Crawl Across the Ocean

Monday, May 08, 2006

Lamest NIMBYism Ever

Update (May 22): Followup posts to this one are here and here.

Admittedly I'm biased because I'm a big soccer fan. But check out the arguments of the critics in this article on the proposed new soccer stadium down on the Waterfront in Vancouver:

"They say the stadium will ruin the heritage image of Gastown, and don't believe the project will benefit their community.

"This is a neighbourhood. We know one another, we meet one another," said Carol Sill of the Gastown Residents Association.

"A stadium like this, planned as it is, looks like it was just photo-shopped in. It doesn't relate to the area in any way."

John Stovell of the Gastown Neighbourhood Coalition said two other large sports facilities - B.C. Place and General Motors Place - are close by, and and have done little to boost local business.

"These stadiums have had very little positive impact. People tend to come to the stadium in a car, go into the stadium, buy a $75-hamburger, leave the stadium and go home."


Let me just clarify that the stadium is only mildly adjacent to, rather than in, Gastown, and that it will be built above the existing railway tracks. Apparently the air above the tracks is part of the heritage character of the neighbourhood. Once this heritage air is ruined, people in the neighbourhood will no longer know each other or talk to each other, even though it is also true that the stadium should be opposed because it will have no impact on the neighbourhood.

Most of all, the proposed stadium doesn't relate to the area at all - whatever that means. Maybe the CBC just did a poor job of articulating people's concerns, but people who oppose any change of any kind for any reason get on my nerves sometimes.

I'm not very organized but I'll have to see what kind of contribution I can make to conveying to the city that there are people in Vancouver (such as those in this online forum, which digresses into some history on the LA Dodgers) who think the stadium is a great idea.

Of course given that according to city plans... "After the Initial Review is complete, staff will report to City Council who will decide whether to proceed further with the planning for the project. If so, the proposal would be folded into the anticipated Waterfront Lands/Hub Structure Plan Study, followed by an Official Development Plan process and/or Rezoning process, as normal for such a major project."

...it might be tricky to know exactly when public input is most effective.

I guess I missed the open houses but I'm pretty sure they're still taking public input of one kind of another for a good while before any shovels hit the ground or get packed away.

4 Comments:

  • Did you see the artist's renderings when they initially announced the stadium? I remember a couple that made the stadium look really out of place (kind of photo-shopped in).

    And to be fair to the article writer, two of your five quotes seem to respond to the Whitecaps assertion the stadium will help revitalize the Gastown area (which I think is a bit dubious).

    But yeah, I question how much pull Gastown should have on the stadium. Like you said, it's not in Gastown and it's not supposed to be related to Gastown.

    Shaun

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:36 PM  

  • Yes, it's true, the people talking about how the stadium would only provide a small benefit in terms of tourist trade were responding to claims that the stadium would boost local business - I didn't intend to take it out of context, just to show that their biggest concern is not that the stadium iwll hurt local business, just that it will only help a little.

    The artist renderings looked pretty typical, as far as I could tell. Knowing the area (the fenced off spot between the seabus and Steamworks, it is hard to imagine any building ruining the ambience.

    By Blogger Declan, at 11:23 PM  

  • It's absolutely ridiculous that people would be against the Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium in Vancouver.

    By contrast, look at Toronto's new soccer-specific stadium, which is currently being built. It costs $62.8 million. And $44.8 million of that is coming from taxes. Here's the breakdown:

    $27 million - Federal government
    $8 million - Government of Ontario
    $9.8 million - City of Toronto

    So even we as Vancouverites are financially supporting this Toronto stadium.

    Meanwhile, the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium in Vancouver won't use a penny of taxes - it will be 100% funded by Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot.

    Add to that, the stadium land in Toronto is public land; whereas the land in Vancouver is private land.

    How anyone could say no to this Vancouver stadium is well beyond me.

    By Blogger Devon Rowcliffe, at 4:33 PM  

  • As great as the arguments in your article are, the people who really need to hear them are City Council. They'll be meeting on June 15 to decide whether to move this great project on to the re-zoning phase. The time to write, phone & e-mail them is now. Visit www.friendsofsoccer.org to learn more about how you can help make the stadium a reality.

    By Anonymous Bill, at 1:50 PM  

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