If you see people crawling around the roof of BC Place stadium, you’re not seeing things.
Well, you are seeing things, but, believe it or not, they’re real. That roof, which has cost a half a billion dollars and counting, still doesn’t work. It leaks, and some of the panels have been damaged by dripping lubricant.
The damage will cost somewhere between $1-$10 million. Based on the history of this project, I’d go with the higher end of the estimate. But don’t worry.
It’s on warranty — maybe.
The contractors and subcontractors are all suing each other. The Three Stooges are the contractors and they’ve hired the Marx Brothers as their lawyers.
Good luck with that.
Somebody (not me) wanted a retractable roof in a city where it rains 166 days of the year. So far the half-billion-dollar roof has been opened 10 times since the Whitecaps and Lions season began.
According to my calculations, that’s $50 million a rollback, although you can expect that to go down over the years as it continues to operate as an open-air stadium for nine or 10 days a year. It should pay for itself by the 24th century, or so.
Of course, it will take a bit longer because the province rejected a deal that would see Telus pay $1.75 million a year for the naming rights. It fell apart because Telus wanted the Telus sign to be bigger, so the province balked. Geez, for $35 million or so, who cares if they want a big sign?
There has also been a lot of loose talk about the stadium paying for itself, but it’s projected to run at a $49-million loss over the next three years, according to one report. If you’re still waiting for the good news, join the club.
It’s worth noting — over and over — that nobody asked us. The old roof fell in, and before you knew it we were on the hook for a replacement that cost more than four times the price of the entire stadium when it was built. The new one wasn’t even ready for the 2010 Olympics, which could have been the only excuse, lame as it is, for such an extravagance.
If this isn’t the biggest boondoggle in the history of Boondoggle Patch, I’ll eat my hat. And that’s no small sacrifice: I’ll need it the next time I go to a Lions or Whitecaps game, even if the roof is closed.
As I sit there, a puddle forming around me, my thoughts will naturally turn to all the other things we could have done with half a billion dollars, like save it for a rainy day.