Surrey May Soon Be Home to a Professional Sports Stadium

Councillor Bruce Hayne believes it will be a great opportunity to bring new entertainment options to Surrey

It`s possible that the new stadium to be built in Surrey will become the new home to a professional soccer team. (flickr/DenisenFamily)

Surrey residents soon might not have to travel far to see professional sports teams in action. According to City Councillor Bruce Hayne, the creation of a professional sports stadium has been in the works for the last six months.

Hayne says that a group approached the city with a concept for a project which government officials found very interesting. However, they were unable to source only one organization for the project, so the city government sent out requests to the local business community for expressions of interest in building a spectator facility.

“We’ve made it pretty clear that the city is open for business when it comes to proposals from the private sector,” says Hayne.

He explains that all financial responsibility for the stadium and its operations would rest solely on the proponents of the project, and that the city’s only requirement would be supplying the land to build the stadium on.

Because he is limited by confidentiality agreements, Hayne can neither confirm nor deny rumors about which sport will be played in the stadium, but says that local media has widely reported that it’s likely to be home to a professional soccer team, possibly one in the Canadian Premier League.

The application process closed in mid-November and the city has now begun evaluating the applicants. Surrey officials will take about six weeks to evaluate proposals, after which a report will be filed to closed Council. Surrey City Council will then decide whether or not to initiate a more detailed discussion with their chosen applicant.

“If there is a proposal in our evaluation that meets our criteria and that we’re interested in, then that report will come to Council, and recommendations will be to either go ahead and start to negotiate with a preferred proponent, or to stop right there and not go any further,” says Hayne.

Three potential construction sites have been put forth by the city, including the Bridgeview area near the Scott Road SkyTrain Station, Surrey City Centre in Whalley, or the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. Hayne notes, however, that the choice of construction site will ultimately be up to the proponent.

According to Hayne, the main benefit of having a professional sports stadium in Surrey would be creating “another option [that] residents have to see a higher-level caliber of sport without having to leave the community.” He also believes that having the stadium and team operate in the local area could inspire young athletes to “strive further in their athletic careers.”

It will also provide a multi-purpose venue that will host not only its chosen sport, but also a variety of other events such as concerts, which the city currently doesn’t have the capacity to host.

Hayne adds that, in situations such as this, a potential drawback is that it is uncertain how this project will be funded. He cites the Abbottsford Arena, which was paid for by the city with the promise of a hosting a professional sports team, as a recent case study that has similarities to Surrey’s future sports stadium. Unfortunately, that was a dream which never fully materialized, and Abbottsford residents were then on the hook for paying operational expenses.

Actualizing that kind of scenario, Hayne says, “is not something [the city is] hoping to entertain.”

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