Mayor and councillors break ground for new Cloverdale Arena

After groundbreaking for the new Cloverdale Arena on August 24, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said that if re-elected he would build a massive multi-purpose stadium in Surrey.

He also said he wanted both the Canucks and Lions to move to the City of Parks.

“We want the BC Lions … to play the games in Surrey and that’s what we said to the Canucks as well.”

McCallum explained that because Surrey is growing so quickly – he said the population will surpass Vancouver in four to five years – the city can support professional franchises. He said the majority of Whitecaps, Lions and Canuck fans are from Surrey.

“If we can encourage those teams to come to Surrey it’s a great opportunity.”

McCallum added that part of bringing the Lions to Surrey will involve building a massive stadium.

“One of our commitments … as part of our campaign, the Safe Surrey Coalition, is that we will build a 60,000-person arena in Surrey,” revealed McCallum. “It will be a multipurpose arena for all sports.”

McCallum said the city is already eyeing three locations but would not reveal where. He added the stadium is a voting requirement and if Safe Surrey is re-elected they will be negotiating with the Canucks and Lions “the next day”.

McCallum added he’s already spoken to the Canucks about eventually getting some preseason games in Cloverdale after the new sports and ice complex is built. He also wants the Canucks to hold their training camp in Cloverdale at some point.

When complete, the new Cloverdale Sports and Ice Complex will feature two NHL-sized ice rinks with seating for approximately 400 people.

“[The Canucks]are very interested in these rinks because they’re professional size,” McCallum said. “We’ve had discussions with both the Lions and the Canucks (in) on a lot of fronts to promote those two sports out here.”

McCallum said the world recognizes Surrey for its world-class sports facilities. That, in turn, attracts even more sports tourists, he said.

“That’s a big advantage,” he remarked. “The sports tourism dollars that are coming into our town, for all our small businesses, certainly Cloverdale has benefited tremendously when we’ve done the rodeo and whatnot, and so the side effect of these big events is that small businesses are really thriving because of the number of people coming from literally all over the world.”

McCallum also said Surrey will oust Vancouver as BC’s number one city for hosting sporting events.

“It’s happening right now, as we stand here today,” he said. “We win all international sporting events.”

Councilwoman Linda Annis, who also attended the groundbreaking, said that while she’s glad the arena is finally getting started, she feels the delays were unnecessary.

“It’s really unfortunate that this didn’t happen when it should have,” Annis said. “We would be standing in the arena today and probably cutting the ribbon, but unfortunately we’re not even at the groundbreaking yet. So it’s a great day as hopefully it’s moving forward but it should have happened three and a half years ago.”

Annis is skeptical that McCallum can build a big stadium.

“He’s talking about building a 60,000-seat stadium and I’m not sure if financial modeling has been done to determine if it’s viable or not,” Annis added. “We know the Canucks, Whitecaps and BC Lions already have a home. And while I’d love to see (a stadium) in Surrey, I think there’s still a lot of work to be done before we can make such bold statements.

Regarding the Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex, McCallum said he’s looking forward to finally breaking ground after many delays.

“I am pleased that the construction work is starting,” he said. “This new arena will not only provide additional ice to meet the needs of Cloverdale residents, but will serve the needs of both the city and sporting destinations.”

He expects the dual rink to open within two years and be ready for the 2024-2025 ice hockey season.

McCallum said the ground issues that delayed the arena’s launch nearly four years ago are being alleviated in the construction process.

“The land in the Fraser Downs (area) is difficult to build on, none of the buildings around here have basements and whatnot,” he explained. “Through various engineering techniques that we have used … we will be able to stabilize the ground during construction so that we can put the building on the ground.”

McCallum said the cost of the arena is currently estimated at over $40 million.

This is higher than original estimates when the project first went online years ago, but much lower than the $55 million the city earmarked for the project ahead of Christmas 2021.

A total of $55 million has been allocated over the next three years in the city’s 2022 budget, which includes a five-year fiscal plan through 2026. This breakdown of funding is $32 million in 2022, $13 million in 2023 and $10 million in 2024. This five year (2022-2026) financial plan was approved by Surrey City Council during a 20-minute session on the morning of Christmas Eve (December 24), 2021.

The Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex is located at 6336 177B Street on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.

[email protected]
Like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter

BC LionsCanucksCloverdale FairgroundsLocal Sports

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *