Robson Square name up for sale to corporate sponsor

Vancouver mayor writes stern letter to PavCo over B.C. Place sign

For the second time since the 2010 Winter Olympics, the provincial government is trying to sell Robson Squares name to a corporate sponsor.

Complex operator Shared Services B.C. published a Nov. 25 request for proposals seeking a marketing professional to introduce an advertising partner to the province. Dec. 19 is the bid deadline.

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The government hopes to sign a three-to-five year deal with a company or individual whose main business does not sell alcohol, tobacco, weapons or pornography or harm the environment.

The bid document states that City of Vancouver sign bylaws will be observed.

In early October, residents near B.C. Place Stadium complained that the Terry Fox Plaza advertising screen was too big and too bright, prompting Mayor Gregor Robertsons stern Oct. 24 letter to B.C. Pavilion Corporation minister Pat Bell.

Minister, I would ask that you direct your officials at PavCo to look seriously at the concerns of the citizens who are neighbours of B.C. Placebring your signage into compliance with our bylaw and address the issue of the stadium lights, said Robertsons letter, obtained via Freedom of Information. This is an area of the city where there are innovative plans for further development, and it is essential that we keep the public fully engaged and supportive.

The B.C. Enterprise Corporation Act puts the stadium under provincial jurisdiction, but Robertson wrote it has been our assumption that, on issues related to the local community, PavCo would work hard to be a good neighbour.

NDP critic Spencer Chandra Herbert grilled Bell in question period Nov. 17 for disturbing neighbours and dishonouring the Terry Fox memorial. Bell conceded that there were challenges with the technology implemented in the stadium.

PavCos been working with the City of Vancouver to ensure that were working within the structure of the approved bylaws, Bell claimed.

Community services general manager David McLellan told Robertson at city council on Nov. 29 that they havent approached us to have any discussions of any sort on removal or adjustment of those signs.

Its outrageous [Bell] would mislead the assembly like that, said sign foe David Cookson. You dont put giant advertising screens in front of peoples glass houses.

Robertson, city manager Penny Ballem and city councillors were among almost 300 PavCo invitees to the stadium's Sept. 30 reopening.

The guest list included Paragon Gaming CEO Diana Bennett, president Scott Menke and vice-president John Cahill and Edgewater Casino general manager Lynn Holt. Ex-Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Excalibur executive Holt was hired in March. City council denied Edgewaters expansion bid in April, but approved its relocation and connection to B.C. Place in the first post-election meeting.

Also invited were a who's who of the Vancouver developers, including Canucks and Rogers Arena owners Luigi, Francesco, Roberto and Paolo Aquilini, Concord Pacifics Terry Hui and Canadian Metropolitan Properties Daisen Gee-Wing.

B.C. Hydro chairman Dan Doyle and CEO Dave Cobb and the Liberal caucus were invited. NDP MLAs declined invitations, but MPs Don Davies and Libby Davies were listed.

Telus CEO Darren Entwistle and vice-president of large complex contracts Ferdi Schell were among seven invited executives of the telecom that supplied the stadium's technology and was supposed to buy naming rights. Earlier Sept. 30, Premier Christy Clark announced the company's $1 billion, 10-year government supply deal.

Clark and Bell joined PavCo chairman David Podmore and the Crown corporation's board in the exclusive B.C. Place Suite. Ex-Premier Bill Bennett, CKNW talkshow host Bill Good and widows of developer Jack Poole and original B.C. Place chairman Alvin Narod were invited. Lobbyist and Liberal campaign strategist Patrick Kinsella was on the bigger list, but spotted in the B.C. Place Suite at halftime.

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