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The NDP Wants to Sell BC Place – Is Their Reason Justified?

For sale: One recently renovated, barely used and overpriced stadium. Well that’s how NDP  leader Adrian Dix  described the dome. During a press conference, he announced that if elected,  he would appoint a panel to scrutinize crown corporation PavCo with a view of selling BC Place stadium.

“We have priorities, and this is a time – in difficult times – when government has to focus on the fundamentals. Retractable roofs and stadium management are not [fundamentals]. If the private sector can do a better job running BC Place stadium, while freeing taxpayers of millions of dollars of losses and reducing the debt, we’ve got a win-win and we will pursue that.”

As you may recall, the renovations to BC Place (completed in 2011) cost the province $519 million. Add the $883 million expansion of the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, Dix argues that the projects are “examples of misplaced priorities of the Liberal government.” in which he does have a point. The stadium is currently home to the BC Lions & Vancouver Whitecaps and hosts the odd concert and trade show here and there but still finds itself in a net debt of $1.2 billion according to PavCo’s 2012 financial statements.

Current revenues just aren’t enough to ‘justify’ the cost to us taxpayers. Rumors are currently swirling the NHL will host the Winter Classic featuring the Canucks at BC Place next April along with the CFL hosting the annual Grey Cup 2014 here, but even major events like that won’t help the financial situation. Dix has pointed out the stadium will be operating on losses of $60 million over the next three years.

“BC Place has left taxpayers with a mountain of debt, I believe we have to take a close look at whether that’s a business we should be in.”

Dix makes a few good points, but is it worth letting BC’s biggest stadium go? Share your thoughts below

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