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Head of Crown Corp that put new roof on B.C. Place to resign

The 36 masts now in place on BC Place in Vancouver February 7, 2011. Renovations to BC Place Stadium should be complete by Sept. 30, 2011, says BC Pavilion Corporation (PavCo).

JOHN LEHMANN/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

After steering an expansion phase that included putting a new roof on B.C. Place and expanding Vancouver's downtown convention centre, PavCo president and chief executive officer Warren Buckley plans to resign at the end of July.

In a statement Wednesday, PavCo chairman David Podmore praised Mr. Buckley's professionalism and leadership and cited the pace of the past few years as a factor in Mr. Buckley's resignation.

"Warren has been the right leader to guide us over the past four and a half years," Mr. Podmore said in the statement, adding that Mr. Buckley established an outstanding platform for PavCo's future operations.

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"I do understand that these past years have been challenging and exhausting, and therefore respect his decision to take some time for himself before accepting new challenges," Mr. Podmore said in the statement.

Mr. Buckley was at the helm of the $563-million renovation of B.C. Place, which involved moving the B.C. Lions to a temporary field while the new roof was installed. The refurbished stadium is now home to the Lions and the Vancouver Whitecaps.

A plan to rent space to a mega-casino next door to the stadium fell through, sunk by public opposition and city council's decision last year to rule out an expanded casino operation on the site.

A $40-million sponsorship agreement with Telus to name the facility also fizzled when the government nixed the deal earlier this year.

Mr. Buckley spent most of his career at PavCo, starting as a sales manager with B.C. Place and working his way through various management positions before becoming president and CEO in the mid-1990s.

After a stint in Singapore, he returned to PavCo in 2008 as president and CEO as the organization was under pressure to provide a showcase for the 2010 Olympic games and complete a project that had gone well over budget.

The convention centre expansion, completed at a cost of about $880-million compared with an original estimate of $495-million, opened in 2009.

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PavCo is involved in a court wrangle over a new float plane terminal at the expanded convention centre. The $21-million terminal, opened last year, is operating well below capacity as the biggest operator in the business, Vancouver-based Harbour Air, has refused to move to the facility, alleging that it is unsafe.

The developers of the new terminal, Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre, have filed a court action against several parties, including PavCo, alleging that it has not met the terms of a lease with VHFC. That case is before the court.

Mr. Podmore said PavCo's board is working on an orderly transition and would conduct a search for a president and CEO.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Wendy Stueck has covered technology and business and now reports on British Columbia issues including natural resources, aboriginal issues and urban affairs. More


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