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PavCo head quits to join lobbying firm

B.C. Pavilion Corporation's interim CEO quit to go work for a lobbying company.

Dana Hayden resigned from the Crown corporation that manages the taxpayer-owned BC Place Stadium and Vancouver Convention Centre at the end of January and is now a senior associate at Hill and Knowlton.

Hayden spent three decades in government and held deputy minister posts in forestry, mining, public safety and the Office of the Premier under Gordon Campbell.

In 2007, she became interim CEO of B.C. Lottery Corporation when the board fired Vic Poleschuk after an Ombudsperson report found BCLC was susceptible to retailer fraud. She stayed until permanent replacement Michael Graydon was hired in 2008. Hayden returned to government and, while working as the top bureaucrat in the Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Ministry, she was seconded to take over as interim CEO of PavCo because of the 2012 resignation of Warren Buckley.

She briefly did double duty as CEO of Destination BC, the government's tourism marketing Crown corporation. Her tenure at PavCo included a $15.2-million settlement with Telus over the cancelled BC Place naming rights deal, the $2.7-million acquisition of the 2014 Grey Cup, the controversial 2013 Times of India Film Awards and the TED conference's move from California to the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Under Hayden, however, PavCo's two venues continued to swim in red ink. PavCo reported a $10-million loss in 2012-2013 and forecast a 2013-2014 deficit of $15.7 million. Hayden's interim replacement is PavCo chief operating officer Ken Cretney.

Hayden declined to be interviewed for this story. Asked if she planned to register as a lobbyist, Hayden replied: "I don't really think I want to have this conversation."

Hill and Knowlton personnel are registered with the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists for B.C. as representatives to the government on behalf of Northern Gateway pipeline proponent Enbridge, the Vancouver International Airport Authority, Port Metro Vancouver, CN Rail, retail giant Loblaw Companies Ltd., and biopharma corporations Merck, Gilead and Abbvie. The chair of Hill and Knowlton's B.C. operation is Ken Dobell, former deputy minister to ex-premier Gordon Campbell.

Coincidentally, Graydon quit the lottery corporation at the end of January and, a week later, was announced as the president of PV Hospitality ULC, a joint venture between Paragon Gaming and 360 Vox Corp. planning to build a $535-million casino/hotel complex on PavCo land beside BC Place.

Meanwhile, the CEO and registrar of the Private Career Training Institutions Agency of B.C. is resigning at the end of March to spend more time with her family.

"My daughter is in Grade 5 and will only be 10 once," Karin Kirkpatrick said via email. "I want a slower pace with more time for her. It gives me an opportunity to do some teaching again and to be more involved with the non-profit boards and committees I participate on. This has been a long term goal of mine."

Kirkpatrick will remain on the Judicial Council of the Provincial Court of B.C., a position she was appointed to in July 2011 after supporting Premier Christy Clark's Liberal leadership.

Kirkpatrick joined PCTIA in January 2011 after being the CEO of the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. and assistant dean of the Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C. She said she spoke to the board and Ministry of Advanced Education about a desire to leave in late 2012, but was asked to stay through November 2013 because of potential regulatory changes. In December, she tendered her resignation.

Under Kirkpatrick, PCTIA was reorganized with the hiring of a chief financial and technology officer and general counsel and stepped up its enforcement with more site visits.

Kirkpatrick drew the attention of ministry officials in late 2012 for the hiring of a law firm that employs her husband, Murray Campbell, as a partner. Lawson Lundell was retained for civil court actions against Prana Yoga Teacher College and Royal Canadian Institute of Technology.

Kirkpatrick privately reported the potential conflict of interest to the PCTIA board chair.

An internal February 2013 ministry report said Kirkpatrick cooperated with the review, which resulted in PCTIA's board approving a list of approved legal vendors on an annual basis. PCTIA has refused to disclose how much it paid any of its law firms in the last fiscal year.

Kirkpatrick's interim replacement is deputy registrar Monica Lust, who faces an immediate uphill challenge. Beginning in June, all post-secondaries and language schools that train foreign students for six months or more will be required to have the B.C. Education Quality Assurance designation. More than half the 317 registered institutions are not accredited or eligible for EQA. Schools will have 18 months to meet the new requirements.

Vancouver journalist Bob Mackin is a frequent contributor to The Tyee.

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