A new roof over sports fans' heads - The Province

Public give mixed views after first glimpse of retractable structure Frank Luba Passers-by outside B.C. Place yesterday gave qualified kudos to a preliminary drawing of the new, retractable roof planned for the structure. The stadium is currently undergoing $65-million worth of renovations for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The retractable roof won't be completed until after the Games but is scheduled to be in place in time for the Vancouver Whitecaps' 2011 soccer season. The technology will be the same as that used for the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany. "It looks very interesting," said Vancouver resident Zeta McMurray, 33, after looking at the drawing of the new roof. Her husband Dave Newis was more enthusiastic. "It's a way better idea," said Newis, 44. "I hate the [existing] roof. I think what they have there now is brutal." McMurray shared her husband's distaste for the existing air-supported roof. "I have to go to trade shows there a lot," she said. "It's grimy and dirty. It's very obvious where they did the repairs and how clean it is. The rest of it is very dirty." Brian Ranger, 57, liked the idea of watching sports outdoors, but wasn't so keen about the roof plan. "It just seems like right now they're spending a lot of money on the Olympics and things like that," said the Vancouver resident. "I really can't understand where all the money is coming from. There's so many other issues that should be dealt with before a new dome." The current seating capacity of B.C. Place Stadium is 59,000, but there are soccer-specific changes in the pipeline to allow seating capacity to be restricted to a more intimate 22,000. fluba@theprovince.com © The Vancouver Province 2008