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Reports of ‘Disney-like theme park’ announced for Playland not true, says PNE

An artists rendering of what a new area in PlayLand, called "The Park", might look like.
An artists rendering of what a new area in PlayLand, called "The Park", might look like.

Vancouver city council will vote on whether to study a creative concept for the future of Playland – but reports that a Disneyland-style theme park is coming are incorrect, says the PNE.

“It’s important to understand that what we are talking about is an expansion and revitalization of Playland that will be a transformation of Playland from an amusement park to more of a theme park, but it’s not what the public would generally think of as a Disneyland-style theme park,” says PNE Spokesperson Laura Ballance.

“An initial study came up with some ideas of what that plan could look like, with estimated costs and we’re now at the stage of
doing further research and feasibility studies.”

But Ballance says at this point, that’s all it is – a concept developed years ago, that may take a small step forward next week.

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“If we were actually announcing a theme park, we would hold a press conference. It’s not something we’re going to tweet out,” she said.

“The concept is more than a decade old.”

PHOTOS: Concepts and descriptions for the six zones

Main Street: "the new entrance to Playland, A pedestrian promenade functioning as an orientation space, flanked with food, patios, retail and games".
Main Street: "the new entrance to Playland, A pedestrian promenade functioning as an orientation space, flanked with food, patios, retail and games".
The Park: "Lush green space, large leafy trees and ornately designed flower beds define this area, weaving around the variety of new and existing attractions.".
The Park: "Lush green space, large leafy trees and ornately designed flower beds define this area, weaving around the variety of new and existing attractions.".
Kids Playce: "Like an art exhibit of oversized objects, Kid’s Playce brings life and art together transforming the landscape into a wonderland.".
Kids Playce: "Like an art exhibit of oversized objects, Kid’s Playce brings life and art together transforming the landscape into a wonderland.".
Adventure Land: "As the first of the new zones in the northern expansion area, this tree fort village adventure takes guests into a mysterious forest where thrills and excitement await in the tree tops.".
Adventure Land: "As the first of the new zones in the northern expansion area, this tree fort village adventure takes guests into a mysterious forest where thrills and excitement await in the tree tops.".
Coastal Village: "Celebrating B.C’s rich history of fisheries, this coastal village sets the foundation for a unique themed experience.".
Coastal Village: "Celebrating B.C’s rich history of fisheries, this coastal village sets the foundation for a unique themed experience.".
The District: "The elements in this zone will combine to create an urban fabric created by its users. A space dedicated to those who live to express themselves.".
The District: "The elements in this zone will combine to create an urban fabric created by its users. A space dedicated to those who live to express themselves.".

The concept, developed from 2010 to 2013, proposes a 10-year, $120-million redevelopment of Playland done over two stages, doubling its size by building on parking lots to the northeast of the current site.

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The preliminary cost for the upgrades was budgeted at $45 million for new rides and attractions, $41 million for site redevelopment, $26 million for infrastructure renewal and upgrades and $8 million for site greening.

It would have six different zones, with different themes and rides for each.

By comparison, a new Star Wars land being constructed in Disneyland at the moment is expected to cost over a billion dollars.

Ballance also said a claim by Daily Hive Vancouver that the “cost of the entire project will be financed by the municipal government and repaid through the PNE’s future revenues” is incorrect.

“There’s no revenue model attached to this at all, because we don’t know what we’re looking at yet,” she said.

City council will vote next week whether to give $1.5 million to study the plan, which would include detailed design and costing. But a detailed proposal for the future of the land is years away.

“In about 18 months, we’ll know if it’s feasible or if it isn’t,” said Ballance.

“We are excited to move forward in the process, but what we don’t want is for the public to think this is a Disneyland theme park.”

The document city council will vote on can be read here.

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