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Pitched: 12,000-seat stadium in Surrey could be used for World Cup team training

Proposed site at Tom Binnie Park enchroaches on BC Lions football facility
One of two stadium concepts pitched for Tom Binnie Park in Surrey by SixFive Stadium Experience, a Vancouver-based company. (Contributed image)

Should a multi-purpose stadium be built in Surrey in time for the 2026 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, and where?

These are key questions as the city completes a feasibility study that includes consideration of a 12,000-seat stadium at Tom Binnie Park in Whalley, with sites in Newton and Cloverdale also considered.

Vancouver-based company SixFive Stadium Experience has pitched a soccer-primary stadium that could be used for concerts, conventions and other events, for the all-in price of around $35 million, according to Adam Torpey, vice-president of business development.

“We have proposed this as a permanent stadium, although because of how we build it, prefabricated and modular, if the city wanted to relocate it in 15, 20, 30 years, we can do that,” Torpey explained.

During the World Cup, national soccer teams could use the Surrey stadium for training when in Vancouver for the seven games to be played at BC Place Stadium, he noted.

• RELATED: Talk of World Cup soccer ‘activation zones’ in Surrey, other opportunities here in 2026; Vancouver mayor in Surrey to talk about soccer’s biggest tournament.

Torpey emailed the Now-Leader two images that serve “as an illustration of the potential” of stadiums built by SixFive – one with a roof, the other without.

“While the design hasn’t been finalized, our discussions (with the city) so far have centered on this particular stylistic stadium,” noted Torpey, whose company built a similar soccer stadium near Langley Events Centre.

One of two stadium concepts pitched for Tom Binnie Park in Surrey by SixFive Stadium Experience, a Vancouver-based company. (Contributed image)

Surrey is undertaking “a market analysis and feasibility study for a mixed-use entertainment and sport facility,” according to Jeff Arason, Director of Strategic Initiatives.

“As part of this study,” Arason stated in an email Wednesday (May 15), “we are evaluating a variety of facility formats, including an open air stadium and an arena. Also as part of this study, we will be determining the ideal seating capacity for each facility format. The City is not evaluating any specific proposal by any proponent.”

The 12,000-seat stadium concept and Tom Binnie Park site are backed by Anita Huberman, CEO and president of Surrey Board of Trade.

“The first thing is that you know, this is not going to be a concrete BC Place type of stadium that costs millions and millions of dollars,” Huberman said.

“It can be repurposed for other events, it can be sectioned off for corporate events, whatever it may be to help with, you know, other sporting teams that we have here in the city and be at one of our destination assets.”

She’s urging city hall officials to fast-track stadium approval and construction.

“I know the city is looking at a public-private sector funding model to try to make it happen,” Huberman said. “Mayor Locke announced a stadium concept at her State of the City speech in February, but we haven’t heard anything, so now it’s in the mayor’s hands.

“We don’t have a lot of time to decide,” Huberman added. “Yes, I know they’re trying to do their due diligence to the taxpayers through these studies, but we don’t have time. It could be built regardless (of hosting World Cup activities or not). Time is falling short for us to be not only a part of the FIFA ecosystem but to have a real destination asset here in Surrey.”

Torpey said there is “a primary soccer tenant” eyed for the Surrey stadium, “a professional team,” but wouldn’t get into specifics.

The park site is adjacent to the BC Lions’ training facility, and drawings show the stadium positioned on land where the existing football building is located. The Now-Leader has reached out to the CFL team for comment.

Surrey Coun. Linda Annis says Tom Binnie Park “is a perfect spot” for the stadium.

“I really like the idea of being close to SkyTrain, close to where the BC Lions practice field is. For that reason, it will attract people into Surrey and you know, we need to be building an entertainment area around there so people can go and have dinner and so on.”

She said in Surrey, “we’re missing a convention center, we’re missing places where people can go to concerts, we need stadiums for all sorts of sporting activities and whatever we build has to include all of that.

“It’s still early stages,” Annis added. “The mayor listed three different spots in her State of the City address, so we haven’t even nailed the spot yet. We need to get it right, and in my estimation we shouldn’t be building a small stadium, we should be looking at something between 15,000 to 20,000 seats. We should be building something for the future, and in terms of urgency I think we need it yesterday. We have nothing like this in Surrey.”

Adam Torpey, vice-president of business development for SixFive Stadium Experience, at the stadium built by the company near Langley Events Centre. (Contributed photo)

Torpey said SixFive could build the stadium in time for the World Cup soccer tournament in Vancouver just over two years from now, June and July of 2026.

“Realistically, in an ideal world, it would be great to have a year before the World Cup. For this size capacity, we can probably build it within 12 to 14 months, so it is doable to get it done and ready before the World Cup and other events. From my inside information, if we build a stadium, if it is a grass field for the World Cup, we would nearly be locked on to be a training host city, which would be fantastic for Surrey.

“My recommendation for the city is to use grass for the World Cup, until that’s finished, then afterward put turf on it to become a multi-use stadium that could be seven days a week, much more versatile. We see it being used for community events, concerts. It could have a domed roof or retractable roof over the stadium. It all comes down to the final design and footprint and obviously budget.”

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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