British Columbia

BC Place Stadium leaks day before Grey Cup

The general manager of BC Place Stadium said it's actually a good thing that the new retractable roof is leaking on the eve of the Grey Cup football game.

New retractable roof was installed at a cost of $563 million

Water dripped onto the field at the 35-yard line the day before BC Place Stadium is set to host the 2011 Grey Cup football game. (CBC)

The general manager of BC Place Stadium said it's actually a good thing that the new retractable roof is leaking on the eve of the Grey Cup football game.

Howard Crosley, who manages the venue for PavCo, said a small leak appeared Saturday morning over the field at one of the 35-yard lines.

As of Saturday afternoon, 25 people were working on the roof, he said.

"The crews are up there and attending to it and fixing that, and [we're] hoping that if there are any others, they'll get a chance to fix those as well."

The leak appears to be coming from the silicone seal between a glass shelf and the fixed-panel roof, he said.

"It's not of any major concern. We are able to attend to them, and things are looking good for the game tomorrow."

He said the rehearsals for the halftime show are continuing Saturday night ahead of Sunday's big game.

The timing of the leak, he said, is actually fortunate.

"This turned out to be very good for us, because it's in advance of having all the people in the building tomorrow."

"For the most part, we've been waiting for a good rain so that we could see if there were any places where seals hadn't taken properly or where welds might not be properly done that would cause water to be able to get inside the building," Crosley said.

Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning for Metro Vancouver and other regions of the B.C. coast, and forecasts that anywhere from 50 to 100 millimetres will fall over Saturday and Sunday.

Leaks from the start

The BC Place Stadium was re-opened in September with a new $563-million retractable roof — and from the beginning it was plagued by small leaks.

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Water got through the week of the stadium's grand re-opening, but at the time CEO David Podmore had said it was to be expected.

Podmore told the CBC that six of the 36 beams were not sealed at the time: "When those are sealed it will be watertight."

Crosley said that since that time there have been a number of small leaks, and a bigger one on Thursday when a worker on the roof disturbed one of the weir drains and created a cascade of water.

"As with any new project, there's things that have to be worked through," Crosley said.

"When you have a retractable roof, there is the possibly that water will get through it. That's the style that it is," he said.

Crosley said that football is an outdoor sport, and the stadium intends to host outdoor-like games.

But, he stressed, the leak is over the field, not the stands. The areas where fans sit are all underneath the fixed portion of the panels, he said.

"There shouldn't be any leaks on the fans themselves."