City of Vancouver spent half billion

Reuters - Fri, 16 Apr 00:03:00 2010

The city of Vancouver spent more than C$554 million (358m) as host of this year's Winter Olympics, much of it related to building the athletes' village.

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A report defended the spending since more than C500m (323m) involved capital projects on Canada's Pacific Coast that will benefit the city long after the Games.

The Vancouver Olympics in February had a C$1.7 billion (1.1bn) operating budget that was largely privately funded, though that did not include the C$900m (581m) in security spending paid for by the Canadian government.

The federal government and the province of British Columbia also paid the C$585m (378m) cost to build and refurbish competition venues in Vancouver, and at the nearby mountain resort of Whistler.

The city budget figures released on Thursday do not include the more than C$500m (323m) in loans it gave the private developer building the C$1bn (645,000) athletes’ village to ensure it would be completed on time.

That loan, needed when the developer's private financing dried up in the world credit crisis, is expected to be paid off as most of the waterfront housing near Vancouver's downtown is sold off as high-end condominiums.

The city spent C$300m (194m) on subsidized housing and other civic facilities related to the village and C$26m (16.7m) on a waste-to-energy heating plant that won praise from environmentalists.

An auditor's report in 2006 estimated that hosting the Games would eventually cost Canadians taxpayers C$2.5bn (1.6bn), including related infrastructure projects such as highway and transit upgrades.


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