Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Quick Stadium Update

Here's a brief update on the Whitecaps Stadium, and some of the things Friends of Soccer are doing to support it:

1. At the moment, the stadium issue is in the hands of the Whitecaps and the landowners /stakeholders in the area. The Whitecaps need to finalize an agreement with all parties on the revised site before the stadium can be brought before City Council for rezoning. We're not privy to any information in these talks, and we have no role to play in them. We have been assured, however, that all parties are positive and working towards getting the stadium built on the waterfront.

2.The City has been very helpful on the stadium since the last council vote, and aren't the cause of any delays in the current process. They might appreciate a word of thanks and support if you have a moment.

3. We expect that the stadium issue will probably come before City Council sometime during the late summer or early autumn. As you already know, the thousands of letters, signatures & phone calls to councillors have given the stadium proposal two unanimous votes of support to date. We'll need your calls & letters again when the next vote comes.

4. The two main opponent groups in the last round, the Gastown Residents Association & the Gastown Neighbourhood Coalition, no longer exist. In fact, their leader, Jon Stovell, expressed satisfaction during the last Council meeting with the moves the Whitecaps have made to accommodate the concerns of local residents. While there are still some opponents remaining, the vast majority of people who had reasonable concerns about the original stadium proposal are content.

5. The City Planning department has invited Friends of Soccer to send a representative to its working group on the stadium and the proposed Central Transportation Hub. There, we'll meet with other supporters and opponents, landowners, business owners and government agencies involved in the project to provide ideas, feedback and solutions to issues. There's no expectation that all of these groups will reach a consensus on the stadium or the hub. However, it's an important part of of the public process, and we'll be asking for your ideas when the sessions begin sometime this summer. Bruce Wilkins, a well respected labour lawyer and longtime Whitecaps season ticket holder, will be representing Friends of Soccer in the working group.

6. In March, the BC Soccer Association expressed their support for our efforts. When the time comes, they're willing to help us mobilize the BC Soccer community in support of the stadium.

7. The Whitecaps - LA Galaxy exhibition match on October 3 is very important in the stadium campaign. We believe that this event will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the need for a new stadium. Every soccer fan who wants a stadium should be out in full force for this match!

That's what we know at the moment. For now, it's a good time to relax a little, go to Swangard, and enjoy the Whitecaps as they look to repeat their W-League & USL Division I titles. Also, the FIFA U-20 World Cup is coming up, and we'll be planning a few events this summer to keep the the stadium in the front of people's minds.

Thanks again for your support on the stadium. Let's do everything we can to make it happen!

Yours in Sport,
Bill Currie
Friends of Soccer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great to get some news on what is happening with planning for the new stadium. Too bad that the whole process takes so long! We in the interior of the province also support the need for a good stadium for soccer in Vancouver.