When it rains, it pours: As CFL football teams battle their way towards Edmonton, workers in Vancouver are plugging away on the stadium that will host next year’s Grey Cup: BC Place. Specifically, on the $458-million retractable roof that will replace the old marshmallow.
The stadium project — which includes a flashy casino — was already a favourite target of critics due to the ever-escalating costs. It’s one of the largest stadium upgrades in the world and one of the 15 or so most expensive at about $900 million (including BC Place construction costs).
Provincial officials have given naysayers more ammunition with the recent admission that the new roof can’t close while it’s raining — or when winds exceed 60 km/h.
BC Place couldn’t support a metal retractable roof like the ones at Toronto’s Rogers Centre or Safeco Field down the road in Seattle. The new roof is fabric and rain would collect in the folds, leading to possible tears — the kind that rhyme with fairs.
While the elements will affect the players primarily (seats are covered whether the roof is open or closed), it’s somewhat alarming in a city where it rains nine months of the year and where weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable.
Zero-emissions zeitgeist: Vancouver is one of the greenest cities in North America, with a bicycle-riding mayor to match. When he’s not encouraging backyard chickens and green industry, he’s transforming vehicle lanes into bike lanes. But an unfortunate road collision last week offered a reminder that even clean energy has limits. An electric motorcycle in town as part of a world promotional tour dubbed the Zero Emissions Race collided with a 50-year-old cyclist, who was sent to hospital with broken ribs. The collision was well-documented by city media, including a TV cameraman who was on the back of the 750-kg motorcycle at the time of the crash.
One witness said she was “disturbed” at how fast the silent motorcycle was travelling in the residential area in the seconds before the collision. Silent, but thankfully not deadly.
Gordo’s long farewell: Amid rumours he was about to be pushed, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell stepped down earlier this month — well, kind of.
He’ll stay at the helm until a successor is chosen by the B.C. Liberal party on Feb. 26, making it hard for any contender within the party to distance themselves from the more unpopular bits of his legacy.
Days before leaving, Campbell left a parting gift of the second-largest personal income tax cut in the province’s history. Then he suspended the planned 15 per cent tax cut. Go figure.
James Kwantes, a former Advocate copy editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org