Whistler costs reflected in increased VANOC budget 

Transportation, accommodation challenges in corridor greater than expected

There is more money in the revised budget of the 2010 Olympic Games for Whistler operations.

While Olympic officials will not give a break down of the amounts the budget, released Jan. 30, shows increased funds in both the services and operations segments for the Whistler-based venues.

Sport and Games Operations increased by $29.3 million. That incorporates advancement in planning and learning from completing venue construction, commencing operation of venues and conducting initial sport events.

The cost increases include sport event costs due to more spectators and international media than expected; greater anti-doping facility and operational costs; increased planned staffing levels at venues and higher venue operating costs, including snow cat requirements and the addition of the Creekside chairlift to facilitate spectator and media travel to the viewing area.

In Services and Games Operations there is an increase of $31.5 million. That incorporates significant advancement in planning and procurement activity over the past two years.

"Many of the major increases relate to the transportation and accommodation challenges in the Sea to Sky corridor; many of the contracted services to be delivered in the mountains are more expensive than initially planned due to the accommodation requirements for the suppliers' and contractors' workforce," states the budget.

"The majority of the increase relates to higher costs for workforce accommodations in the Sea to Sky corridor, transportation, food service requirements at the Whistler venues including the athletes' village, snow removal and cleaning and waste."

Jacqui Murdoch, vice president of services and accommodations for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games said more money was needed after it became clear that there had to be enough staff in the corridor to host the events in case the highway was cut off.

"...We went back to senior management and we said we really believe we need a larger contingency base of people up in the Whistler area to be able to manage a situation where we couldn't move lots of workforce from Vancouver to Whistler, or even from Squamish to Whistler," she said.

"What they were able to do then was recognize that we needed more budget to be put toward the workforce accommodations arrangements."

The revised operating budget is balanced and has risen to $1.76 billion from $1.63 billion.

The increase, said Olympic organizers, is due mainly to accounting for services VANOC knew it would have to provide but has not previously quantified. It also accounts for services or goods VANOC will provide partners with but will get paid for, such as the $38 million worth of billboard advertising the organizing committee had to buy, much of which is still unsold.

It is unlikely there will be a surplus following the Games.

"We are committed to staging spectacular Games within our available financial resources," said John Furlong, VANOC's Chief Executive Officer.

"We have a balanced budget with a contingency that we believe positions us well to deliver great Games to the world."

"Our priority in re-examining our budget has always been to ensure the best experience possible for the world's best athletes while they're here in Vancouver and Whistler in 2010. The field of play and the atmosphere in the venues must be world-class. We also want to make sure the spectators - from here and guests from around the world - take away great lifelong memories from their Olympic and Paralympic experiences."

In working to save money VANOC has cancelled the awarding of medals at Whistler's Celebration Plaza, saving an estimated $5 million, trimmed it's workforce budget by $12.9 million and streamlined technology to save $6.6 million.

It has also added $27 million to its contingency fund bringing the total to $77 million.

The budget for security for the 2010 Winter Olympics is expected to be released in the next week. The figure is expected to be close to $1 billion. The original budget for security was $175 million.

Security is the responsibility of the federal and provincial governments, with the two believed to be haggling over cost-sharing arrangements.

Readers also liked…

Latest in Whistler

More by Clare Ogilvie

© 1994-2019 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation