When the budget got increased from $365 million to $563 million in 2011, numerous negative comments were made regarding careless public spending. But only now it has been revealed that initially the price tag on BC Place revamp was to be within $100 million.
Technically it was always going to be a challenge, with only one roof of this kind existing in Frankfurt. But it seemed inevitable especially after the 2007 accident, when membrane dome of BC Place was deflated and fell onto the stands (video below).
The retractable membrane roof based on one in Frankfurt was selected already in 2008 as the ground’s operator BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo) assured city authorities that it would be the best option.
As works were in an early stage in January 2009, official budget was announced at $365 million. But when contractors were close to delivering the renovated venue, information of increase to $514 million (eventually, $563 m) was released, prompting criticism over what seemed to be too much for a new roof and minor revamp of the stands.
If that was seen as outrageous, then no wonder that current revelations sparked even bigger astonishment among some citizens and commentators. As a blogger revealed by obtaining a letter from 2008, the operator had assured city authorities back then, that the project should be done within… $100 million.
"I think the public will be outraged, that they tried to claim up to the end that it was on time and on budget," NDP opositionist Spencer Chandra Herbert told Business in Vancouver. "They have still not provided any convincing business case – any business case, really – to show that the BC Place roof project was the best value for taxpayers."