Is Markham trying to steal our Pan Am facility?

The fight for the Pan Am games may be won, but a new battle is beginning.

Now that Toronto has the games, the question of what venues in the GTA are going to be hosting them remains, most notably the site for the Swimming and Diving portions of the games. While it’s supposedly decided, there are some still moving to change it.

At the moment, the swimming and diving portions of the games is scheduled to take place in Scarborough, at the to-be-constructed Aquatics Centre at the University of Toronto.

Local Pan Am Games Locations

“There was a need for U of T to have a facility like that,” says Scarborough Councillor Ron Moeser. “There was a strong argument. Now U of T students will have a wonderful new facility.”

However, the community of Markham is acting as though it’s going to be constructed there, behind the Unionville GO station near Kennedy Road and Highway 407.

“We always thought we had a superior site,” Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti has told York “And we bid it not because it’s in Markham – we obviously want to get it in Markham – but truly because it’s a superior site.”

As of press time, Scarpitti has yet to comment to the Observer.

It’s something that Moeser says he doesn’t understand.

“The decision’s been made for at least a year and a half,” he said. He had been working with the university for even longer, helping them plan the facility.

“Highland Creek has no community center. We do, so the community can use our facility.”

The only possible negative to constructing the facility at U of T would be transportation concerns, specifically the need to upgrade what’s there.

“The LRT would really be the best option,” Moeser says, referring to plans to build a Scarborough-Malvern light-rail line, which had previously been on the back-burner for funding.

“The Pan Am Games could cause it to happen.”

Regardless of Markham’s attempts to get it back, Moeser remains convinced the facility, no matter where it’s built, will be a boon to Toronto athletes.

“I was a runner and I know a lot of runners who quit because the facilities just weren’t there,” he says. “Proper facilities will help our athletes.”