By BOB MACKIN, 24 HOURS
Negotiations between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Vancouver Fraser Port Authority were derailed Wednesday. That's when the port's planning and development director Patrick McLaughlin told CKNW radio that the sides are "miles apart" on a land swap that would enable the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium to proceed.
"We're talking about prime real estate in the city and the Whitecaps have offered us a dollar for the land," McLaughlin said. "We simply cannot give it away."
Derailed is the key word. Booming international trade means the city needs more, not less, railway tracks to move goods to and from "Canada's Pacific Gateway." Whitecaps' media-shy owner Greg Kerfoot owns the Canadian Pacific railyard north of Gastown and the port doesn't want any tracks removed to make way for the $75-million pitch.
"They've never attached a value to the land they claim is so valuable to them," said Lenarduzzi, who denied the $1 offer and called McLaughlin "misleading."
Lenarduzzi said the Whitecaps proposed a generous three-for-one exchange - 30,000 square metres of Kerfoot's property for 10,000 square metres of the federal land - in a bid to change the stadium's footprint. It's one of the most important conditions city council set when it gave conditional approval in 2006.