Raymond Louie's consultation motion regarding temporary stadium laughable

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

3 comments

bclionsstadiumempire.jpg
This is what the new BC Lions temporary home will look like later this year

It's now mid-January and as promised I have now put a deposit down on four season tickets for the BC Lions 2010 season. My buddies and I are praying for the sun gods to do their magic and make our outdoor experience at the new temporary stadium a good one. A few weeks ago representatives from the BC Lions and the Vancouver Whitecaps were beaming about plans for their new home at the Pacific National Exhibition grounds. The new site was actually home to the old Empire Stadium prior to it being torn down over a decade ago.

At the time of the announcement some Park Board officials claimed they were caught off guard by the pronouncement that the new stadium would be built at the PNE. Local residents already reeling from the prospect of the PNE planning a further expansion, were also upset at the sheer lack of consultation. As I wrote in my previous post on this subject, I agree with the choice of temporary venue, but I am amazed that local residents were completely ignored by Vision councillor Raymond Louie, PNE Board Chair.

I suspect Louie (the guy who unsuccessfully ran against the Mayor for leadership of his party) has been feeling a bit of heat over the backroom decision to ram through the stadium while ignoring the residents of Hastings Sunrise. What else would explain his last minute motion asking staff to suddenly undertake a consultation process with local residents regarding the construction of a 27,000 seat temporary stadium.

Let me get this straight. The BC Lions and Whitecaps announce they are moving into the stadium later this spring. Then they reveal the artist rendering for the stadium (see image above). I then call up the Lions and plop down $400 bucks as a deposit for four sets of season's tickets. And now Louie wants me to believe he is serious about wanting to consult with local residents before the stadium is built? Who is he kidding?

The fact this motion was not brought forward by staff is telling. As far as they're concerned, the construction of this stadium is a done deal. That explains why they didn't bring forward the normal staff report outlining details of the project in advance of the media news conference. They know full well that this stadium is going to get built come hell or high water. Which brings us back to Louie's motion which states:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT

1. Vancouver City Council endorse the use of the City-owned land located
at 3311 East Hastings Street (Empire Field) as the site of a temporary
stadium, including the proposed form of development (see attached).
2. Vancouver City Council instruct staff to expedite the processing of
development and building permits for the temporary stadium.
3. Vancouver City Council instruct staff to include an appropriate public
consultation process within the timetable available, to identify and
mitigate, where possible, the operational impacts of the temporary
stadium on the surrounding neighbourhood, including those impacts
related to traffic, noise, parking, and lighting.

As you can see, it almost feels like bullet three was thrown in there as an afterthought. In fact, even bullet 1 which asks council to "endorse the use of the City-owned land" is comical. What exactly is the purpose of a bunch of civic politicians "endorsing" a project they have already announced and is going ahead anyway?

Vision has been increasingly under attack for displaying a level of arrogance not seen in decades at Vancouver city hall. This motion will only help to add fuel to the fire of Vision's critics who say they simply have no appetite to consult with the very people that elected them.

- post by Daniel

3 Comments

Nice!

Louie and the PNE staff make the decision, Council approves it, and then after the fact he send City staff out to take both barrels from a furious community.

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

What a weasly move. Read the language of his motion. He says things like "appropriate public consultation" and "within the timetable available" and "where possible". These are all weasel words from the chair of the PNE who knows full well he's going to shove this into our community. This is not the Vision I voted for, and will never vote for them again.

You cannot legalize an illegal act after the fact.

Raymond, as Chair of the PNE, had no authority to negotiate this deal to give away four Parks Board-managed playing fields on city land. The PNE is a private charity, whose assets may all be public (aka property of Vancouver citizens), but whose legal status is as a federally-registered charitable association.

The PNE Administration had no authority to strike this deal. Only the Council could do it. Now--by passing this motion--they are pretending to have done what they should have in the first place. But Council might not have dared to give away park space with nothing in return to the neighbourhood, as Raymond has arranged--illegally--in some smoke-filled back room.

Who's next? Any more Vancouver parks need a little privatization?

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