May 23, 2024

The Surrey mayor made a shock announcement Wednesday throughout a groundbreaking ceremony for a neighborhood ice rink.

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The mayor of Surrey has by no means been shy about considering huge, and with a municipal election on the horizon, he’s speaking huge.

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On Wednesday, throughout a breaking-ground ceremony in Cloverdale for a brand new ice area advanced, Doug McCallum stated he wish to construct a 60,000-seat stadium in Surrey within the coming years.

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“We’re going to construct a 60,000-person area in Surrey. It will likely be a multi-use area for all sports activities,” he declared.

“The town is a really huge metropolis, we’ll be greater than Vancouver in 4 or 5 years. We’d like a sports activities stadium so we’re going to construct a sports activities stadium within the subsequent few years.”

Regardless of McCallum’s declare concerning the metropolis inhabitants progress, Metro Vancouver’s personal inhabitants progress projections don’t see Surrey’s inhabitants exceeding the town of Vancouver’s till 2040 on the earliest, not someday this decade.

McCallum instructed Postmedia the brand new facility must be someplace on the Expo Line, both on the present line or the extension in the direction of Langley, since he needed it to be surrounded by parkland.

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“We’re going to do one thing very distinctive with it, to guard the environment, this stadium may have a park round it,” he stated. “We received’t have any automobiles at it, individuals must take SkyTrain or speedy buses.”

He referred to as Surrey a “metropolis of households” and stated constructing a big-league sports activities stadium could be consistent with the opposite public facilities he’s pushed for since changing into mayor once more in 2018. The 78-year-old McCallum was beforehand mayor from 1996 to 2005.

“We’ve spent some huge cash the final couple years constructing new sports activities amenities and we’re going to proceed constructing sports activities amenities,” he stated. 

“We’d like an enormous stadium for our huge cultural occasions, we don’t have a spot to place them on proper now … the final Vaisakhi parade, we had 700,000 individuals.”

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Vaisakhi organizers claimed 500,000 attended the 2019 parade, the final time the occasion came about due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McCallum additionally steered that the native film business, particularly the South Asian film business, might use the stadium as a manufacturing facility.

Surrey mayor Doug McCallum during a Christmas Eve council meeting at Surrey City Hall on Friday, Dec. 24, 2021.
Surrey mayor Doug McCallum throughout a Christmas Eve council assembly at Surrey Metropolis Corridor on Friday, Dec. 24, 2021. Picture by Jason Payne /PNG

The mayor stated that he hadn’t spoken with different ranges of presidency but about attainable funding assist, together with the province which owns B.C. Place Stadium, however is assured the province and the federal authorities would have curiosity.

“We haven’t approached the province on it, however you’re proper, we’d in all probability method the province for some cash and possibly the federal authorities. Now we have labored with these governments prior to now, with the $4 billion SkyTrain extension for example,” he stated.

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“We really feel assured that they’d. I believe with a view to construct it we must have a look at some land that we personal that’s close to the speedy transit line. As a result of land is pretty costly now that may be our half that we’d surrender,” he added.

“We have already got began to place the phrase out to huge corporations which can be in Surrey, whether or not they might assist fund it or some sort of sponsorship. We really feel very comfy after talking with quite a few huge companies that we’d be capable to finance it.”

Melanie Mark, the provincial minister for tourism, arts, tradition and sport was travelling and unavailable to remark. The ministry of municipal affairs, which has a funds for infrastructure, declined to remark for this story.

McCallum stated in previous conversations with the B.C. Lions, he understood that greater than 50 per cent of their fan base got here from Surrey and would thus be eager to go to a stadium a lot nearer to residence.

He stated they’d additionally talked to the Canucks prior to now, so maybe they’d have an interest on this stadium, although how an ice rink would work in a stadium that may in any other case serve outside sports activities wasn’t clear.

“Now we have talked to the Canucks, the homeowners of the Canucks, about whether or not they would put a farm group there, or attempt some video games there, or perhaps even transfer there,” he stated.

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The announcement caught many without warning.

Anita Huberman, President and CEO of the Surrey Board of Commerce, was skeptical.

“It’s an election promise and definitely it’s not within the Metropolis of Surrey’s capital plan and definitely I see the town having to spend cash to construct such a stadium,” she stated. “There’s presently no plan and no consultations. There are different infrastructure wants, this announcement caught us without warning.”

A transparent, coherent plan wanted to be articulated, she stated.

“I’d assist it, the Surrey Board of Commerce would possibly assist it … however we need to understand how far more property taxes will enterprise should pay? We’d like a performing arts centre, a conference centre. Extra tourism property to make our metropolis a vacation spot. We’d like extra motels. There isn’t a improvement plan for Surrey. That’s what we have to hear from all of our candidates.”

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McCallum’s stadium plan was panned by a few of his mayoral race rivals.

Jinny Sims, mayoral candidate for Surrey Ahead, stated the proposal smacks of electioneering.

“This looks as if a pre-election, get the votes, make an enormous promise,” she stated, including McCallum doesn’t have a case for a 60,000-seat stadium.

She agreed that Surrey, because the province’s second-largest metropolis, wants extra infrastructure, “however a stadium this measurement? It looks as if overreach.”

Surrey First mayoral candidate Gordie Hogg stated he’s stunned McCallum is making a big-budget promise for a stadium nobody appears to be clamouring for.

“I’m amazed he would decide to attempt to spend cash after they don’t have sufficient for his or her police drive, which they are saying is excessive precedence,” stated Hogg.

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Surrey has different extra urgent priorities, reminiscent of public security and the necessity for recreation amenities, added Hogg, not an extravagant new stadium when there’s already B.C. Place in Vancouver.

Longtime Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal, who can also be working for the town’s high job, stated the sector announcement is a distraction from the true points dealing with the town.

“Proper now, the precedence on individuals’s minds isn’t a 60,000-seat stadium,” he stated. “Persons are nervous about making ends meet.”

The main focus, he stated, needs to be to finish divisions in council and ease value of residing for residents.

Lions owner Amar Doman in the B.C. Lions team suite at B.C. Place on Nov. 12, 2021 in Vancouver.
Lions proprietor Amar Doman within the B.C. Lions group suite at B.C. Place on Nov. 12, 2021 in Vancouver. Picture by Jeff Vinnick /PNG

McCallum stated that he’d spoken with Lions proprietor Amar Doman, although when wasn’t clear.

“We had not heard about this however we stay up for listening to extra,” Matt Baker, a spokesperson for the Lions instructed Postmedia when requested about McCallum’s announcement.

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The Lions’ observe facility and group places of work are in Surrey however they play their video games in downtown Vancouver on the 60,000-seat B.C. Place Stadium.

The Vancouver Whitecaps, who share B.C. Place with the Lions, have been requested about their response to McCallum’s thought however centered on their present association of their reply.

“Now we have an excellent partnership with B.C. Place and proceed to work collectively in making a unbelievable sporting expertise for our followers. We’re additionally wanting ahead to working with B.C. Place as Vancouver prepares to be a bunch metropolis for the 2026 FIFA Males’s World Cup,” Axel Schuster, the Main League Soccer group’s CEO and sporting director, stated in an announcement.

with recordsdata from Cheryl Chan

[email protected]

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