Monday, January 23, 2012

Bell chimes in on B.C. Place screen flap

Finally, the British Columbia government reveals the response by Pat Bell, minister responsible for B.C. Place Stadium, to Mayor Gregor Robertson on the controversial B.C. Place Stadium advertising screens.

These are the screens that the Vision Vancouver majority city council calls "not in compliance." They refuse to use the plain English expression "too big, too bright."

Bell claims in the reply to Robertson's Oct. 24, 2011 letter that B.C. Pavilion Corporation has reduced operating hours of the Beatty Street sign (at Terry Fox Plaza) and claimed neighbours complained during the testing phase "when it was brighter than planned." He claims the screen was dimmed by 50 percent during the day and 20 percent in the early evening. Similar dimming occurred on the outdoor screens that face the Cambie Bridge and Georgia Viaduct.

The Bell letter (below) was typed Nov. 23, 2011. Kevin Quinlan, Robertson's assistant, said it was received Dec. 12, 2011.

The signs, as I reported in the Vancouver Courier, are owned and operated by Telus. Telus was supposed to become the naming rights sponsor of the stadium. Bell continues to ignore my requests for an interview. So I'll make it easy for him:

How far above the $563 million budget did renovation costs escalate? Is it a $10 million overrun... $50 million... $100 million... $200 million?

How much does PavCo owe Telus?

And what about that lawsuit between Freyssinet and Canam?

There is a comments box below, Mr. Bell. You can also email or Tweet me.

Over to you, Mr. Bell.

PavCo Responds to Mayor

Clark jobs propaganda: $866,697 and counting

This isn't a handshake, this is a blog showing Premier Christy Clark's jobs and families plan in action!

Yes, she's spending taxpayers' dollars to support jobs at advertising agencies and (mostly) radio and TV stations. She's trying to prop-up her floundering popularity with propaganda. It's the British Columbia way. The Social Credit Party started doing this in the 1980s, the NDP thought they turned it into a fine art in the 1990s and then the Liberals came along and have been at it for more than a decade.

If you've been watching National Football League playoffs, you've seen the latest ads ad nauseam. The Liberals know this is so sensitive that they don't want to tell you or me about how many millions of dollars of advertising time has been booked for these ads in the weeks and months to come.

On Dec. 14, 2011, I filed a Freedom of Information request seeking the advertising plan, including budget and expenditures, for creation, production and placement of ads.

Below is the single-page document I received on Jan. 18, 2012, showing that $866,697 had been spent. The ads were created by Cossette and the media buyer is Vizeum. The campaign is far from over. And I am not done trying to find out exactly how much this campaign will cost.

The B.C. government spends about $30 million a year on advertising. Government has a legitimate reason to advertise information about public services, but B.C. is known for wasting millions of dollars on glitzy image campaigns intended to heighten the profile of the party in power.

Notice how the memo provided me was dated Dec. 22, 2011, but the response was dated Jan. 18, 2012.

Did Clark give jobs to families of sloths?

$866,697 and counting

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