Kinks worked out for second BC Place event
Published Monday, October 3, 2011 9:59AM PDT
Food was plentiful, beer was flowing and lineups were manageable at BC Place Sunday as management and staff worked to avoid a repeat of the frustrating service problems that plagued the venue Friday night.
PavCo CEO David Podmore said employees trained all day Saturday "going through what was required to make sure we can offer a really high quality of service, exactly what you'd expect us to do."
The work appeared to have paid off Sunday, as about 21,000 fans turned out to watch the Vancouver Whitecaps play the Portland Timbers and most seemed satisfied with the level of service.
"So far, so good. No complaints. It didn't seem any slower than it was at [Empire Field]," one fan told CTV News.
On Friday, when the BC Lions battled the Edmonton Eskimos, many attendees reported waiting as long as 45 minutes for a beer and being unable to buy food.
PavCo CEO David Podmore said about 10,000 more people showed up than were anticipated, forcing management to open up the fourth-floor concession at the last minute.
Management also says about 20 per cent of employees didn't show up for work, and that problems with the beer lines left staff pouring cans into cups one-at-a-time.
"All the beer lines have been cleaned," Podmore said. "Labatts has been working here 24 hours to get everything in shape."
BC Place has a capacity of more than 50,000 for football games, but that number shrinks to about 21,000 for soccer.
Some fans blamed Friday night's problems on unionized workers, who held a vote last week on a possible job action.
But BC Government and Service Employee's Union spokeswoman Karen Tankard said poor management decisions were responsible for Friday's failings, and asserted that workers did not sobatage the event.
"We took no action at all during the game," Tankard said Saturday. "It had nothing to do with our workers."
The results of the strike vote are expected on Monday. It approved, a 72-hour strike notice could be delivered any time within the next three months – which could impact November's sold-out Grey Cup event.
The Whitecaps lost Sunday's game 1-0.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Penny Daflos