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VANOC denies extra funds a cost overrun

VANCOUVER - VANOC deputy CEO Dave Cobb called the $8.3 million secret budget increase for B.C. Place Stadium construction a legacy and capital expenditure but not a cost overrun.

VANOC directors secretly approved shifting funds from the construction contingency to Vancouver's Olympic stadium at their May 20 board meeting.

The committee hid the information until Tuesday when it released a quarterly report showing the $3.8 million budget for the dome inflated to $12.1 million.

"VANOC seems to be dipping its hands into the contingency cookie jar with alacrity," said Aziz Rajwani, a Chartered Accountant and lecturer at the Langara College School of Management.

"Is this a cost overrun? If it walks like a cost overrun and talks like a cost overrun, it must be a cost overrun."

On May 21, 2008, VANOC directors approved a $2 million contingency withdrawal to buy aboriginal art for venues.

The $66.8 million rainy day fund was established in September 2006 when Ottawa and Victoria rescued VANOC from cost overruns by increasing its construction budget by $110 million to $580 million.

The contingency has just $1.3 million left.

B.C.'s Performance and Accountability Agreement required VANOC to "seek scope changes in venues, or alternative design/delivery options, that reduce costs."

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver 24 hours.

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