News » Whistler

Government report on benefits of 2010 Winter Olympic Games called into question by B.C.’s finance minister.



Vancouver still firmly behind bid donates $750,000

B.C.’s finance minister is questioning the economic boost the province may get from hosting the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Quoted in the Vancouver Sun this week, Finance Minister Gary Collins said he was "very nervous" about projections made in January in a government report.

The January report said 228,000 jobs could be created and that over 30 years the Games could generate $10 billion in economic growth.

Premier Gordon Campbell remains firm in his belief that the Games will be good for B.C.

Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation spokesman Sam Corea said it is not the role of the corporation to question government policy or actions.

"All we can say is that the government of British Columbia and the government of Canada have spoken through their actions," he said.

"They are supporting the bid process with contributions of $9.1 million each and both senior levels of government have also pledged funds of $620 million for sport venue upgrades and construction budget.

"The government report that Mr. Collins is referring to is a government report, so he is doing his job in questioning reports.

"We are not commenting on government policy. It is not really our role to do that."

New information about how Olympic Games impact host cities is coming out all the time said Corea.

It is expected in the next few months that the original government report, which came out of the capital projects branch, will be updated.

Meanwhile the city of Vancouver this week voted to give the bid corporation $750,000.

Part of the money, $300,000, was given to the corporation in 2000. The expectation at that time was that the money would be repaid. Instead council voted Tuesday to forgive this loan, making it a grant instead.

The rest of the funds, $450,000, will be used for several initiatives.

Part of the money, $75,000, will pay for the on-going work of Vancouver Police Inspector Murray Day who has been seconded to work with the bid corporation as chair of the Health Services, Safety, and Security Work Group. He is due to retire so the funds will cover his work in the future on a contract basis.

He will also be assisting in the organization of the IOC evaluation team visit in the spring of 2003.

Cultural Initiatives will get $150,000. Part of the money will go to pay for the secondment of a city cultural affairs expert.

But the majority, $100,000, will go towards organizing an arts and cultural festival to be held during the bid phase.