The Burnaby company given a $1.32-million contract to install B.C. Place Stadium’s new artificial-turf field in late May was the highest bidder, documents released by B.C. Pavilion Corporation (PavCo) confirm.
An evaluation by PavCo’s bid committee gave Polytan LigaTurf distributor Centaur Products just 5.41 out of 10 for its proposed price. Competing company FieldTurf’s bid got a 10 out of 10, followed by AstroTurf Canada (8.78) and UBU Sports (8.21). The price evaluation (no bids were shown in actual dollar amounts) was worth 12.5 percent of the overall tally by the three-member bid committee, B.C. Place operations director Brian Griffin, PavCo finance director Kim Campbell, and consultant Robert Johnston.
Documents released after a freedom-of-information request show the committee gave Centaur 82.51 overall, better than FieldTurf (67.75), UBU (50.76), and AstroTurf (42.23). Centaur scored highest on PavCo’s evaluation of the proposed artificial-turf systems and the companies’ ability to meet the construction schedule, criteria worth a combined 40 percent.
The B.C. Place installation cost more than Shaw Sports’ $800,000 turf-installation job at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium earlier this year, the cost of which was split with the Canadian Soccer Association. For the B.C. Place project, the CSA contributed $400,000 and Rugby Canada kicked in $100,000.
PavCo’s March 27 letters to the three losing bidders said Centaur/Polytan “was the only product certified to meet both FIFA 2 Star and World Rugby Regulation 22 specifications as tested on the existing Elastic-layer at B.C. Place Stadium; a mandatory criteria of the RFP [request for proposals]”. Johnston wrote the tendering documents that required the reuse of Centaur’s Polytan-supplied elastic layer, installed in B.C. Place in 2011.
In the bid evaluation, however, all four proposals were deemed compatible with the existing e-layer, but the bid committee ruled that only Centaur met FIFA and World Rugby requirements—even though FieldTurf’s Revolution surface is FIFA– and World Rugby–recognized. FieldTurf vice president Darren Gill declined to comment. Centaur president David Wilson, PavCo CEO Ken Cretney, and PavCo chair Stuart McLaughlin did not respond to interview requests.
The CSA, Vancouver Whitecaps, and B.C. Lions preferred Centaur’s bid over FieldTurf, but the documents show there was no Rugby Canada input. FieldTurf and Centaur got full marks for having six or more professional soccer or football installations, while FieldTurf appeared to be the only company with a plan to dispose of the old turf, eventually hauled away by the City of Surrey.
FIFA claimed that the B.C. Place field met its 2 Star standard on June 6. Neither FIFA, Polytan, nor tester Sports Labs would release the performance-testing report. During the first round of the Women’s World Cup, Japan midfielder Aya Miyama complained that dribbling was difficult, while United States striker Abby Wambach said balls were taking unusual bounces. Despite the region’s summertime water restrictions, the field was watered extensively under an exception for health and safety reasons. Crews, however, could not solve the visible seams in time for the United States’ 5-2 championship victory over Japan on July 5.
Meanwhile, PavCo is refusing to release its rental agreement with FIFA, claiming that public disclosure would harm the business interests of both the Crown corporation and the scandal-plagued world soccer governing body.
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner ordered PavCo to release the B.C. Lions’ rent contract in April, because there was no evidence that the release of a negotiated contract would harm either the stadium or the Canadian Football League team.