Vot­ing day looms for Hamil­ton’s giant gas ball

The globe painted to show the city at the cen­tre of the world is now fac­ing off against hun­dreds of North Amer­i­can tanks in the odd­est in­dus­try-run con­test you’ve prob­a­bly never heard of

The Hamilton Spectator - - Front Page - MATTHEW VAN DONGEN

NEED A BREAK from the city elec­tion? An­other vote looms that proud Hamil­to­ni­ans may not know about: our sewage-gas globe is up for Tank of the Year.

The re­cently re­painted, eight-storey-high globe — which re­minds high­way driv­ers daily that Hamil­ton, not Hog­town, is the cen­tre of the world — is com­pet­ing for brag­ging rights against 269 prob­a­bly much more bor­ing tanks across North Amer­ica.

The gas ball was built in 1972 and the world’s con­ti­nents and oceans are painted on it — along with a lo­ca­tor for “Hamil­ton” proudly spelled out in nine-foot-high let­ters.

The an­nual con­test is spon­sored by in­dus­trial coat­ing com­pany Tne­mec and rec­og­nizes the “es­thetic, cre­ative

“We thought with that cool de­sign ... we should get it in there.” AN­DREW ROGERS

Tne­mec mar­ket­ing man­ager

and in­no­va­tive uses of its coat­ings on wa­ter stor­age tanks.”

Hamil­ton’s orb was nearly dis­qual­i­fied on a tech­ni­cal­ity be­cause it is filled with meth­ane cap­tured from sewage treat­ment — not wa­ter, like al­most ev­ery other tank in the con­test, said Tne­mec mar­ket­ing man­ager An­drew Rogers.

“That was a big topic of dis­cus­sion,” ad­mit­ted Rogers, who added Hamil­ton’s globe is one of only two meth­ane tanks in the run­ning. “We thought with that cool de­sign ... we should get it in there.”

Rogers said Hamil­ton also has one of rel­a­tively few Cana­dian tanks in the ob­scure-sound­ing con­test, which has none­the­less at­tracted 8,000 votes so far. You can view the com­pe­ti­tion and vote at http://www.tankoftheyear.com. The tank with the most on­line votes by the Oct. 19 dead­line will earn the Peo­ple’s Choice award and an au­to­matic spot among a group of 12 tank-tastic fi­nal­ists — all of which will be fea­tured in a 2019 tank cal­en­dar. Last year, the win­ning en­try was a 500,000-gal­lon “legged tank” based in Florida that in­cluded a mu­ral show­cas­ing beach chairs in white sand and an ocean view.

Hamil­ton’s tank is more Rube­nesque than leggy. The spher­i­cal shout-out to Hamil­ton was the brain­child of for­mer mayor Vic Copps — and res­i­dents ap­par­ently love it, based on the out­raged re­ac­tion a few years ago to the idea of selling ad­ver­tis­ing on the globe.

City sewage plan­ning di­rec­tor Mark Bain­bridge called the con­test “great ex­po­sure” for the city and nice val­i­da­tion for the ef­fort put in by the con­trac­tor, Land­mark Mu­nic­i­pal Ser­vices, on the new paint job. The pro­ject cost about $3 mil­lion.

HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR FILE PHOTO

The giant meth­ane ball in east Hamil­ton’s Globe Park is a land­mark that many high­way com­muters will rec­og­nize.

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