It seems there is plenty of blame to go around regarding the finances of the Athlete’s Village. And there is no question that voters were misled on both the costs and risks.
It is also clear that rather than seeking to unite the city following an overwhelming victory in the last election, our new Mayor has instead chosen to politicize the Olympics and divide the city further. This is not the Happy Planet His Worship promised Vancouver voters.
This politicization of the Olympics is all the more remarkable because both (then-Mayor) Larry Campbell and his colleague (now-Councillor) Geogg Meggs knew at the time they ran the public referendum on the Games that Vancouver was completely on the hook for the Athlete’s Village and all cost overruns. Yet they never told the voters!
As Charlie Smith warned taxpayers six years ago, in a Georgia Straight article published January 30, 2003:
“Vancouver taxpayers—and not the provincial and federal governments—could be liable for cost overruns on some of the facilities.
Last year, the City signed four separate contracts with the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation concerning the construction of an athletes’ village on city land at southeast False Creek …
Phil Le Good, a spokesperson for the No Games 2010 Coalition, alleged that this clause means city taxpayers, and not other levels of government, will be liable for all risks …
“Vancouverites were led to believe they wouldn’t have to pay a cent, that the province would cover all the costs,” Le Good said. “There is some deliberate stuff going on to hide the costs that are going to be borne by the residents of Vancouver,” Le Good alleged. “Where are they getting the money to pay for this?”
Were voters misled? Yes. But the dissembling started under Vision/COPEs watch, and it hasn’t stopped yet.
That’s not what the current dispute is all about, though. Mayor Robertson wasn’t satisfied with crushing the NPA at the polls. Instead, he seems determined to destroy his opposition entirely.
If permanently dividing the city was Vision’s goal, they’re doing a great job. Likewise with politicizing the Games.
What kind of Olympic legacy is that?