Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Update on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic blunderdome

NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said the priority of taxpayer-owned B.C. Pavilion Corporation should be to immediately fix the latest woes that plague B.C. Place Stadium. He also said management should be re-evaluated because, for the second time in 15 months, management is under fire for a lack of training and procedures. The stadium is also cited in a City of Vancouver electrical bylaw order after a March 10 incident.

This time it's WorkSafe BC, the provincial workplace safety regulator, which charged Pavco under section 115(2)(e) of the Workers Compensation Act. Without proper training and procedures, the workplace is unsafe.

Pavco president Warren Buckley did his best to stick up for those working under him at the dome. So much that he claims they are properly trained... but maybe not so well-trained that he would dispute the findings of the WorkSafe BC investigation.

Bill Bennett, the Liberal cabinet minister responsible for Pavco and the stadium, didn't respond to interview requests via his East Kootenay campaign office or his office at the Legislature.

So where is VANOC in all of this?

Silent and too scared to talk.

The Vancouver Olympic committee moves in this November, after the B.C. Lions' Canadian Football Season is over, and occupies the stadium until late March 2010. I repeatedly phoned and e-mailed vice-president of communications Renee Smith-Valade and media relations director Chris Brumwell on Tuesday seeking an interview with CEO John Furlong, venue manager Ron Cameron and/or ceremonies producer David Atkins. None were made available to answer questions.

B.C. Place Stadium is where the Games will begin Feb. 12, 2010 and end Feb. 28, 2010. Those two events will draw the biggest TV audiences and rake-in the biggest ticket take for the entire Games. It is the most important spectator venue of the Games. It may be argued that it is the most important building in the province for the time being. Certainly VANOC must value the stadium and be concerned about how it's being operated? If another disaster like Jan. 5, 2007 happens during the Olympics, British Columbia will be the Most Embarrassed Place on Earth.

Is it just me, or does it appear there is a collective finger-crossing among the powers that be, as they hope and pray beyond all hope that the roof won't come down because somebody screws up?

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