Skip to content

Are the Olympic Games really worth it?

The Toronto Star reports this morning that, “The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, known as VANOC, insists its $1.76 billion operating budget is on target.”

“International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge said this week that VANOC will not lose money, but no one will know for sure until six weeks after the Games.”

“The final costs of the Games won’t be known for a long time afterwards – and maybe never.”

“Ottawa has invested at least $1.23 billion in the Games while the province of British Columbia, which committed $600 million, has spent $765 million.”

“The opening ceremony on Feb. 12 and closing ceremony on Feb. 28 alone will cost $40 million.”

“That ($2 billion in government spending) doesn’t include costs of the newly constructed convention centre ($885 million) and the multibillion-dollar infrastructure work funded by the feds and the province for improving the Sea-to-Sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler and a new rapid transit line from Vancouver’s airport to downtown.”

It has been estimated that the Olympics will generate $4 billion in economic activity throughout the province. “The Conference Board of Canada this week forecasted… about $770 million in Games-related spending is expected, through tourists staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and touring the province. That will add 0.6 per cent to the province’s economy, which is forecast to grow by 3.7 per cent.”

“(But) a study released this week by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business found little evidence of big economic benefits or severe busts in cities that hosted an Olympics.”

An Innovative Research Group poll conducted in October found that when Canadians were asked ‘are the Olympics a good idea?’ that 19 percent said the Olympics are a mistake and 44 percent said they would not know until after the Games are over. In British Columbia, 42 percent said the Olympics are a mistake and 36 percent said they wouldn’t know until after the Games.

The Council of Canadians webpage on the Olympic Games is at http://canadians.org/olympics/index.html.

The poll results noted above can be found in a campaign blog at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2007.

The full Toronto Star article ‘Are the Olympic Games really worth it?’, can be read at http://olympics.thestar.com/2010/article/758014–are-the-olympic-games-really-worth-it.