Heavyweights join team promoting Gastown soccer stadium

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Citizens’ group wants to see an overall plan before proposal is considered

David Carrigg

Many Gastown residents consider the proposed stadium out of place on Vancouver’s waterfront.

Two former Vancouver mayors, the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee, an international police and firefighters’ organization and the Canadian Soccer Association have added their weight to a waterfront stadium proposal in Gastown.

“During my tenure as mayor it became abundantly clear that we lack a midsize outdoor stadium venue in the heart of Vancouver,” said former mayor and current senator Larry Campbell.

Campbell first approached Vancouver Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot in 2003 asking if he’d like to build a stadium on city-owned land.

That deal fell through. However, Kerfoot now wants to built a 15,000-seat stadium on land he owns on the Vancouver waterfront alongside Gastown.

The City of Vancouver hired consultants to review the plan and next Tuesday council will vote on whether to support the project.

Former Vancouver mayor Philip Owen also backs the plan, stating that with good planning any challenges the stadium faces can be overcome.

Dave Cobb, executive vice-president of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, has sent a letter to the Whitecaps stating VANOC would like to use the proposed facility. And the Canadian Soccer Association is hoping it will be built in time for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011, which Canada wants to host.

Organizers of the 2009 World Police and Fire Games being held in B.C. also want to use the stadium.

A Mustel survey showed that 71 per cent of residents support the project.

However, Gastown property owner Jon Stovell, who is campaigning against the stadium, yesterday released a 400-person poll stating nearly 70 per cent of Vancouver residents want an overall waterfront plan completed before the stadium proposal is considered.

“The poll’s results clearly show that Vancouver residents support a careful planning process for this last piece of undeveloped waterfront,” said Stovell, spokesman for the Gastown Neighbourhood Coalition.

© The Vancouver Province 2006


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