|November 01, 2001|
Vancouver Convention Centre Delay Stimulates Renewed Commitments
|The Task Force working to expand the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre (VCEC) says the project has not been cancelled despite the inability to secure the land by today's deadline. The Task Force, and the two senior levels of government, have until end of day November 1st to meet a $10 million payment toward purchase of the land. According to Task Force Chair Peter Armstrong, the government has acknowledged the strong business case but say the timing and economic conditions are not favourable. Hence, the $10 million payment will not be made today. "We have had tremendous support from Mayor Owen and Council. We've also had ongoing and significant encouragement from senior levels of government. Unfortunately, given the economic conditions in BC and Canada at this time, governments find it difficult to invest in a project of this magnitude. That said, everyone involved has repeatedly stated a firm belief that expansion is integral to the sustainability of BC's tourism industry over the long-term,"|
Tourism Vancouver President & CEO, Rick Antonson notes that the two bright spots on British Columbia's horizon, the 2010 Winter Olympics bid and expansion of the Convention Centre, come out of a community embraced tourism industry. Each proposal stands solidly on its own merit, though together they are a compelling promise for a strong tourism future. "Understandably we're disappointed in the delay of the convention centre expansion. This means a delay in the creation of thousands of new jobs for British Columbians. It means the continued loss of tens of millions of dollars in potential convention business for Vancouver each year," said Antonson. "No one is giving up though. The industry-led Task Force has invested over two years and $2.5 million dollars on the project development, including a solid business plan that has withstood the scrutiny and due diligence of very discerning people. We will find a way to secure the land to make expansion happen and to build our tourism industry. The next two years will be a challenging time of recovery for the tourism industry. Should a decision become related to a 2003 start, we would see the expanded Centre opening in 2007," said Antonson.
The Task Force has garnered the unprecedented support of 91 organizations throughout British Columbia as part of its Stakeholders Council. The Task Force has provided leadership, direction and focus that has led to an industry- driven business plan for expansion of the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre ("VCEC"). The business plan has been prepared on the premise that funding will be provided by the federal government, provincial government, together with an industry contribution of $90 million. The expansion of the Convention Centre will be on the Burrard Landing site and will be integrated with the existing VCEC.