Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Grease is the word at B.C. Place Stadium

Yet more troubles with the new roof at B.C. Place Stadium, where taxpayers are on the hook for the renovation budgeted at $563 million.

You probably know that the naming rights deal with Telus, worth $40 million in goods, services and cash, was cancelled. The announcement came March 7, but it actually got kiboshed last month. B.C. Place workers were finally issued uniforms with the B.C. Place logo after being given generic shirts and jackets before the Sept. 30, 2011 reopening.

The Telus installation of video screens, wifi and mobile phone antennas, and its Optik TV was supposed to be free and counted toward the $40 million total. Telus is negotiating an official supplier agreement, but you can bet the company is asking for the government to buck up for the $10 million to $15 million of goods and services provided. Telus was snubbed. Taxpayers lose.

What you may not know is the story that the B.C. government and B.C. Pavilion Corporation don't want you to know. The elephant in the room, so to speak. There are more troubles with the roof.

Grease has leaked from the roof support cables and damaged the fabric roof. The cost to fix it could be up to $10 million, a B.C. Supreme Court judge heard on March 6. I broke the story March 6 in Business in Vancouver. Read it here.

The problem was identified before the roof fabric was installed. The documents below are proof. Will it be covered under warranty? If roof panels need to be replaced this summer (the driest part of the year, how will that affect the Vancouver Whitecaps and B.C. Lions?

Neither PavCo chairman David Podmore nor CEO Warren Buckley made themselves available for an interview. Buckley, I am told, was traveling. My request to inspect the damage was not fulfilled.

PavCo's Duncan Blomfield downplayed the problem. PavCo has consistently downplayed problems with the stadium since it called the snow-caused roof rip and collapse of Jan. 5, 2007 a "controlled deflation."That incident was the catalyst for the most-expensive, non-essential public building renovation in the province's history that was never debated or put to a vote in the Legislature.

Blomfield claimed damage is covered by the contractor's warranty, will cost less than $1 million to repair and won't compromise events. I'm not sold on that. If there are not direct costs, there will be indirect costs. What happens if roof fabric has to be replaced this summer or next, during the busy sports events season?

We may have to wait for the court case in October 2013 between steel contractor Canam and cable installer Freyssinet to find out the truth. (Read all about the multimillion-dollar legal battle, in which PavCo is listed as a defendant, here.) Unless Auditor General John Doyle wants to probe the expensive project first.

The stadium has three types of roof material: Tenara is the retractable portion in the centre; Sheerfill and Fabrasorb are the fixed portions that comprise the majority of the surface. They are also the most susceptible to grease damage, according to the revealing report below. PCL Constructors Westcoast, the general contractor, knew about the leaks in November 2010, many months before the fabric was finally applied. Shade Worldwide, the supplier of Sheerfill and Fabrasorb, warned that grease would permanently stain the roof.

Click here to watch the March 7 Global TV News story by Marisa Thomas and read the documents below. B.C. Place has a bigger problem far bigger than the lack of a corporate name on its shingle.

FOI 200 Shade World - REDACTED-Mackin

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