“PavCo is committed to repaying the project costs through development of adjacent lands”.
BC Government News Release, October 23, 2009
“Podmore said council’s rejection does not at all affect PavCo’s $563-million renovation of the stadium and its new roof. “No, we’ve explained that repeatedly. It doesn’t have any impact on the roof. The roof is fully budgeted at the present time and it will proceed and be completed as planned.”
“Podmore has said in the past PavCo needs to raise $75 million from the development of the lands around the stadium to repay a provincial roof loan, but that it could be found from other sources if the casino wasn’t approved.”
Vancouver Sun, April 20, 2011
You see the difference in the above two statements? In cards, it’s called sleight of hand. Here’s what it adds up to when it’s another failed BC Liberal mega-project:
PavCo and the BC government are trying to fudge the truth about who’s paying for the roof.
Here’s the truth. The government and PavCo promised taxpayers that they wouldn’t be on the hook for the exploding cost of the retractable roof. The promise – from the beginning – was that development revenues would pay for the roof, not general revenue.
Now the BC Liberals and PavCo are trying to say that the only money missing is $75million to repay a development loan that covers less than a fifth of the overall cost.
Why does it matter?
It matters because there might have been other choices for those tax dollars.
It matters because if the original choice was cast as it is now – taxpayers pay over $400 million for an unnecessary retractable roof that was chosen to support a dodgy casino deal – voters may have opted for different priorities.
If Christy Clark was really about change, she’d be working on coming clean on this deal now.
Here are some first steps – release the mythical BC Place Stadium business plan, come clean on the financing, release the details of the PavCo negotiations with the city in 2008, release the details of BCLC’s negotiations with Paragon and commission an independent study of potential development revenues that can support an honest business plan that best protects taxpayers’ interests.
That would be real change from the Campbell years. Given today’s reactions from Podmore and Clark I’m expecting more of the same.