Cost for B.C. to host Olympics higher than promised
The B.C. government promised that hosting the Olympics would cost $600 million, but CTV News has started crunching the numbers and it all adds up to much more than we thought.
The true cost is set to be revealed Friday morning, but initial calculations put the total at a minimum of $765 million:
- $310 million on venues and live sites
- $55 million to keep the venues operating after the games
- $100 million in security and medical costs
- $20 million on the Paralympics
- $36 million on First Nations and municipal legacies
- $79 million in contingency spending
- $165 million on an infrastructure deal with Ottawa
Finance Minister Colin Hansen acknowledged during a press conference Thursday that the cost could be even higher.
"The cost of leveraging the games was over and above that, and we will have a full accounting of that in this report tomorrow," he said.
That means the government could be considering other costs like operating pavilions in Torino and Beijing as part of the Olympic price tag.
Some, like NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston, believe the $37-million "You gotta be here" ad campaign that ran during the Games should also be included in the final tally.
"The ‘You gotta be here' campaign is, I think, more reasonably attributed to the Olympics, and it's also part of a political feel-good strategy," Ralston said.
Critics say the millions spent by crown corporations like ICBC, BC Hydo and the BC Lottery Corporation should also be included.
As for the $785-million upgrade to the Sea-to-Sky Highway: "If anybody wanted to include that in their definition of ‘Olympic-related' they're certainly welcome to do it, and that's why we set out the numbers," Hansen said.
"I think everybody has differing definitions."
The finance minister refused to hint at the final total, but did say it won't be more than $1 billion.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mike Killeen