New soccer stadium decision in Edmonton will wait a year
Angelique Rodrigues Edmonton Sun January 28, 2013
It’ll be at least a year before local soccer fans can expect a decision on a proposed 15,000-seat stadium from city council.
The city’s executive committee pored over a report Monday on the viability of a new stadium, and other soccer options for the city including an indoor training facility.
But council members concluded they did not have enough information and asked administrators to take the next year and determine the demand for a new facility, and whether or not renovating an existing facility could do the trick.
While FC Edmonton has solved its seating issue temporarily by purchasing bleachers that will expand Clarke Stadium’s capacity to 5,000, officials say they still believe a new stadium is the best bet for a sustainable soccer future.
“We need a mid-size stadium for FC Edmonton but the city really needs that kind of stadium for all sorts of events,” said Tom Fath, president of FC Edmonton who was disappointed with the time frame handed down by committee. “I think it could be excited if we could build one before (the 2015 Women’s World Cup), but the stadium is still on the table.”
But Coun. Karen Leibovici says council needs to know if soccer can fill seats in Edmonton, before they consider spending money on an arena.
“What we have to see first is whether the (FC Edmonton) modifications to Clarke Stadium actually attract people,” she said Monday. “We don’t know the need or the cost until the needs assessment is done.”
Officials will look at business models and stadium options for the evolution of soccer and other field sports in Edmonton before returning to committee with their results before the end of 2013.