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Vancouver Will Pass Montreal In Olympic Debt

August 6th, 2008 Posted in Taxes

Creative Commons License photo credit: kevindooley

It took Montreal 30 years to pay off it’s Olympic games – Vancouver is shaping up to blow away the record.

In 1976 the games left Montreal with a $1.5-billion debt, and oddly enough much of the debt was serviced through a special tax on tobacco. (At $10 a pack, not sure you can add more tax to raise any money here.)

Montreal projected the games cost to be $300 million.

The B.C. provincial government claimed the cost of the Olympics wouldn’t exceed $600 million. Estimates passed $2.5 Billion a while back and it’s still going strong. Best of all the B.C. taxpayers are on hook for at least $1.5 billion.

The auditor-general pegs the Games’ total budget at $4.3 Billion. About $1.8 billion of that will be recouped from Olympic revenues.

Ottawa will contribute $607 million and local government $389 million, leaving B.C. taxpayers on the hook for about $1.5 billion, the report estimates.

Some examples of surprises still to come:

– Security – 1 Billion – original estimate $175 mil.

– The Canada rapid rail line – way over budget (plus the destruction of Cambie Street small business worth millions)

– A $150 million US currency blunder (organizers delayed entering into currency hedging contracts).

– The sports facilities are all in trouble – no one dares to publish the actual overruns. They were given $110 million earlier to cover cost overruns. Expect these to be at least $200 million.

Projects being done for the Olympics (but not included in the budget):

– the $775 million Sea to Sky Highway

Good news: The $1.3 billion in infrastructure and other costs, including some serious cost overruns reported in the past, are mostly accounted for in its general budget. This means we get to start paying for these now.

This is starting to sound like the way the Gov’t has handled my favorite company – ICBC.

They should have hired Calgary to look after the management.

Best of all is that nobody is responsible for reporting to the public on the overall cost of the Games.

If you have a link to any finance reporting on the games, I’d be very happy to get it… the Province seems to be the only one privy to any details.

Your estimate of what the final tally?

My guess is $3 Billion in debt. $1.5 Billion if we’re lucky.


4 Responses to “Vancouver Will Pass Montreal In Olympic Debt”

  1. Vancouver Olympics - Declared a Debacle? | Vancouver Secrets Says:

    […] Not that I didn’t think this was coming…. […]

  2. Winter Games - Vancouver's Stimulus Plan | Vancouver Secrets Says:

    […] I wrote in August that the games would cost us at least $3 billion – I guess my wild prediction was off by almost half. […]

  3. National Politick Says:

    The 2010 Olympics will be the legacy of the Campbell Liberals – much the same way the Fastcats were the legacy of the BC NDP. Once this is all said and done, the Liberals are going to be ousted and hopefully we can muster up some sort of fiscal-conservative, socially-liberal Legislature to do damage control. My thoughts; the Government should never have had their thumbs in the Olympics in the first place. Thumbs-up to the Sea-to-Sky expansion and the RAV-line (even with all it’s mishandling), but the Olympic Village boondoggle will bite us in the ass in the very near future.

    Vote through the BC-STV and lets diffuse the party-bureaucracy BS, get some progressives into the Legislature who dont have to tow the line and vote in unison for bad-policies.

  4. Gene Tudhope Says:

    Ah ICBC… What fond memories…

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