Friday, May 16, 2008

Peter Ladner's Position on the Whitecaps Stadium

On Thursday, May 8, Friends of Soccer invited the six potential major candidates for Vancouver Mayor to use its website to state their position on the Whitecaps Stadium. We have promised to publish their statements in their entirety, unedited and without commentary. We have no intention of endorsing any particular mayoral candidate.

Today, Councillor Peter Ladner of the Non-Partisan Association responded to our invitation. His campaign's website is www.peterladner.ca


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1.Do you support the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium Proposal? Why or why not?

Yes. I am a strong Whitecaps supporter. I consider outdoor professional soccer to be the most entertaining and accessible sporting experience in the Lower Mainland and have attended lots of games at Swangard Stadium.

It would be a huge benefit for Vancouver to land a major soccer franchise in a new, multi-purpose stadium downtown. Part of making Vancouver a globally competitive city is having a healthy professional sports industry.

Our global competitiveness would also be enhanced by the stadium’s ability to attract business and visitors to the downtown and add an amenity to the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre.

As someone who has owned and run my own business (Business in Vancouver Media Group) and chaired the city’s budget committee, I have a special appreciation of the unprecedented generosity of a successful entrepreneur funding it at no expense to Vancouver taxpayers.

I see the soccer stadium as contributing to the affordability and physical health of Vancouver, not just because of the owner taking financial responsibility for its construction and operation, but also because it would finance the Whitecaps impressive province-wide network of support teams and training facilities.

It would advance my goal of making Vancouver the greenest city in North America by being located at the centre of so many public transportation networks, a sustainable transportation feature not available in other locations.

I have supported it from the beginning, while recognizing the problems of accommodating that use on a difficult site. As a councillor, I have to ensure the stadium doesn’t overpower Gastown and downtown eastside neighbours, that it can be adequately accessed, and that it doesn’t impede vital transportation infrastructure like the SeaBus and the port rail yards.

I have met with Greg Kerfoot, Bob Lenarduzzi, the Whitecaps development team, Port of Vancouver representatives, Downtown Eastside residents, city planning staff and other councilors to advance this project. I have frequently spoken out on the unique opportunity of having this stadium in the heart of our city.

2. What plan of action do you have to make it a reality?

As a councillor, I have tried to ensure the city is not delaying the process and is doing whatever it can to accommodate the Whitecaps’ offer. I will continue to publicly endorse the proposal and fight to make sure the Whitecaps’ and the city’s concerns are dealt with as expeditiously as possible.

I believe it is the mayor’s responsibility to stay abreast of the difficult negotiations underway between the Port, the Whitecaps and CP Rail. The mayor should be encouraging the parties to agree to an independent appraisal for the value of the rail yards, the key sticking point right now.

I would not back up the process and start looking for other locations unless the Whitecaps determine the waterfront site will never work and want to pursue another approach.

The bottom line for Vancouver is that this site has to find a home in the city as soon as possible.

3.What makes you uniquely qualified to succeed on this issue?

I know all the players. I understand business. I really want it to succeed. I am trusted by both sides.

1 comment:

Bill Currie said...

Comments are closed as Friends of Soccer have promised to print the candidate's position without commentary.