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HomeBusinessMajor changes coming to B.C. Place casino, hotel complex after racking-up $108.5 million loss

Major changes coming to B.C. Place casino, hotel complex after racking-up $108.5 million loss

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Bob Mackin

Parq Vancouver, the casino and hotel complex beside B.C. Place Stadium, lost $108.5 million for the first nine months of 2018.

That, according to the third quarter report of Dundee Corporation, the Toronto investment firm that is partnered with Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming in the year-old resort.

(Parq)

“The initial ramp up of operations has been slower than anticipated due to a number of factors, including the regulatory cost and business impact of new anti-money laundering regulations applicable to casinos in British Columbia, which were implemented in December 2017,” said the Nov. 14-issued report.

Of the $108.5 million loss, $17.7 million was on operations. The rest of the deficit was from deferred taxes, interest and foreign exchange.

Parq needed a $33.4 million infusion in March to meet construction, interest and hedging payment deadlines. On Sept. 30, an unnamed industry investor funded an additional $20 million into the project in the form of a promissory note.

Dundee CEO Jonathan Goodman told analysts in a Nov. 15 conference call that the disappointing financial performance is a “very frustrating situation,” but Dundee is actively seeking solutions.

“We’re working towards, hopefully, getting a financial restructuring there,” Goodman said. “With that financial restructuring we’ll bring in a new group as a partner in the resort that has significant experience in the hotel and food and beverage side. We’ve identified a number of cost savings which can be very accretive.”

Parq made global headlines in early November when Toronto rapper Drake was refused service. Parq management denied Drake’s claim that he was racially profiled and blamed the incident on new provincial anti-money laundering measures.

Ex-BCLC VP Susan Dolinski (BCLC)

Parq’s $2.84 million in lease payments for 2017-18 were forwarded to the Musqueam Indian Band, under an accommodation agreement with B.C. Pavilion Corp. The casino is operated in partnership with B.C. Lottery Corp. Parq also includes two Marriott luxury hotels with 517 rooms, a 60,000 square foot conference centre, spa, five restaurants, three lounges and a 1,069-spot parkade.

Meanwhile, BCLC’s vice-president of communications and social responsibility, Susan Dolinski, has departed.

Dolinski was paid $243,063 during the last fiscal year and filed claims for $34,642 in expenses. Dolinski was employed by the Crown corporation for more than 11 years. The reason for the split has not been disclosed, but sources say it was not amicable. 

In an email, spokeswoman Sarah Morris confirmed Dolinski is no longer with BCLC and that her role is currently vacant. Morris would not comment on whether Dolinski received severance. “Remuneration information is publicly reported each fall in BCLC’s Financial Information Act report,” Morris said. “BCLC cannot provide you with the additional information you seek due to privacy rules under [the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act].”

Graham Ramsay (LinkedIn)

One of B.C. Place Stadium’s original employees has also departed. Senior director of business development Graham Ramsay left at the end of October. Ramsay started as a part-time team captain in 1983 when the stadium opened. Last year, he was paid $154,632 plus $19,741 in expenses.

Although we normally don’t discuss personnel matters, we have stated to our staff and suppliers that Graham Ramsay has recently retired after more than 35 years service with PavCo, B.C. Place Stadium and the Vancouver Convention Centre and we wish Graham all the best in his retirement,” read a statement from PavCo spokeswoman Laura Ballance.

Ramsay’s LinkedIn profile does not say he is retired. Instead, it says he is an “experienced business director, specializing in venue/event management, public policy and communications.”

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