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Whistler athletes’ centre budget soars again

VANOC annual report paints generally positive picture

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The report shows that 62 per cent ($361 million) of the $580 million venue construction budget has been expended. The contingency now stands at $26.8 million.

The plan is to keep $10 million in the contingency in case any changes have to be made to venues following test events in 2009.

VANOC’s operating budget is $1.63 million. There are already commitments of $1.3 million from sponsors, broadcast rights holders and other sources.

“We’re pleased with VANOC’s current financial position through the end of the fourth fiscal year,” said CFO John McLaughlin.

“Our venue program is very well advanced and on budget. On the operations side we have a robust budget in place and have secured a high proportion of the revenues required to conduct the Games.”

VANOC officials are also comfortable with the “hedging” they had done to protect the organization against the strong Canadian dollar. They believe that about $5 to $10 million of the $1.6 billion budget may be at risk from a volatile dollar.

Meanwhile thousands of people a day are seeking information about Olympic tickets after VANOC revealed the price schedule two weeks ago.

“Literally within minutes there was a spike on our website like nothing we have seen almost since we started this,” said Furlong. “Dozens of people everyday are registering to become engaged in… getting regular information about how the program is going to work.”

To sign up for ticket information go to www.vancouver2010.com and follow the links.

As expected the most popular events are pricey, with opening and closing ceremony tickets going for up to $1,100. The best seats for the gold-medal round of men’s hockey will cost $775.

However, more than 100,000 tickets will be available for $25, and half of all Games tickets will be priced at $100 or less.

Tickets go on sale in October 2008 and will be available to everyone at the same time. If events are oversubscribed then a lottery will be held to dole out the tickets.

Olympic family will get their tickets before anyone else, as is the custom.

It’s not clear how many tickets will be available for Whistler events. The Creekside venue can hold a maximum of 7,600 spectators, the Whistler Nordic venue can accommodate 12,000 in each of three stadiums and the Whistler Sliding Centre can hold 12,000 fans. There are several events, including qualifiers, at the venues with tickets available for each one.