Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"We're not done yet!" - What the Stadium Vote Means

It would be nice if the unanimous Council vote on July 11 meant that the stadium issue was solved and we could all look forward to bringing our families to a Whitecaps game in Gastown in a few years.

However, it's not that simple.

What Council decided to do on Tuesday was to make the Whitecaps Stadium a City priority and to give the Whitecaps a chance to address the key requirements laid out in the City Hall staff report to make the site work. These are:

• Provision of an adequate street network;

• Resolution of risks and liability associated with dangerous goods in the rail lands;

• Reconfiguration of the stadium structure to ensure a better ‘fit’ with Gastown;

• Resolution of impacts on the livability of residential areas south of the rail lands and impacts on future Port Lands development

Although we still could be up to 2 years away from the start of construction, the decision is a huge endorsement of the stadium by City Hall. The massive support for the stadium shown by the Citizens of Vancouver was a major factor in getting the unanimous vote.

But there's still going to be at least another public process, and possibly more. So, we're not done yet. We still need your help.

One thing we learned from this public process is that your letters, e-mails and phone calls to council are extremely powerful. Councillors don't often hear from people who aren't regularly involved in politics, so when thousands of ordinary citizens take the time to contact them on an issue, they pay close attention. We'll need more of these in the near future.

One thing we knew all long is that we should never engage in the negativity or misinformation tactics used by some (but not all) of our stadium opponents. Throughout the process, those of you who wrote and spoke to Council countered these arguments with calm, rational responses backed by facts. I've always believed that it's this type of conduct that carries the day, and it was rewarded on Tuesday when Council were unanimous in backing the stadium.

The City's work on the stadium will continue within the framework of a larger Waterfront Hub study. That means you don't only have a say on the stadium, but you can also contribute the type of downtown waterfront we would all like to have. It's also good opportunity to build more bridges with our Gastown neighbours, including those who were in opposition to the stadium. No doubt, there will be some who are implacable and will try to put up obstacles along the way. But we need to see beyond this to the bigger picture, where the stadium will become a prized community asset and a revitalized Gastown will become a point of pride for our great city. I urge you to take that next step today by visiting and supporting Gastown.

Yours in Sport,

Bill Currie

Friends of Soccer

Unanimous Decision! Thank You!

The unanimous decision of Council on Tuesday, July 11 came through the efforts of literally thousands of people. There are a lot of people to thank, and I hope you'll join me in thanking some of them.

First off, Mayor Sullivan and every member of City Council deserves our thanks. Being a Councillor is often a thankless job. Some of them faced intense pressure from our opponents, and have their own personal doubts about the stadium. But when it came time to make a decision, they showed courage and leadership and did what was right for Vancouver. I'm sure they would appreciate your thanks and support as well. Please take a moment to write to them at .

Councillors Suzanne Anton and Peter Ladner deserve special thanks. They have been champions for the stadium from day one, and they worked hard to convince council that it was important and that it can be done! They are outstanding public servants who are truly in touch with the Citizens of Vancouver. Please give them your thanks and support.

The thousands of you who wrote or phoned City Council or signed the "Build the Stadium Now!" banner truly made the difference. Councillors don't often hear from people who aren't regularly involved in politics, so when thousands of ordinary citizens take the time to contact them on an issue, they pay close attention. There is no "Friends of Soccer" movement without you. Thank you...and don't go away! We'll need you again soon!

A special thank you to those of you who spoke at council in favour of the stadium. Public speaking isn't easy, and many of you faced tough questioning after your presentations. My real job prevented me from being at Council every night. But my wife, Monique, was there for me and she was always struck by how the positivity and eloquence of your arguments stood head and shoulders above the rash judgements and fear-mongering by some of our opponents. You were all superb, and you gave a human face to the overwhelming support.

Thank you to the numerous Community groups and business organizations that openly supported and spoke in favour of the stadium. Despite Councillor Louie's claims that speakers in the Council chambers were divided 50-50, we were all in fact asked by City Hall (through the Whitecaps) to limit our speakers to representatives from our groups. Many of these organizations alone could have brought out hundreds of speakers, but we respected Council's request and the several groups that spoke in favour of the stadium actually represented thousands of people. From our opponents, all but 3 of their speakers were members of the same group. Even today, our opponents still number a few dozen...not the overwhelming majority that the stadium support enjoys.

Thank you to John Knox, whose work exposed the financing and true intentions behind the anti-stadium campaign. Without your help, we would not have known that we had to defeat a high-priced, well connected PR firm...but we did.

Thank you to John Kostiuk, founder of Gastown's Stadium Now! group and the growing number of businesses and residents who have risen above the unacceptable bullying and intimidation tactics from our opponents. We share your vision of a lively, vibrant, revitalized Gastown and we're ready to support you every step of the way!

Most important personally, I'd like to thank my wife, Monique, for her love, support, tolerance, understanding, and ultimately, great gusto for the cause. When she decided to jump in with me, it was with both feet and she really made a huge impact in the run-up to the council meetings. She inspires and drives me daily, and I certainly could not undertaken this movement without her blessing.

One cannot thank the Whitecaps organization enough. Their vision for what soccer can be in this city and country is remarkable, and they have never lost sight of how they can be a positive influence on the community along the way. John Rocha, Bob Lennarduzzi and Rachel Lewis have always been open to to our ideas, and they're willing to listen to anyone in the community who has issues and concerns. They're the type of neighbour everyone should hope for.

Finally, and most important to us all, friends of our city and our sport owe Mr. Kerfoot our enormous gratitude. I have never spoken with him, nor does he say much publicly. But you can always tell a man's true intentions through his actions. Through the fields of SFU and the National Training Centre in Surrey, and his generous gift to the Women's National Soccer team, Mr. Kerfoot has made it clear through his actions that his selfless commitment to soccer is for the right reasons. His commitment to overcome any hurdle to create an inclusive community asset in our city also speaks volumes about the man.

Thank you, sir.

Bill Currie
Friends of Soccer

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Friends of Soccer Open Letter to Council on Whitecaps Stadium Hearings

Dear Mayor and Council,

As the founder of the Friends of Soccer movement, which represents thousands of Citizens who support the Whitecaps stadium project, I'm writing to answer some of the questions recently raised by council in regard to finding an “alternate site” for the stadium as well as the use of BC Place. We urge you to focus your efforts on the current proposed location and to properly consult with the Whitecaps, the soccer and sports community before suggesting an alternative business plan for the Whitecaps.

As you are already aware, the current downtown location is already an alternate site...the fourth considered, in fact. Fortunately, it has turned out to be the best possible site. The unparalleled access to transit makes the waterfront site the most accessible stadium in North America. The stadium will be built within walking distance for over 100,000 who live and work in the downtown peninsula everyday. As we know from City Council's recent opposition to the Gateway project, a prime objective of your government is to limit incoming traffic to Vancouver. Common sense dictates that having a stadium located at the terminus of every transit line is an effective way of achieving this. Even if an “alternate site” were located along a single Skytrain line, it would not serve the transit needs of the entire Lower Mainland. The net result of an “alternate site” would mean thousands of extra cars on Vancouver streets.

The Citizens of Vancouver have also spoken decisively in favour of this site. Your own public consultation on the proposal showed 67% support for this site among those who attended the open houses. A stunning 78% of the letters and e-mails you received were in favour of the proposed stadium. On June 27, you saw the 5000 signatures of citizens on the Friends of Soccer “Build the Stadium Now!” banner. Council has also received over 1000 postcards from citizens which say very clearly on the front “Build the Whitecaps Stadium Now!”. This site has the support of over 40 Gastown merchants who we now know faced intimidation and boycott threats from our small number of opponents. The Downtown and Chinatown BIAs support the site. Tourism Vancouver, the Vancouver Board of Trade and countless community groups support the site. On top of this, Vancouver's sports community has discovered its united voice on this issue.

To force the Citizens of Vancouver to start a new public process on a new site at this advanced stage is extremely disrespectful to the thousands of people who rose up and participated in local politics for the first time in their lives. That is why we will interpret any position proposing an alternate site as a deferral strategy, designed to avoid the real issue. To pursue this, without consulting the Whitecaps is disrespectful to them as applicants and completely ignoring the fact that they have come so far, with the City's assistance to where they are today. Had council consulted with the Whitecaps before pursuing this line of questioning, you would have known that an exhaustive search for several sites had already been completed.

Had you consulted the Whitecaps supporters, you would have already known that BC Place was rejected by Vancouver soccer fans over 15 years ago. For soccer to thrive, we need a stadium that provides scale, intimacy and atmosphere, something that cavernous BC Place cannot provide in any configuration. We need a stadium where the Whitecaps have a say over their home dates, not where it's dictated to them. We need a stadium that is capable of serving the rugby community, the tennis community and the multitude of user groups who are lining up behind the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium proposal. If BC Place truly was a viable option, don't you think these user groups would already be there by now?

When the vote comes down next week, we need your leadership on this issue. The Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium is the single most important development in the history of Canadian Soccer, and it is already years overdue. We have a benefactor who, for now, is willing to contribute this incredible facility to our sport and our city. We now know from your City Planners that the stadium proposal can participate in the Central Waterfront Hub Study. We know that the Whitecaps are capable of working closely with its neighbours, including the Port Authority who have offered to cooperate. And we have the overwhelming support of the Citizens of Vancouver. What we need now is your courage and leadership to rise above the criticism of a few dozen vocal opponents. We're ready to throw our complete support behind you if you move the waterfront stadium process forward. But we can't do that unless you support the massive majority of citizens who see the stadium as the “highest and best use” for the proposed site.

Bill Currie
Friends of Soccer

Monday, June 26, 2006

Vancouver Port Authority: "We Support the Stadium in Principle"

The Whitecaps Stadium proposal received a major boost today from an article in the Globe and Mail. On the front page of the BC section, the Vancouver Port Authority publicly announced that they support the stadium and are willing to work with the Whitecaps to sort out key issues.

"We support the stadium in principle," said Anne McMullin, a spokeswoman for the authority. "We see this as an interesting concept and we would like to work with the owner to address issues of road and rail.

But she said the Whitecaps organization must keep in mind that the port has its own development plans for the central waterfront area.

"Of course we wouldn't want the [stadium plan] to impact on any of our opportunities," she said.

The full text of the article can be found here.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hundreds Show Support For Stadium at Chinatown Night Market

Hundreds Show Support For Stadium at Chinatown Night Market
Friends of Soccer Banner now at over 4000 signatures

Several Hundred citizens showed their support for the Whitecaps Stadium on Saturday night at the Chinatown Night Market on Keefer Street. The Friends of Soccer banner, which now has over 4000 signatures on it, appeared at the Night Market at the invitation of the Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association. We were also joined by John Kostiuk, founder of Stadium Now and Whitecaps Legend Bob Lenarduzzi. All of us thoroughly enjoyed this colourful event, and were overwhelmed by the warmth and enthusiasm of people towards the stadium.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Whitecaps Stadium – On June 27th, it's up to you...


Since October, I've been trying to send the message through Friends of Soccer that Citizens have the power to make the Whitecaps Stadium a reality. The thousands of you who have responded through your letters, e-mails, postcards, and signatures on the "Build the Stadium Now!" banner have made this effort one of the most gratifying experiences in my life. For those of you who've taken a few minutes of your day to tell a city councillor how important this stadium is to our sport and our city, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you.

But there's still one thing left to do.

Show up.

On Tuesday, June 27, at 7:30 PM, City Council will meet to decide whether the Whitecaps Stadium can move on to the next step, or be delayed for years yet again. If you support the stadium, it's vital for you to be there. They'll be hearing the arguments, both for and against, from Citizens just like yourself. They want to know for certain that the Citizens of Vancouver are behind the stadium, and that they'll support the councillors who show real leadership, vision and courage on this project. Whether you choose to speak, or just watch, your presence at City Hall can make all the difference on June 27.

Please, make plans to be at City Hall on Tuesday evening, even if it's just to support those of us who'll be speaking to Council. If you feel you can make a strong argument for the stadium, then please sign up to speak. Either way, we need you.

For myself, as much as I love the game, the debate on the stadium has never been about soccer. It's about the type of city we want to live in. It's about whether we allow someone to use their own money to create a gathering place for all of the Citizens of Vancouver, or if we decide to make this land yet another exclusive enclave. It's about whether the downtown core is open for all Citizens of Vancouver, or just those who can afford to own there. It's about whether Citizens run Vancouver, or just a select few. By supporting the stadium, you and thousands of Citizens have already stepped forward and told City Council about the Vancouver they want to see.

Thanks once again. I hope to see you on Tuesday, June 27.

Bill Currie
Friends of Soccer

P.S. There are two ways to register to speak at Tuesday's public hearing. Please call Nicole Ludwig, Meeting Coordinator at 604.871.6399, email Or, go to the meeting about 30 minutes early and register to speak at the sign-up table. Speakers are limited to five minutes for their comments, and should be prepared to answer questions from City Council. Your written comments are still welcome as well. Simply e-mail City Council at .


A News Release From Whitecaps FC....


Larry Campbell and Philip Owen agree that City Council should make the stadium a priority

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Former City of Vancouver Mayors Larry Campbell and Philip Owen are speaking out in favour of the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. They also encourage City Council to make the project a priority so it will be ready as soon as possible.

“During my tenure as Mayor it became abundantly clear that we are lacking a mid-size outdoor stadium venue in the heart of Vancouver,” said Senator Campbell, who is also in favour of the proposed site. “It is an ideal location for a stadium. It has great access to public transportation, will assist in the on-going revitalization of the area and will be a world-class landmark for the City and Province.”

“I wholeheartedly support this project,” agreed Owen. “Located in the hub of all five modes of public transportation, this is a visionary project, and is much needed. It will not only be a home for the Whitecaps but will also host international rugby and tennis tournaments, outdoor concerts and numerous community and ethnic festivals.”

A recent Mustel survey shows that the opinion of Owen and Campbell is shared by the majority of Vancouverites, with 71 per cent of residents supporting the project. The Community Consultation Report completed for the City of Vancouver also found strong majority support with 67 per cent approval. Most recently the City of Vancouver Staff Recommendation Policy Report revealed that 78 per cent of the emails and letters received by the City are pro-stadium.

In addition to the overwhelming public support identified in the staff recommendation, the report identified five key requirements that need to be addressed in order for the project to be successful. Campbell and Owen believe that these requirements can be met and that the project should be prioritized.

“I understand there are issues that need to be resolved, and I am confident they can be addressed in a reasonable timeframe,” said Campbell.

“I strongly believe that Vancouver City Council should prioritize the project so it can be ready in time to start seizing both international and local events and hosting opportunities,” added Owen.

On Tuesday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m. Vancouver City Council will hold a special council meeting to decide on the future of the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. Supporters of the project are encouraged to communicate their position to the Mayor and Council. For more information on the proposed stadium visit or

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Friends of Soccer Joins Hands With Chinese Community On New Whitecaps Stadium

Grassroots Pro-Stadium Group Invited to Chinatown Night Market

Friends of Soccer, a grassroots movement that supports the proposed Whitecaps Stadium, announced today that they've accepted a generous offer from Vancouver's Chinese Community to participate in the Chinatown Night Market. Friends of Soccer will appear with their "Build The Stadium Now!" banner at the Chinatown Night Market on Saturday, June 24, from 6:30 PM - 11:30 PM. The banner currently has over 3000 signatures from citizens who support the Whitecaps stadium.

"We're honoured to be invited to meet with the people of Chinatown. They have been enthusiastic and generous with their support for the stadium from the start," said Friends of Soccer founder Bill Currie. "Just as our sport unites the people of the world, the Whitecaps Stadium will do the same for our communities. For Vancouver to continue to thrive, we need to have venues that truly reflect the diversity and inclusiveness of our city. We sincerely hope the Whitecaps Stadium will be the first of many."

The Chinese community has strongly endorsed the Whitecaps Stadium proposal through letters of support to the Mayor and City Council. Below are excerpts from letters written to council by the Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., and the Chinatown Business Improvement Association. (Used with permission)

"Both the City of Vancouver and ourselves have been and continue to be endeavouring on the revitalization of Chinatown and Gastown. We believe this project will serve as a catalyst for the revitalization process. You would concur that for many years, we have been exploring ideas of creating a safe passage for pedestrians to travel between Chinatown and Gastown; a stadium would be the ideal connector since in addition to hosting sporting events, it can also host cultural events." (VCMA)

"We believe the stadium proposed for the west side of Gastown is ideal both in location and its proximity to our Chinatown area and many key areas of Vancouver. The access to public transit, the views of the mountains and water, the interesting heritage of Gastown and Chinatown make this a very favourable destination. As in all major projects, we are certain that the technical aspects can be worked out as the process continues. It will be a world class facility that will make Vancouver very proud." (S.U.C.C.E.S.S.)

"Let's use this generous and fortunate offer to everyone's advantage. Let's build a facility that can capture the energy and spirit of our diverse and wonderful city". (Chinatown BIA)

Friends of Soccer is a grassroots movement that supports soccer projects as well as the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. Bill Currie and the Friends of Soccer ( urge all citizens of Vancouver to continue to write, phone and visit City Hall on June 27th to make their voices heard.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"City Council Has Mandate to Build Stadium."

Friends of Soccer comments at June 14's Stadium Now Media Conference.

"Good morning everyone. Friends of Soccer is a grassroots movement dedicated to providing a voice in this process for citizens. Through letters, e-mails, phone calls to councillors, and through these postcards, Friends of Soccer has been the gateway for over 1000 citizens to contact their elected representatives."

"We heard about the formation of Stadium Now and offered to help in any way we could to spread the word about the growing support for the stadium in Gastown, and to provide information to folks so they could make an informed decision."

"Today, for the first time ever we are unveiling our “BUILD THE STADIUM NOW” banner which is making its way across our City. We look forward to giving your supporters a chance to add names to the over 2,500 who have already expressed their desire to see the stadium built NOW in Gastown."

"Throughout this process, citizens of Vancouver have shown overwhelming support for the stadium and have given our City Council a mandate to build it now. The Whitecaps have been open, transparent and cooperative and their vision to work with communities on the issues is outstanding. We are honoured to bring the banner “home” and then continue its journey until we reach City Hall on June 27th."


Stadium NOW! asks City Council to prioritize Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium

From Stadium Now!

GASTOWN, B.C. – Stadium NOW!, a collection of Gastown business, merchants and residents, continues to increase membership, pledges to maintain open communication with the Whitecaps and asks City Council to prioritize the project.

“I formed Stadium NOW! to give a voice to the growing support in Gastown for the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium,” said John Kostiuk, resident of Gastown and founder of Stadium NOW!. “Today we have close to 30 groups, including commercial property owners, residents, retailers, restaurants and pubs that are informed and engaged in open dialogue with the Whitecaps to ensure that Gastown receives the best stadium possible.”

Stadium NOW! members live, own businesses or own property in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site and have taken a proactive approach by participating in the civic process while actively providing accurate information regarding the waterfront stadium.

Arni May, Owner of Rossini's Restaurant and Jazz Club and member of Stadium NOW! echoes the sentiments of many of the Stadium NOW! supporters and welcome the Whitecaps to the neighbourhood. “As we say at Rossini's, ‘Welcome to the family'. You are now a part of our community, and we will treat you like family. This means we won't always agree, but we'll get through it because we're all in this together. Through our conversations with the Whitecaps we believe that the requirements identified by the City can be met and together we will build a stadium which will be a great benefit for everyone.”

In addition to the growing support in Gastown, Friends of Soccer, a grassroots movement made up of soccer enthusiast, are working with Stadium NOW! in order to spread the word about the stadium.

“We heard about the formation of Stadium NOW! and offered to help provide information to folks so they could make an informed decision,” said Bill Currie, founder of Friends of Soccer. “To date we have received tremendous support from all over the Lower Mainland including Gastown. Last week Friends of Soccer submitted over 600 written postcards to Council and Mayor and on June 27 we will present the ‘BUILD THE STADIUM NOW' banner which has well over 2,500 signatures.”

Stadium NOW! and Friends of Soccer both believe the project provides a foundation for the ongoing reinvigoration of Gastown, and urge Mayor and Council to move the project forward and prioritize it on June 27, 2006. For more information visit and

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Guide to Speaking to City Council at The June 27 City Hall Meeting

Some people have asked how they can arrange to speak to City Council in favour of the stadium proposal on June 27. I highly encourage you to do so! City Council needs to hear from all of us, and especially so on the day of the big vote.

Below are the instructions on how to register to speak. It comes directly from the City Hall Website.

You are encouraged to contact members of Vancouver City Council individually about issues of concern.

The Mayor and Councillors are accessible via mail, fax, phone or e-mail. You can write to Mayor and Council at:

City of Vancouver
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V5Y 1V4


Another way to participate in local government is to present your opinions to City Council at a meeting. Anyone may ask to speak to Council. It's called being a "delegation." However, you can only speak about an item that is on the agenda for that particular meeting. More information on how to speak to Council.

City Council conducts most of its official functions in six types of meetings. The Whitecaps Stadium meeting is a:

Special Council Meetings (see Meetings Schedule).
This meeting is open for the public to attend. Members of the public are also welcome to speak at these meetings (with some stipulations).

How do I speak to Council?

Anyone may ask to speak to Council. It's called being a "delegation." However, you can only speak about an item that is on the agenda for that particular meeting.

Special Council Meetings
Council can also hold a Special Council Meeting on any subject on which it wishes to hear speakers. This is the type of meeting that is scheduled for June 27

How do I register to speak at a Special Council Meeting?
There are two ways to register to speak at a public hearing:

  • For information about the council meeting, or to register to speak, please call Nicole Ludwig, Meeting Coordinator at 604.871.6399, email

  • Go to the meeting about 30 minutes early and register to speak at the sign-up table.

Here are some tips about speaking to Council:

  • Keep your presentation brief. Council may have to hear numerous presentations, especially on controversial issues. For everyone to be heard, and a decision to be made, Council limits speaking time to five minutes each (except at Public Hearings).

  • Council may ask you questions after your presentation.

  • If you need audio-visual equipment for your presentation, arrange for it well ahead of time by calling the City Clerk's Office at 604-873-7276.

  • If you are bringing written submissions for Council, please bring at least 15 copies with you.

If you do not wish to speak to Council but still want to express your views, you may submit a letter or other written document. Unless you are taking copies to the meeting, written submissions should reach the City Clerk's Office at least one day before the meeting to be sure they can be distributed in time.

Council Decisions

City Council has made a decision when members of Council vote on a motion. A motion will be made on all issues that require a decision or direction from City Council.

If you have made a presentation to City Council, you will receive correspondence in the mail outlining the decision that was reached. Decisions of City Council are available one week following the meeting through the City Clerk's office and on the City's website.

Contact the City Clerk's Office at 604-873-7276 if you are not clear on what has been decided.

Edits from website

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Whitecaps in tune With "Stadiums of the Future"

Now that we're on the eve of the World Cup, I thought I'd point out an interesting article from the BBC that talks about how stadiums are now being designed throughout Europe. It includes interesting comments from renowned architect Rod Sheard. I urge everyone, especially City Councillors, to read it and take note:

"The big change that's happened in recent years, and will be a real change in the next 20, is that city planners have started to realise how important these buildings are in city centres. ...Back in the 60s and 70s, they were felt to be 'bad neighbour' buildings and were pushed out of town, and disconnected from the transport infrastructure, meaning they had to be surrounded by a swathe of car parks...People now realise that was a totally wrong model, and that these are great buildings to have in a city centre. That is pretty well recognised as the model for the future."

The full text of the article can be found here.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Vancouver Sun Endorses Whitecaps Stadium by 2010!

A Vancouver Sun editorial in Saturday's paper urges City Hall to expedite the Whitecaps Stadium project so it can be ready in time for 2010.

"...there should be enough time to do it if councillors don't dither. City Hall staff has already demonstrated that when given the ball it can Bend it like Beckham. Council should fast-track the redevelopment plan and execute it before the world arrives in 2010."

Here's the link:

Here's The Link!

Thursday, June 01, 2006



June 1, 2006

Friends of Soccer call for expedited process

The City Hall policy report on the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium was unveiled on Wednesday. It revealed that 78% of Lower Mainland residents who contacted the City Planning department are in favour of building the stadium on the downtown waterfront. The report also set out a series of requirements the Whitecaps need to address to move the project forward,

The recommendations were:

• Provision of an adequate street network
• Resolution of risks and liability associated with dangerous goods in the rail lands
• Reconfiguration of the stadium structure to ensure a better ‘fit’ with Gastown
• Resolution of impacts on the livability of residential areas south of the rail lands and impacts on future Port Lands development

“In all, this is very positive news,” said Friends of Soccer founder Bill Currie. “The Whitecaps now know exactly what they need to do to move forward, and they seem confident that they can partner with all of the stakeholders involved. We support the Whitecaps completely in this endeavour, and trust that the last six months will help expedite the process as the stadium moves towards the re-zoning phase.”

“Every step of the way, the Whitecaps have been open and transparent, and the Citizens of Vancouver responded by showing overwhelming support for this much needed facility. It's an incredible gift to the City from the Whitecaps, and we should exhaust every option possible to ensure that the stadium is built in time for 2010. I encourage everyone to contact City Council and tell your politicians to show real leadership on this issue. Let's get a certain time frame for the process and capture this opportunity that will bring a world class facility to our world class city.”

City Council will hold a special meeting on the stadium proposal on June 27. Bill Currie and the Friends of Soccer ( urge all citizens of Vancouver to continue to write, phone and visit City Hall on June 27th to make their voices heard. Friends of Soccer is a grassroots movement that supports soccer projects as well as the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Cheer for The Whitecaps Stadium

Here's a fantastic article from The Tyee by Helena Grdadolnik. Helena is an architecture critic and an instructor at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. She sees the concept of utilizing the land to build more high-rise condos as a self-serving argument for developers:

"Gastown has never provided a connection to the waterfront. In fact, the historic fabric turns its back to the water. I would argue that to follow Jon Stovell's suggestion and replicate Coal Harbour's condo towers set in park land with panoramic views on the land north of Gastown would be more disrespectful to the tight urban form of the historic area than an entertainment district at the base of a stadium that incorporates appropriate scale and massing for the context."

I encourage everyone to read her thought provoking article:

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

An Open Letter to City Council from Friends of Soccer

Dear Mayor Sullivan and Council

My name is Bill Currie and I'm a West End resident. I'm also the founder of the Friends of Soccer movement ( Since October, Friends of Soccer has been educating and encouraging the Citizens of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland to express their support for the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium through letters, e-mails, phone calls & postcards. Although you may not recognize us as of yet, over 1000 citizens have used our movement to contact you and your colleagues in the month of May alone. In fact, Council will be receiving delivery of over 600 postcards in favour of the Whitecaps stadium on Tuesday, May 30.

As you are no doubt aware, the proposed stadium enjoys broad, deep, overwhelming support among the voters of Vancouver. As you are also no doubt aware, the city's technical report cites concerns as well. As citizens, we all want to ensure a safe, accessible facility. However, we believe that these concerns are best addressed through a proper re-zoning process, where the Whitecaps are allowed to submit a proper design without the artificial constraints placed on them in the high-level review process. It would allow for an additional round of indepth public consultation that would address these issues. An extended Waterfront Hub study represents an unacceptable delay for this much needed facility, and we feel that in the end, the result of such a study will only serve the interests of condo developers, architects and urban designers; not the citizens of Vancouver.

I understand that you are under intense pressure from the small number of opponents to this project. I also understand that there is internal pressure as well from City Staff, and in some cases, former campaign staff. Please listen to their concerns, of course. But, I also invite you to consider the need for this project and to listen to what the vast majority of citizens are saying. Our website provides a plethora of articles and information on the benefits the stadium will bring. Between now and the upcoming June vote, I will be forwarding you all that we write, and I'll be encouraging the Citizens of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland to contact you to show their support for this project. After all, it's the Citizens of Vancouver who should always have the final say over what serves the greater public interest.

Sincerely Yours,

Bill Currie

Friends of Soccer

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Stadium Architect Dismisses Critics' "Slogans of Judgement".

Whitecaps stadium architect Graham McGarva gave a well-written defence to recent criticism of the stadium proposal in a letter to the editor in Saturday's Vancouver Sun. The stadium proposal, which enjoys overwhelming support from a vast majority of Vancouver citizens, was criticized this week by local architects Bing Thom and Arthur Erickson.

"Vancouver's genius has been to harvest the collective collaboration of many points of view, and reaching an excellence of urbanity that is recognized worldwide as being far superior to thunderbolts of architectural ego.", Mr. McGarva said in his letter. "We believe that the best foundation for a waterfront hub master plan is our vision for contributing, through private investment, a community asset that adds vitality to the city on a sustainable basis."

Mr. McGarva's firm, Via Architecture, has a distinguished record when it comes to urban design along Vancouver's Waterfront, transportation infrastructure, and combining modern design within a heritage framework. Some of Via's recent award winning urban design & planning projects include:

Concord Pacific Place
Quayside Village (Yaletown)
System Wide Design for both the Millenium & Expo Skytrain lines
The Roundhouse Community Centre & Neighbourhood
General Motors Place

"If you look at the scope of Via's projects, you can certainly tell who's truly responsible for creating the modern Vancouver we live, work and travel in everyday." said Friends of Soccer organizer and West End resident Bill Currie. "While Mr. Erickson and Mr.Thom have wonderful accomplishments of their own, neither of them have had anywhere near the influence over Vancouver's Waterfront as Mr. McGarva's firm has."

"Via Architecture's revolutionary design for the Roundhouse Community Centre is a prime example of their ability to combine heritage with modern urban design. They created a venue that is welcoming and inclusive for all Vancouver Citizens; not just it's elites. To suggest that Mr. MrGarva is incapable of creating a fantastic stadium for the downtown area is just prepostorous. It flies in the face of the reality that is Vancouver " said Currie.

Via Architecture is also responsible for the urban planning ideals behind General Motors Place, one of the most successful private arena developments in North America. Neither Mr.Erickson or Mr.Thom have successfully built a sports stadium, although Mr.Thom recently put forward a design for the 2010 Olympics Speed Skating Oval that was consequently rejected.

While there are conceptual drawings of the stadium (Click here to see), there is currently no formal design for the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. Design concerns will be addressed once the proposal goes to the re-zoning stage following a June 15 vote by City Council.

"We have faith in Vancouver, its people and its civic processes, and trust eventually we may be asked what our stadium proposal actually is," Mr. McGarva wrote in his letter. "We are welcoming the input that the high level review is providing, and are in tune with its findings. Rome was not built in a day, and the book of life is far richer and more complex than a one-day headline, trumpeting misunderstandings, and turning intelligent questions into slogans of judgment."

The full content of Mr.McGarva's letter can be found below. To support the pro-stadium campaign, please visit

Saturday, May 27, 2006
Re: Architects join anti-stadium camp, May 25

Vancouver's genius has been to harvest the collective collaboration of many points of view, and reaching an excellence of urbanity that is recognized worldwide as being far superior to thunderbolts of architectural ego. The "reference scenario" of the Waterfront Stadium for the Whitecaps soccer team is just what the term says, an artificially isolated scenario that is an opening frame of reference for the process of dialogue that we are now about to begin.

We believe that the best foundation for a waterfront hub master plan is our vision for contributing, through private investment, a community asset that adds vitality to the city on a sustainable basis.

We have faith in Vancouver, its people and its civic processes, and trust eventually we may be asked what our stadium proposal actually is.

We are welcoming the input that the high level review is providing, and are in tune with its findings. Rome was not built in a day, and the book of life is far richer and more complex than a one-day headline, trumpeting misunderstandings, and turning intelligent questions into slogans of judgment.

Graham McGarva
Principal, Via Architecture

Friday, May 26, 2006

Stadium Now! Gastown Group Growing!

Our friends at Stadium Now! have been very busy. The Gastown residents and merchant's group is barely a week old, yet they've already recruited 16 Gastown businesses to the Stadium cause.

We urge everyone to come to Gastown and support these businesses in their courageous stand. You can find a list of them here!

(By the way, on a personal note, I had breakfast at Brioche in Gastown on Sunday...THE BEST OMELETTE EVER! FABULOUS!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Friends of Soccer challenge opponents at Heritage Vancouver Panel

Here's the content from the Friends of Soccer flyer circulated at the Heritage Vancouver Forum on Thursday night. The panel featured a very strong presentation and defense of the stadium from Whitecaps President John Rocha and architect Graham McGarva, as well as questions from Friends of Soccer that challenged opponent's vision of of the lands without railway tracks. The panel went very well for the yes side, considering it was supposed to be an ambush by anti-stadium forces..

The Facts about Heritage and the Stadium

Much misinformation has been spread over the last few days regarding the Whitecaps proposed Waterfront Stadium project. No doubt, some of that misinformation will be repeated at tonight's panel. Indeed, the very title of tonight's panel; Gastown up against the wall; brings visions of a gulag being built, as opposed to a gathering place for all citizens and a shrine for soccer.

We are the Friends of Soccer. We're a grassroots community group dedicated to supporting soccer projects as well as the Whitecaps Stadium. As both soccer supporters and responsible citizens, we all want to help create an inclusive, welcoming, vibrant city. That's why we're here to dispel some myths about the proposed stadium.

Is a Stadium Compatible with Heritage?

Stadiums much larger than the one proposed comfortably co-exist with heritage districts across North America and throughout the world.. Two neighbouring stadiums are credited for re-vitalizing Seattle's Pioneer Square, an area that is very similar to Gastown. Petco Park in San Diego, Jacob's Field in Cleveland, and Camden Yards in Baltimore are fine examples of creative use of heritage sites. Pac Bell Park added new life to San Francisco's vibrant waterfront.

In Europe, compact stadiums like the one proposed routinely exist in heritage and residential areas. London alone has 14 stadiums that hold 15,000 spectators or more. In Edniburgh, Scotland, a large football stadium lies less than a block from a castle. There are also examples in Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Ireland, Turkey, Greece, Spain, and many other nations.

The Stadium as Heritage

When properly designed, the stadium itself becomes a heritage site over time. Stadiums often become places of pilgrimage for fans and are recognized around the world as shrines for their sport. For example, citizens of Chicago and Boston couldn't imagine a city without Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. The Olympic Stadiums in Helsinki, Berlin and Munich are regarded throughout the world as architectural marvels. Stadiums such as Old Trafford in Manchester and Anfield in Liverpool have an aura that attracts fans even when there's no event scheduled.

The type of stadium the Whitecaps are proposing is closer to the compact, European style of soccer stadium rather than the “big-box” monolith opponents would have you believe. In fact, the concept hearkens back to a bygone era when stadiums were designed to fit to the parcel of land the owner had purchased. It was creative solutions such as this that resulted in the asymmetrical genius behind stadiums such as Boston's Fenway Park.

If the artist's conceptual design holds true, Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium will be instantly recognized as the palace of soccer for North Americans. As a gathering place for citizens, it will connect thousands of Vancouverites to a piece of the Waterfront none of us have ever had access to.

Tomorrow's Heritage

As mentioned in the Stadium Consultant's Technical Report: “The past is a guidepost...Not a hitching post.” Local history has proved that today's creative design is always tomorrow's heritage. In the 1980s, many believed that a Trade & Convention centre could never fit in on the downtown waterfront. Could anyone imagine the Vancouver skyline without the distinctive sails of Canada Place now? Arthur Erickson buildings, which were ridiculed and controversial in their time, are now targeted for heritage protection. Years from now, after the Whitecaps stadium is built, this debate will be seen as one of the silliest we've ever engaged in as a city.

Myths Dispelled

The small number of opponents of the stadium have managed to grab their share of the headlines over the last two weeks. We'd like to take a moment to respond to some of the questions that have risen regarding the new stadium.

Myth: Area residents and businesses are united against the stadium.

Fact: Nothing could be further from the truth. The recent consultant's report showed that 52% of area residents were either strongly in favour, or in favour of the downtown stadium but had concerns. Only 40% of Gastown / Downtown Eastside residents were opposed. In fact, a growing number of Gastown residents and merchants are rising up to challenge this false notion through the Stadium Now! group.

Myth: There are no economic benefits to having a stadium in Gastown.

Fact: Try finding a table in a downtown restaurant when the Canucks or the Lions are playing! When the Canucks failed to make the playoffs this year, a local business group pegged the loss at $5 million per missed playoff game. During the NHL lockout in 2005, several merchants close to GM Place nearly went bankrupt. Anyone who says that “People just arrive, buy the $75 hamburger at the stadium and goes home,” has a poor sense of business reality.

Myth: The Stadium will build a “Berlin Wall” between Gastown & the Waterfront.

Fact: The Stadium will actually link Gastown to the waterfront for the first time in a century.

Myth: The Whitecaps Stadium will cause the destruction of Gastown's heritage and further displace residents of the Downtown Eastside.

Fact: Not one heritage building will be destroyed because of the stadium. Not one person will lose their home. Not one Single Room Occupancy space will be lost.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Top Opponent Admits Downtown Waterfront Stadium Workable

The chief spokesman for the Gastown Neighbourhood Coalition has told The Province Newspaper that he could envision a stadium fitting in with the downtown Waterfront lands. Jon Stovell is quoted as saying in Sunday's paper, "If they could find a way to get the stadium farther away and less bulky...I believe a stadium could be quite nicely incorporated into the Waterfront."

"But they're going to have to get together with other property owners and get a larger footprint."

In previous statements, the coalition had always claimed that a stadium on any part of the railway lands would destroy Gastown's heritage. This was in spite of the fact that not one of Gastown's heritage buildings would be destroyed in the construction process, and that there are several examples of stadiums successfully co-existing with heritage sites throughout the world.

The Whitecaps have yet to complete the design of the stadium, and have pledged to take the concerns of the City Hall consultant's report into account. A formal design won't be submitted unless City Council allows the proposal to go to the re-zoning stage on June 15.

The Province article, which can be found on page A15, focusses on the new Stadium Now group which has risen in Gastown. Stadium Now was formed last week by a group of Gastown residents & merchants who believe the new stadium will bring immense benefits to the area. They have already been successful in dispelling the myth that Gastown residents are universally opposed to the project.

"I thought it would be good to get the word out that there are people in the neighbourhood (who) are not being represented by the other coalitions and their own business society.", said Stadium Now founder John Kostiuk. The City Hall consultant report revealed that 38% of area residents are in favour of the stadium, while 15% support the concept of a downtown stadium but have concerns. 40% of area residents who participated in the City Hall open houses were opposed.

To support Gastown residents and merchants in their quest for the stadium, please visit

Subscribers to the The Vancouver Province can read the article at

Friday, May 19, 2006

Vancouver Province Investigating Tampered Online Poll

The Vancouver Province is investigating how the online poll on their website was compromised on Friday. An online question asking whether readers support a 15,000 seat stadium in Gastown was enjoying almost 75% support until 2:45 PM. By the time the poll had closed at 4PM, the numbers had dramatically reversed to 71% opposed & 29% in support. For the result to switch that quickly, three times the number of people would have had to vote against the stadium in the final hour than had voted in the previous 11 hours the poll had been available on the site.

The Province has suspended the poll on the site with the message "Due to technical difficulties, the poll is temporarily suspended". A high level source at the newspaper revealed that no poll results would be published in the Sunday edition.

"I wish we could start talking about the more important issues regarding the stadium," said Friends of Soccer organizer Bill Currie. "To try and contrive artificial opposition to the project is just a silly waste of people's time and effort. As we know from a real scientific poll, from real public consultation, and from real letters, e-mails and phone calls to City Council, the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium enjoys real support from real citizens."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Friends of Soccer Teams up With Stadium Now!

Friends of Soccer announced today that they'll be teaming up with the new Gastown residents & merchants group Stadium Now to support the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium.

"When we met with Gastown residents and merchants earlier this week, we offered our complete support for their efforts to truly represent the views of local residents. A large number of Gastown merchants and residents want to see all of the benefits the Whitecaps Stadium will bring to their neighbourhood, and we'll be working together to see that it happens.", said Friends Of Soccer organizer Bill Currie.

"Our first goal is to encourage the people of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland to support the merchants who are taking this courageous stand in favour of Gastown. If there was ever a time to have a meal in Gastown, browse the shops, or take in the great show at Storyeum, that time is now! Just look for the Stadium Now poster in the Window."

Friends of Soccer will continue its campaign in favour of the stadium with an appearance Thursday at a Heritage Vancouver forum. The panel discussion "Gastown up against the wall: The Whitecaps Stadium Proposal" takes place on Thursday, May 18 at 7:30 PM at the Vancouver Museum (1100 Chestnut St. in Kitsilano). The Panel features Whitecaps President John Rocha.


Gastown Merchants, Businesses, and Residents unite to form Stadium NOW! in support of waterfront stadium for Vancouver
Storyeum and Arthur Griffiths join growing coalition supporting stadium

GASTOWN, BC (May 18, 2006) – Gastown residents, merchants and businesses eager to continue the heritage area’s transformation into a vibrant family-friendly neighbourhood have joined together to form Stadium NOW! in support of the development of the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium.

As part of Stadium NOW!’s launch, the organization also unveiled, a new web site which presents factual information and illustrations about the proposed stadium. In addition, the web site provides supporters from Gastown and around Vancouver an opportunity to register their support.

“The fact is, many people in Gastown and Vancouver support the proposed stadium,” said Stadium NOW! founder and Gastown resident John Kostiuk. “After three years of planning and consultation it’s time to move this process forward to the next step, which is moving from the conceptual phase to designing a landmark waterfront stadium. The stadium will bring a much-needed vitality to the Gastown area, along with greater diversity and more people.

In addition to widespread support, the consultant’s report confirmed that there are numerous advantages to building a stadium at the proposed site.

The consultant's Policy and Technical Report concludes on page 63-64 – “The idea of a downtown, waterfront, open-air stadium on a site with a high level of public transit service is exciting… and could help achieve the City’s goals for enhancing Gastown and the surrounding area by drawing in visitors…the idea of decking over the rail yards creates an exciting opportunity to build a bridge over the barrier that separates Gastown from the waterfront.”

Among the businesses supporting Stadium NOW! are Brioche, The Cambie, Rossini’s, Jade, Mintage, Arthur Griffith’s Infotec, Mark James and the Lotus Hotel, and Storyeum, Vancouver’s newest family entertainment attraction which has helped draw hundreds of thousands of tourists and B.C. residents to Gastown since it opened in the neighbourhood in 2004.

“As a newer, growing business in the area, we look for ways of re-inviting the whole community to the Gastown area and for everyone to see the positive improvements which have taken place within the neighborhood over the past few years,” said Brian Veitch, Vice President Storyeum, HXP Inc. “We need events and places, like the stadium, that drive traffic to our attraction, shops and services!”

With its close proximity to transit routes, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and the West Coast Express, the proposed stadium will be one of the most transit friendly ever built anywhere, and its construction offers an excellent way to reclaim the waterfront for public access while preserving the industrial transportation hub.

“We believe like the frontrunner Woodward’s project, that heritage and new construction can complement one another,” said Kostiuk. “A privately financed stadium will be a valuable gathering place in Gastown that will be an exciting venue for various sporting, cultural, and other public events. We feel strongly that City Council should allow the Whitecaps to proceed to the development application phase, and encourage Vancouverites to contact City Council to voice their support.”

For more information and updates on Stadium NOW! please visit

Monday, May 15, 2006

Vancouver Overwhelmingly in Favour of Downtown Stadium - City Hall Consultant

A consultant's study, based on public consultation held by the City of Vancouver in March, has confirmed that an overwhelming majority of GVRD residents are in favour of the proposed Whitecaps stadium on the downtown waterfront. Of the 795 people who filled out questionnaires at neighbourhood open houses, 67% said they believe the downtown waterfront is a good location for a stadium. Only 27% were opposed. Among Vancouver residents, 63% were in favour of the downtown stadium.

The report echoes the previous independent study done by the Mustel Group on behalf of the Whitecaps. Their survey indicated that 71% of Vancouverites supported the downtown stadium proposal.

Most striking was was how the consultant's study dispelled the myth that the majority of residents in the immediate area were strongly opposed to the stadium. The Open Houses revealed that 38% of Gastown / Downtown Eastside residents support the proposed location, while 15% like the idea of a downtown stadium, but have concerns about the location. Only 40% of local residents were strongly opposed.

A companion technical report on the project concluded that there are concerns about the conceptual design, but agreed that the issues could be addressed if the Whitecaps re-visited the concept. This could be addressed through the re-zoning process."

"This tells us what the people of Vancouver have been telling us for months," said Friends of Soccer organizer Bill Currie. "They want the Whitecaps stadium built. They want it built downtown, and they want it built now."

Vancouver City Council will decide whether to advance the the project to the re-zoning process on June 15.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

CSA to MLS: Make room for 2nd Canadian team in 2010

As Toronto FC unveiled it's new Major League Soccer logo today, Canadian Soccer Association C.O.O. Kevin Pipe had a clear message for the league: make room for a 2nd Canadian team in 2010.

That team is most likely to be Vancouver.

With strong ownership, a new downtown stadium in the works, and a stated goal to play at the top level of North American professional soccer, the Vancouver Whitecaps appear to be next in line for MLS expansion. Mr. Pipe pressed that point today on MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

"Don, keep a second spot open in 2010. We know you're working towards having 16 clubs. I'm going to keep your feet close to the fire on that as we move forward. We have other Canadian cities who are really looking at Major League Soccer in a very serious way."

The only other contender is Montreal, who recently delayed plans to build a Soccer Specific Stadium.

The new National Soccer Stadium in Toronto is being built primarily using municipal, provincial and federal funds with a minority investment made by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. When Toronto City Council approved funding for the stadium in October, 2005, Mayor David Miller said "It's a great deal for Toronto. The city gets a $60 million community asset for only $9.8 million."

The Vancouver Whitecaps proposed stadium is privately-financed on land they purchased from Fairmont - a private company. They have said previously that they are financially committed to making the stadium happen. The new Vancouver stadium would be an invaluable asset to Canadian soccer, as Vancouver has the only climate in the country that allows for year-round soccer.

Major League Soccer has designed special rules which force Toronto FC to field a predominantly Canadian team. Mr. Pipe believes that the arrival of MLS in Toronto will have an immediate impact on the fortunes of Canadian Soccer.

"Today is a day of celebration. The arrival of MLS in Toronto is going to change the game overnight. Here in this city we will see the finest players in North America. The immediate impact is apparent. It's going to allow our national team players to finally play in Canada at a complete professional level. We expect to see a lot of our players returning home from Europe to play for Toronto FC. We also expect to see immediate improvement. With two seasons under our belt, we fully expect our national team to achieve it's goal of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.""

Besides the new MLS team, Toronto's National Soccer Stadium will also play host to the second biggest event in Men's soccer: The Fifa Under-20 World Cup. While Vancouver's Swangard Stadium will be a venue for the preliminary matches of the tournament, it will be Toronto's shrine that hosts the final.

"July 22, 2007 - When the Fifa Under-20 World Cup Final is held in the new National Soccer Stadium, there will be over 100 million people worldwide watching soccer from Toronto. Who ever would have thought it?"

To help make the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium a reality, visit us at .

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Friends of Soccer Call for Pro-Stadium Volunteers

Over the last few weeks, we've been forming the strategy for the public campaign for the stadium through Friends of Soccer.

Now, we need volunteers to help execute it.

We have exciting plans to hit the streets to encourage the soccer community and citizens of Vancouver to contact City Council. There are many facets to this strategy, and we'll be holding a meeting for volunteers this week to discuss them. In short, this is where the campaign leaves the internet and turns into real flesh and blood support!

If you're interested in getting involved to help make the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium a reality, please contact me as soon as possible at .

Bill Currie

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Stadium Opponents Stumble on CKNW

A corporately-funded Stadium opposition group suffered a serious setback today on the Bill Good Show on CKNW 980. The newly-formed Gastown Neighbourhood Coalition was bombarded by calls in favour of the Whitecaps new stadium.

Most stunning were the phone calls from Gastown residents and business owners that claimed the coalition doesn't speak for residents of the area. One caller revealed that the coalition's chief spokesman, Jon Stovell, heads acquisitions and development for a real estate company that owns several of the buildings behind the stadium site. He also revealed that this “grassroots” coalition has hired an exclusive communications firm, Reputations Corporation, to handle its public relations.

In the past, Reputations Communications worked on the election campaign for Mayor Sam Sullivan, and handled his media relations at the recent Winter Olympics & Paralympics.

It would seem that the two biggest lobby groups opposing the stadium, Gastown Residents Association & the Gastown Neighbourhood Coalition, aren't very grassroots or representative at all. In fact, according to internet domain registration information, it would appear they were created at the same time, by the same people.

With support among the public overwhelmingly in favour of the stadium, it's more important than ever to let your voice be heard. And it will be the powerful, positive message of soccer fans and citizens of Vancouver that will bring the stadium home! Write, call, and e-mail City Council and the Mayor and let them know where the real power is!

Here is a link to to an MP3 of The Bill Good Show:

Yours in Soccer,

Bill Currie

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Pro-Stadium Campaign Is On!

The Friends of Soccer Pro-Stadium campaign is about to get underway in full force...and we have big plans. We haven't been idle over the last few weeks...we've only been planning for the next phase of the campaign to begin. Our biggest plan is to mobilize the full force of BC's soccer community and citizens of Vancouver to let City Council know beyond a doubt that Vancouver wants the stadium.

You'll be hearing about some of the ways we'll be doing this in the next few days. To get an idea of one of the things we have planned, check out the website at .

You'll also be hearing from our opponents as well. Don't worry about the handful of headlines they're grabbing. They're a small, negative group who have a long history of opposition. If we all band together as both a soccer community and a group of positive, concerned citizens, we'll overwhelm city council with our numbers alone. The key to success here is to focus on the positives of the stadium and ignore our opponents' negativity.

I hope we can count on your support. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me at .

Bill Currie

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

First Stadium Open House A Success

The Open House on Monday was a casual, but very informative affair. The City has a very good display that outlines the schematics of the stadium and the neighbourhood. It addresses many questions such as trafiic flow, pedestrian congestion, noise levels, and sightlines from street level. There was a good mix of supporters and opponents, but the format of the open house allowed everyone to air their opinions in a non-confrontational way. There's also a very detailed questionnaire to fill out, so everyone can leave their opinion.

I was very impressed with Kevin McNaney and the rest of the City staff. They are very approachable and willing to listen to all viewpoints in the process. If you happen to go to one of the meetings, seek him out. I also encourage you to talk to the consultants who are putting together the report as well...Gary McDonald & Sheri Winowski represent the consulting firm at the open houses, and are especially attentive when hearing the arguments in favour of the stadium.

That being said, two things are becoming clear:

A.) There are a lot of misconceptions & preconceived notions that Whitecaps Soccer games attract the same type of audience as the Canucks & Lions. Many of the people involved in opposing the stadium or writing the report have never attended a Whitecaps game, so they don't understand that the games attract a broad cross-section of people from all cultures, genders, ages, and social backgrounds. In other words, the Whitecaps attract a crowd that's more representative of Vancouver.

B.) The opponents of the stadium are making a deliberate effort to mislead people by focussing attention on the land just to the east of the site. Greg Kerfoot owns the land, and opponents are raising the spectre of another line of Yaletown-like condo developments along the Waterfront. They've even gone so far as to call it a "Mega-Project", suggesting that the current hearings is about the entire tract of land instead of the single stadium project. Other than the stadium, there hasn't been a single proposal or even speculation as to what will go up on the rest of the land. And when there is a proposal, it will go through the same type of public scrutiny the stadium is going through.

I highly encourage everyone to attend the remaining Open Houses. It's vitally important that our silent majority make our voices heard. The next Open Houses are being held on:

Tuesday, March 7, 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Storyeum Lobby, 142 Water Street

Wednesday, March 8, 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Harbour Centre Lobby (Hastings Entrance), 555 West Hastings Street

Saturday, March 11, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: VPL, Central Branch Promenade, 350 West Georgia Street

Once again, if you don't live in Vancouver, or can't make it to the meetings, you can send written comments to:

Kevin McNaney,
Planner, Central Area Planning, City of Vancouver
#406 - 515 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4A8

Thanks again!
Bill Currie

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Whitecaps Stadium: A Call to Action For Soccer

Hockey may grab the headlines, but no other sport embraces the spirit of British Columbia the way soccer does. Across the province, soccer plays a huge role in the daily lives of men, women & children, and it remains the only sport that breaks through every national and cultural barrier known to humanity. The joy of soccer is the great equalizer for all of us, and we all have a responsibility to share and grow our game.

That's why if you're involved in soccer in any way, as a player, coach or fan of the game, you have a stake in ensuring the success of the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. And now is the time to participate.

Last October, the Vancouver Whitecaps proposed to build a spectacular new stadium on Vancouver's downtown waterfront. This shrine to the game will host both the Whitecaps' womens' and mens' teams, International soccer & rugby events, local soccer teams, multicultural festivals, concerts, and even the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. With direct access to Skytrain, the RAV line, West Coast Express, buses, seabus, seaplanes, and tens of thousands of parking spaces within a ten minute walk, it will be one of the most easily accessible stadiums in the world. The Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium is a tremendous gift to both the City of Vancouver and Canadian Soccer by the team's owner Greg Kerfoot, as it will be built on private land with private money.

But the stadium still needs to be approved by the municipal government before the project can start, and now is the time to let your voice be heard. The City of Vancouver is about to hold public meetings on the stadium and we need to let City Council know that there is broad public support for the project. The City of Vancouver is also accepting written submissions, so if you believe in the stadium project, but don't necessarily live in Vancouver, you can also participate. You can find the dates and locations for the meetings listed below. Every voice counts in this process!

This stadium is critical to the evolution of soccer in our city and country.

Take the United States, for example. Over the past decade, the United States has built a top flight professional league and modern stadiums devoted entirely to soccer. Their efforts have paid off with regular appearances in the World Cup, and a Quarter-Final finish in 2002. Their best players now have the choice to play professionally at home instead of abroad, and the U.S. have taken huge leaps towards their goal of being a serious contender for the World Cup in 2010. A new downtown stadium in Vancouver, along with an eventual jump to Major League Soccer could give Canadians the same opportunity.

The opportunities for Womens' soccer are tremendous as well. A new stadium would bolster Canada's future bid to host the Womens' World Cup, and provide greater exposure for the many national team members who play for the Whitecaps Women. The Whitecaps stadium would inspire new generations of female players for decades to come.

There are also benefits for Vancouver's large and diverse multicultural community. No sport unites the world the way soccer does. The Whitecaps Stadium will play host to the best international teams from around the world, and provide an attractive, inclusive venue to celebrate our rich cultural fabric.

So you see, we all have a stake in making this happen.

It's important to note that there are opponents of the stadium in Vancouver's downtown eastside. They include residents and activists who are generally opposed to private development in the area. Other opponents are property owners who are concerned with how the stadium will affect their views, traffic patterns and property values. Some intend to use the stadium proposal as a platform to air grievances on matters completely unrelated to the stadium, such as social housing, drug rehab centers and the lack of parks in the area. While these are views that should be listened to, respected and addressed, the opponents of the proposal should not be allowed to derail the benefits and positive economic impacts of the Whitecaps Stadium with issues that are not directly related to the Stadium project. That is why your support is so important.

Getting involved can be as simple as writing an e-mail to the mayor and city councilors, attending a community meeting, or by making a written submission to the Central Area Planning office of the City of Vancouver. For more information on what you can do to help make the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium a reality, visit

Here are the list of Open Houses:

Monday, March 6, 2:00pm - 8:00pm
W Room at Woodwards,
101 West Hastings Street

Tuesday, March 7, 3:00pm - 8:00pm
Storyeum Lobby,
142 Water Street

Wednesday, March 8, 2:00pm - 8:00pm
Harbour Centre Lobby (Hastings Entrance),
555 West Hastings Street

Saturday, March 11, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Vancouver Public Library,
Central Branch - Promenade,
350 West Georgia Street

You can find details on the project and the time frame for the City Planning report at:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Whitecaps Stadium Public Hearings Planned

Hello all,

Not much has been happening on the Whitecaps Stadium front since the local elections in November. On the whole, the election of NPA & Vision Vancouver candidates appears to have been positive news as there are now no clear opponents of the stadium project on council.

However, the public consultation process is about to get underway and we need voices to counter the local opposition to the stadium. The public meetings are called "Open Houses", and they're less confrontational and softer than formal public hearings. There's a list of dates and times below. The City of Vancouver is also accepting written submissions, so those of you who believe in the stadium project, but don't necessarily live in Vancouver can also participate.

In some of the discussions I've had with councillors and the people involved with City Planning, it's becoming apparent that there is a huge awareness gap when it comes to soccer and the need for Soccer Specific Stadiums in North America. The more people can talk about the growth of the game and the benefits of having the game in its own home, the better. The submission I'm working on also emphasizes the transit-friendly location of the stadium and the positive economic benefits to Gastown, Downtown and the Downtown Eastside.

If you'd like to make a written submission, you should address it to:
Kevin McNaney,Planner, Central Area Planning, City of Vancouver
#406 - 515 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4A8

Here are the list of Open Houses:

Monday, March 6, 2:00pm - 8:00pm
W Room at Woodwards,
101 West Hastings Street

Tuesday, March 7, 3:00pm - 8:00pm
Storyeum Lobby,
142 Water Street

Wednesday, March 8,
2:00pm - 8:00pm
Harbour Centre Lobby (Hastings Entrance),
555 West Hastings Street

Saturday, March 11, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Vancouver Public Library,Central Branch - Promenade,
350 West Georgia Street

You can find details on the project and the time frame for the City Planning report at: