CEO: Vancouver Olympics Construction On Budget

Wed November 08, 2006 - National Edition

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Despite concerns over rising costs, the chief executive of the 2010 Winter Olympics said venue construction is proceeding on time and on budget.

Construction costs are budgeted at $514 million, while the operating budget is slated at $1.5 billion.

“We are on time and we are on budget,” organizing committee chief John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade. “We are fully funded to complete our venues. The goal of finishing early will be met.”

Furlong said one venue will be finished shortly while the rest will be completed by 2008.

The two athletes’ villages — one in Vancouver and one in the mountain resort town of Whistler, site of the Alpine events — will be completed the following year.

Concerns about the costs of the games have caught the attention of the auditors general of both the provincial and federal government. Earlier this year, the two levels of government pumped another $97 million into the games.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that there would be no more taxpayer support from Ottawa for the games.

A recent report by the provincial attorney-general put the combined cost for the Olympics for provincial and federal governments at $2.2 billion.

Of that, said Auditor General Arn van Iersel, British Columbia will cover $1.3 billion. He said the games are placing a significant demand on the financial resources of the province, which has budgeted $531 million.

However, that figure does not include the provincial upgrading of the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler, 90 mi. away.

The cost of the roadwork is set at $686 million. The highway had been a major concern of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) prior to the awarding of the Olympics to Vancouver, but the province says the work would have gone ahead with or without the games.