Canadian Gov’t Pledges Money to Cover Olympic Overruns

Thu September 14, 2006 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Cost overruns for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver prompted combined government pledges of an extra $99 million Aug. 30.

Canada’s federal government committed another $49 million and British Columbia promised to match it.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement in Vancouver, along with International Trade Minister David Emerson, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, Mayor Sam Sullivan and members of the Olympic committee.

For months the province and the Vancouver organizing committee (VANOC) have been pressing Ottawa for extra money to cover soaring construction costs.

Vancouver Olympic officials warned British Columbia’s booming economy was driving up construction costs.

The Games’ original $424 million capital budget for building venues ballooned to $523 million out of an overall budget of $1.8 billion.

The construction budget came under scrutiny from the head of the Turin Olympic Organizing Committee. Chief executive Cesare Vaciago, in a July visit, suggested Vancouver’s budget was too low, based on his experience.

His Vancouver counterpart, Jim Furlong, pointed out VANOC’s capital budget is approximately half of Turin’s $1.2 billion tab because there is less to build.