Astute reader Suavek just sent in the link to this story – It seems that the 2010 winter olympics are going to cost just a teensy bit more than originaly estimated. It turns out the cost will be around $1,000,000,000 more than the BC government previously indicated. For the number illiterate thats ONE BILLION DOLLARS more.
The BC auditor general just released a report that the true total cost of hosting the olympics is estimated at $2.5 billion dollars, $1.5 billion of which will come from the province. By not counting the actual cost of building all of our projects for the olympics the BC government had previously insisted that the total cost to BC would be no more than $600 million.
B.C. Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen took issue with van Iersel’s findings, arguing that the Sea-to-Sky Highway would have been improved anyway, and should not be considered an Olympics-related cost.
”Sure there’s lots of things that the government is doing that we are wrapping an Olympic flag on,” he said. ”But those are programs that are not part and parcel of us living up to our obligations for the staging of the Olympics.”
The Auditors report says “given the province has the ultimate responsibility for the financial outcome of the Games, we feel there should be regular and complete reporting of the total Games costs to the taxpayers. To date, the province has only reported to taxpayers on the $600 million envelope it has established; however, there are many other Games related cost that are not being reported as such by the province.”
The 65-page report also highlights significant problems with the management and marketing of the Olympics, and warns that costs could go even higher. Van Iersel found, for instance, that the province lost $150 million in projected revenue from broadcasting and international sponsorships by failing to adopt a routine ”hedging strategy” that would have protected them against fluctuations in the dollar.
He found, too, that the government will have to wait six years longer than expected to launch a marketing campaign, because it didn’t realize the International Olympic Committee restricts such campaigns until the previous Olympics are over. B.C. had planned to start its campaign in 2003, but now will have to postpone it until after the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing. Van Iersel said the delay could hurt the provinces plan to reap $4 billion in economic spin-offs.
The auditor’s report also notes that the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) has transferred construction risks for many of the venues to other partners. But if rising costs make it impossible for those partners to finish the job, ”there is a risk the province will have to contribute more funding to VANOC to get the projects completed,” the report says.
The province has set aside $76 million for such unexpected costs, but the auditor general also questions whether that emergency fund will be enough.
I think we all know how the BC government can GUARANTEE that they’ll have plenty of money to cover any unforseen costs: Invest in real-estate!