Surrey mayoral candidate Jinny Sims says if she and her Surrey Forward slate are elected on Oct. 15 the city will get a 10,000-seat soccer stadium and performing arts centre as part of a new arts, entertainment and sports district to be completed by 2026, in the area of Tom Binnie Park in Whalley.
That’s the planned location for now. “It depends on if a better location can be found,” she told the Now-Leader.
Sims said during a campaign presser Tuesday that the proposed project would also include office buildings and residential towers.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to put Surrey in the world’s eye, one that we cannot pass up by short-sighted politicians fighting over decisions made in the past decade,” Sims says.
The performing arts centre, she said, would feature two theatres, the largest with between 800 to 1,400 seats and will be designed to accommodate “large touring shows such as cultural dance performances, Broadway shows, musical acts and the like.”
The second theatre would be between 200 and 400 seats be designed to “accommodate community theatre and foster the development of professional dance and theatre companies in Surrey.”
The entertainment district, meantime, would include restaurants, “night life and other year round entertainment activities.”
The soccer stadium, according to a Surrey Forward press release, would be built to “attract” a Canadian Premier League style club, “ideally with both a male and female professional soccer team.”
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“This project will be completed by early 2026,” Sims promised, if she and her slate are elected. “It will be the first project of a reconstituted Surrey City Development Corporation. We can create a process whereby the soccer field, entertainment district, offices and residences will be completed by private corporations in partnership with the Surrey City Development Corporation. And the Civic Arts Centre will be funded through the net return from the SCDC investment in order to minimize taxpayer investment.
“We will complete this by 2026 to ensure we are able to participate completely in the World Cup. Surrey will look to host a national team at our facility as a warm-up and training facility. Ideally we will welcome the world through friendly training matches and preparation for games in Vancouver,” Sims said. “Should Vancouver and their First Nations partners be successful in the bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics the City of Surrey will participate in the performing arts elements of the games.”
The proposed project has not been costed out.
“I’m not worried about the cost because there is infrastructure money available as well and this is regional infrastructure we are building,” Sims said. “It’s also going to be in the hub of public transit.”