Whistler hotbed of Olympic construction spending 

VANOC financial statements released this week

“Obviously we’re happy with where we are,”  VANOC CEO John - Furlong on Wednesday's release of Olympic figures.
  • “Obviously we’re happy with where we are,”
    VANOC CEO John Furlong on Wednesday's
    release of Olympic figures.

By Alison Taylor

More than $50 million was poured into three Olympic venues in Whistler over the past year, the largest chunk of venue construction spending that totaled $58 million.

Olympic organizers reiterated this week they are on time and on budget when it comes to the $580 million venue construction plan. Roughly $136 million had been spent on venue construction to July 31, and by the end of the 2006 construction season venues will be more than halfway to completion.

“Our budgets and revenue targets are where they need to be for this stage of an organizing committee’s evolution,” said Rex McLellan, chief financial officer for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We’re in excellent shape as we begin to wrap up a very successful construction season in Whistler.”

The breakdown of Olympic spending was released online Wednesday in VANOC’s annual report, which details the financial statements to its year-end on July 31, 2006.

This year almost $24 million was spent at the bobsled/luge track, $21 million at the Nordic Centre in the Callaghan Valley and $4.5 million at the alpine venue on Whistler Mountain.

Whistler venues were an early focus of VANOC because of the limited construction season. Construction of most Vancouver facilities can continue year-round.

The report highlights not only the spending on venue development but also the operating revenues and expenses of the organizing committee.

McLennan stressed at a press conference Wednesday that the provincial and federal governments funded the $580 million venue construction budget, whereas VANOC’s operations budget is funded by the private sector.

To date sponsorship revenues have topped $550 million and are expected to grow to more than $700 million.

“Obviously we’re happy with where we are,” said VANOC CEO John Furlong. “We have quite a ways to go.

“There’s a log of companies from across the country interested in the Olympic Games. We’re feeling very good about the results we’ve been getting.”

Other major components of VANOC’s operations revenue will be generated in the coming years through things such as ticket sales, merchandise, licensing, and the donor program.

This quarter the most significant expenditures at VANOC were for staff and on setting up the corporate office, Campus 2010.

There is a multi-million dollar deficiency in deferred operating revenues over deferred expenses this year to the tune of $17.5 million.

Last year the deficiency was $16 million.

“The shortfall in operations is funded through our bank credit facilities pending receipt of sponsorship and other revenues,” said McLellan.

The report said it is typical for Games organizing committees to operate at a deficit in their early years as a substantial portion of revenues are generated closer to Games time.

The long-awaited revised business plan will be presented to VANOC’s board of directors in November and it is expected to be made public in early 2007.

The organizing committee has been operating under a draft business plan that was done in the summer of 2005. It has since been revised, after the Torino Olympic debrief in the summer.

The annual report is available at vancouver2010.com.

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