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Volume 10 No. 25

Facilities

Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen's new £50M ($67.4M) stadium plan "could be derailed even if it is approved by the city council," according to Rebecca Curran of the BBC. The stadium and training facilities would be at Kingsford, near Westhill. Although the final decision is a matter for Aberdeen councilors, Aberdeenshire Council will have to agree to a controlled parking zone and a proposed footbridge -- "both considered crucial if the project is to go ahead." The proposed location is about 200m beyond the Aberdeen bypass, "close to the boundary between both councils." A pre-determination hearing last week was told that "if either the CPZ or footbridge were undeliverable, city roads officials would recommend the planning application was refused." The proposed CPZ for Westhill "lies wholly within Aberdeenshire" (BBC, 9/18). The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported the Aberdeenshire Council currently has no controlled parking zones in force and its director of infrastructure services, Stephen Archer, said in a written submission, "The application can only be considered acceptable if the likely impact is sufficiently mitigated through a legally enforceable CPZ that remains in place in perpetuity and is funded by the applicant (AFC)." Aberdeen Vice-Chair George Yule already warned the club "could go to the wall if the proposed move fails." He said, "To be honest, unless we move this club into the 21st century with proper facilities, there's a very real danger those fans walking up King Street in the long term may not have a team to support" (DAILY RECORD, 9/18).

It was a hot summer afternoon in Harbin, China, but it was "perfect weather for skiing," according to the AFP. At the city’s new winter sports park, "chilly winds blew snowflakes around skiers zipping down the man-made slopes of the world’s largest indoor ski park, a potent symbol of China’s ambitions to turn itself into a winter sports powerhouse" ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The 80,000-square-meter facility "boasts six runs, the longest stretching 500 meters." Olympic aspirants from China used to spend their summers training in New Zealand, but the opening of Dalian Wanda Group’s indoor ski park this summer "means they can now stay closer to home." Not long ago, skiing was "considered a luxury activity in China, inaccessible to the average person." The country is currently home to "roughly" 6 million skiers, but President Xi Jinping "hopes that number will rise to 300 million in the coming years." There are currently "about 200 ski resorts in China." Chinese officials are "aiming to increase that number fivefold" by '30. Wanda Harbin Indoor Ski and Winter Sports Resort GM Yi Li said, "We didn't have anywhere to ski when I was growing up." The slopes are equipped with a chairlift, a sledding area and a bunny hill, "not to mention a ski lodge bedecked with faux wood." For average visitors, the cost to ski for an entire day, including all rental equipment, is 488 yuan ($74). The most popular package is a three-hour visit at 300 yuan ($45) (AFP, 9/18).