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While doing some research about the costs of constructing and renovating sports venues for the Olympics, I came across a…

By Doerthe Keilholz , in Blogs Olympics 2010 , on February 16, 2008

While doing some research about the costs of constructing and renovating sports venues for the Olympics, I came across a article, published in February 2006.

The cost of building venues for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics has jumped to $580 million, pushing the cost of the Games up by 23 per cent.

Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee CEO John Furlong said the $110-million increase is a product of the city’s thriving building industry.

Realizing that the article has already been published in 2006, I searched The Canadian Newsstand for a more up to date figure, and found the following articles from December 2007.

  • Prince George Citizen

Olympics on budget track, officials claim

The committee, known as VANOC, says it’s even been able to save a little cash. […] The $580-million budget for Games venue construction includes a rainy day fund, which VANOC was forced to tap earlier in the planning process when building costs ballooned.

  • The Gazette

2010 organizers top fundraising goal

Venue construction for the event remains on schedule and within the $580-million budget, the Vancouver Organizing Committee said in its report on the fourth quarter of the 2007 fiscal year.

  • The Ottawa Citizen

Vancouver beats goal

Venue construction for the event remained on schedule and within the $580-million budget, VANOC added.

No word about the fact that the $580 millions have already been an amendment to the original budget of $470 millions which makes it practically impossible for Vanoc to remain within the budget, let alone “to save a little cash”.

I feel strongly reminded to the twisted reality described in Orwell’s novels. You’d almost think that a Winston Smith has been at work, revising newspaper articles to match The Party’s contemporaneous, official version of the past.

Related Link:

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  • Those dollars do not have a constant value, so you need to do some work on them before deciding whether VANOC management has done a good or poor job in cost control.

    I think you’ll find that the $580 million, which is compiled in 2008 dollars and 2009 dollars (depending on when a specific venue is completed) is actually less than the $470 million, which was in 2002 dollars, if you use Stats Canada’s construction-cost inflation factors in the calculations. You also need to keep in perspective that while VANOC’s budget was adjusted by 23%, there were a lot of private capital construction projects that went up about 40% due to inflation during the same construction period.

    You’ll also find that the scope of some of the VANOC projects is smaller (and a couple are larger) than in the original bid.

    Something else not noted during discussions of the $580 million is the amount of sponsorship value-in-kind in the capital accounts of VANOC, which is added to that number. That number is only the Canadian / BC government capital funding (which is cost-shared 50/50).

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