British Columbia

BC Place retractable roof proposal still up in air

The provincial government says no decision has been made on the future of a retractable roof for BC Place Stadium.
This is an artist's rendition of the proposed retractable roof at BC Place. ((PavCo))

The provincial government says no decision has been made on the future of a retractable roof for BC Place Stadium, despite a newspaper report saying the project is going ahead immediately after the 2010 Paralympic Games end in March.

According to a story in the Globe and Mail on Wednesday, B.C. Lions owner David Braley and Vancouver Canucks owner Francisco Aquilini have expressed interest in partnering with the province to finance the project.

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts told CBC News on Tuesday evening that a final decision is still about four weeks away. The spokesperson could not say if Braley and Aquilini were involved in any negotiations.

Calls to both the B.C. Lions football team, who play in the stadium and Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team, who are planning to move into the stadium in 2011, were not returned.

No funding in place

Plans to replace the inflated roof were first unveiled in May 2008, but in the recent provincial budget there was no funding allocated to the project.

Artist's rendering of what the new roof on BC Place would look like. ((PavCo))

According to recent reports, Tourism Minister Kevin Krueger said that tax dollars would not be used to cover the rising cost of what was originally estimated to be a $200-million upgrade, but has since grown to an estimated $365 million.

The stadium is undergoing the first phase of that renovation — a $65-million interior renovation to prepare it to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Games in February.

The need to replace the white, puffy marshmallow roof that has dominated the city's skyline became apparent in January 2007, when the Teflon-coated covering tore open and collapsed, leaving the fabric flapping in the wind.

The 60,000-seat stadium located on the eastern edge of downtown Vancouver was built by the province in 1983 and is operated by the provincially owned B.C. Pavilion Corp.

That organization has previously proposed to raise funds for the re-development of the facility by developing condominiums and a new Vancouver Art Gallery on vacant land it owns adjacent to the stadium.