Maybe. It certainly is a mess.
To recap, the BC Place redevelopment was supposed to cost $365 million when first announced in 2009. Then it was $458 million in 2010. By the time the project was completed the final number – excluding law suits etc… – was $565 million.
But taxpayers were off the hook. Development dollars attached to the redevelopment would pay the cost of roof.
Except they weren’t. The development that was cooked up in the backroom was Paragon’s Casino and the government forgot to run that by the citizens. They rejected it and the taxpayer was back on the hook.
But at least they had a deal with Telus. That would bring in some money to cover the loss; $40 million according to Pavco Chair David Podmore. And the deal was so solid Telus went ahead and spent $10 million to rewire the whole place to make it cutting edge digital.
Except the Clark government changed it’s mind and cancelled the deal, leaving a bunch of questions like
- Didn’t Pavco and Telus have an agreement in principle? And isn’t that why Telus went and spent the $10 million to refurbish the interior?
- How much will Clark’s change of mind cost taxpayers?
- Pat Bell is saying there are better ways of selling rights, like multiple naming rights. Will he release the studies? Are there any studies? Is the minister just dreaming in public?
- Did Pavco clear the Telus deal with the government? Did Cabinet just change it’s mind?
- How much will the government/Pavco owe Telus for the rewiring?
- Did the BC Liberal government agree to the deal on the basis that Pavco would use the money to pay off the loan that paid for the redevelopment when the Casino deal crashed.
- Is that why Podmore is asking the government to make Pavco whole on the $40 million?
- Will the Liberals release all the agreements so the public can evaluate how bad this screw up is?
A couple of days before the Telus announcement cancelling the deal, someone in the know told me “the Pavco story is a shambles.” I guess the biggest question is this: Can this government get anymore incompetent when it comes to wasting taxpayers’ dollars on the BC Place mess?