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 February 08, 2001
Pattison Says Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Good For All B.C.

 Entrepreneur Jimmy Pattison has urged the federal government to put up some of the money to expand the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre. Pattison told expansion Task Force members and stakeholders that he believes the federal government stands much to gain from building on their investment in Canada Place.

"We put a team of our financial people and construction people together to look at the assumptions that the Task Force have put together with KPMG, and we believe that the business plan is sound. We don't think it's optimistic. We think it has reasonable assumptions, the numbers will work. The federal government, in my opinion, will get their money back and they'll get it back in a very reasonable period of time," said Pattison.

Over the last few weeks, the Convention Centre Expansion Task Force has held a number of meetings with federal and provincial government officials to formally ask for the $405 million required from government to begin construction. The tourism industry has pledged $90 million toward the total project cost of $495 million.

Pattison, largely credited with the success of Expo 86, emphasized the need for the expanded facility for Vancouver and British Columbia.

"We have to have it. We're in a competitive business and there are enormous convention centre projects in cities around the world that we compete with. I think that we have to move forward aggressively and I hope that all the people that are in the tourist business and out of the tourist business will support it," said Pattison. "What we've learned over the years is that when people come to Vancouver to an event or a facility, they go through the Province, they come back the next year, they tell their friends. And we can't get a better advertising tool than something like this."

The Convention Centre Expansion Task Force was formed to provide leadership, direction and focus that leads to a workable, industry-driven business plan for expansion of the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre which has federal, provincial and industry financial participation. The four founding members include Tourism Vancouver, PavCo, the Vancouver Hotel Association and the Vancouver Board of Trade.