The $250 million Burnaby Mountain Sport + Medical (BMSM) private sector development would include:
The project, which is scheduled to break ground
next year, would be built on lands at the west end of campus
that the university had earmarked for the Olympic speed skating
oval before it was moved to Richmond.
The overall project is scheduled to be completed by
the end of 2010, although some parts of it would be open earlier.
SFU would provide approximately nine acres of land
for a nominal $25 for a 99-year lease and would in turn get majority
use of the field house and substantial use of the rest of the
The project’s developer would cover the operating
and maintenance costs.
Skomorowski said BMSM is receiving no funds from
VANOC. The project’s equity partners come from within the private
development company’s ownership group. Major institutional investors
will provide the long-term funding. Both SFU and Partnerships BC on
behalf of the provincial government and the investors have conducted
due diligence on the project.
“Once you had SFU’s vision and our vision down and
lined them up, it grew in scope and size to accommodate everything
that we all wanted to do. It really is a co-mingling of visions,”
said SFU alumni Ryan Skomorowski, 29, president and CEO of Burnaby
Mountain Sport + Medical. “This was originally just a project of
Skomorowski graduated from SFU in 2002 in history
and economics and was a former member of the varsity swim team.
After graduation, he remained heavily involved with the swim program
as its team manager while working in wealth management at Union
What started as a side project to improve SFU’s
athletic amenities, particularly its aquatic facilities, soon turned
into a new career for Skomorowski.
“There are different elements of the project that
are more supportive financially than others, and it creates a unique
model throughout when they are combined,” said Skomorowski. “We’re
really self-generating demand. These buildings are of such a size
and scope that it really creates a lot of demand and cross-revenue
BSMS has established a partnership with SFU and the
United Soccer League’s Vancouver Whitecaps FC that involves a
training centre, use of the rooftop fields and fitness and
rehabilitation areas. It builds on the relationship between SFU and
the Whitecaps. BSMS hopes to set up a similar arrangement with the
Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions.
Skomorowski has secured Goldcorp Inc. director and
former Industry Training Association (ITABC) chairwoman Beverley
Briscoe and Imperial Parking Canada Corp.’s non-executive chairman
Paul Clough as members of the project’s executive committee.
Clough is managing director; Ryan’s father, Nick
Skomorowski, an accomplished mega-project development and
construction manager, is project manger. Stuart Ballantyne of Molson
Indy Vancouver fame has been retained as the project’s event
planning and management director.
The board of advisers includes Bob Ackles, president
and CEO of the B.C. Lions, and BC Hydro director and former Orca Bay
Sports CEO Stephen Bellringer.
Great Canadian Gaming Corp. vice-president Chuck
Keeling is also on the board.
SFU director of public affairs and media relations
Don MacLachlan said the university is awaiting the project’s final
“And that’s what the developer is madly doing with
pens in both hands,” MacLachlan said.
“It’s a very interesting project. It would give SFU
access to athletic facilities that we now don’t have. [That] sounds
great, but we do have to wait and see what the final proposal is.”
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan was more emphatic in
the city’s support for the development.
“We’re aware of the difficulties that they’ve [SFU]
faced in their recreational facilities over the years,” he said, “so
this opportunity to have a massive improvement in their recreational
facilities is very welcome, not only for SFU, but for the community
residents who are in UniverCity and the students who are living up
He confirmed that the city’s planning department is
working on the details with the developer and that SFU has assured
Burnaby the project is financially viable.
“One of the wonderful things about the development,”
Corrigan said, “is [that] though the primary purpose is to service
university students, the facilities will be open to the general
public, and will be dependent on use by the general public.”
The private sector investment in BMSM is believed to
be the largest injection of private capital in the history of
“P3s are the future for public institutions to help
achieve their goals, and you just need a way to bring in the
business community to help support these institutions in a
productive way,” said Skomorowski. “That way everybody can win.”