Exclusive: B.C. government quietly awards Telus conciliatory BC Place supply deal

The B.C. government and Telus have quietly made a consolation deal after the Liberals made headlines earlier this year by reneging on its promise to ...

The B.C. government and Telus have quietly made a consolation deal after the Liberals made headlines earlier this year by reneging on its promise to give Telus naming rights to BC Place, Business in Vancouver has learned.

Telus spokesman Shawn Hall told BIV Thursday that the parties reached a supplier agreement in August, but he said the terms are confidential.

“Telus and PavCo have reached a positive agreement for the technology we installed during the BC Place renovations,” Hall said. “Telus will continue to provide services to BC Place and is looking forward to a continuing positive relationship.”

Neither Telus nor BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo) has issued a news release to announce the agreement. Telus is not included on the BC Place website’s corporate partnership page. PavCo CEO Dana Hayden did not respond to a BIV interview request.

Telus had an agreement with PavCo to rename the stadium Telus Park, and had gone so far as to have the exterior signs manufactured. The 20-year sponsorship deal, worth up to $40 million in goods and services and cash, fell through last February and led to the sudden resignation of Peter Brown from the PavCo board of directors on Febrary 13.

Telus installed 500 kilometres of fibre optic strands, more than 100 wireless sites, 800 wifi access points and 1,150 screens at BC Place. Telus CEO Darren Entwistle said on March 2 that the installation was worth up to $15 million.

The government has never offered a full explanation for its change of heart over the naming rights. Despite PavCo market research that indicated the Telus Park name would have been accepted by the public, minister responsible Pat Bell said in March that the BC Place name was “iconic” and that the Telus deal “did not provide the best value for taxpayers.” He claimed the lost revenue would be made up through advertising sales.

The sale of naming rights and a lease for a casino development were supposed to help Crown corporation PavCo repay a $150 million loan from government. Paragon Gaming still hopes to build a casino on the stadium’s west side, but was denied a bid in April 2011 to expand its existing Edgewater Casino licence.

Documents obtained by BIV show that the delay and eventual demise of the Telus naming rights agreement coincided with ongoing complaints by competitors Bell, Rogers and Shaw about the June 2011 direct award of a $1 billion, 10-year government-wide telecommunications contract to Telus.

Bell, Rogers and Shaw were bidding on some of the nine contracts that were tendered for more than two years before the government abruptly cancelled the process and awarded all the work to Telus. Shaw CEO Brad Shaw met with Premier Christy Clark in the Vancouver cabinet office on January 30, the same day that Shaw and Rogers’ appeals via the Vendor Complaint Review Process were denied. http://www.biv.com/article/20121114/BIV0112/121119987/exclusive-shaw-8217-s-beef-with-telus-prompted-ceo-to-meet-with

The renovation of the stadium was budgeted for $563 million, but in August the government said it cost taxpayers $514 million. The original, January 2009-announced budget was $365 million. The stadium’s main tenant is the Bell-sponsored Vancouver Whitecaps. The Lions, who host the  Calgary Stampeders in Sunday’s West final, are Telus-sponsored.



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