Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Olympics organizers approve revised budget

Organizers for the 2010 Games approved a revised budget today that’s roughly the same size as the previous one, senior VANOC officials announced.

Games CEO John Furlong said the public won’t learn the specifics until next week, but said the new balanced budget contains a “reasonable” amount of contingency to address the economic slowdown.

Furlong suggested some of that financial flexibility might come from cutting medal awards ceremonies at Whistler’s Celebration Plaza.

“For the question of presenting medals there, our view is we will probably not,” he said.

Asked whether the revised operating costs approved by VANOC’s board of directors are in line with the current $1.6 billion budget, Furlong said they’re comparable.

“The order of magnitude of the budget is in the same ball park,” he said. “We’re roughly talking about the same scope and size.”

Executive vice president Dave Cobb said “95 per cent” of the cost projections in VANOC’s previous budget would apply today, meaning that no major changes have been made. He said the main revisions consist of reductions in overhead costs such as fewer Games employees.

Cobb added that VANOC is trying to secure deals with four or five companies to make up the nearly $10 million the organizing committee says it needs to reach its sponsorship target of $760 million.

Though major Games sponsors such as General Motors, Nortel Networks and Teck Cominco have experienced financial difficulties of late, Cobb said there’s been no indication that any of them will break their commitments.

Asked if any sponsor would face financial penalties for withdrawing from the Games, Cobb suggested it would be a difficult process.

“Every sponsor has a contract to deliver what they’ve said they’ll deliver,” he said. “If sponsors decided they’re not going to pay we wouldn’t accept that.”

Provincial New Democratic Party Olympics critic Harry Bains said he’s concerned that when the details of the revised budget come out next week, the public will forget about the true cost of the Games.

When capital projects such as the Canada Line and the Sea-to-Sky Highway upgrade are factored in, taxpayer exposure for the Olympics could be as high as $7 billion, Bains said.

“When you add all those up it’s a lot of money,” he said. “The taxpayers have a right to know what the total cost will be at the end of the day to host these games.”

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for the Hook.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus