Tuesday, December 6, 2011

B.C. Place's multimillion-dollar legal fiasco

A very messy legal battle is unfolding over the controversial $563 million renovation of B.C. Place Stadium, home of the Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions and the Major League Soccer chump Whitecaps.

Quebec-based steel supplier Canam Group slapped French cable specialist Freyssinet with a $26.15 million countersuit on Nov. 18. Read all about it here.

Canam's Structal division was responsible for the steel masts. It hired Freyssinet to supply and install the cables for the new retractable roof. Quite simply, the two companies couldn't get along. Now they're pointing fingers at the other, alleging bad management and shoddy workmanship.

This lawsuit has been festering since April, when Canam informed shareholders of a major cost overrun. B.C. Pavilion Corporation claimed it wouldn't cost taxpayers more, because the contract was fixed-price. This is what I reported then.

This is what I reported in August, as the reopening of the stadium rapidly approached and construction was going around the clock.

If you followed any of the roof leaks and box office and food and beverage service troubles during the reopening, the root cause of the rocky reopening was the Canam/Freyssinet conflict.

Had erection of the steel masts and attachment of the cables gone smoothly and according to schedule, the roof would have been fully installed by the start of summer and game day staff would have had several weeks of training inside the building before the Sept. 30 reopening. Workers could have leisurely done their best to make the new roof leak-proof, while days were long, sunny and dry.

Read the key court filings below.

Though unproven and untested in court, these filings lead to more questions than answers about the risky renovation.

What did PavCo and general contractor PCL know about the dispute?

When did they know the two important subcontractors were encountering major difficulties?

Why did taxpayers have to wait until lawsuits were filed to learn about these problems?

How much will the stadium ultimately cost taxpayers?

B.C. Place renovation lawsuit: Freyssinet Statement of Claim

B.C. Place renovation lawsuit: Canam Response

B.C. Place renovation lawsuit: Canam Counterclaim

B.C. Place renovation lawsuit: PavCo Response

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