This is an article published at In-Sights in 2009. Pretty much the same Liberal gang has been making decisions on the $9 billion Site C dam. Is there any reason they deserve our confidence?
The 2009 BC Liberal platform makes broad promises and one of them provides the title for this piece. Their platform offers this additional reassurance:
. . . expenditures, backed up by a detailed business plan for every ministry. But our record shows that we have the competent team and credible plan to get it right.
Does that give you confidence tax dollars will be managed prudently? Perhaps we should examine BC Liberal announcements for one ongoing mega-project, BC Place Stadium.
- May 2006 – The stadium budget for capital improvements needed for the Olympics: $2.5 million.
- May 2008 – Premier Campbell offers a new vision for BC Place, including extensive renovations and a new roof. He provides no budget cost because that awaits “the full and detailed business plan.”
- November 2008 – Treasury Board announces, “PavCo will spend $365 million on significant deferred maintenance projects, interior refurbishments and a retractable roof for BC Place.”
- December 2008 – Pavco expects to reduce project costs because, “The current economic environment and rapid decline in key commodity prices suggests that costs are beginning to soften…The project is poised to take advantage of these trends.”
- September 2009 – BC Liberals say the $365-million BC Place revitalization budget is all inclusive, covering: renovations, fixtures, equipment, a new retractable roof, structural upgrades, deferred maintenance and seismic upgrades.
- October 2009 – BC Liberals announce the total capital cost will be $458 million for the roof alone, not including “interior refurbishments that have already been completed.” Including $55 million already spent, the cost now totals $513 million.
- October 2009 – BC Liberal Minister Kevin Krueger discloses that an additional $50 million is required for “deferred maintenance” and additional interior work, bringing the budget to $563 million.
- October 2009 – Minister Krueger admits, “The construction of the temporary stadium is not in the budget.” It is needed to house the soccer and football teams during renovation of BC Place.
So, this BC Liberal team of prudent managers, including Pavco CEO Warren Buckley – who last year earned a salary of $400,000 plus $197,438 bonus and other remuneration – watched a budget grow from $2.5 million to, perhaps, $600 million, without even starting construction.
Remember, this is the gang that brought the $495 million convention centre in for almost $1 billion. It is also the one that is grabbing gambling revenue promised to charitable groups and money needed to provide vital services to seniors and children.
Is that prudent management of your tax dollars? Well, I suppose soccer and Canadian football fans will be more comfortable during the 20 or so home games they will hold each year.
– Read more at the Vancouver Sun where Vaughn Palmer writes:
BC Place price tag may hit $600 m