Vancouver's net cost for Games: $554M

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER -- The net cost of the 2010 Winter Olympics for City of Vancouver taxpayers was a whopping $554.3 million.

That includes $299.8 million for civic infrastructure at the Olympic Village but not the $969 million bailout loan to rescue developer Millennium.

A March 31-dated information report for next Tuesday’s city council meeting shows the gross cost was $729.2 million. Federal and B.C. governments kicked in nearly $175 million.

“We looked great before the world, we have a lot of legacies as a result of those investments,” said Coun. Geoff Meggs. “Could we have gotten the same thing for a lesser buck? In many cases we could.”

Olympic operations cost $61 million, but the city’s net cost was $30.3 million. The city overspent its $20 million Olympic reserve fund by $2.5 million because of public art, signage and lighting. Taxpayers lost $1.5 million in parking revenue because of Olympic lane parking bans.

It cost $2.5 million to redeploy 485 civic workers to event hosting, protocol and emergency operations.

“It’s good we’re being this transparent now,” Meggs said. “It would’ve been much better, especially if the previous (NPA-majority) council had been much more upfront about the numbers that it was approving behind closed doors.”

City hall hosted a Thursday party for staff at the Olympic Village. CityCaucus.com reported the cost was $34,000.

POLL