Friday, January 16, 2009

Take a number

Nortel Networks' list of creditors is on file in the State of Delaware and VANOC is among the cast of thousands. It was assigned creditor number 1000046184 and is between ES Thailand and BNS ASCOM - Italy. The Government of British Columbia is listed as creditor number 1000046555, Vancouver Public Library 1000047880. Canada Post and Vancouver Arena LP (General Motors Place), on another document, are listed with the footnote "address unavailable at time of filing."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lap of luxury

The most exclusive place to watch the 2010 Winter Olympics? Luxury suites!
Even if you had the money to spend -- and who does during this recession -- you couldn't get one, unless you work for certain governments, aboriginal tribes or official sponsors. 
Page 62 of the Ticket Sales Guide for Government Partners, Four Host First Nations, Contributing Provinces includes the rate sheet below:

B.C. Place Stadium - ceremonies
Types 1-4, capacity 12-18: $63,600-$95,400
Team Suite, capacity 32: $113,600
Balcony or Goal Post, capacity 35: $124,250 
Skybox (70), Gallery Lounge (75) and Club Suite (40): prices to be determined.
(All suites on level 3)

General Motors Place (aka Canada Hockey Place) - hockey
Level 200 private suites, capacity 20: $231,000-$264,000
Level 400 sports lounges, capacity 70: prices to be determined
Level 500 private suites, capacity 18-34: $133,650-$252,450

Pacific Coliseum - figure skating and short-track speedskating
Level 300 private suites, capacity 14: $115,500

A take on ticketing

How many tickets are available for the public to buy to attend the 2010 Winter Olympics and how many have been sold so far?
If you have the answer, please tell me. VANOC has a $96 million account in case the Games are canceled, heaven forbid, by disaster. That's the only hint released so far. The first phase ticket sales won't be disclosed until sometime after the Jan. 31, 2009 quarter-end financials are published. 
How many tickets were supposed to be available? The 2003-released bid book includes a preliminary list (above right, click to enlarge). The bid book, as Vancouverites have learned, is akin to an etch-a-sketch book. It should've come with a giant asterisk, as in "subject to change."
VANOC has demonized the secondary ticket market. Call them what you will. Ticket brokers. Scalpers. Selling event tickets for more than the face value is illegal in various North American cities, but not in Metro Vancouver. 
Meanwhile, governments that have paid taxpayers' money into VANOC coffers have exercised contractual rights to buy tickets. No discount, but there is a separate and secretive process.
City of Surrey can buy more than 900 for the Games, but did it buy that many? And for how much? 
Surrey doesn't want taxpayers to know, because it fears harming the business interests of VANOC. It censored documents obtained under the British Columbia Freedom of Information act (above centre, click to enlarge). Surrey is not the only public body acting this way, but it is the best example of a disturbing trend.
Imagine that, governments hiding expenditures from their citizens. 
Only in British Columbia, the "Best Place on Earth!"

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