B.C. government says stadium upgrades needed to bring in high-profile events

British Columbia’s provincial government is pitching repairs to B.C. Place in Vancouver for hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup as much needed and a way for the venue to hold more events in the future, but isn’t able to give a cost estimate.

The B.C. Pavilion Corp., the Crown corporation that operates the publicly owned stadium, has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to hire a consultant for the work.

It underwent a previous $514 million renovation in 2011, which satisfied hosting duties for the 2015 Women’s World Cup final.

Tourism and Sports Minister Lana Popham said in an interview that the repairs would help bring high profile acts to the venue.

“B.C. Place is a huge attraction, a huge facility for the province and we see events coming here just because of its size. So if we had anything smaller, we wouldn’t have been able to attract Taylor Swift, for example,” she said.

“Those upgrades are needed.”

PavCo’s RFP for a construction manager indicates B.C. Place, which turned 40 this year, will need more VIP suites and hospitality space on the stadium’s third level, an upgrade to food-court concessions, renovation of washrooms and installation of more elevators.

Renovation proposals aim to improve accessibility

The work will also help improve accessibility, said Popham.

“I’m really looking forward to having a further discussion with B.C. Place around the accessibility because obviously the reason why they’re wanting to upgrade the accessibility features is probably to attract different kinds of events,” she said.

“And we know that Invictus Games is coming in 2024 and that is all about accessibility.”

The renovations will also include a walkway connecting the stadium to Parq Vancouver hotel and casino.

The construction manager will need to have completed one project of $50 million or greater in construction value within the past 10 years; have completed three additional projects of $10 million or greater in construction value within the past 10 years; among other requirements.

Working towards 2026 FIFA World Cup

PavCo bills the stadium as a significant structure in the province.

“B.C. Place is an architectural signature for the province and is the largest sports, exhibition, and entertainment venue of its kind in British Columbia,” the RFP says.

“All upgrades and renovations under consideration are either requirements from FIFA or accessibility upgrades necessary to meet new benchmarks set in relation to the Accessible British Columbia Act,” Jenny McKenzie, B.C. Place’s senior manager of marketing and communications, said in a statement.

“PavCo is working closely with FIFA and other partners to determine what the essential needs are and balancing those requests with prudent fiscal management.”

The FIFA World Cup 2026 will be jointly hosted by Canada, the United States and Mexico with matches held in select host cities across North America.

It’s not yet known how many games B.C. Place will host.

In 2022, the government estimated that it could cost $240 million to $260 million to host the World Cup in Vancouver, with hosting expected to bring in more than $1 billion in new revenue to B.C.’s tourism sector during the tournament and in the five years following, depending on the number of matches played in Vancouver.

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