2010 athletes village to get $100 million loan
Vancouver mayor hopefuls Peter Ladner and Gregor Robertson insist the authorization of a $100 million loan to help rescue the troubled Olympic athletes village will not burden taxpayers.
Speaking at a debate Thursday morning Ladner, a city councilor, said the loan money would come from the city's property endowment fund.
Both he and Vision Vancouver candidate Gregor Roberston insist the fund -- which is based on property values -- is strong enough to support a loan that large if necessary.
At a closed, in-camera meeting held Oct. 14, city council gave the okay to help the Millennium development deal with cost overruns. It's already advanced nearly $30 million.
Details of the city's involvement in the bailout have been kept secret until now because councillors are under a publication ban. The decision was revealed in a Globe and Mail article Thursday.
Robertson is calling for an emergency city council meeting to address the Olympic Village funding and appoint an independent auditor to look at the city's current financial situation.
The recommendation comes amid reports that Vancouver's chief financial officer has resigned.
NDP Olympic critic Harry Bains says the loan is another reason for more scrutiny over tax dollars going to the Games. Bains says he's been calling for years to have the province's auditor general oversee 2010 spending.
The 1,100-unit athletes village in Vancouver's southeast False Creek is set to become a combination of market and social housing after the 2010 Games but most of the units have yet to be sold.
Recent projections suggest the value of real estate is on the decline in Vancouver, raising questions about the financial feasibility of the Millennium project. The developers, Fortress Investment Group, agreed to pay $193 million for the land on which the village is being built.