Games Get Expensive

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

January 16, 2009 Ed Cartoon

Earlier this week, the city of Vancouver, British Columbia asked Premier Gordon Campbell for over $450 million to help with construction for venues for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Two specific projects, Vancouver’s Millennium Waters project and the Athletes Village, are exceeding budget.

The Legislative Assembly of B.C. has been called into a special session to decide what steps to take in order to ensure the construction is finished on time for February 2010.

Vancouver also requested the aid of the federal government, but the city was denied. The province must now pay up, as the Athletes Village is not an optional facility and construction is already well underway.

It would be a massive embarrassment for both the city, and Canada as a whole, if the Vancouver Olympics disappoint.

Of course, this puts athletes in an awkward position. With Vancouver being well over budget and the province likely investing millions extra into the winter games, the success of Canadian athletes is coming at a high price. Taxpayers would likely be less resentful of parting with their precious dollars if, in the end, Canada’s best come out victorious.

Over the years, overzealous spending for the Olympics has become a steadily increasing trend. The focus of the Olympics has grown to centre around which country spends the most money and has the biggest stadiums, rather than the actual games and athletes themselves. The Beijing Olympics were certainly no exception to this rule, spending over $40 billion to hold elaborate games.

Furthermore, the pollution and the waste of resources and land has become an unavoidable side effect of the international sporting event. The predicted impact of the Olympics on the environment and economy even pushed members of the public to protest back in 2007 when Vancouver announced it would host the 2010 games.

The massive stadiums and arenas created for the Olympics in various cities may also go to waste after the games, as seen in the dilapidated state of the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

At this point, even if the advertising and promotions draw a plethora of tourists to Vancouver during and following the Olympics, the likelihood of the city ever making up for the deficit is low. However, it is difficult to attach a price to the amount of exposure a city will get after hosting the games. With its picturesque coastlines and its wealthy tourism industry, Vancouver is set to gain tourists once footage of the city reaches a global audience.

Regardless of the high costs, the Olympics are about national pride and it is worth it in the long run for Canada to host the Winter Games. Both the provincial and federal governments should step up and help Vancouver cover its costs.

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