If the Olympic Games are costing Whistler money, it’s nothing compared to what the resort will get out of them in the long term, said the mayor.
“If we take it on a macro economic ledgers basis, the amount of incremental money that we’re putting into these Games compared to what the community’s getting out of it is so massive,” said Ken Melamed. “We’re keeping it high level.”
The municipality does not calculate indirect costs under its 2010 ledger in the budget.
It does, however, calculate both the direct and indirect benefits of the Games — at least $380 million in direct benefits to the community, with a further $600 million in indirect benefits.
Part of its calculations for those direct benefits include the two Olympic venues — the sliding centre and the Nordic centre — as well as the athletes’ village (which will result in 240 permanent employee housing units post-Games), and the athletes’ centre.
Other direct benefits are the $6 million annual financial tools (the four per cent hotel tax), the $27 million of improvements on Whistler Mountain, $14.2 million for the Celebration Square and the 300-acre Community Land Bank, which is conservatively estimated at $10 million.
The indirect benefits to the community are the $600 million improvements to the Sea to Sky Highway.
There are also benefits that cannot be measured in dollars, such as global awareness, the boundary expansion, enhanced accessibility and community pride.