On Monday, January 25, during a Corporation of Delta council meeting, Council voted to decline Vancouver Whitecaps FC's request for an extension on negotiations regarding the development of a National Soccer Development Centre (NSDC) at John Oliver Park.
In the report submitted to Council, it was recommended that the Delta Parks, Recreation & Culture Commission develop a master plan(s) for John Oliver Park and report back to Council.
“We are surprised at Council’s decision not to grant an extension, especially given the time and resources that both parties have committed to these negotiations,” said Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi. “Nonetheless, we remain committed to the National Soccer Development Centre project, and we believe that Delta would be a great location. We’ll now take some time to consider our next steps for moving the project forward.”
The Whitecaps and the Corporation of Delta have been in negotiations with respect to a NSDC at John Oliver Park since early 2007. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the two parties, and during last spring's provincial election campaign, Premier Gordon Campbell pledged $17.5 million toward the project if the Liberals were re-elected.
While an agreement had not been finalized between the two parties, negotiations in good faith were ongoing and had been expected to conclude within the coming months. The Whitecaps will continue to pursue the construction of the NSDC, recognizing that the centre will bring significant community and economic benefits to the Metro Vancouver community in which it is ultimately located.