Tuesday, November 13, 2007
VANCOUVER HAS SPOKEN!
As if there was any doubt before, November's "Beckham Game" at B.C. Place Stadium made it crystal clear that Vancouver will always come out to support top-level soccer. And many of the 48,000 on hand took the time to support the new waterfront stadium. The "Build the Stadium Now" banner now has well over 20,000 signatures on it.
But that's no surprise either. Since the day the stadium was announced, the overwhelming majority of Vancouver citizens have been in favour of it. Two scientific Mustel Polls have shown over 70% of Vancouverites support the stadium. The many rounds of official public consultation City Hall held backs them up. In the last 2 years, the City has held 7 open houses and 4 days of public hearings. They've fielded thousands of letters, e-mails and postcards...once again well over 70% in support of the stadium.
The result of all of this pressure has been two unanimous, but tentative votes of support by the City...and of course more studies and delays. But today was the first sign that at least someone on City Council is starting to realize the urgency behind this. This is from the Vancouver Sun website:
"City councillor Suzanne Anton said she will urge council to act quickly on final approval. "Negotiations with the Port Authority are primarily centred on where the stadium will be located," said Anton. "It's not resolved yet, but the process needs to be speeded up. We have a wonderful opportunity here for a first-class facility that will serve many, many purposes, including soccer. I will urge council to move forward quickly on this project."
So, finally, a real sign of encouragement from one of our elected officials. But it's still not enough. This is the time for the Mayor and City Councillors to stop hiding on this issue and publicly do the work to make the stadium a go. Council needs to actively work with and encourage the Vancouver Port Authority and the Federal Government to expedite a deal with the Whitecaps. And they need to move the stadium to the rezoning stage as soon as possible.
It's time for for Council to stop talking about WHETHER there'll be a stadium on the Waterfront, and start talking about WHAT kind of stadium will be on the Waterfront.
Tomorrow, I'll be writing City Council once again to tell them exactly what I've written here. I hope you'll do the same.
I'll also be writing Lawrence Cannon, the Federal Minister of Transportation and M.P. for Pontiac in Quebec. I'll be asking for his support in helping the Vancouver Port Authority strike a deal with the Whitecaps. I encourage soccer supporters from across Canada to do the same as well.
The past few years for soccer in Vancouver have been both fantastic and frustrating, and both for the same reason. We've had a glimpse of what this game can be, and those among us who love the game know deep in our hearts what it will be when we finally get it built. Please help us make it happen.
Yours in Sport,
Friends of Soccer
Posted by Bill Currie at 9:21 PM