Senator offers help in waterfront stadium impasse - The Vancouver Province

Ex-mayor Larry Campbell to seek feds' support

By Damian Inwood

Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi is welcoming an offer by Sen. Larry Campbell to play striker in stalled talks over a proposed waterfront soccer stadium.

"We'd welcome anything that he can do to get it to a quicker resolution," said Lenarduzzi yesterday. "We are more than happy to get him involved."

Plans for the 15,000-seat, open-air stadium near the SeaBus terminal have stalled over a proposed land swap between the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and 'Caps owner Greg Kerfoot.

According to Lenarduzzi, the United Soccer League team is offering three hectares for one hectare owned by the port authority.

"Someone like Larry Campbell, who can ask the questions and get the answers, might be able to connect the feds back to the Vancouver Port Authority. And if that helps to get us toward a conclusion, then that's good news," said Lenarduzzi.

He said the club was caught off-guard by a decision last week to go public with details of the negotiations by Patrick McLaughlin, the port authority's director of planning and development.

The stadium proposal was first raised three years ago when Campbell was mayor of Vancouver.

"I'm not lobbying for it," Campbell said.

"I'm just suggesting there may be a role for an honest broker here. I certainly support it. I supported it from the start."

Campbell said the project seemed to have momentum, but has since "dropped off the radar."

Campbell said he'd talk to International Trade Minister David Emerson and Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl, both from B.C.

McLaughlin couldn't be reached for comment.

He said last week part of the disagreement revolved around the value of the port-owned land.

dinwood@png.canwest.com

© The Vancouver Province 2008