Exclusive Video: David Podmore on BC Place's future

Post by Mike Klassen in

35 comments


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:

  1. How will the stadium's relationship to the surrounding neighbourhood change?
  2. How many people will be employed during construction and beyond?
  3. How will the stadium upgrade be paid for?
  4. 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.

35 Comments

When asked how it would be paid for--no mention of the casino project. Why is it now we're hearing the roof might not be paid for if the casino project is rejected?

G'mornin' Boo-there's nothing I like about this project. The roof is a $600 million dollar white elephant that wasn't needed. F'Chris' sake Jerry Jones state-of-the-art stadium in Dallas cost "only" $400 mil more. BC Place's roof could have been renovated for $100 mil or less. The whole thing stinks, the taxpayer is being milked like a cow and very few people benefit from either of these megaprojects. Meet me at RCH Tim Horton's and we'll discuss this further over coffee-oops I mean a gurney...

get your facts straight. It isn't 600 million for a roof. It is for a total renovation and thankyou to pavco for the lights and field turf out at the PNE.
The stadium needed a total refurb as it was outdated. I suspect the previous poster has never been to a concert, game, or trade show at the facility.

Cool video. Thanks! That roof is a win.

How nice that City Caucus runs 'videos' that skewer the current council for not doing enough for social housing, then run puff pieces on how great it is to spend big millions on a sports stadium.

LOL, couldn't help notice the word 'Vison' behind Podmore's hat at the 2:10 + time frame.

Sorry 'Vision'.

Someone close to Gordo the great is making big money off of us. The corruption in this province is off the charts!

"As head offices take a pass on Vancouver"

Telus will be moving their head office downtown as part of a 750 million dollar project.

Max, I likeD the 1.38 frame where it says 'VISION CRITICAL' sticking out of his silly hat. City Hall's VISION, Podmore's VISION and VISION in VANCOUVER are...CRITICAL.

Yuri,
Yes, thanks to Pavco for the Empire Stadium turf and lights, but I wonder why they sold the bleachers? Vancouver could use a stadium which was not as expensive and as much red tape hassle as Swangard. Does anyone from Park board know why this happened, or maybe why this is not a good idea? It seems to be an obvious place for a City serving sports venue.

I also understand that they are planning on having 30% of their workforce working from home by 2015.

Pumpkin
thought you might find this interesting..

http://vancouvernotvegas.ca/2011/03/ndp-gaming-critic-shane-simpson/

I see their (Telus) plan includes a 44-storey residential tower.

How did the fly through under the wire and what view corridors will it possible disrupt?

Other groups wanting to build towers in the downtown area are still going through a planning and approval process.

@Max... I think this says it all

Entwistle commits to ambitious 'Telus Garden' green mega-development in downtown Vancouver

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/Entwistle+commits+ambitious+Telus+Garden+green+mega+development+downtown+Vancouver/4411670/story.html#ixzz1G8rHIbCd

aww the best part...featuring 10,000 square feet of green roofs providing organic produce for local restaurants, two elevated roof forests,

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/Entwistle+commits+ambitious+Telus+Garden+green+mega+development+downtown+Vancouver/4411670/story.html#ixzz1G8rvEPh0

so I'm betting my Telus rates will go and my non existent customer service will get even worse to pay for this.... but the neighbors, get a garden...

@ Toowoozy

Telus/BC Tel have been in greater Vancouver for generations. There main office was across Boundary Road, but they've been in the location they're about to re-develop for years.

Helps that Entwistle makes his home in the west side too.

This would the first time in long memory any company of any substantial size chose Vancouver for a head office location. I suppose that all those Olympic tickets the city bought are finally paying off. LOL!

"expanded casino still only takes up one-eighth of the new hotel and retail complex."... Podmore fails to point out that this translates to the size of 2 football fields. If the roof is suppose to be paid by the monster casino, then the roof is being paid by a failing business model as 40 percent of casinos in the US have failed in the last couple of years (from last night's public council meeting). We can do better!

@George. Welcome to Portlandia, where no corporate announcement under Gregor's watch can happen without a rooftop garden and some honey bees. Can't believe my monthly phone bill is going to pay for this. Ridiculous. I'm switching to Bell this afternoon.

"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"

And yet New York, Chicago, Calgary and Toronto DO have head offices.

What is Vancouver and the province of BC doing wrong?

Is this whole town to turn into nothing but a shlockfest for a bunch of Lost Boys?

Roof, renovation, tomayto, tomahto...whatever. It's lipstick on a pig-very expensive lipstick. As for the personal attack, I've been a BC Lion's fan since 1963, sometimes seasons ticket holder and have been to more concerts at BC Place than I can remember, thank you kindly.

There are a number of reasons Vancouver is not at the top of to many lists:

1) time zone 3 hours out of the loop;
2) history of labour unrest;
3) removed from the capital markets of the east and Europe (note Boeing moved to Chicago for that reason);
4) historically to small and isolated;
5) victim of mergers and acquisitions (Mac Blo);
6) history of high taxes (changed in the last few years).

If there is history and a fit, which there is for Telus, Vancouver can make sense.

Switch, but not to Bell. They're the worst.

Yuri,
What kind of paint thinner are you inhaling? Watch any of the games in Europe, soccer games; biggest clubs in the world in there from Barcelona to Man United, they play rain, snow or shine regardless, how many of those clubs sink monies into a stadium roof?...
Exactly!
Only in BC.

@Ned:

So when the roof is decaying what do you expect be done???? Leave it because that is what 'European' countries do? News flash - this is not Europe.

Nothing lasts forever, yet, many seem to think that is the way it should be and never want to make the investment to fix a problem before it becomes more expensive in a year or two. Costs of materials and labour are only going to go up, so you either take the plaunge now and whine about the costs or that the plunge in a year or two and have even more to cry about.

More concerts, sporting events (2015 Women's Soccer), tradeshows will be hosted in the revamped stadium.

Which means both the city and the province recieve more tax dollars. And, other businesses in the downtown core will also reap the benefits.

Now it is a wait and see whether Paragon or the Vancouver citizens will be paying for the new roof.

Regardless, it had to be done.

"Now it is a wait and see whether Paragon or the Vancouver citizens will be paying for the new roof."

lol as if that's a question!

Boo,

Vancouver citizens will pay for the roof either way. Directly with our taxes or more selectively via the 3 times a week, $125 a night Vancouver gamblers. It is absolutely critical to understand that the revenue to Pavco to pay for the dubiously needed roof is not coming from Paragon, but from the 3 times a week, $125 a night Vancouver gamblers. Paraguay is only the conduit.

You either do a cheap roof reno or you replace the whole thing. $600 mil on a stadium that is already almost thirty years old is a $600 mil waste.

@ boohoo;

When the roofing project was first announced it was directly tied to the casino development as an offset in costs.

The final decision on whether the casino goes ahead will determine who will be paying for the revamped roof - Pargon, or the Vancouver txpayers.

This decision should go to referendum. It will allow all Vancouver taxpayers the ability to have their say and it will take it out of the hands of the politicians.

There are people both for and against this project, but with politicians in a lot of instances, the squeaky wheels seem to get the grease.

ie: Hornby St. bike lane

@ Gerry:

Much of the insides are being replaced, not just the roof.

There is new seating going in - larger seats to accomodate the bigger bums we seem to be growing.

I can just imagine the comments if this stadium was taken down to the ground to be built up at an even larger cost to the taxpayers. People would be bitching and complaining about why the general structure was not kept and only the necessary upgrades made.

People are already up in the air over the $600 M that may have to be spent by taxpayers. What would it cost to replace the entire structure? $1 - $1.5+ billion?

"When the roofing project was first announced it was directly tied to the casino development as an offset in costs."

Really? When they announced the new roof they said 'and this will be paid for by the new casino development'? Really?? The casino development that hadn't yet been announced? Really???

Because I believe they announced the new roof in May 2008 and the City approved the new ODP for False Creek in October 2008.

So...is that wrong? Or...

Lets get this straight, Paragon is not paying for the roof, they are off setting the cost. The vast majority (500 million) will be picked up by taxpayers.

Max: Yes I understand Telus is like ALL employers worldwide where they are moving a fair portion of the operations to workers homes as a cost savings measure. My employer did it. The fact remains that this will be a 750 million dollar expenditure in the city of Vancouver. Which as Frank noted their old regional office in BURNABY will be losing out on, not to mention a fair portion of the Calgary operations will be shifting here as well.

I am not entirely apposed to the BC Place project, but I think we had WAY more pressing issue's that this gigantic sum of money could have been devoted to (Upgrades to BC Hydro infrastructure projects possibly, thus reducing cost stressors on working class British Columbians). I think there were way more cost effective strategies out there that would have been way more cost effective and more palatable to the public.

Boohoo...you are correct!

Unless...unless...that casino was being planned, well under the radar...in 2007...

Go see Bula's blog for some more info...

AND we haven't even started to talk about this roof:

---that was glowingly self-escribed by PavCo to vancouver City Council in 2008 as a "community ammenity", so bugger off, immediate area neighbourhoods, who may have wanted ammenities like parks. A little something to break up the concrete.

---and that this "community ammenity"---and the whole improvement of the stadium is owned and falls under the control of a BC Crown corp, which is...

---subsidizing professional sports teams by providing this upgrade and new roof!

Nowhere else in North America (not even Quebec!) are local taxpayers being asked to subsidize pro sports teams. It's a non-starter. That's one reason the expanded casino is supposed to be at BC Place.

So, you see, boo, how neatly wrapped is this package?

Sorry, Max doesn't change the analysis. A billion+ on a new one would have been a far better investment than $600 million on an old one. Which beggars the argument that a couple of hundred mil on repairs and renos was the max that was needed. This is a massive rip on the BC and Vancouver public.

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