Vancouver skyline forever changed

BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:17 PM ET

VANCOUVER - “Domesday” came and went Tuesday for the roof of B.C. Place Stadium when it deflated and disappeared from the city’s skyline.

At 11 a.m., British Columbia tourism minister Kevin Krueger and B.C. Pavilion Corporation chairman David Podmore turned off the 16-fan system that held the 10-acre, Teflon-coated woven fibreglass roof aloft. Within 48 minutes, the dome was down.

Drainage will be installed in the centre of the inverted dome to collect water while the fabric and steel cable are removed. Most of the fabric will be sent to Minneapolis for repurposing into tarps, bags and floor coverings. A portion will be donated to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. The cables will be recycled in Surrey.

By the end of June, cranes will rise for the erection of a new steel and cable system to handle the new $458 million retractable roof system for completion in late summer or early fall 2011.

“Putting on a new hat, one that you can open,” is how Paul Manning described the next chapter in the 1983-built stadium’s history. Manning and Larry Bell recommended to the provincial government in 1979 that the stadium be built by False Creek instead of at the Pacific National Exhibition. It proved to be the catalyst for massive development in downtown Vancouver and a magnet for big events, from Expo 86 to the 2010 Winter Olympics.

“I don’t know that our (Olympic) bid would have been successful if we hadn’t had a facility like this available to us and certainly I don’t think we would’ve built one specifically for the Games,” Podmore said.

The total bill for the retractable roof and renovations is $563 million. It was originally announced as $365 million in January 2009.


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