April 5, 2006

Vancouver Games review construction plans to cut costs

By Karolos Grohmann

SEOUL (Reuters) - A construction boom in western Canada is
forcing Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics organizers to review
construction plans to save money without compromising the
quality of the facilities, officials said on Wednesday.

"The economy in construction is definitely in a boom," Tim
Gayda, Vancouver Games (VANOC) Managing Director for sports
told Reuters in an interview.

"We are looking at projects for potential savings; about 85
million Canadian dollars ($73.15m)."

Gayda said they were looking into synergies to save space
as they were competing with several other major projects for
labor and materials in a frenzied residential building boom in
the region.

organizers plan to spend about C$610 million on
construction of which 110 million will be related to a Games
legacy trust fund, he said.


Gayda said any savings would not compromise the quality of
the venues as agreed with the International Olympic Committee.

"We will deliver the best field of play," he said.

VANOC said in February construction costs for the Games
were expected to be 23 percent higher than forecast when
Vancouver was awarded the Olympics nearly three years ago.

Vancouver's bid, which was prepared using 2002 dollars,
originally budgeted C$470 million to build and refurbish
athletic venues and support facilities. It will be paid jointly
by the province of British Columbia and Canada's federal

That figure did not including spending on several related
projects, such as a new mass transit line to downtown Vancouver
and upgrading a 125-km (80-mile) highway to the ski resort at

The total cost of hosting the Games has been estimated at
about C$2 billion.

Canada has painful memories of cost overruns from the 1976
Summer Olympics in Montreal that left the city with a whopping
C$1.3 billion of debt.

But Gayda said the success of the Vancouver Games
essentially rested with the level of competition in which
Canada aimed high.

"Physical competition must be as best as it can be," he
said. "Outstanding competition must be delivered and you just
cannot compromise on that."

He said Team Canada planned to top the medals standings.

"The goal is to have the Canadian team finish at number