By PAM DOUGLAS
Special to Focus
At city council today, developer John Cutruzzola will present his vision of a combination baseball/cricket stadium for downtown Brampton that he believes could also solve the flooding concern that has stalled downtown development for some time now.
The proposal offers:
• a stadium that would seat between 5,000 and 10,000 in a structure built one storey above grade, with 400 covered parking spaces underneath;
• a new, partially enclosed Brampton Tennis Club facility to the east and south of the existing YMCA;
• a berm along the south side of Church Street and the west side of the Etobicoke Creek diversion, which Cutruzzola hopes would meet the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s requirement that the downtown floodplain be protected from a possible “350-year flood”;
• the berm would be terraced, landscaped and planted with one tree indigenous to each province and territory, creating a “tree museum” that would beautify the area and be a tourist attraction;
• the diversion beside Rosalea Park would be covered to create a riverwalk, which would also provide the missing link in the city’s existing trail system;
• sculptures, lighting and landscaping would create an impressive the entry from Union Street.
And Cricket Canada has agreed to contribute “a good chunk” of the estimated $35 to $40 million needed to build the facility on Rosalea Park in downtown Brampton, Cutruzzola said.
As for the rest, he said the provincial government has an obligation to help fix the flooding concerns that are interfering with downtown development, and the cost of his proposal is far less than the estimated $300 million needed to re-work the Etobicoke Creek diversion.
Also, if the Pan Am Games are part of the deal, a substantial amount of money would come from that agreement.
Former mayor Peter Robertson appeared at Committee of Council last week to present a plan encompassing Cutruzzola’s Rosalea proposal and Robertson’s own idea of building a baseball stadium, hotel and other amenities on city-owned land beside the Powerade Centre on Kennedy Road South.
Today, Cutruzzola, Robertson and Cricket Canada CEO Doug Hannum will address council on the same subject.
Councillors are also expected to decide today whether or not to re-consider a Pan Am Games bid for baseball/softball using the two men’s proposals as the basis for the bid. That vote is expected to be controversial. Two-thirds of the council members present must vote in favour to re-consider another Pan Am bid.
Cutruzzola says his “vision” isn’t “an easy thing to do.”
“It requires co-operation on council and with a number of people.”
He said he isn’t offering to fund the project, but will build it if the city wants him to, or will act as a free consultant if the city finds someone else who can build it and offer a better deal to do so.
He said he isn’t looking for a project for his company Inzola to build, he just wants to see it done because it is all about “business development and city-building” and he believes in the merits of the proposal.
It would create jobs, and bring with it restaurants, hotels and other businesses to the downtown, he said.
Cutruzzola said complaints about noise or traffic congestion cannot be allowed to derail the idea.
“We need to leave little things behind us and concentrate on the big things if we want to create a better city to live, work and play,” he said.
Comparing the malaise that dogs downtown Brampton to physical depression, local architect and friend Bob Posliff praised Cutruzzola’s plan and urged residents to get behind it.
“We now have the opportunity to throw our support behind a proposal that will turn downtown Brampton’s breakdown into a breakthrough,” Posliff wrote in an email distributed to garner support for the project.
He said downtown Brampton has “exceptional potential” that is being squandered, but the stadium, tennis club, riverwalk and the tree museum would offer year-round daily destinations for visitors, which are needed to revitalize the area.
By PAM DOUGLAS