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Etobicoke councillor puts the brakes on Pan Am bike course

Toronto City Councillor for Etobicoke Centre (Ward 3) Doug Holyday on March 13, 2007.

Yvonne Berg for The Globe and Mail/yvonne berg The Globe and Mail

Toronto's deputy mayor has a message for Pan Am Games organizers: Keep those pesky kids and their trick bikes out of my park.

Doug Holyday, the councillor for Ward 3 (Etobicoke Centre), wants Toronto city council to nix a proposed Pan Am Games BMX course in Centennial Park.

The course would likely be used for just a single day of competition in 2015, after which it would remain an unwelcome legacy for the old suburb, he said.

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"We want people to come with their families [to Centennial]and be able to sit down and have a picnic. We want to be able to walk around the place without getting hit by a baseball or run over by a bike. And that's the way the place should be," Mr. Holyday said, after explaining that Etobicoke's "forefathers" envisioned Centennial Park as a grand green space like High Park.

"High Park wasn't [always]the way it is today. They probably logged the darn thing. All the trees have been built up over the years. But no one would ever think of putting this facility in High Park," Mr. Holyday said.

If Toronto's municipal government - which still has to consult the community about the project - ultimately rejects the BMX course, the Pan Am organizers will offer the venue to municipalities outside Toronto, said Elissa Freeman, director of communications for Toronto 2015.

Mr. Ford's executive committee voted against Mr. Holyday on Monday, but Mr. Ford sided with his long-time ally.

"Obviously, he's done his homework. He says no to it. I support my deputy mayor," Mr. Ford said.

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