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Toronto Pan Am Games already $1 Billion over budget

alexd

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Total cost of the 2015 Pan Am Games pegged at over $2.5-billion
ADRIAN MORROW
Toronto — The Globe and Mail


The total price tag for the 2015 Pan American Games, to be hosted by Toronto, will ring in at more than $2.5-billion – more than a billion more than the budget for the Games’ organizing committee.

That is because several major projects, including a new waterfront district and a Canadian Football League stadium, are being built directly by the Ontario government for use by the Games.

Culture, Tourism and Sport Minister Michael Chan said on Wednesday that the extra expense is worth it, pointing to the affordable housing that will be part of the waterfront development.

“It’s a good thing to do, to help the people that are less fortunate and really to strengthen the area in the east waterfront area from a contaminated brownfield to a vibrant community come 2015,” he said. “It’s good to revitalize the whole area.”

The Pan Am Games will be the largest multisport event ever held in Canada, with double the number of athletes as took part in the Olympics in Vancouver.

The organizers’ $1.4-billion budget covers basic things such as building venues and running the Games.

But Ontario decided to add a series of other projects at extra expense. These include better venues than would otherwise have been built, such as a new stadium in Hamilton that will host soccer games during the Pan Am Games and serve as the home of the CFL’s Tiger-Cats.

The province is also paying for the redevelopment of the West Don Lands, near the waterfront, to serve as the athletes village. The buildings used to house the athletes will become condominiums, social housing and college dormitories after the Games.

Ontario’s extra costs also include part of the security budget, which is higher than initially estimated, and transportation.

The Progressive Conservatives accused the Liberals of being disingenuous for counting only the organizing committee’s budget as a Pan Am expense and excluding the other projects.

“Why do you think it’s acceptable to play games with the Ontario taxpayers’ money?” Conservative MPP Rod Jackson said in the legislature.

Mr. Chan countered that the Tories were simply dumping on the Games.

“They continue to shine a negative light on our local Pan American communities, our competing athletes and para-athletes, over 20,000 volunteers, over 26 new capital and infrastructure projects, and the 250,000 tourists who will be visiting,” he said. “Their party also continues to cut ties and embarrass our province with 41 nations, boycotting our reception last month and spreading unfounded allegations and numbers to the public.”

Total cost of the 2015 Pan Am Games pegged at over $2.5-billion - The Globe and Mail
 
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