Monday, February 04, 2013

Was The Price Of The BC Place Roof 'Fixed' From The Beginning?


First off, my apologies for going all timeline, all the time, in this post.

But in this case, like BC Rail before it, the timing really does matter...


Remember all that 'deal breaker' stuff between the then BC Liberal Party Government Minister for the Magic Carpet, Mr. Kevin Kruger, and Paragon's man with all the BC Liberal Party connections, Mr. T. Richard Turner?

You know, the part where Paragon's man on the inside (who was chair of ICBC at the time) called up the Minister responsible for BC Place while Paragon's big Casino project was still in play in the Fall of 2009 and, according to the VSun's J. Fowlie, said the following:

...I didn't try to influence any decision," said Turner, adding he made the call after Paragon had been picked for the project.

"What I recall saying is . . . if the roof doesn't go ahead, that's fine, but we can't build what we said we'd build in the bid because we're counting on synergies between BC Place as renovated and the new development," he added, recalling the conversation with (Kevin) Krueger, the minister responsible for BC Place.

"If you cannot proceed with the roof, no problem, but we'll have to downsize what we said we would do in the bid package," Turner added, recalling what he told Krueger during the phone conversation...

Interestingly, that is not how the then Campbell era Minister responsible for the BC Place renovations recalled the conversation:

...In (then Minister) Krueger's recollection, Turner had characterized the issue as a "deal breaker."

"He wanted to make me aware that was the fundamental consideration to Paragon and that their bid wouldn't proceed at the same level if it wasn't a retractable roof," Krueger said... Thursday...


Now, with that bit of history taken care of....

Just in case you had any doubts about which came first, the massive $500 million dollar expense for the roof, which was still supposed be only $100-150 million back in 2008, or the Casino-Industrial Complex that Paragon wanted to build ...Get a load of the following FOI-backed  conclusion from Ian Reid:

...(T)he discussion (with City of Vancouver officials in the Summer of 2008) ensured Paragon’s floor plate and commercial space needs were specifically accommodated in the final by-law amendments, often contrary to the City’s official position.
That deal was done eight months before the actual (PavCo/BC Liberal Government) procurement process for the development of the BC Place lands began...

You want my opinion...

Sure, Paragon wanted the fancy, non-inflatable roof so that folks could travel freely between the chili-bake-offs and the casino freely.

But I reckon the Campbellerians running this late period Golden Era operation very quickly figured that a measly $100 million for the roof just wouldn't make the nut when it came to justifying turning the North side of False Creek into Pottersville to help pay for it.

And thus, suddenly...Presto!

In the Fall of 2008 we had a soon to be sportsmedia-shillofied $365 million dollar (and very quickly thereafter a $500 million dollar, plus) BC Place roof/renovation that we didn't really need, but had to pay for, thus creating the 'need' that justified such a massive Casino/Hotel complex that was very quickly 'chosen' in the wake of a request for proposals call sent out by the Campbellerians soon thereafter in the Spring of 2009.

Which means, it would appear, that the Campbellerians learned a whole lot from BC Rail and the timing of things that had to be 'fixed'.

Prices, and otherwise.


Did I mention that another point that Mr. Reid has raised is the fact that another Campbellerian, and now Snooklandian, Minister, Mr. Pat Bell told the legislature, in May of 2010  “prior to the R(equest) F(or) P(roposals) there was no discussion of specifically what might go on that site, whether it be a casino or something of another nature..."
And, lest anyone who has been paying attention should forget....It was actually Sean Holman who did a whole lot of the original digging on this story...Mr. Fowlie and the VSun only got up to speed after they had their gong banged for 36 hours straight when the story first broke in the spring of 2010...And I'm telling you, those Holman/PublicEye archives are the gift that keeps on giving for anyone who wants to do a little digging of their own...Check this out.



North Van's Grumps said...

RossK said...

Thanks NVG.