--> Getting It Right: Kick for Touch

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Kick for Touch

After four long sessions in city council chamber, hearing the boosters and the opponents of the proposed Whitecaps soccer stadium on the downtown waterfront, Vancouver Council decided to kick the ball down the field, so to speak.

The unanimous decision to, well, to make a decision later could be viewed by both sides as a victory of sorts.

But just because the Whitecaps made it through the preliminaries is no guarantee that they’ll make it to the finals – just ask Portuguese soccer team how that works.

There are significant – and perhaps overwhelming – issues facing the stadium proposal. Although Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot owns the six acre parcel, the site cannot be re-zoned from industrial use without an exhaustive 24 month process.

And that is the least of the challenges facing the project.

Others include site access for fans, the need to acquire additional property from the Vancouver Port Authority and requirements to ensure safety with the proposed above the tracks location.

Raymond Louie moved that the City work with the Whitecaps to examine other sites, including False Creek Flats or BC Place.

Of course, the big hitch for those locations is that the Whitecaps don’t actually own them.

Larry Beasely, the land-use guru at City Hall, indicated that he felt the stadium would need to move further north if it was going to fit into the downtown waterfront landscape.

Of course, with all these strikes against them, it would be easy to count the ‘Caps out.

That would be very foolish.

If anything, these guys have proven that they can fight the good fight. They have, after all, kept professional soccer alive in hockey-obsessed Vancouver since the previous heyday of the sport.

And in the nine months since the project was first brought before the City, the Whitecaps have developed strong community support for the concept. In a wonderful kismet way, all the attention on the World Cup in the lead up to the Council meetings only helped their cause.

On the surface of it, they have a great project. Who wouldn’t want to see a beautiful, open-air stadium right at the waterfront, close to transit and all those new downtown residents?

Think “Bard on the Beach” for the sporty set.

But it will be in the devilish details that the project will fail or succeed.

The city staff report states that the concept needs to be re-visited in “some fundamental ways” if it is going to work at all.

These include dealing with inadequate street frontage and road infrastructure which may require more financial resources than the Whitecaps are willing to front.

Round one may be over for the Whitecaps but the fight for the waterfront is just getting started.

As seen today in 24 hours


At 10:12 a.m., Blogger Bernie said...

Larry Beasely, the land-use guru at City Hall, indicated that he felt the stadium would need to move further north if it was going to fit into the downtown waterfront landscape.
Correct me if I'm wrong
but wouldn't that put the proposed
stadium under about 150
feet of water?
What is the posting limit Erin?
I will abide by that if
you proclaim the limit number.
But there isn't one right now.
You should feel lucky
to have people interested
in your site. Out of 10,000
readers of your "newspaper"
ony 6 people come here
and 3 of those are your friends.

At 11:44 a.m., Blogger Bernie said...


Let's say the soccer stadium will
cost $50,000,000

Don't pay too much attention
to my numbers here, just
the general concept.

If 500 people get revenues of
$100,000 each from this, then
those are the 500 people who
will put pressure or "bribe"
the news media, including
you Erin, to spin it
their way - too get the money
approved and the stadium built.

I am one of the few who
disagrees with taxation
to build sports stadiums.
All taxation is theft.

To simplify, there are Spiritual
Laws operating in the Universe.
The cost of this Stadium is that
50,000 boys will not
get a soccer ball for
their birthday,
so soccer will end up dying.
Isn't that ironic and paradoxical?
Do you see that the fathers who
are not part of the
"soccer bureaucracy" had to pay,
and lose on this deal.

At 5:24 p.m., Anonymous Adrian MacNair said...

Three words:

Waste of money.

Canadians don't care about soccer. And they never will.

Oh and Erin, is bernie your stalker or what? Is that ad hominen or valid observational insight?

At 1:10 a.m., Blogger YVRpilot said...

Maybe it's time to kiss and make up, boys. I think Bernie is harmless, even if he comes across as a misogynist sometimes.

Back to the stadium issue... If they're going to build a 15,000 spectator stadium, then don't build one at all. Minimum capacity should be at least 40 to 50,000 to make it "World Cup" worthy.

Mr. Macnair may be right about Canadians not caring about soccer -yet. But you have no idea the financial windfall a World Cup tournament brings to a country. You can read up on that here: http://spectrum.troy.edu/~aisfm/world%20cup.htm

In 1994, soccer became a major sport in the USA thanks to the World Cup they hosted. I like to believe the same is possible in Canada.
Building a larger stadium, would allow Vancouver to be a host city.
But for the luv of gawd, don’t build it in Gastown. (I hear Fraser Surrey Docks is on the chopping block.)

At 3:55 a.m., Anonymous Larry said...

Late 1960's science and engineering put a man on the moon thus engineering should be able to figure out systems for the purpose Vancouver soccer stadium. Also perhaps the BC Lions football team could train and practise at this stadium too. The stadium will bring in entertainment and capital for both Vancouver and B.C.,. Soccer is a all around good sport-with this stadium the Mens Whitecaps soccer team probably would be able to play in the higher MLS league. A 15,000 seater stadium is a middle size stadium Vancouver does not have but should have. Seems more pluse's than negatives for the stadium.

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At 7:33 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

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