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