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Taxpayers could pay more if city has to speed up Olympic Village

There could be more bailouts on the way if the Olympic Village struggles to the finish line.

The Aug. 31, 2006 lease agreement between the City of Vancouver and Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties, obtained by 24 hours, calls for substantial completion by Sept. 30, 2009 and VANOC to begin exclusive use Nov. 1, 2009.

A clause gives the city power to order Millennium to accelerate work, but the city would pay the bill for extra wages, materials and heavy equipment.

The contract said Millennium would not be liable for unavoidable delays beyond its control, such as destruction of buildings by explosion, riots or earthquake. Inability to meet financial obligations is not considered an unavoidable delay. If Millennium commits material default by failing to pay rent or not adhering to project milestones, the city could "re-enter and take possession of the lands and buildings," according to the contract.

City council reportedly approved a $100-million bailout loan for cash-strapped Millennium in a secret Oct. 14 meeting. Information was leaked to the Globe and Mail, but all NPA, Vision Vancouver and COPE councillors have refused to talk about the meeting.

NPA Coun. Peter Ladner, who is running for mayor, was unavailable for comment yesterday. Ladner fought back Friday at Vision Vancouver opponent Gregor Robertson by conceding he is "prepared to lose this election to save this project and protect the city's taxpayers."

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver's 24 hours.

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