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HomeBusinessExclusive: Solution proposed for North Van sewage plant’s $3 billion cost overrun

Exclusive: Solution proposed for North Van sewage plant’s $3 billion cost overrun

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Avril Scherzer 

A leaked memo from a Metro Vancouver board member is proposing a solution for the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant cost overruns.

Artist’s rendering of branding for the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant (submitted)

Metro Vancouver shocked ratepayers March 22 when it announced the North Vancouver megaproject would cost $3.86 billion to complete by 2030. The original contractor, Acciona, was hired in 2017 for $525 million with a deadline of 2020. 

Electoral Area B director Salvatore DeBain said in the document, tabled at a March 15 in camera meeting, that he had been approached by private investors who provided him a business plan to build a casino and music venue at the plant at no extra cost. 

The proposed Royal Flush Casino would have 100 tables and 50 slot machines and the Purex Theatre would hold up to 2,000 people. Both would be contained within an additional floor at the state-of-the-art facility to be built for $100 million by foreign investors. The business plan contains artist’s renderings of exterior branding on the plant. 

“The project’s deficit could be wiped away within five years by reducing the burden on ratepayers with profits from craps and other gaming revenue,” said the 10-page document. “The title sponsorship of a cultural venue by a well-known national toilet paper brand would not only contribute to wiping away the deficit, but it would attract international recording artists who otherwise have no such venue of its size and scope in North or West Vancouver.”

The business plan said investors are in advanced talks with B.C. Lottery Corporation and the NDP government regarding regulatory matters for the proposed casino.  

“This kind of private/public partnership is a win-win-win,” DeBain’s memo to other directors concluded. “Let’s open the lid to innovative financing.”

DeBain is holding a news conference to reveal more details just before noon on April 1, outside the construction site at the foot of Pemberton Avenue. 

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