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  • What's with Vancouver and the province's FIFA secrecy?

What's with Vancouver and the province's FIFA secrecy?

Plus, an update over at CRAB Park

Good morning,

I visited the West End Community Centre on Friday. In the midst of so many higher-end gym facilities and expensive classes, you can sometimes forget that the city has incredible public access amenities, all at an affordable price. If you haven’t checked out a local community centre in a while, I highly recommend it.

I have a small favour to ask. We’re about 500 subscribers away from 20,000, which I still have to pinch myself to believe. If you like the Lookout, consider forwarding it to a friend — every share helps others discover better local news. 

Today’s newsletter examines the secrecy surrounding the city’s FIFA contract and provides an update on what’s happening at CRAB Park.

Let’s get to it!

— Geoff Sharpe, Vancity Lookout editor


Wednesday: 6 🌡️ 3 | 🌧️

Thursday: 9 🌡️ 4 | 🌧️

Friday: 9 🌡️ 3 | 🌤️


Why so secretive?

What happened: While Toronto has released their expected costs for the FIFA World Cup, including the expected additional $80 million in cost increases from hosting more games, Vancouver has yet to do the same, according to the Globe and Mail, and the contract is currently shrouded in secrecy. 

The problems: It’s a long list. The documents they have released were heavily redacted and the costs were only updated in 2023 by the province, while the city has yet to provide an estimate. The province says they will be releasing the expected costs later, and they will be higher due to more games hosted in Vancouver. 

  • Estimates from last year pegged the price in the neighbourhood of $240$260 million, but that was before the extra games were added.  

Down south: No, not that south, but over in Seattle, their council released the contract for the games, according to Business in Vancouver. This includes details on making the stadiums available at no cost to FIFA, 30 days of control of all aspects of the stadium, all existing advertising will be removed, and temporarily renaming the stadium. All stadium construction must be paid for by the stadium owners. 

  • Funny thought: If they’re controlling concessions in Vancouver, maybe the food will be better!

Fuzzy numbers: Critics have pointed out discrepancies between what the province says will be the economic benefits, versus what other cities around North America say. The province says it’ll generate $1 billion in economic benefits, but that is almost 10 times more than Seattle expects, according to the Vancouver Sun.

In Toronto: Some of the details of the redacted contract released by Toronto include things like no other major sporting events seven days before and after the first and last matches, or cultural events or concerts unless approved by FIFA, according to Vancouver is Awesome.

Cost coverage: Vancouver says they expect tournament costs to be covered by a 2.5 percent hotel tax, introduced by the province, that started in February. No data has yet been released on how much the tax has brought in, according to the Globe and Mail. 

Why it matters: FIFA and other multinational sports organizations, like the Olympics, make transparency for local governments very difficult, though one could also argue local governments don’t mind it… Cities, and their citizens, are the ones paying to host these games, so it stands to reason that the public has the right to see any actual costs. Yet even this level of transparency from Vancouver is lower than other cities. 

  • Yet with the excitement of the World Cup in Canada, the most popular sport in the world and Canada playing, will locals actually care about cost overruns? 

How worried are you about the FIFA contract secrecy?

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🏒 109: The number of years since Vancouver won the Stanley Cup. The last time was the Vancouver Millionaires who won it in 1915 at the Denman Area. [CityNew]

🍺 6.9%: The decline in BC’s food service and drinking industry in January compared to December, which experts say is because of BC’s high cost of living. [Business in Vancouver]

🏠 $7 million: No that’s not the price of this home, it’s the drop in price, from an original listing of $26.8 million down to $19.8 million. The place is located in Shaughnessy. [Vancouver is Awesome]

🧑‍🚒 $31,000: How much the Parkland refinery in Burnaby is paying to cover the firefighting costs of the incident that caused that bad smell earlier this year. [CTV]

🚢 $490 million: How much North Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards will get to build multi-purpose vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard. [CityNews]

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CRAB Park cleanup faces push-back

What happened: The City of Vancouver has moved ahead with their planned clean-up of CRAB Park homeless encampment even as advocates for the community call on the city to pause the next phase of the cleanup, according to CBC. Residents have been moved to a different area, and the city says they will be able to return once the cleanup is done. 

Background: The city has telegraphed for months that they planned to clean up the area, which is Vancouver’s only legal homeless encampment because of a court ruling. The city claims the encampment has become dangerous and unhygienic, with propane tanks and human waste throughout, requiring the use of heavy equipment to clean up. 

  • On Monday some residents refused to leave, so rangers moved in with police and clean-up workers. Everyone eventually moved out by 3 pm, according to Global. 

At issue: Residents say their community is being bulldozed, and that structures like a warming tent and kitchen have been taken down. Advocates also have claimed the city is overstating the problems in the area, and that the city should’ve waited for a pending human rights complaint. 

Speaking out: Canada’s federal housing advocate is just one of the many people speaking out against the removal, calling on the city to “pause” so that a new approach can be undertaken, according to Global. 

  • Watch: You can see a video of the clean-up here by CityNews.

What’s next: The city says residents will be able to move back to the area once their work is complete. 


Now this is the (Kitsilano) dream living.

Located in the heart of the neighbourhood, this one bedroom is literally a block away from Kitsilano beach. At 610 square feet, this spacious one-bedroom has been redone with a modern kitchen design, a nice layout and a beautiful outdoor deck to enjoy those summer days.


🚍️ TransLink is set to raise property taxes to act as a “stop-gate” plan to fund service expansion in the region, especially as many routes are dealing with over-capacity. Those with a land value of $723,000 will pay around $37 while those with a $1.2 million property will pay $62. [Urbanized]

👎️ Speaking of TransLink, Vancouver School Board Trustee Suzie Mah is calling on them to cancel its planned fare increase, which is expected to rise by as much as 5 cents per ride. [CityNews]

Henry Ren and his wife Fang Yan are the owners of multiple buildings in Vancouver that have dealt with a history of fires. The list is long and troubling, and raises questions about what can be done in a situation like this where housing is scarce. [The Tyee]

So close… The Canucks lost 3-2 against the Kings on Monday meaning they’re still waiting to officially clinch a playoff spot (though the team is number one in the Western Conference, so it’s just a matter of when, not if). [The Province]

Nat Bailey Stadium is set for a large upgrade, with a new building where the Telus BBQ Picnic in the Park area currently resides, which includes new locker, training and coaching rooms. [Urbanized]

Heads up — King George SkyTrain station will be closed on April 27 for six weeks for maintenance work. You’ll need to stop at the earlier station, and service to the next SkyTrain stop will be expanded. [Vancouver is Awesome]

It’s tough being a bridge these days… The Stanley Park pedestrian bridge was struck by a delivery truck, tearing the roof off the vehicle. Luckily the bridge didn’t suffer much damage. The event is under investigation. [CityNews] 

Golf carts at the McCleery Golf Course, a public course run by the city, were vandalized beyond repair. Police are investigating the cause. [CityNews]


Review: For authentic Mexican cuisine, make a trip to this Mexican restaurant on Main

Somewhere between the first and second bite of more than foot-long Mexican quesadilla, tearing through the corn tortilla, I questioned if this was the most authentic Mexican restaurant in Vancouver.

Most authentic has a lot of connotations… Most, in this sense, means best and better than anything else, while authentic implies true to its roots, close to home, an experience you can usually get in a food’s home country. Saying this a statement, from which other restaurants are judged and compared.

It also heightens the stakes. Is it really authentic for someone from Mexico? How does an outsider like myself even judge authenticity? Sure, I’ve been to Mexico many times, Oaxaca City and Mexico City to name a few. But am I really qualified to judge a Mexican restaurant as authentic?

To read this story and subscribe to our free newsletter, click this link

  • Sad news — Vancouver’s “Duck Lady” who travelled around the city with her pet duck, has died at the age of 82. [Global]

  • Expand your news horizons with International Intrigue! Their free global affairs briefing, crafted by former diplomats, decodes geopolitics, business, and tech in <5 minutes. Sign up today for insightful, digestible updates. [Sponsored]

  • There’s a new challenger for Vancouver’s top Middle Eastern restaurant.

  • You can travel by bus from Vancouver to Seattle, here’s how it works. [Vancouver is Awesome]

  • Well, Granville Bridge certainly looks different now… [Reddit]

  • The Price is Right recently featured a trip to Vancouver as a prize. The cost? $7,770 US. [CityNews] 

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Learn how here.


Congrats to everyone who guessed yesterday’s quiz. The answer was a tricky one. Many of you guessed $4.4 billion, but the answer was $9.9 billion to build the Iona Island wastewater treatment plant.

Today’s Vancouver Guesser is an intersection near the border of Vancouver and Burnaby. Can you guess what it is? Reply with your answer and your name to be featured in the newsletter.

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