Casino at B.C. Place possible while PavCo has hands full with lawsuit

Mayor repeats promise against gambling expansion

Vancouver city council confirmed Tuesday that Edgewater Casino can move across Pacific Boulevard, but when and if it will happen remains unknown.

Community Services general manager David McLellan told council that no development permit has been received.

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"I understand (B.C. Pavilion Corporation) have continuing negotiations with Paragon (Gaming) as to how a relocation might be accomplished," McLellan said.

Council's rezoning allows Las Vegas-based Paragon to move Edgewater's 600 slot machines to a new hotel and casino complex proposed for the west side of B.C. Place Stadium. A heavily opposed expansion bid for 1,500 slot machines was unanimously defeated in April and Mayor Gregor Robertson reiterated his promise Tuesday against gambling expansion. Paragon president Scott Menke said last spring that the $450 million project relied on 1,500 slot machines.

PavCo was hoping to lease land to Paragon and sell the stadium's naming rights to Telus to finance part of the $563 million renovation, but both revenue streams are in limbo.

The Crown corporation is involved in a multi-million-dollar cost overruns legal battle. PavCo responded Nov. 21 to the $6.5 million B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit by French cable installer Freyssinet against Quebec steel supplier Canam Group.

"If the plaintiff is entitled to a lien against the lands, which is denied, then the plaintiff is not entitled to lien in the amount claimed," said PavCo's court filing, claiming liability is limited to 10 per cent of the work done and materials supplied by general contractor PCL Constructors Westcoast.

Defendant Canam fought back Nov. 18 with a $26.15 million countersuit against Freyssinet. The subcontract was supposed to be $30.12 million, but Canam claims Freyssinet caused it to nearly double by breach of contract and negligence.

"Freyssinet failed to perform the cable work in a proper, workmanlike and timely manner or in accordance with applicable standards and customs of good workmanship and engineering," said the Canam filing.

Freyssinet "significantly underestimated" the cost, time, manpower and number of tools needed for the cable erection and supplied materials and equipment that were "inadequate, deficient and at times dangerous," claims Canam, whose Structal division did the B.C. Place work.

Canam claims Freyssinet chose an alternate method of construction and used devices for attaching and lifting roof support cables that either broke or failed.

WorkSafeBC recorded at least two incidents: a crane's pendant bar got hung up on a temporary support cable on Sept. 27, 2010 and a cable net crashed to the ground during installation on Dec. 3, 2010.

Canam said it hired Freyssinet because it represented itself as the "preeminent company" in design, supply and installation of cables for cable-stayed structures, but Freyssinet instead took advantage of Canam's lack of expertise.

The showpiece retractable roof remained shut during Sunday's 99th Grey Cup despite calm weather. Crews took advantage of dry weather to patch the roof after storms caused more leaks.

PavCo's public relations agency Pace Group hosted several formal media tours during the renovation and a public open house on July 31. No similar event has been held since the Sept. 30 reopening. Likewise, neither Telus nor Cisco have actively promoted their pioneering technology installation.

2010goldrush@gmail.com

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