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No bid unless Highway 99 improved: Poole



Bid Corp. CEO outlines $600 million worth of Olympic facilities

It will cost at least $600 million to build and fund the must-have facilities for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

For the first time CEO of the Vancouver Whistler 2010 Bid Corp., Jack Poole, this week outlined the scope of facilities and the legacies the Games would leave behind.

Included in the cost are new arenas, Nordic, and alpine facilities, centres for the media, including print, photography, and broadcast, facilties for the paralympics and compensation and endowment packages.

The $600 million does not include the cost of improving the Sea to Sky Highway, the construction of a new convention centre in Vancouver, or any improvements in transportation from the international airport in to Vancouver.

It is estimated that the Games will cost $1 billion to run. But, said Poole, all of that money is expected to be recouped through tax revenue, TV rights, merchandising, sponsorship, and ticket sales.

He said 62 per cent of the world's population tuned in at some point to television coverage of the Sydney Olympics.

"We expect to make $100 million," said the 68-year-old retired developer.

But he also admitted if things went wrong the Games could cost $100 million.

"In the end who would pay for that?," said Poole. "Well, that would be the government."

Quoting a provincial government economic study due to be released in January, Poole said the Olympics would create the equivalent of 68,000 jobs for one year.

It is now expected that the bid will cost $34 million, $5 million of which is dedicated to the Legacies Now program, which supports athletes. Until recently the bid had been estimated to cost $23 million, plus another $5 million for the Legacies Now program.

If the bid raises more than the $34 million the surplus will be funnelled into the Legacies Now program

The 2010 Olympic Bid Corp. was promised $9.1 million this week in the federal budget, matching the amount already funded by the provincial government and Crown corporations.

Finance Minister Paul Martin, following the announcement of a $2-billion infrastructure program, said the proposed Vancouver convention centre and transportation improvements from downtown to the airport would be ideal projects for the fund.

While a new Vancouver convention centre is not a must for the bid Poole said having it under construction when the International Olympic Committee tours the venue sites in February 2003 would be great.

"Clearly it would help the bid," he said.

Poole does not believe any big changes are needed in transportation within the Lower Mainland.

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