Archive for April, 2008

Stadium plan includes condos

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Waterfront soccer venue just part of a shrewd development proposal

Miro Cernetig
Sun

General manager Bob Lenarduzzi of Vancouver Whitecaps (left) chats with owner Greg Kerfoot, who wants to put up $90 million of his own money to build a new soccer stadium on the Vancouver waterfront. Mark Van Manen/Vancouver Sun Files

It’s supposed to be the field of Vancouver‘s soccer dreams. But what will also be coming to the proposed new waterfront stadium isn’t just fans: it’s condos, condos, condos.

As the goal-challenged David Beckham has proven, yet again, professional soccer is a dubious bet on this side of the Atlantic, even with talent and celebrity jetted in to goose up the game’s image.

Soccer, on this continent, ranks somewhere between hockey and roller derby. It may take off some day I suppose, though we’ve been waiting a while. Just ask Pele.

So, it’s always intrigued me that one of our local business titans wants to dole out $90 million of his personal wealth to build a waterfront stadium for our local professional soccer team, the Vancouver Whitecaps. This is either a soccer nut, a sports visionary or a guy who is a very big risk taker.

Well, it turns out there’s another tag you might want to attach to Kerfoot: Shrewd real estate developer. While we’ve been concentrating on the soccer stadium, often dubbed as a selfless example of “sports philanthropism“, there’s been more at play than just generosity and love of sport.

The Vancouver billionaire has his eye on developing a large chunk of the land around the proposed stadium and, more specifically, using the air space above it. Kerfoot, I’m told, hopes to build a phalanx of towers around the new stadium, a major increase in density in the downtown and a skyline-changing development.

That’s maybe not such a bad idea, if done right. We’re a growing city and some more commercial and residential space is the future.

But there’s a serious complication here: that land Kerfoot wants to use is now occupied by railyards — a key part of Metro Vancouver’s port operations and its future as a Asia-Pacific trading centre.

In order to build his soccer palace and towers, Kerfoot needs to build it over a wide swathe of the old railyards, those familiar old tracks you see snaking along the waterfront of Gastown. Now, given that he owns the entire 18 acres those rails are on, that wouldn’t seem so difficult.

Yet it is.

The snag is the billionaire also needs to cut a deal with Port of Vancouver. That’s because half of his proposed soccer stadium needs to be sited on the port’s waterfront. But the Vancouver Port Authority is driving a hard deal. In exchange for that crucial piece of waterfront, they are asking Kerfoot for ownership to all of the railyard lands.

The federal agency’s thinking is that they need to guarantee the long-term existence of all the railway yards to ensure Vancouver retains a working port linked to the Pacific. It should be made clear that the Port Authority isn’t against him building atop the tracks; they just want the trains to keep rolling underneath, even out of sight.

So far, Kerfoot isn’t biting.

He’s offering up ownership to about only half of the railway lands. He wants to hang onto the real estate west of his stadium, where all the towers would go up.

Partly the reason is future profits. The half of the railyards closer to Vancouver‘s city centre will likely be worth more once they are developed than the eastern half.

But there’s another good reason to hold onto those railyards.

Once the stadium and towers start going up, engineers will need to drive massive pilings down into the railyards to support the structures. If you want to get an idea of how many pillars, walk under the road in front of the Pan Pacific Hotel one day. It’s a forest of concrete pilings.

To carry out that sort of buttressing, engineers would likely want to re-route some of the existing rail tracks or even get rid of some altogether. It would be a complex task.

As the current landlord, Kerfoot would only have to deal with Canadian Pacific, the railway that has the right of way on his land, to get that tricky job done. It would likely be a tough negotiation. But CP might have its price for the land, as it’s shown in the past with other railyards. But if Kerfoot needs to make such a deal with a new public agency, that is the Vancouver Port Authority, it’s probably going to be even tougher going. Port officials view the railyards as sacrosanct and want to retain their full capacity.

When you boil down this standoff, it’s the classic Vancouver dilemma: we’ve got the greasy traditional economy running into the glitzy new one of glass towers and entertainment complexes.

In Vancouver we’ve tended to go for the new over the old, often with terrific results. A case in point is the transformation of the False Creek industrial lands into new neighourhoods.

But in this case, the old economy may not be so easy to pave over. A soccer stadium would be nice. But not at the expense of our port. There’s a public interest in retaining the railyards, a strategic part of our Asia-Pacific trade, which, with apologies to David Beckham and Mr. Kerfoot, I bet has a much brighter future than soccer.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

 

U.S. slump: Who cares?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Top strategist spells out why the world shrugs it off

Paul Luke
Province

The U.S. economy is in the toilet but the rest of the world doesn’t give a crap, a prominent Canadian economist says.

Fading U.S. economic clout means the rest of the world will shrug off the current American contraction, CIBC chief economist Jeff Rubin said yesterday.

“Nobody seems to care that the U.S. economy is in recession and that certainly has confused a lot of people in the financial markets,” Rubin said in Vancouver.

“Because the natural, knee-jerk reaction in financial markets is that when the U.S. economy goes into recession, you sell commodities because commodities are going to be a fatality of weaker U.S. consumer demand.”

Instead, key Canadian economies such as B.C. base metals, Albertan oil and Saskatchewan wheat have hit record highs as the U.S. economy loses ground, Rubin told the Vancouver Real Estate Forum.

From 2004 to 2007, the U.S. accounted for only 10 per cent of world GDP growth, Rubin said.

The emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, plus the mideast’s oil producers, accounted for about 37 per cent of GDP growth in this period.

The U.S. recession may shave growth rates in China and Russia by a half percentage point, he said.

“But when you’re talking about economies growing at six to 10 per cent, taking off a half point is almost an incidental rounding error,” he said.

“Recession in the United States has a trivial impact on the economic growth rates of the various economies in the world that are driving global economic growth.”

U.S. consumption of aluminum, nickel, copper, zinc and oil has been flat or has fallen over the last three years, he said.

But sharply rising consumption in oil-producing countries themselves will goad oil prices past $200 US a barrel over the next four to five years, Rubin said. “That would translate into about $2.25 a litre for regular gasoline in Canada,” he said.

The loonie will rise to $1.05 US over the next 12 months as energy prices rise and interest rates swing upward next year, Rubin said.

“One of the biggest surprises in 2009 will be how quickly interest rates in Canada come back,” Rubin said.

“Although the Bank of Canada may be cutting interest rates next month, they’ll be raising interest rates 100 basis points next year.”

Higher food and energy prices will push Canada’s inflation rate up to at least three per cent 12 months from now, he said.

© The Vancouver Province 2008

Burrard Bridge bike lane cost hits $63m million

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Frances Bula

Sun

Improvements are planned for the overcrowded Burrard Bridge to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Photograph by : Ward Perrin, Vancouver Sun files

The bill for renovating the Burrard Bridge to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians has risen to $63 million, four times what it was six years ago.

That has forced Vancouver‘s engineering department to ask for more money in the capital plan being set for the next three years — something that city voters will get to approve in the November election — at a time when the city is facing unprecedented demands already on its capital budget.

“We are in a real crunch,” said city manager Judy Rogers, who is facing requests for new firehalls, community centres, and police buildings, along with the enormous Burrard Bridge bill and rising costs for routine sewer, water and street maintenance.

Community-centre advocates have already started raising the alarm about the need to include spending on new community centres in the plan, especially the 50-year-old Marpole centre.

The city’s head of engineering, Tom Timm, said construction-cost increases are running at 10 to 12 per cent a year for projects.

“We’ve seen unusual inflation rates in all areas,” he said.

It’s all coming at the same time that the finance director is warning the city needs to set a limit on its capital-plan spending for the next three years if it doesn’t want to provoke significant tax increases.

The revised Burrard Bridge bill, however, is the biggest problem. The cost increase isn’t just because of construction inflation. Almost $8 million of the increase comes because it turns out that some parts of the redesign will be more expensive than originally thought.

Timm said the original estimate of $14.5 million was based on a conceptual design for the improved bridge, which will see the sidewalks expanded to the side of the bridge. Once engineers got into the details, they realized that they would have to spend more because the bridge can’t have any weight added to it, which requires coming up with lightweight railings and additions. As well, it will require a vehicle-crash barrier on the road.

Timm said it’s not a project the city can forgo.

The bridge is old and “chunks of concrete are falling off,” he said.

It’s the most heavily used bridge in the city for pedestrians and cyclists and they need more room. As well, there have been some serious accidents in the past as cyclists were pushed off the sidewalk into traffic because of crowded conditions.

The previous COPE council had suggested the city try an experimental shutdown of two lanes of the six-lane bridge for cyclists to see whether that might be a less-expensive solution than renovation, as well as requiring no visible changes to the bridge, which the city’s heritage advocates have fought to keep as is.

But there was a lot of controversy over that idea and the current Non-Partisan Association council killed the proposal in one of its first sessions after being elected in 2005.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

 

Rogers inks iPhone deal with Apple

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Too late, novelty’s gone, critics say

Cheryl Chan
Province

The iPhone is coming to Canada by year’s end, said Rogers Tuesday. CNS file photo

The long wait for iPhones in Canada will soon be over.

Rogers Communications announced yesterday that it has inked a deal with California-based Apple Inc. to carry the iconic, much-awaited devices nationwide.

“We’re thrilled to announce that we have a deal with Apple to bring the iPhone to Canada later this year,” said CEO Ted Rogers in a brief statement.

“We can’t tell you any more about it right now, but stay tuned.”

Apple released the iPhone — a combination of phone, music player and web browser — in the United States last summer and in European markets last November, leaving Canadian consumers champing at the bit.

Al Kilburn, who runs Compare Cellular, an independent Vancouver-based website on Canadian wireless carriers, said he expects Rogers to roll out the highly-anticipated phones around the end of summer to capitalize on the back-to-school and back-to-work shopping period.

“It’s an entertainment device as opposed to a phone,” he said. “I think it will be great for Rogers, but it depends on how they package it.”

Yesterday’s announcement was short on details with spokespeople for both companies remaining mum on the phone’s retail price, date of release and monthly plans.

“I’d guess with the type of product it is, you can only utilize it to its potential if you have a data plan,” said Kilburn, who speculated Rogers would come up with a combination data-and-voice plan, or even a special plan just for the iPhone.

In the U.S., the phones are sold by AT&T with a minimum two-year contract and monthly plans that range from $59.99 to $119.99 and include unlimited web and e-mail transmission. The phones are sold separately — $399 for eight gigabytes and $499 for 16 gigabytes.

In Germany, where T-Mobile released the iPhones in November, an eight-gigabyte handset sold for $557.

The iPhones had a reasonably solid demand south of the border, said Felix Narhi, a Vancouver-based equity analyst with Odlum Brown who expects Rogers, the country’s only network to run on the GSM system, to do well.

Rogers knows they’re the only game in town,” he said. “Given how successful Apple has been with iPod and Mac, it’s going to be a huge draw for customers in Canada, as well, to get this product.”

Narhi said part of the delay in bringing the iPhone to Canada is negotiations over the monthly packages to be offered to users.

“Apple probably wants a flat-rate monthly all-you-can-eat data plan, which in general Rogers has not wanted to do,” he said. “Apple really wants people to surf for whatever they want and not to worry about minutes, which takes way from the experience and the utilization of the phone.” Currently, Rogers does not offer any unlimited data plans.

Narhi said the iPhone release could hurt Rogers‘ competitors Telus Mobility and Bell Canada

“It could affect them on the high-end,” he said. “Now that we have number portability . . . a lot of people who would want the latest gadget, who would only get it with Rogers, might switch over.”

However, Eamon Hoey, of Toronto-based management consulting firm Hoey and Associates, said the release of the iPhone in Canada will be too little, too late.

“It just doesn’t matter anymore. There are now alternatives to the iPhone, which has been introduced everywhere else in the world. It’s no longer a novelty.”

He said the delay in the release demonstrates how far Canada lags behind other countries and chalks it up to lack of competition in the wireless industry.

Kilburn said there’s been a lot of demand in Canada since the iPhone was released, but during the lag, competitors have come out with other similar phones, such as the Windows-based HTC Touch smartphone.

© The Vancouver Province 2008

 

Delays make bridge improvements so costly that plan may go to vote

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Ian Austin
Province

The price of widening Vancouver‘s Burrard Street Bridge has quadrupled — and not a shovelful of dirt has been moved.

As endless debates over the heritage structure’s future have raged over the years at city hall, spiralling construction costs have taken the project’s estimated 2002 cost of $14.5 million to $63 million.

“Construction costs are increasing at 10 per cent a year,” said Tom Timm, the city’s general manager of engineering services.

Timm outlined the cost increase in a memo for yesterday’s Vancouver City Council meeting, where council debated whether the bridge widening should be part of a capital referendum in this fall’s civic election.

The city had set aside $13 million for the upgrade, but now is being asked to come up with another $44 million to ensure the budget will be large enough to cover the costs of the long-delayed plan.

And Timm warned in his memo that, by the time the Winter Olympics arrive in 2010, costs are likely to be higher still.

“If construction costs continue to escalate at the rate that they have over the past few years, the estimate could rise by an addition $6 million by that time — bringing the total to $63 million,” wrote Timm.

Timm outlined the goals of the increasingly expensive project:

- To improve the bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians to meet increased demand and to increase safety.

- To repair the crumbling concrete railings.

Timm identified construction costs as a huge factor in the increases, along with structural design and heritage components, and the need to provide a traffic barrier that meets current bridge-design codes.

“We’re hoping to work on the project after the Olympics,” said Timm.

“But there will be a lot of other large public projects going on at the airport, with the Port Mann Bridge expansion, and with the Evergreen SkyTrain line.”

© The Vancouver Province 2008

 

Musee Coming to Vibrant South Granville

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Real Estate Weekly
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Online marketers map surfing habits

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Companies use new technology to target the right advertisements to the right consumers

Hollie Shaw
Sun

TORONTO — Are you male or female? Married or single? In the market for a barbecue, or a shiatsu massage? If you are online, marketers can find out.

A predictive technology known as behavioural targeting is “growing like wildfire” in Canada after lagging 12 to 18 months behind the more entrenched U.S. market, says Hunter Madsen, marketing director at Yahoo Canada Co.

And that means consumers’ mouse clicks are revealing an increasing wealth of information to online advertisers eager for their attention.

“Purchase interest, at the bottom line, is of the most interest to marketers,” said Madsen, who studied at Harvard as a social scientist before moving into marketing and technology.

He described behavioural targeting to an audience at an Association of Canadian Advertisers conference recently as “matching ads with consumers whose recent behaviours indicate they might be interested in hearing from you, [the advertiser].”

Internet giants including Yahoo Inc., and Microsoft Corp., have long perused the movement of consumers on their own sites. But more recently, they have extended that reach into vast consumer networks by collecting data and placing targeted ads for outside marketers on thousands of third-party websites.

Marketers are hoping the inferences that behavioural targeting draws — a web surfer’s gender, age, financial status and location — will provide a clearer window into gauging consumers’ desires. Using simple web cookie technology, users’ online movements help Yahoo to create profiles of who those consumers are, based on time of day and topics browsed in search engines. This profile is finessed as a constellation of cooperative websites share information with each other. Ads are then targeted at consumers based on that profile.

Yahoo currently analyses these “predictive patterns” for consumer purchase cycles in more than 450 product categories and also tries to determine if the subjects are “engagers” or more serious “shoppers,” Madsen said.

Teams aided by computers classify every different search, looking at page views and time spent on the pages, ads clicked, search queries and search links. “We stand back and observe where [people] are going in the network,” Madsen said.

If a web user visits a site based on a search for autos, he said, a cookie from that auto site will carry over on to the user’s next web hit, (for example, a news site), and then serve up an auto ad. When that user checks her e-mail account, auto ads also appear.

The intensity of searching behaviour helps distinguish shoppers from engagers, or more casual browsers, he said. “If you click on [a destination] enough, you might want to live there. If it is sporadic, you might want to travel.”

Through this technology, advertisers hope to generate a greater “click-through” rate on the ads, resulting — hopefully — in higher sales.

That is attractive to marketers because the click-through rates for standard banner ads on major websites such as Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL, have always been poor and continue to slide, falling to 0.27 per cent from 0.75 per cent in 2006, according to the online ad monitoring company Eyeblaster.

Behavioural targeting is an increasingly popular tool for marketers because “it works,” Madsen said, citing a study by Jupiter Research LLC.

The study found that advertisers who had used behavioural targeting in the previous 12 months said they were 28 per cent more satisfied overall with their returns from targeted ads than those who did not use the technology.

During a period in which 1.6 million Yahoo users looked up auto insurance, targeted ads resulted in a 73-per-cent lift in the click-through rate and a conversion rate from online browser to buyer four times higher than normal.

Behavioural targeting is becoming more popular as more Canadians look to the Internet to browse, research and buy goods and services. By 2005, an estimated 16.8 million adult Canadians, or 68 per cent of the population, used the Internet for nonbusiness reasons such as e-mail, information searches or booking flights, according to the Canadian Internet Use Survey from Statistics Canada.

Seven million Canadians that year — or 41 per cent of all Internet users in Canada — ordered goods and services online.

Online revenue continues to climb. Web researcher eMarketer forecasts that Canadian consumers will spend $20.9 billion online on goods and services in 2008, a 33-per-cent increase over the 2007 estimate.

But behavioural targeting is facing criticism over privacy issues, particularly as consumers’ awareness of the practice grows. A 2007 study from the University of California at Berkeley said 85 per cent of those polled thought sites should not be allowed to track their web surfing in order to target ads at them.

Last year, Facebook drew widespread user revolt for its Beacon program, which revealed its members’ online purchases to their Facebook friends.

After an outcry, the company changed Beacon so the user would have to give permission to the social network before Facebook published any information. Most companies, like Yahoo, are more subtle in their approach, and defenders of the practice say targeting is good for consumers because the ads they see are more relevant to them.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

‘Whois’ a model for domain-name registries

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Michael Geist
Sun

Earlier this month, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the agency that manages the dot-ca domain, celebrated its one-millionth domain name registration. While that represents an important milestone, a far more noteworthy development is that CIRA also quietly announced the implementation of a new “whois” policy that will better protect the privacy of hundreds of thousands of Canadians and serve as a model for domain-name registries around the world.

The whois issue has attracted little public attention, yet it has been the subject of heated debate within the domain-name community for many years. It revolves around the whois database, a publicly accessible, searchable list of domain name registrant information (as in “who is” the registrant of a particular domain name).

When CIRA was first established, its whois policy permitted detailed disclosures about domain-name registrants. A typical whois entry included the domain name itself, the name of the registrant, and comprehensive contact information including postal address, phone and fax numbers, as well as e-mail addresses.

The ready availability of such information proved useful to law enforcement, which often used whois information as part of cybercrime investigations. Similarly, the pursuit of intellectual property infringement claims, such as domain-name cybersquatting cases, relied upon access to whois information to commence legal challenges to domain-name registrations.

Notwithstanding these uses, CIRA recognized that its policy of publicly disclosing personal information was generating significant discomfort among many registrants. Citing privacy and spam concerns, many registrants preferred to conceal their identity from the public (although CIRA and the domain-name registrar responsible for the registration would have access to the personal information). Moreover, registrants of controversial domain names, such as domains used for websites devoted to public criticism or political advocacy, often wanted to shield their personal information for fear of public censure.

As privacy and data protection commissioners began to express reservations about the legality of requiring domain-name registrants to disclosure their personal information, CIRA proposed a new policy in 2004. After two major public consultations, mounting opposition from law enforcement about its loss to “unfettered” access to whois data, and years of operational delays, CIRA last week began informing registrants that the new policy will take effect on June 10.

Under the new policy, CIRA will continue to collect the same contact information from registrants as under its current policy. However, it will no longer require that such information be publicly available through its whois directory. In its place, CIRA will only require the public disclosure of limited technical information, although individual registrants may voluntarily “opt-in” to provide more personal information.

While the CIRA policy protects the privacy of individual registrants, corporate or organizational registrants will typically have their full information publicly disclosed. The policy recognizes that corporate information does not raise specific privacy concerns since corporate information does not constitute personally identifiable information. Moreover, consumers may often want to access corporate whois information when judging the reliability of a website.

In order to ensure that domain-name registrants can still be contacted, CIRA has also established a unique message delivery system. CIRA will allow the public to contact domain-name registrants without access to their personal information by relaying the message through a web-based submission form.

The Canadian changes may be long overdue. However, they also instantly catapult the dot-ca into a global leadership position. With more than a million Canadian domain-name registrations, the resolution of the whois issue ensures that the Canadian domain-name space is set for continued growth as it now features a “privacy advantage” over other domains struggling to strike a similar compromise.

Michael Geist holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law.

He can be reached at [email protected], or online at www.michaelgeist.ca

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

 

Mortgages move into uncharted waters

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Liberalized insurance and longer amortization called ‘risky’

John Morrissy
Sun

Liberalization of the Canadian mortgage-insurance market and the advent of 40-year amortizations are driving the housing market into “uncharted waters” with unknown risks, according to a Scotiabank report released Monday.

Recent innovation in the Canadian mortgage market has been conservative and lacks the dangers of the U.S. subprime fiasco, said Derek Holt, the report’s author. Nevertheless, he warns, new approaches are “changing the longer-term risk dynamics in a way that gradually takes us toward a different mortgage market.”

“If you continue to get take-up rates on these new products that are comparable to what we’re seeing right now, then three, four, five years from now a significant enough share of the total mortgage book will have gone into a totally different suite of products compared to anything that’s characterized our mortgage market in the past,” Holt said.

Longer-term amortizations now account for three-quarters of all monthly insured-mortgage applications, with the 40-year product accounting for half of that, the report said.

In the near term, their introduction — which began in 2006 when Ottawa “unshackled” the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation from the traditional 25-year mortgage — will help stabilize a softening Canadian housing market as it draws in a new group of buyers.

Longer term, however, nobody knows what the effect will be, Holt said.

If, for instance, buyers as a group tend to pay back the debt at an accelerated pace, it will increase the risk for the originators of the mortgages and buyers of mortgage-backed securities into which they are folded.

On the other hand, the report says, “future shock risk is being intensified,” in the event that a large portion of new buyers move into such leveraged products and suddenly face a shock to interest rates or wage growth.

Now, if faced with sudden difficulties, the holder of a 25-year mortgage can move into a 40-year, but it’s unclear what would happen if the 40 becomes the norm and economic difficulties arise.

“That’s uncharted waters for the Canadian mortgage industry,” Holt said.

Equally significant is the impact changes to the mortgage industry may have on the condo market, Holt said.

Starting last year, Ottawa changed the rules on insured-investor mortgages, allowing buyers to acquire an insured mortgage on a property other than a principal residence.

Holt said he estimates one in four condo buyers is a speculator looking to profit from property price gains and, he forecasts, “This is going to intensify influences of investor sentiment, particularly the condo market over the next few years.

“You’ll see more speculative activity in the market at a time when there’s already a fair amount.”

This can sharpen market downturns, as appears to be the case in Calgary, when prices drop and speculators rush to unload properties.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

Senator offers help in waterfront stadium impasse

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Ex-mayor Larry Campbell to seek feds’ support

Damian Inwood
Province

Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi is welcoming an offer by Sen. Larry Campbell to play striker in stalled talks over a proposed waterfront soccer stadium.

“We’d welcome anything that he can do to get it to a quicker resolution,” said Lenarduzzi yesterday. “We are more than happy to get him involved.”

Plans for the 15,000-seat, open-air stadium near the SeaBus terminal have stalled over a proposed land swap between the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and ‘Caps owner Greg Kerfoot.

According to Lenarduzzi, the United Soccer League team is offering three hectares for one hectare owned by the port authority.

“Someone like Larry Campbell, who can ask the questions and get the answers, might be able to connect the feds back to the Vancouver Port Authority. And if that helps to get us toward a conclusion, then that’s good news,” said Lenarduzzi.

He said the club was caught off-guard by a decision last week to go public with details of the negotiations by Patrick McLaughlin, the port authority’s director of planning and development.

The stadium proposal was first raised three years ago when Campbell was mayor of Vancouver.

“I’m not lobbying for it,” Campbell said.

“I’m just suggesting there may be a role for an honest broker here. I certainly support it. I supported it from the start.”

Campbell said the project seemed to have momentum, but has since “dropped off the radar.”

Campbell said he’d talk to International Trade Minister David Emerson and Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl, both from B.C.

McLaughlin couldn’t be reached for comment.

He said last week part of the disagreement revolved around the value of the port-owned land.

© The Vancouver Province 2008