Thursday, February 7, 2013

Peanuts, popcorn, briefing notes... briefing notes

Pat Bell handed the reins of B.C. Pavilion Corporation to Rich Coleman in the Sept. 5 cabinet shuffle.

Bell added the labour ministry portfolio to his Jobs, Tourism and Innovation post. Deputy Premier Coleman already had energy, mines, natural gas, housing, gambling and liquor. 

Now he's also the boss of B.C. Place Stadium and the majordomo of the Vancouver Convention Centre. 

As ministers, they rely on briefing notes crafted by their staff, so they can stay in-the-know about the issues, programs and policies in their ministry and its agencies. See PavCo briefing notes from the summer and fall. 

Bell continued to have a small hand in the oversight of PavCo through fall, as he met frequently with interim CEO Dana Hayden to discuss the resurrection of the Telus Park naming rights for B.C. Place Stadium, which were flubbed in February 2012 over the aftermath of the billion-dollar, government service deal gone wrong.

So what were the spin doctors telling Bell and later Coleman to say?

Aug. 10: B.C. Place Technology Supply Agreement 
Here 'tis, confirmation that "PavCo has purchased the technology infrastructure installed in B.C. Place from Telus." (I've reported on this since November.) But, sadly, they won't tell us how much of our money was paid to Telus. "The total value of the agreement to purchase technology infrastructure installed by Telus is (censored)." Maybe Auditor-General John Doyle can extract that information in his fact-finding mission about the mysterious business plan and the escalating budget? 

Sept. 13: Coal Harbour Residents Opposed to the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre Terminal
Speaks for itself.

Oct. 2: $514M Renovation vs. B.C. Place Economic Activity 
PavCo tries to paint the lipstick on the stadium pig, claiming it came $49 million under the $563 million budget and downplaying the Jan. 9, 2009-announced $365 million all-in budget. Your humble servant is named in this one.

Oct. 4: PavCo Chair Recognition Ceremony
PavCo spent "less than" $4,000 on chairman David Podmore's farewell attended by 35 guests including Pat Bell and downtown MLA Mary McNeill. "Donations were received from Centerplate and Pace Group." That's the BC Liberal-attached public relations company that has multiple government contracts and was deeply involved in the civic NPA campaign in 2011. That's the same Podmore who refused my interview requests during his last week on the job in the end of September.

Oct. 11: Possible Roof Leaks at B.C. Place
They weren't just possible, they actually were happening and continue to happen! Much of this briefing note is censored for "policy advice or recommendations." Isn't that odd? Briefing notes, by their very nature, contain policy advice and recommendations. When it comes to B.C. Place roof leaks and all things PavCo, it's nothing to see here, move along. (Pssst., put Oct. 21 on your calendar, for the beginning of the 100-day B.C. Supreme Court trial between the stadium's steel and cable contractors. PavCo is a defendant. Getcha popcorn!)

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