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Canucks to propose building $20-40-million practice rink at False Creek


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Canucks eyeing new practice rink in False Creek area

Sheet of ice to cost $20m to $40m

By DARAH HANSEN, Vancouver Sun August 3, 2010 10:01 PM

VANCOUVER - If all goes according to plan, the Canucks could be practising on a new sheet of ice in downtown Vancouver.

Aquilini Investment Group, the team’s owner, is proposing to build a new ice rink and community centre on the former Expo lands in northeast False Creek at an estimated cost of between $20 million and $40 million.

Barry Savage, Aquilini vice-president, said the privately owned and operated facility would primarily be used by the Canucks for practice, but its amenities — which could include a soccer pitch on artificial turf and a daycare — would also be open to the public.

The hockey team “really only need it for a short period of the day. Basically, they are done by noon,” said Savage.

At the same time, residents of the neighbourhood have been calling for a dedicated sports facility to be built closer to home, he added.

There is a catch, however.

The company is prepared to build and operate the facility privately as part of larger plans to develop the northeast False Creek lands. But it wants to use a portion of the money paid to the city in “community amenity contributions” (CACs) to offset some of the facility costs.

CACs are paid to the city through rezoning, and can be in the form of either cash or public space provided in-kind by developers.

Without that option, Savage said the ice-rink proposal doesn’t make financial sense, despite the public appetite.

“If [the city] came back to us and said ‘no’ then, to be perfectly honest, we wouldn’t do it,” he said.

Penny Ballem, city manager, said the proposal is one of many for staff to consider as the city moves ahead with plans to develop the 72-acre parcel.

Last fall, the city agreed to densify the area into a neighbourhood of about 7,000 people, as well as transform it into a key commercial zone. Since then, developers have come forward with what they’d like to see on the land. Ballem said it would be months before council will have the chance to vote on recommendations.

“We’re out consulting on a number of different plans with the public. This [the ice-rink proposal] is all part of the mix. There are lots of different ideas and lots of different needs that have come forward,” she said.

Ballem said comments by city parks planning director Piet Rutgers this week do not reflect the city’s overall opinion.

Rutgers told the media there was little need for a community centre in the northeast False Creek area because a new facility is operating close by in the Olympic Village. Savage said residents of False Creek have complained city-owned sports facilities are too far away.

The Canucks now practise mainly at Rogers Arena, where they play their home games, and occasionally at Thunderbird Arena at the University of B.C. They lose their ice at Rogers when other events, such as concerts, are booked. Savage said the Canucks have long wanted a dedicated practice facility near the Rogers Arena.

dahansen@vancouversun.com

© Copyright © The Vancouver Sun

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Canucks+eyeing+practice+rink+False+Creek+area/3356126/story.html#ixzz0vc7ltLqz

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I would be happy with a new rink recreation facility in False Creek because I would consider using it because I live near grandville island and all of the other facilities are far to travel with out a car. So having a sport facility with in walking or within a close bussing distance is a great idea!

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Does the Aquillini Group own that piece of land? I know that piece of land is nearby BC Place, but that would still be a nice pice of land to be used on constructing a stadium for the Whitecaps. If I remember correctly, the Whitecaps have until 2014 to have its own permanent soccer specific stadium and I haven't heard much lately in the news of a Whitecaps stadium on where it's going to be built.

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Does the Aquillini Group own that piece of land? I know that piece of land is nearby BC Place, but that would still be a nice pice of land to be used on constructing a stadium for the Whitecaps. If I remember correctly, the Whitecaps have until 2014 to have its own permanent soccer specific stadium and I haven't heard much lately in the news of a Whitecaps stadium on where it's going to be built.

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Does the Aquillini Group own that piece of land? I know that piece of land is nearby BC Place, but that would still be a nice pice of land to be used on constructing a stadium for the Whitecaps. If I remember correctly, the Whitecaps have until 2014 to have its own permanent soccer specific stadium and I haven't heard much lately in the news of a Whitecaps stadium on where it's going to be built.

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