Chair casts blame on construction environment
jared ferrie/metro vancouver
The expanded Vancouver Convention Centre will come in almost $400 million over budget, according to a progress report released yesterday.
David Podmore, chair of the project’s board, blamed ballooning budgets on skyrocketing construction costs.
”This is a large, difficult, complex construction project in a complex construction environment,” he said, pointing to a labour shortage and the rising cost of materials.
Others accused politicians and officials of mismanaging a project that has seen projected costs jump from $495 million in 2003 to $883 million, the figure announced yesterday.
“I think it’s about time someone was held accountable,” said NDP Olympics critic Harry Bains.
He pointed out that the government has repeatedly changed its final estimate for the project, and said he wouldn’t be surprised if the price tag rose again.
Canadian Taxpayers Federation spokeswoman Maureen Bader also accused officials of mismanagement, adding that major construction projects like the Canada Line and the Sea To Sky highway are on budget.
Tourism, Sport and Arts Minister Stan Hagen said there are already 54 conventions worth $1 billion booked to 2011. Twenty-nine of those would not happen without the expansion.
“The cost of not building this project would have been worse,” he said.