Pavco Chair David Podmore overlooks the BC Place re-development – see video
David Podmore describes himself as "not political." Those who've worked with him over the years, and the effort he spends to make sure all sides – labour, business, community – are treated equitably, will know that to be true.
So how come David has wound up in one of the biggest political minefields in Vancouver's recent history? Clearly, he's someone who likes a challenge.
A few years ago, Podmore was brought in to rescue the troubled and deeply over-budget Vancouver Convention Centre. When it was launched the reaction from the general public was overwhelmingly supportive. So it will be with the newly BC Place complex – at least that's what the PavCo board chair hopes.
In the above exclusive video taken on a media tour in early November, David Podmore stops to answer a few questions from CityCaucus.com:
- How will the stadium's relationship to the surrounding neighbourhood change?
- How many people will be employed during construction and beyond?
- How will the stadium upgrade be paid for?
- What will the user experience be like inside the new stadium as far as food services and other comforts?
Podmore enthusiastically responds to what he sees are Vancouver's opportunities of a revived BC Place development. Certainly the tens of millions in revenue as well as the jobs generated by expanded activity in the stadium is something Vancouverites should welcome. Podmore predicts over forty new events happening in the stadium annually, mainly because the new roof will allow more activity in summer.
As head offices take a pass on Vancouver, and the future economic growth seems to occur increasingly on the other side of Boundary Road, it's the large entertainment facilities, hotels and restaurants that are helping to keep Vancouver's struggling economy afloat.
The new BC Place roof is dismissed by some as an eyesore. There are those though, such as Coun. Suzanne Anton and urbanist Gord Price, who celebrate the new roof's grand masts and cable work. In fact, Anton argues that one of the great drawbacks of the proposed hotel and casino is the fact that it blocks the view of the new stadium.
If the location was zoned for taller towers, however, it would not probably have to be so.
Does any of this have to do with the Paragon casino development? Yes and no. Clearly, Podmore thinks he and the PavCo board have made the right decision on choosing Paragon as the casino and hotel developer. He explains that the expanded casino still only takes up one-eighth of the new hotel and retail complex.
[Note, due to noise around the construction site some of Podmore's statements are a little tricky to hear. Near the end of the interview he describes "canopies" being set up outside as coverage around the three main entrances of the stadium, set in place for weather protection of crowds.]
For those who are opposed to the casino development, changes at BC Place likely won't matter a whit. For the rest of the city, and the city council who represents them, we'll see if David Podmore's arguments will hold any water.
- post by Mike. Follow @MikeKlassen on Twitter.