The Powerade Centre was designed and conceived to be a much more vibrant facility. To that end, the original design of the Ground Lease set up two phases. Phase 1, in motion, was the Powerade Centre more or less as it exists today. However, Phase 2 was also intended to be developed into a very robust sports and entertainment area. In fact, where Phase 1 encompassed 22 acres of land, Phase 2 set aside 88 acres of land.
I’ve joked in the past about bidding on moving the Argos to Brampton. It’s only a joke because I am sure the Argos are quite happy physically being in Toronto. But, it’s not a crazy idea, when you consider the size of BMO Field and the amount of available land in Phase II. You could build another BMO Field in Phase II without batting an eyelash, and still have more than enough room for the Kabaddi Stadium.
In fact, the original intention for the Phase 2 lands included such varied uses as:
- rock climbing
- in – line skating
- rinks / trails
- 100 room hotel
- 6,000 seat ball park
- basket ball centre
- water park
- 9 – hole golf course
- tennis centre
- Kabaddi stadium
So why is none of this happening, right now, at the Powerade site? Politics, basically.
The terms of the Ground Lease state that unless at least 10 acres of the Phase 2 lands were developed within first 10 years the tenant shall surrender the Phase 2 lands to the City. I don’t think its controversial that I assert that Development did not occur. In fact, City documents confirm that the tenant is legally considered an overholding monthly tenant on Phase 2 lands since October 2007.
This tells me one thing: we have already let ten (10) years to by without taking action on Phase II.
For this author, it’s a matter of realizing that “holding land” is “holding us back”. The Powerade Centre lands are less than 1.5km from either Main Street or Steeles Avenue, and is right on Kennedy Road, three of Brampton arterial roads. If the Powerade Centre is failing, it’s not because sports are doomed to fail, it’s because we have failed to stand up and support these enterprises. And I don’t mean support them in terms of buying tickets, but in terms of developing the surrounding lands in a supportive way that encourages the kind of sports and athletic tourism needed to make the Powerade Centre a destination. For instance:
- Why are there no pubs (coffee, tea or brew) for parents to sit and pass time while their kids are playing hockey?
- Why do teams have to drive to the nearest bar to get a post game drink? Or worse, stand in the parking lot with open alcohol bottles?
- Why can’t they walk across the parking lot to a small watering hole and grab some wings while they are there?
- Why can’t the Ken Giles arena, often too small for the Gymnastics program, have a new facility to open enrollment and reduce those waiting lists?
- Why can’t we have an indoor baseball training facility like Upper Deck Baseball in city sponsored space?
- Why can’t we have concert venue space that caters to those who find the Rose Theatre a little too posh for their target audience (within reason, obviously)?
- Why can’t we have a Hotel for weddings and conventions with a nearby entertainment complex with bars, sports arenas, cafes and some retail space? Maybe even some nice gardens overlooking the Ravine for those wedding pictures with natural surroundings that look so good (it would take some planning for angles, but talented photographers will make this work)?
- Why can’t we have a 5km course on site and in the river area to host bubble runs, spartan runs, mud runs, zombie runs and all other manner of short course fun races for families and athletes?
It’s been ten (10) years. It’s time that we unlock the potential of this site. Rumors are that proposals exist, but are getting blocked for various of political reasons. Well, I say its time that our leaders put up or shut up about changing the status quo and get moving on completing the Phase II development of this resource. It’s not enough to complain that it’s a drain on city resources. It’s time we use the tools at our disposal to make this project a success.
I’ve laid out my vision for this, and the adjoining Brampton Golf Club lands. Have your say in the comments section!