As the Grey Lady brings up the subject none of want to hear about until after Canada wins Gold in hockey.
Organizers insist the operating budget will break even. But that forecast includes $423 million in emergency money from the International Olympic Committee, and detailed financial information will not appear until after the Games are over.
As for Vancouver’s municipal government and the taxpayers, the bad news is already in. The immediate Olympic legacy for this city of 580,000 people is a nearly $1 billion debt from bailing out the Olympic Village development. Beyond that, people in Vancouver and British Columbia have already seen cuts in services like education, health care and arts financing from their provincial government, which is stuck with many other Olympics-related costs. Many people, including Mrs. Lombardi, expect that more will follow.
While the mood in the city has picked up since the start, when many people were suffering a severe case of buyer’s remorse, the looming budget realities make it unlikely that all will be forgiven or forgotten.
“While it’s very hard to see all the costs, I think people are going to pay for it for a long time,” said Lee Fletcher as he walked past several flowering cherry trees near his apartment outside Stanley Park, a large tract of forest tucked up against the city’s downtown. “Some people are going to benefit hugely, not the average guy. The average guy is going to see his taxes increase.”
Let’s hope the positive reviews of the Olympics translate into the crowds coming to Vancouver this summer.The protestors seem to have gone away and the party is in full gear.
We all know what happens after a great party… just don’t tell us until we are sobered up.