$120M Playland redevelopment could double annual revenues

Attendance could jump 50 per cent, but admission could rise 40 per cent

A $120 million

A $120-million, 10-year proposal to redevelop Playland was presented Tuesday morning to Vancouver council, with a potential doubling of the park’s annual revenues.

But admission prices would also jump 40 per cent, according to the report presented by Michael McDaniel, president of the Pacific National Exhibition, and Patrice Impey, the City of Vancouver’s director of finance.

Proponents want to convert the city-owned Playland into a “theme park” with “softer landscapes, more green space, (and) improved sustainability features,” the report said.

Some $8 million would go toward greening the park, another $41 million to redevelop the site, $26 million for infrastructure improvements, and $45 million for rides and attractions.

Would you pay $50?

The redevelopment could boost attendance by more than 50 per cent, the report added, from the current 530,000 to 815,000 guest riders annually.

Revenues, in turn, could increase to $40 million, coupled with longer stays on the site that would stimulate more spending on food, beverages and games, as well as a 40-per-cent admission price increase.

Right now, a one-day pass to Playland costs $36 at the gate. If approved, that ticket would eventually cost $50.40.

“As the projected increase in admission price mostly reflects forecast inflation, it is not expected to pose affordability challenges for local and regional patrons,” said the report.

It also noted that 60 per cent of patrons are families with incomes of less than $70,000 per year who are “not in a position to travel to theme parks in other regions, such as Disneyland.”

The plan would be funded by either internal financing from the City of Vancouver, to be repaid through future PNE revenues, or a mix of internal financing and capital investment.

City staff recommended that council approve the plan in principle, and budget $1.5 million for the next phase of work that includes detailed design and costing, and a comprehensive implementation and funding strategy.

Vancouver council referred the report to a Wednesday committee meeting to hear from speakers.

Playland is the “economic engine” for Hastings Park, the report said, generating about $20 million each year and accounting for 40 per cent of the PNE’s total revenues.

The redevelopment is part of the larger Hastings Park/PNE master plan, which encompasses all of Hastings Park and will cost between $200 million and $300 million over 20 to 30 years.

Playland redevelopment report