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Gregor Robertson backs the stadium!


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On April 29 I e-mailed all of Vancouver's mayoral candidates about the stadium fiasco...

Thus far I've received a blanket response from Sam Sullivan, and a rather encouraging e-mail from NDP MLA Gregor Robertson.

By god, dare I say it? He's one of us!

[ Note: In fairness to Allan DeGenova, he e-mailed me his phone number within seconds</u> of receiving my e-mail. I wrote back asking for a response in writing to avoid any misinterpretations re: his positions given the fact I would be sharing his response with others. No response yet, but keep the fingers crossed.]

Anyway, Gregor's e-mail as follows:

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Dear John,

As you may know, I am an avid soccer player (VMSL Div 2) and Whitecaps fan since the beginning. Let me start by saying that Vancouver needs a professional soccer stadium and as Mayor I would ensure that it gets moving. Soccer fans have waited long enough for a much-needed home for the Whitecaps. The MLS in Vancouver would be great for the city, and would be one of my priorities should I be elected as mayor.

The Port and the Whitecaps should continue their negotiations but it’s important that we consider alternative locations, including reconsideration of the False Creek Flats. The Flats (just east of Science World) has city-owned land and might be the best opportunity to get the stadium moving. An agreement on the waterfront may be hard to reach. Either way, we need to move on and get this done.

The city cannot force the Port (federal government) to give up the land and any provincial government intervention would simply add to the controversy. The solution is for the city government to make a resolution a priority. I totally understand Mr. Kerfoot’s frustration and the new Mayor must work to find the optimal place for the stadium. It will not only offer a place for the Whitecaps and amateur soccer, but may be used as a community amenity for concerts and events.

I trust this answers your question and I look forward to working together to make a professional soccer stadium in Vancouver a reality.

Sincerely,

Gregor

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Ok, all you mayorals! As they used to say in the WFP: Show us your balls!

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Nice one, J-Mo.

While I don't doubt Gregor's word, keep in mind that most NDPers have been against the Waterfront location, and a great chunk of Gregor's supporters are rank-and-file NDPers.

Perhaps the next mayor could simply ban toxic waste from the downtown core, and move the stadium back to the original location (which was fully supported by councillors from all three parties, if I'm not mistaken).

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My understanding is that the current Vancouver mayor and council has already given provisional approval to the Waterfront stadium proposal, subject to the Whitecaps fulfilling some specified requirements. The holdup right now is the port authority under federal jurisdiction and the needed land swap deal, not City Hall. I am not saying City Hall could not have been more proactive in promoting the project but they have not said no. Correct me if I am wrong.

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I understand that the current situation is with the impasse with the Port Authority over a proposed land swap. But what I am suggesting is that a mayor that shows leadership would be able to help the club overcome the obstacles that cropped up over the initial site (the site that Kerfoot now owns), rather than simply ruling out the initial site, as the suits at City Hall have done. No land swap would be necessary if the initial site was back under consideration.

The planners at City Hall don't have the final say, the elected council does. And that includes the final say over the location.

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The last two councils have blood on their hands, no doubt about it.

The previous COPE driven council steered Kerfoot to False Creek, then promised the land away to social housing two years later.

The current NPA council also had the option of rejecting the planning dept's recommendation to deny Kerfoot the use of his own land. They could have shown some brass and said "These planning objectives are 30 years old and didn't take into account that a billionaire philanthropist would fall out of the sky and offer us a stadium. Change the damn policy!" Instead, they backed down and re-steered Kerfoot to the Port.

Pass the buck, over and over again and again.

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I'm not as positive about Mr. Robertson's response compared to everybody else. All he's saying is that he understands the need for the stadium. He does not say that he supports the current site (or even a waterfront site for that matter). He also doesn't say how he would help expediate the process.

If you ask me, a fairly bland statment in an attempt to please us but not to piss off his NDP/left-wing base.

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