from naming rights (ultimately Mattamy Homes)
$3 million from a local fundraising campaign
$2.5 million from the education village partner (not confirmed)
$1.5 million from in-kind capital
Total: $39.6 million
Initial construction costs were announced as being $40 million, but ballooned to $56 million before work began. “I said back then it couldn’t be built for $40 million and I was told I was wrong and now we’re seeing the cost will be more like $56 million and a shovel hasn’t even hit the ground yet,” said Malboeuf.
The breakdown evolved to:$38.4 million Sport Canada (Government of Canada) share
$17.6 million Milton’s “local share” commitment (capped)
$3.6 million Town’s portion of this local share, mostly funded from development charges
$14.0 million raised through a fundraising campaign.
The Town’s portion of $3.6M has been re-directed from the budget for the Sherwood Community Centre which would have opened in 2015/2016. By legislation, recreation development funds are only available for use on recreational facilities (not roads, hospitals, or fire services).
Velodrome facilities in Winnipeg for the 1967 (demolished) and 1999 (dismantled and re-located to Europe) Pan Am Games no longer exist.
In February 2013, it was revealed that early construction of roads and additional site costs had caused the total project cost to mushroom to $63 million.
The Milton velodrome's legacy funding for maintenance and operation of the facility has been referred to as "smoke and mirrors" by opponents. In June 2013 the legacy funding was announced as being $735,850 annually for 20 years commencing in 2014. The legacy grant amount will be revisited on an annual basis after the initial three years over the minimum 20-year life of the Legacy Fund. A 2016 Velodrome Operating Forecast released in 2013 showing anticipated revenues versus expenditures projected a net loss of $410,499.
The Town's plan to have the velodrome anchor the proposed future Wilfrid Laurier University in the Milton Education Village took a hit in May 2015 when the province rejected Laurier's pitch for the satellite campus on the site. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities says there will be a second call for proposals in spring 2016, for a campus in the Peel and Halton region — which includes Milton. Laurier's president said the school does intend to resubmit its proposal.
On October 26, 2016, Ontario announced it will build new university campuses in Milton and Brampton as part of a larger plan to improve access to education in underserved areas of the province. At the announcement in Milton, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Deb Matthews said the facilities will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).
In a September 2016 Town of Milton staff report, track cycling numbers at the local velodrome exceeded the Town’s expectations, with waitlists for track time continuing to grow:9,205 participants in registered cycling programs, with a further 1,213 on waitlists
29,677 visits to drop-in cycling sessions
8,301 bike rentals
3,781 riders certified on the track
100 per cent of bike lockers rented, with 131 people waitlisted
2,826 walking/jogging track members
5,581 hours rented or programmed in the gym courts, with an average of 15 participants per hour
In 2016, the net operating cost per capita for the MNCC is sitting at $4.03 – the second lowest of the major Town facilities, with the Leisure Centre sitting at the bottom of the list at $2.95. The Milton Sports Centre is $5.48, Beaty Branch Library is $6.10 and the Milton Centre for the Arts leads the pack at $6.19 (excluding the library).
Ward 4 councillor Rick Malboeuf, said the legacy funding of $735,000 the Town receives from the provincial and federal governments to offset the operating costs of the velodrome aren’t included in the aforementioned per capita cost breakdown. If they were, he estimated it would increase the per capita cost from $4.03 to around $12. But councillor Rick Di Lorenzo, who sits on the MNCC Management Committee, contended that since the legacy funds include federal dollars and are therefore paid by all Canadians, not just Miltonians, including those funds in the calculations would only increase the per capita cost by two cents.