VANOC moves into operational phase 

Quarterly report shows organization in strong position

With the two-year countdown fast approaching for the 2010 Winter Games organizers are getting ready to move into the operational phase.

“It is really taking the Games off the drawing board and standing them up and doing the kinds of things that will happen at Games time,” said John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC).

“For the past two years we have been mapping and strategizing about how those services will be delivered, what is the most economical way for them to be delivered and in the most coordinated way.”

The comments come as VANOC releases its latest quarterly report for the period ending Oct. 31, 2007.

The report shows the organization in a strong financial position with the venue construction still within the $580 million budget. The contingency fund now stands at $27.05 million after receiving a boost of $250,000 from savings out of the Pacific Coliseum project.

All the Whistler venues are competition ready and the Vancouver venues will be complete next year.

The report shows that revenues are at $221 million since VANOC was formed in 2003. Expenses were $200 million.

Expenses will rise as staffing alone is expected to double to 600 next year, and to 900 in 2009.

However, NDP Olympic critic Harry Bains criticized VANOC for stepping back from the question of what is happening with the security budget. It is still at $175 million.

“They continue to pass the buck on security,” he said.

“VANOC says it is not our problem, but somebody has to grab hold of this file and tell the taxpayer what will be the real cost.”

He is also concerned about how the strong Canadian dollar will affect VANOC’s bottom line in the long run.

“Much of the revenue from the IOC and from international sponsors comes in U.S. dollars and we need to know what impact it will have at the end of the day to the bottom line,” he said.

VANOC has negotiated fixed exchange rates in advance and it expects by the end of the Games that the ups and downs of the market will result in no net gain or loss.

VANOC also brought in $102.5 million in sponsorship revenue this year, bringing the total for 2007 to $691 million — that’s 90.5 per cent of the $760 million target.

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