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  • 2010 Olympics Budget Warning


    The Whistler Sliding Center is one of the major venue projects for the 2010 Games. (VANOC) 
    (ATR) The construction budget for Vancouver 2010 is too small, warns the chief executive of the Turin 2006, while Vancouver organizers say fewer volunteers may be recruited for the Games.

    Construction Budget: "Extremely Strict"

    Speaking at the end of the five-day Turin debrief in Vancouver, Turin CEO Cesare Vaciago said in his opinion the $520 million budget for Vancouver construction "seems extremely strict."

    "I hope they do it," he said.

    "You cannot take one dollar away from that."

    At the time of the bid, the Vancouver capital budget was dubbed "one of the smallest in modern Games history".

    Starting out at $410 million, the costs have steadily risen since Vancouver won the Games in 2003. VANOC is now waiting on the Canadian and British Columbia governments to fund the shortfall.

    VANOC CEO John Furlong defends the construction budget, saying Turin had to build much more than Vancouver.

    "When you look at their program, we have a stadium that is built, two major arenas that are built. They had to build a lot more."

    Venues and Volunteers

    In his comments, TOROC president Valentino Castellani said the widespread venues for the 2006 Games encouraged enthusiastic participation among six municipalities and the City of Torino. But it also brought "logistics problems and costs" that Vancouver will be able to avoid, with ice events within Vancouver and snow events in West Vancouver and Whistler.

    Castellani said one of Turin's regrets was the lack of a strategic national communication plan until just a few months before the Games.

    VANOC CEO John Furlong said TOROC inspired VANOC to adopt a reverse planning concept "where you go to the finish line and you study
    TOROC President Valentino Castellani says Vancouver will have an easier time organizing the Games with fewer city governments involved. (B.Mackin/ATR) 
    very precisely what it is that you want every customer group to experience at the games and work back to there."

    Furlong said VANOC learned from TOROC that fewer volunteers are needed.

    "They convinced us to look hard at it," Furlong said.

    "When you break it down, one volunteer costs this amount of money and it starts multiplying."

    Furlong said the quantity of volunteers isn't as important as ensuring they have meaningful work and are well trained.

    The VANOC board meets next week to mull over the results of the debrief, while the executive management committee continues to work on an operations budget and updated business plan. Furlong said those would be presented to the board in November.

    Reported by Bob Mackin in Vancouver

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