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PAVCO RESPONSE TO INFORMATION REQUESTS FROM MEDIA D. Routley: The Premier has made claims to open government being one of her top three priorities, even telling the media that information belongs to the public. Yet on Friday we learned that investigative journalist Bob Mackin received a letter from PavCo telling him they have applied under the Freedom of Information Act to bar him from "frivolous and vexatious" claims to information. Does the Premier agree with this outrageous act by PavCo to silence one of its chief critics? Hon. R. Coleman: The individual that the member refers to has been making and has received some information with regards to information and privacy from PavCo. But the members opposite and the members of this House should know that he has 89 percent of all the requests of information and privacy at PavCo. It's a large volume of work, so they were finally to the point where some of it became ridiculously frivolous in their minds. They asked and they have gone forward to ask the commissioner for an opinion. Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental. D. Routley: It's about the public interest, an uncomfortable fact for the government. It was through these claims to freedom of information that the public found out about PavCo's hundreds of millions of dollars of overspending. It was only through these requests that the public knew this. Does the minister responsible for PavCo stand by the position that asking about massive cost overruns is frivolous or vexatious? [1410] Hon. R. Coleman: Mr. Speaker, through to the member opposite: first of all, Member, the first thing you'd like to do yourselves is try and get your numbers straight when you're actually making public comments. I've heard your members talk about the $100 million figure quoted for the roof for B.C. Place under PavCo's chair back in 2008. The member doesn't actually want to tell the rest of the story, which was about a pillow roof to replace exactly the same roof as was there before not a significant investment to actually redo the entire stadium, which this was. PavCo announced the final approved budget of $563 million for B.C. Place revitalization in October 2009. They did it for $514 million, well under budget, hon. Member. On top of that. Interjections. Hon. R. Coleman: I know you don't like these convenient facts. Your way of going about this, hon. Members is you would have torn it down. You would have spent over $1 billion to build a new stadium rather than spending $514 million for the jobs, opportunities and economic growth that it brings with a world-class stadium. It is now one of the top three stadiums in all of North America for about a third of the cost. S. Chandra Herbert: This is about freedom of information. This is about giving journalists access to information they need to do their jobs. I know the minister wants to focus on sports stadiums, but we're talking about work that the media needs done so that they can support our democracy. Under the Liberals, PavCo has had a history of mismanagement five times over budget, the Telus naming debacle,
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PavCo's floatplane fiasco, PavCo's botched casino deal, the convention centre going massively over budget. The list goes on and on. The Premier claimed that open government was one of her top priorities. Will she stand today and demonstrate that she actually puts action behind her words and tell PavCo to stop trying to ban the media from doing their job? Hon. R. Coleman: No sooner do I draw the parallel that members opposite, not having the facts and putting them out there. The member opposite gets up and says the wrong fact. He says it's five times over budget. It's not. That was about a different roof and a different time. Frankly, if you asked anybody about what you should do with B.C. Place, including your constituents, they would tell you that you should modernize it, that you should do something about it, and please don't put the same kind of roof on it because it's too tough to get displays in and out. It actually loses days of rent because of the fact you can't move things in and out, the way it was before. You wouldn't have had the Whitecaps, hon. Member, in that stadium at all if you hadn't done what you did to the roof. What we did is actually looked at a stadium and said that here are the options. One, we just put a roof on it spend $100 million and still have the unperforming building we had in the past. Two, we could tear it down, remediate the soil underneath it, spend a few hundred million dollars on that and probably spend a billion-something to build a new building. Or you could modernize the building, invest the money for $514 million, well under the budget for the building, and come out with a world-class stadium that ranks up in the top two in North America one of them being Dallas Stadium, which is worth somewhere around $1.5 billion and get it for $514 million. Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental. S. Chandra Herbert: Once again the minister dodges the question. Once again the Premier declines to stand up for open government. Last November the Premier appointed Peter Fassbender chair of PavCo. Recently she appointed Peter

Fassbender candidate for the Liberal Party. Now PavCo. [Applause.] Interjections. S. Chandra Herbert: Oh yes, that's right. Bring it on. And now, hon. Speaker, the entire Liberal caucus applauds for a man who chairs an organization that's trying to ban the media from doing their job. Will the Premier stand in this House and tell her PavCo chair, tell her recently appointed candidate to stop trying to ban investigative journalists from doing their job? Will she stand? [1415] Hon. R. Coleman: In section 43 of the act the independent officer of the Legislature can be asked to give an opinion with regard to FOI requests in consideration of the limitation of volume and what is being asked for. Eighty-nine percent of all the requests at PavCo coming from one source? Well, let me say this to you, hon. Member. I will not stand in this House and let you impugn the reputation of a friend of mine who I think has given a ton to public life in this province and who is a great chair of PavCo. Interjections. Mr. Speaker: Members.