MLS fans skeptical on NDP BC Place flip flop

Post by Mike Klassen in

12 comments

BC Place 2011
Soccer fans are getting a new message from BC's opposition party, but can it be trusted?

B.C. soccer fans are scratching their heads at the mixed message they're getting from the NDP on whether they will, or won't support upgrading BC Place Stadium for the 2011 arrival of the MLS. On a local radio station NDP caucus member is trying to do damage control on the party's ad campaign that slammed plans for renovating the stadium.

Farnworth told TEAM 1040 sport business commentator Tom Mayenknecht that the BC NDP “supports” the current $365 M BC Liberal government plan going into the May 12th provincial election. Asked to clarify the party’s position on the BC Place renovation plan first announced by the BC Liberal government last May, Farnworth told Mayenknecht: “It’s going ahead. It’s in our capital plan and we want to make sure it’s in place for the inaugural (MLS) season in 2011. We’re looking forward to it. We’re very excited about it.”

The comments this morning on The Sport Market on TEAM 1040 and team1040.ca helped dispel widespread confusion – and concern – expressed by those following a series of online caucus statements, web-based advertising and media comments made by provincial New Democrats over the past 45 days.

Last week CityCaucus.com reported about building outrage in the soccer community about the NDP's attacks on the stadium upgrade. The NDP plan for kiboshing the stadium renovation also earned this rebuke from sportcaster Jim Mullen over at CKNW.

Despite Farnworth's assurances that his party plans to move forward with a redevelopment of BC Place, the NDP's website still has a page posted attacking the plan as too expensive (bet they drop this page or re-write it significantly before long). The NDP ask, At times like these, why choose a Lamborghini when a Honda will do just fine? By "Honda" do they mean you can simply attach a spoiler on the Dome to make it look like it can host the MLS? Surely, patient soccer fans deserve better.

Judging by the tone of BC soccer fans online, Carole James will have to do nothing short of writing her promise to rebuild BC Place in blood. Here are some keeper quotes:

The NDP are great in opposition. They manage (always) to find the one guy or one family who truly is getting screwed over and point this out to the media.

Problem is when they actually win, all bets are off. They are like a bull in a China shop. I honestly think they have a Robin Hood persecution which is blame all rich people and give all the money to the poor.

Or this...

The New Dumbocrats make my blood boil. They wasted $465 million dollars in taxpayers' money on the fast ferries, and now they want to cancel renovations to BC Place that would be self-financing and would bring millions of dollars into the local economy?

If the renovations are nixed, you can kiss MLS goodbye as well.

Get the word out! Vote for soccer! Vote Liberal!

Lastly...

picking on soccer and bc place stadium will not garner them a wit of extra support-- they should be trying to rewrite their candidate selection process which is gender, racial and physically biased-- the ndp keep 'shooting themselves in the foot' and then blame the media, etc for their defeats-- ndp= NON-DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Soccer fans are a passionate lot, so it's not surprising to read comments like these. Whether Farnworth's vague reassurances amount to what soccer fans want - an open-air retractable roof in a revitalized BC Place - or what they don't, such as a simple replacement of the teflon dome, is hard to tell.

Given the damage done, it's quite possible that the NDP are going to have to try and win on May 12th without the support of B.C.'s soccer fans.

12 Comments

Good one Mike!

I don't think there's any question that BC Place needs to be upgraded, and I certainly can't find any evidence that the NDP ever disputed that. The only thing I've seen them saying is that $365 million is too expensive for a new roof. Which it is.

The BC Liberals seem absolutely in love with P3s: Public-Private Partnerships. Of course they do; contracts for P3s seem to have a disturbing propensity to go to Liberal insiders and the Premier's buddies. There's no democratic oversight of P3s, and even the contracts are awarded with barely any scrutiny. In the last eight years we've seen that these much lauded P3s have ended up costing taxpayers a lot more money in the long run than public sector construction and operation ever would have. We need the roof to be either built by the public sector, or for the bid to be awarded in an open and transparent process. We're not going to see either as long as Gordon Campbell's in charge.

Why can't we build a new roof, but do it in a cost-effective way? We can use the money we save to help fund healthcare and social services to make people's lives more affordable. That way average families will be able to go to soccer games. And come on, it's not just the rich who like soccer.

well firstly, I actually work at BC Place. So i don't see what the mess is about. The work that is being done is irreversible. They are adding support to the foundation for a retractable roof. I do NOT think a retractable foldable roof is the cheapest option. A simple retractable roof may be the way to go. I think a different design could have been more cheaper. this "spoke/wheel" model looks glitzy and that is why i think a simple retractable roof would be sufficient. For example, does it matter if it takes 10 minutes to open or does it have to be something that opens in 90 seconds.

However, the fact of the matter remains. this roof should have been done for the Olympics. I think the Liberals botched yet another project and are desperate for some votes

Listen to Mullen's commentary. The $365 million is NDP spin. How is it that a private corporation (Pavco) should have to use public sector workers to retrofit the Dome?

Hmm, the right-wing grasping at straws again. Obviously the new roof is expensive. But whats done is done. Campbell always makes simple projects cost too much with his P3 adventures. Yes, the roof could have been done more cost effective, and could have created more local jobs. But whats done is done.

The roof is going in, so you should stop making an issue about it. Carole James has alwayw says she respects contracts, unlike Campbell who tore up thousands of them in his first 4 years (for nurses, teachers, and hospital custodians)

I sense some panic. I've never seen so many NDPers working the blogs as hard as they have been on this issue as this one.

It was clearly mishandled by the party, and James and Farnworth are using weasel words to express their support for an updated stadium roof. However, they're not committing to the Premier's plan as you seem to indicate, as Carole James stated on the Bill Good Show this morning that she wanted to have a second look at the government's commitment.

As we've said before, the soccer community should be guarded on what the opposition are proposing. They would rather put public money into social spending any day than supporting a sports enterprise.

If we're providing public funds - which we should - we need some oversight. Pavco doesn't do the construction itself. The government pays for the roof and awards the contract, so there should be some scrutiny. We may be able to do things way cheaper, but we'd need adequate public oversight to know how.

It's misleading to suggest there will be no oversight from either the City or the Province. The planning for BC Place 2.0 is nowhere close to being done.

I think the MLS should become unionized. Then the NDP will not only redo BC place, but they will build a new soccer specific stadium that we have been waiting for patiently!

This whole issue is a really good perspective of what British Columbians can expect if they change government. Clearly the NDP will kill the stadium project. Anyone who argues the contrary is simply fooling themselves. Perhaps the BC Place should have been called the Spirit of BC Place, then it might have looked like a fast ferry and been given the funding it needs. Boy, this is truly depressing, I was looking forward to the new stadium.

Perhaps we could remove the roof from the campbell's convention center, work some magic and use it at BC place. I mean, whats another 200 million when you already have $600 million in cost overruns.

Ugh. Tiring.
This isn't a P3/labor/left-right issue and I'm tired of the Lib back-room boys trying to turn it in to one. Please. Let it go.
Sure, get a retractable roof, but if it costs less because (gasp!) it opens in 15 minutes, not 3 then so be it. We all want a world-class stadium and perhaps a retractable roof is the way for us to go so the 'caps can play on decent turf, but some of the arguments being thrown around about the relative costing proposals are more than disingenuous.

Get a grip and stop trying to turn this into a partisan issue.

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