Field of Schemes
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May 17, 2008

B.C. Place overhaul planned

British Columbia officials announced yesterday plans for a major renovation of the 25-year-old B.C. Place in advance of it hosting opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics. One item won't be completed until after the Olympics: Installing a new roof, supported by "36 50-metre masts" - in American, that would presumably be 102 164-foot poles - to replace the fabric one that sprung a leak last year. (Presumably this would make B.C. Place no longer the world's largest air-supported roofed stadium.)

Also not yet completed: a price tag for the project, which the Globe and Mail reports some projections have placed at $200 million. (In American, that's $200 million.) David Podmore, chair of PavCo, the province-owned corporation that owns the stadium, says he expects to have firmer figures in about five months.


The province should bulldoze this monster; use the location for the new St. Paul's Hospital and the money for the downtown streetcar initiative. Why use taxpayer money for this, when the Whitecaps can do it better?!

Posted by Scott Kostiuk on May 17, 2008 10:36 AM

Scott what do you do with the BC Lions? You know they won't go to the new Whitecaps soccer-only stadium (if it gets built). The Lions would want their own retractable roof stadium.

Posted by Daniel Francis on May 19, 2008 05:30 PM

If the Lions want a retractable roof, shouldn't their owner pay for it? That's kind of the point of this site, eh?

Furthermore, since the under-utilised stadium requires a $4 million per year subsidy already, what's the point of lipstick on this pig? When the new convention centre is completed and the non-sport events move there, other than a dozen home dates per year for the Lions, then what's the purpose of the place?

To private developers, the land is worth $400-500 million, so what's the opportunity cost to the provincial treasury?

Daniel, to answer your question: for $200 million, the province could fund a new, outdoor stadium in Langley, Newton or Guildford on the scale of the old Empire Stadium and there would still be money leftover for worthwhile and neglected community projects like the downtown streetcar initiative and municipal WiFi.

The BC Place site has a lot of value for the city, i.e. downtown hospital location, non-market housing, etc., and it seems like anything in this region with a remote connection to the Olympics is getting money tossed at it, with no community consultation or forethought.

There's a great mixed-development opportunity for this neighbourhood (I live in Victory Square or, if you're a realtor, 'Crosstown').

Lamentably, five years ago (!) the Whitecaps proposed a privately-financed waterfront stadium (that could have been completed in time for the opening, closing & medal ceremonies of the Olympics and been a better venue) and saved taxpayers the headache!

Posted by Scott Kostiuk on May 23, 2008 12:47 AM

The Whitecaps stadium plan was the way to go!!!

Posted by Mark from NYC on May 23, 2008 01:20 PM

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