2010 stadium to get $65 million facelift
Published Thursday, September 4, 2008 4:51PM PDT
BC Pavilion Corp. (PavCo), the taxpayer funded corporation that runs B.C. Place stadium, has revealed the details of an expensive renovation to update the aging facility.
In short, a facelift has been ordered for the 25-year-old stadium that will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games.
The surgery has already started.
"Ultimately in the upgrade it'll be a complete refurbishment of the interior of this building to modernize it and bring it up to contemporary standards," says PavCo chairman David Podmore.
The $65 million upgrade means entrances, flooring, lighting, washrooms and concessions. There will also be new lounges and spruced up private suites.
It'll all be finished just in time for the 2010 opening ceremonies.
Vancouver's Olympic organizers have been intimately involved in the upgrade plan. VANOC is chipping in $4 million dollars on top of the Crown Corporation's $65 million.
PavCo says the cost of the facelift will be covered by the future redevelopment of lands around B.C. Place, including new condo towers. The corporation and government bristle at the suggestion that any of the $65 million dollars be considered an Olympic-related expense.
"It is work that we would do regardless of the Olympics," says Podmore. "This is the enhancement of the building for the next 25 to 40 years."
"Those upgrades and that work needs to happen whether we're having an Olympic games or not," says B.C. Tourism Minister Bill Bennett.
But the NDP isn't buying the government's line.
"Clearly it needs to be recognized as an Olympic cost," says NDP critic Mike Farnsworth.
"I think it would be more than fair. More than reasonable for the auditor general to look at what's happening in venues such as B.C. Place and say to the public 'look, this is what's related to the Olympics, this should be considered an Olympic cost.'"
The $65 million upgrade doesn't include the proposed new retractable roof. That won't be finished until 2011. And PAVCO isn't saying how much the roof will cost.
"I am not going to give you a number until we have completed design," says David Podmore.
In May, Premier Gordon Campbell confirmed the stadium would get a new retractable roof to replace the leaky Teflon cover which was blown open in a windstorm in January 2007.
When the announcement was made to replace the roof, officials said it would save more than $600,000 annually in energy costs and operational savings because the stadium will no longer need air-lock doors.
The Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team welcomed the decision, saying it is in the process of signing a five-year lease that will make BC Place stadium a temporary home for the soccer club, starting in 2011.
The first covered stadium in Canada, B.C. Place, was built in 1983 to rejuvenate the False Creek area.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mike Killeen.