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Don’t try to turn a sow’s ear into silk purse

Victoria is starting to backpedal on the infamous roof for B.C. Placethat would have cost almost three times the original $126-million pricetag for the entire stadium.

That $365-million roof has sprung a leak.

Victoria is starting to backpedal on the infamous roof for B.C. Place that would have cost almost three times the original $126-million price tag for the entire stadium.

Tourism Minister Kevin Krueger has been more incoherent than usual on this one, but it appears the project is on hold, and at least one source is reporting the swell new retractable dome planned for the Vancouver Whitecaps Major League Soccer debut in 2011 is kaput.

If it turns out to be true, the recession has thankfully prevented at least one wretched excess.

I’m sorry, but a $365-million roof when that money is needed to take care of Granny should never have been on the table. It’s just too bad the recession didn’t descend in time to knock out the $1-billion convention centre.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to capital projects, just capital projects that are too rich for our blood. It makes sense to unplug the bottleneck at the Port Mann Bridge and make it transit-friendly; it makes very little sense to build palaces for meetings at a time when conferences are going online, and it makes no sense at all to spend more than one-quarter of a billion dollars on a retractable roof in a place that gets 1,200 millimetres of rain over 147 days of the year.

Fix the roof so the Lions and Whitecaps and their fans stay dry but don’t try to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

We have to stop thinking that taxpayers have an endless supply of dollars to throw at these monumental monstrosities. We’ve been tricked into thinking that money comes from Victoria and Ottawa when it really comes from Kitsilano and Capilano Road.

I don’t mind paying taxes, but I don’t understand why I had to buy the tourism industry a Lexus when it could make do with a PT Cruiser, or why I have to buy Bob Lenarduzzi a Rolex when a Timex takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

It’s about time we let the air out of the grand sense of entitlement that has sucked the economy dry over the last decade. If we play it right, we can recapture virtue out of necessity and start thinking about all these billions as what they really are: The sweat equity of millions of people who get up every morning and go to work.

The last thing they need is a retractable roof.

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