SBD/21/Facilities Venues

CONSTRUCTION OF AIR CANADA CENTRE COULD BE DELAYED

     The planned October 1 start date for construction of the
Raptors' Air Canada Centre "will be delayed if politicians
continue to insist on major changes," project manager Jay Cross
said after a city committee turned down the team's latest
proposal yesterday.  If the committee's rejection is upheld by
the Toronto City Council next week, construction will not start
on time.  Committee members rejected the plan because of the
possibility of construction of high-rise residential developments
planned by the Raptors and Canada Post near the arena.  Cross:
"The more the delay drags on, the less enchanted our fans will be
playing in the SkyDome and the more we'll have to start
considering our other alternatives."  Cross said that could mean
another site.  The NBA "would not be thrilled" by such a move,
according to Cross:  "They've granted a franchise which was
conditional on a new stadium.  If you don't deliver a new
stadium, you're at risk" (Paul Moloney, TORONTO STAR, 4/21).
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