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Vancouver lends $100 million to keep Olympic village going

November 6th, 2008 · 48 Comments

That’s the story from my Globe colleague Gary Mason this morning, plus more little bombshells, like the apparent news that finance director Estelle Lo has tendered her resignation.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • ETA

    OOOOhh! this is much more exciting than Gregor’s Transit ticket (for a $1 error).
    Saw that Peter Ladner just turned his back and walked away from press questioning.
    Guess $100,000,000.00 error is alot more difficult to explain than a transit ticket.
    Talk about gaps in Judgement, Peter really should resign his current position and drop out of the Mayors Race altogether.
    Can we really afford a mayor that makes a $100,000,000.00 error?

  • Frances,

    Wasn’t clear in Mr. Mason’s article, exactly, but the 9am CBC Radio One newscast indicated that Mr. Ladner said it was all going to be covered by the property fund….

    Is that what you’ve heard? (I assume this was the topic being bandied about at the press conference after the mayoral debate this morning).

    .

  • Roy W

    So much for transparent, accountable and proportional governance at City Hall

  • Seink

    Good Lord. Can no one stop Peter Ladner?

  • jf

    Amazing what goes on behind closed doors. This is our money yet we don’t get a chance to have any input. Yes we elect officials to make decisions, and sometimes tough ones, but don’t you think there should have been at least some consultation on loaning $100 million of our money?

  • Lots of questions about who is responsible for what and why in this bailout.

    The village has to get done but perhaps the hi-market developmnet plans fot afterwards can still be changed so that there will be value in the properties after the Olympics.

  • TM

    Let’s see if Gregor makes hay with this or tells everyone the bailout is the right thing to do and lets another golden opportunity to separate himself from Ladner pass by…..

    http://www.bcandbeyond.wordpress.com

  • Wagatoast

    Thanks Peter for the empty million dollar condos!

  • Re: Steve’s suggestion above…..

    I make a modest proposal at my place for anybody interested.

    .

  • Paul

    Wagatoast,

    So, let me see if I understand all of the ideas presented in your continued comments:

    1. Peter Ladner is the devil.

    2. Peter Ladner is completely responsible for all of the civic decisions in City of Vancouver (just the “bad” ones tho).

    3. Peter Ladner has intentionally and singlehandedly destroyed everything good in the City of Vancouver.

    4. Peter Ladner is responsible for all the ills this city has faced for the past 8 years.

    5. Peter Ladner hates poor people, drug addicts, renters, the single-family homeowners of Dunbar, artists, and bus-riders.

    6. Peter Ladner is motivated by…..well…..making sure that himbo Gregor Robertson is our next mayor?!?!?!?!? (that’s the only place your logic is bringing me)

    Have I got it all straight?

    Now can we bring some sanity and reason back to the serious civic issues before us?
    Please?

    P.

    PS – When the curtain comes up on the in-camera decision re SE False Creek, it will have COPE/Vision hands all over it.

  • ETA

    Paul, How do you figure this has Vision/Cope hands all over it?
    THE NPA IS THE MAJORITY IN COUNCIL , and might I add that Peter Ladner is Chair of City Services and Budgets Committee–So Clearly the blame lays with Mr Ladner–NPA.

  • VanVoter

    The statement from the City of Vancouver today says that Council’s decision on the loan was unanimous. So that means both NPA and Vision voted for it.

    Despite what the Vision fan club is posting on here, it’s pretty ridiculous to try to blame this on Peter Ladner. And has anyone noticed that the world is in the middle of an economic crisis right now… perhaps we need to be looking at that instead of pointing fingers at any of the city councillors?!

    Think about this… how much more money would have been needed for the loan if the project had followed the original housing mix proposed by COPE/Vision with only one-third market housing? The City would have been on the hook for another $50 million or more right now. Changing the mix to 20% social housing was the prudent thing to do, obviously.

    At the end of the day, I think about this development and just have to consider the fundamentals… it’s waterfront property in Vancouver! That’s a pretty valuable piece of real estate which the City still owns, and will continue to be a valuable asset.

  • Wow, just wow. The final bill for 14 days of forgettable sports events is going to really hurt, I fear, if council is trying to keep these dealings secret from the people who pay for them.

  • Rod

    @ETA
    From the city’s press release

    “The financial and schedule risks assumed by the City with respect to the Olympic Village remain unchanged. The City is conducting business related to Southeast False Creek and the Olympic Village pursuant to a unanimous Council mandate.”

    I think the key words from that statement are “unanimous Council mandate”

  • Wagatoast

    so if it says “unanimous council mandate,” didn’t the city just break in-camera confidentiality?

    the fun continues…also, did anyone just hear Sullivan on the NW say that Estelle Lo still works for the city?

    what the hell is going on?

  • Paul

    ETA:

    Unanimous council mandate = How I figure this has Vision/Cope hands all over it.

    Wagamama:

    Election politics meeting collective administration of civic duty by consensus is what the hell is going on.

    I would imagine this is Vision payback for the fare evasion fine blunder.

  • Wagatoast

    Peter Ladner, every time he opens his mouth, tells us how he knows so much more than Gregor because he has experience on council, and that he can run the budget because he is chair of the finance committee.

    So presumably, he also knows more about this fiasco than anyone else. Peter, any explanations? Where’s Estelle? Did she tell you her concerns? Why didn’t you say anything?

    Peter sure is awfully quiet when it’s not Gregor’s fault….

  • A Dave

    I bet Ladner wishes he hadn’t just spent money on ads (p20 of this week’s Georgia Straight) that read: Proven Leadership for Vancouver… Under NPA leadership Vancouver has maintained a AAA credit rating….

    Oops!

  • threeyears

    Todd brings another predictable shot at the games. Pull yer head out of the sand, boy. Vancouver and the province have leveraged billions in infrastructure improvements, cultural and sports assets, and will reap untold zillions in marketing and trade benefits. Puh-freakin-leez will anti-Olympics bunch just go away??

    This is about a political leak. When the culprits are found out, it will explode on them.

    Pass out the Kevlar, Gregor.

  • ETA

    So my bet is Sam Sullivan leaked it as a last F-U to Ladner! Nonetheless It’s likely Peter won’t need to wait till his first week as Mayor to take a Holiday!
    And with his Media Absence, Ladner already appears to be gone.

  • three years said….

    “This is about a political leak. When the culprits are found out, it will explode on them.”

    You’re joking, right?

    A hundred million bail-out of Fortress/Millenium who were already on the ropes in Whistler for even more (because no one will lend them any more money) and you are calling this nothing more than a leak?

    Again….

    You ARE joking, right?

    .

  • Scott

    “unanimous Council mandate”

    So let me get this straight…

    It’s a unanimous council mandate inclusive of all four Vision Vancouver councillors who hold an in-camera meeting.

    But Gregor goes after Ladner instead of the Vision Vancouver councillors for some more info. But will they give him any info? I doubt it.

    What a dimwit. 😀

  • From the Tyee: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Municipal-Politics/2008/11/06/MilleniumLoan/

    “The Olympic village is not the only Millennium project in development trouble….[in Nanaimo] Millennium missed several deadlines to secure financing for building….In West Vancouver, Millennium halted construction at its Evelyn Drive housing project.”

    Oh yah, that $100 million loan is looking pretty secure right now.

  • Scott, maybe you missed this bit: “an in-camera meeting.”

    Those Vision councilors aren’t allowed to speak about the meeting, in theory. Of course he can’t say he knows what went on. And yes, Peter Ladner, as chair of the committee, is the one that should be held accountable.

  • Gear

    It makes sense that Sam leaked it, it would not be an NPA councillor because it would not make any sense to screw over your mayoral candidate, and it would not be a vision councillor because they would have told Gregor about it so that he was more informed. Therefore the only person that would make sense in leaking this information would be Sam as a final bow as he leaves office.

  • ptak604

    Holy damn, I hope the Vision incumbents were not in support of this. If the city bears the risk, the city should reap the rewards. If it does not, and Vision supported it, I will be switching a lot of votes.

  • A Dave

    Just over a week ago, when Robertson said we should use the Property Endowment Fund to help solve the homeless crisis, Ladner scoffed and told him he was too inexperienced to know that it couldn’t possibly be done (assets all tied up) and should never be touched (mortgage our future). Suddenly, the Finance Committee Chair / would-be mayor concocts a plan to sell a chunk of the PEF properties into a tanking market because we need the money NOW to bail out a developer. And this is the same developer the NPA (yes you, Ladner) made sure didn’t have to build any social housing even though it was mandated? And people still announce publicly that they want to vote for the NPA? This is experience and leadership and fiscal prudence?

    It should be noted that the biggest proponent of public-private partnerships is the Premier, and he has steadfastly downplayed the taxpayer risks and ignored the research, to the peril of us all. If anyone thinks Millenium is an isolated problem, give your head a shake. $100 million is just the opening bid on the coming Olympic Fiasco. Call me crazy, but I see the Premier’s fingerprints all over this in-camera, unanimous meeting. Damage control, anyone?

    Some statements that may or may not be true:

    The Vancouver Olympics will forever be remembered as the most transparent, Green, and socially conscious Games ever held.

    Vancouver will reap untold zillions in marketing and trade benefits.

    The Millenium story isn’t about Vancouver taxpayers being on the hook for zillions of dollars, it’s about a press leak. (So get on your Kevlar, Gregor!)

    If Ladner held a similar position to Finance Committee Chair in a private corporation, he’d be fired already. (This one goes out to my peeps in the business crowd, yo!)

    The real reason NPA candidate Sean Bickerton goes to Vision events is because he switched camps long ago, and is plotting to lead Vision to victory (albeit unwittingly).

    After being awash in money for three years, the NPA has squandered a golden opportunity for Vancouver to solve its pressing social/health issues.

    By 2010, the #1 thing on all Vancouverites’ list of “Things to do before I die” will be to ride the RAV Skytrain to the Richmond Oval, strap on the long blades, and do a few laps at super high speed.

    Toronto is starting to look like the best place on earth.

  • TM

    A Dave,

    You got it right – and you are so bang on that this has Campbell’s paws all over it…..no question. As long as the NPA and Judy Rogers are the umbilical cord tying us to 2010, taxpayers will paying through the nose for this two week party.

    http://www.bcandbeyond.wordpress.com

  • Ms. Rogers?

    Wasn’t she originally hired by the consulative fellow with many hats?

    .

  • Wagamuffin

    Loving the fact that former Vision Mayor Senator Larry Campbell was on the CBC this afternoon backing Peter’s position on this, and clucking over Vision lunacy.

    So, if there was a problem, Raymond Louie had lots of opportunities (planning, legal) to look at those contracts, since he IS the Vice-Chair of the finance committee. All the Cope/Vision gang voted to support the $100 mil. It sounds like Raymond is somewhat incompetent.

    Heather Deal was shooting off her mouth about attending the Vision emerg meeting this afternoon. Gregor holds a press conference and suddenly, Heather decides she has to wash her hair…not one Vision counsellor who voted was at that press confernce. How convenient for the media not to have access to those counsellors. How easy to spin and speculate and plant false info as long as you were’nt actually at the vote.

    And Ray, trying to frighten the taxpayers. Perhaps they aren’t as simple minded as you think they are…

  • ETA

    Hey wacomuffin , Your previous statement is complete B.S. You lie almost ad well as the politician (Peter Ladner), that most likely employs you.
    And just wait theres way more shady dealings to to come.

  • Wagamuffin

    ETA,

    I am enjoying your spittle flecked rantings. If you would like me to quote the time and stations that all these reports appeared on, let me know.

    As for more shady dealings, don’t throw too many stones hun…

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Let’s try and inject some reason in all the partisanship…

    1) The site itself is nestled on the most desirable location on the North American continent. No other waterfront can boast the desirability of False Creek (both sides).

    2) The actual land value plus buildings is probably somewhere in the region of a half billion dollars.

    3) While I do NOT support the bailout AT ALL, the actual business case for such a loan is sound. Regardless of the failures or stalls on other projects, if you were a predatory, mezzanine financier (thus making this a smaller deal), you would be begging for Millennium to fail. Picking up such a desirable piece of property for a fraction (one fifth) of it’s shelf value is almost as good as the giveaway of the Expo lands, across the Creek (must be cursed!)

    I do not understand why none of you have raised the two most obvious points:

    a) Why the push to do this deal? Why could it not wait until after the election, for a new council?

    b) BOTH (read that again, BOTH) the NPA and Vision have let the taxpayer down…the motion to go in camera was made by Tim Stevenson, seconded by Peter Ladner…(no, that’s not where we were let down, keep reading)…in so far as going in-camera is concerned, there are mandatory criteria…BUT THE CRITERIA CITED IN THIS CASE WERE DISCRETIONARY!!!

    Not even the councillors themselves understood what was happening.

    This entire affair does not rest at the feet of Ladner or Robertson, but one Judy Rogers, Vancouver City Hall’s political answer to Mommie Dearest, who runs EVERYTHING through her office, and particularly under Sir Spamalot, has flourished in having her way on everything.

    There is absolutely no reason why this couldn’t have waited a month post-election, except that council was told the deal would collapse…for those of you unversed in the land of financings, and extension of thirty days is common for any number of reasons…it is too complicated to explain in such a short space, but even a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ would have been enough…

    So…why was this done, and why is Estelle Lo, City CFO, not happy with the amt of financial commitment we have extended to the Olympic site, or the Olympics in general?

    Maybe some of you should ask Sam Sullivan…

    He’s strangely quiet, no?

    Think about this again…

    Who has the most to gain from a Peter Ladner loss? Why was this framed in such a way in Gary Mason’s column that only Ladner would take the heat (even though he had the information that the approval was unanimous!!!)???

    Who would rub his filthy hands in glee at a Peter Ladner loss…not Gregor…

    Who, I say, who?? C’mon, you can say it, go on my darlings say it, go on…..

  • AMD

    I just finished a little research to find out how egregious the conduct of this governing council has been. And you know what I found? These dastardly politicians are all over the place! It seems that governments that
    1) collect taxes
    2) hold marketable assets, and
    3) regulate commercial transactions
    have all been up to no good as they deliver financial turmoil too! In fact, best as I can figure, almost every goverment in the free world has been up to this same nasty “loan guarantee” stuff. But it doesn’t end there.
    Upon further examination, it looks like many governments in the developing world have been doing this type of thing for years! That can only mean that the NPA (and their Vision ‘in-camera’ brethren), have obviously been influencing many of these decisions around the globe. It must be all part of their grand plot to keep secret the largest liquidity crisis in economic history!
    Those varmints.

  • Deep Wrote

    Tskumis – you are spot on. And you don’t even know the half of it….

  • ptak604

    Good Christ but you’re a pompous, overblown toad, Tsakumis. And one who can’t read, comprehend, or be bothered linking the words together into meaningful sentences. Several posters have criticised council in general, which might be a clue that they do realize that both Vision and the NPA have done us dirty. And perhaps the “deadline” of the upcoming election is one reason why people seem so goddamn angry about it? If you want to climb on a high horse, you might want to consider getting one that doesn’t cost a quarter to operate.

    And for the love of all things holy, neither exclamation points nor questions marks come in threes. What are you, a ten-year old with a poor upbringing in a part of the world that doesn’t respect even moderate levels of education?

  • Tom Barrett

    Hey ptak604–take a chill pill. You missed all the detail in Tsakumis’ post. I think he’s trying to teach you something you either don’t get or can’t get. This whole thing stinks to high heaven. Tsakumis is right! I think Sam has a lot to answer for in this mess. Thanks for the details Alex. No one else offered them up.

    I also read through a bunch of these posts and the criticisms of council didn’t leap out at me either. It was either someone boosting for Vision or the NPA.

    As for exclamation points and question marks not coming in threes, I guess you haven’t read much. Both fiction and non-fiction are full of them.

    The only pompous ass is a guy who hides behind some made up name. pt604.

    Why don’t you come out and challenge Tsakumis like a man instead of hiding behind some name?

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    ptak604:

    My sincerest apologies for offending your sense of, well, whatever it is you have deluded yourself in thinking you have a sense of…

    My post, in the main, was to bring to light a perspective that many have proffered and few have had the courage to openly vet,

    Which is to state: Other than my observation that most, but certainly not all, of the posts have been idle banter and to offer additional details and perspective, I thought it important to posit a series of simple questions. If you don’t take to my style of writing, or are (clearly), bum-rash reddened by a little jab, then take a deep breath.

    More to the point: Why has the current Mayor been so silent on this issue? In the last few weeks he hasn’t been able to keep his mouth shut. Liberal conventions, infrastructure funds from the feds for Skytrain; nothing has been too small for Sam to pass comment on. This is VERY odd for a lame-duck, who is one-week from history’s dustbin.

    You did make me laugh though…”Good Christ”, “For the love of all things holy” “Holy damn”

    Where did you grow up? Bountiful????????????

  • ptak604

    I can tell you were aiming at a clear, simple series of questions by the fact you surrounded them with a screen’s worth of useless bullshit (although in fairness, your post was substantially better written, and came to the point much faster, than any of your 24 columns).

    Your stunning “it was Sam what done it!” theory was interesting the first time I heard it on the bus, but half the politicos and activists in Vancouver have driven it into the ground over the course of the last couple of days. If you’ve thought of something, take it as a given that thousands of much smarter people have already done so.

    And as a note, you have no style of any kind, but you do have something this city desperately needs. In such bleak and anxious times, why hold back your silence?

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    ptak604:

    Really?? The theory that Sam would have the most to “gain” has been “discredited”?

    By whom? You are a fool, if not entertaining. This was just a royal mess accidentally thrust upon us by an unassuming council who were more hoodwinked than politically motivated, eh?

    You’re bile for me is so utterly palpable (and hilarious), but does not add a stitch to anything you’ve written here or on any other blog you’ve littered with your bromide.

    If you don’t like my columns, please don’t read them. I started off with 211 people on my distribution list a few years back. It currently sits at almost 27,000 and I spend most of Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings returning email from some of them. Judging from much of your other comments on this blog and others, you wouldn’t like them either: Sensible, caring, uninterested in political labels and reasonable, they make some very pithy comments indeed.

    Of course, this is nothing you’d understand.

    As for any of the other nuggets of wisdom you offer, perhaps you might want not to hang on your arguments like a drunk hangs on to a lamp post–more for support than for illumination.

    Insulting me or what I write, or even how I write it, does nothing except show that you can’t get past me to deal with the pertinent issues I have raised.

    You’re weak, feeble and a charlatan.

    In your puerile ramble, you’ve missed several points which make it obvious that a completely uncredited story was allowed to run front page yesterday. Presumably, the editor of the Mop and Pail would have asked questions…wonder what kind of credible “source” would have had enough horsepower to have an editor allow such a story forward, without one named source in the actual print copy, not one?

    Instead of wasting Frances’ time, why don’t you either come out from behind your fantasists lair and email me directly at : agtsakumis@shaw.ca

    C’mon, show us that you have anything more than the spine of a gastropod.

  • Wagatoast

    Wagamuffin, all of the Vision councillors were available on the steps of City Hall at 5:45 last night to answer questions from the media. Raymond Louie went on Christy Clark yesterday for 30 minutes. We’re still waiting for Capri, Ball, BC Lee, and Anton to at least show their face in public. Nice to see they’re letting Peter take the heat while they scramble to stay on council.

    Perhaps that’s why Anton’s NW ads don’t mention the words “Peter Ladner”?

    And in all of the “Vision and NPA all voted together so they’re all in this,” there is one important distinction to make, which Frances makes in her article today. Estelle Lo has allegedly been fired/resigned over her concerns about the project – concerns which were not made at the time of the in-camera meeting.

    So the whole “why didn’t Raymond Louie ask questions about Estelle” is a red herring – there was no reason to believe anything was wrong, as staff presented a proposal that all were presumed to be believe had the full backing of staff.

    Vision is prepared to revisit it based on that info. The NPA stick by it, despite the fact that there could be major flaws . So who is being more prudent handling such a deal? It’s sure not our Labour Relations rep Elizabeth Ball.

    NPA, own up to the fact that there are details that need to be made public. When Gary Mason, Miro Cernetig, and the Vancouver Sun Editorial Board – hardly the Vision fan section – all call for it to come out into the open, you know it’s time to end the secrecy.

    the longer Peter decides to say “don’t worry taxpayers, I know better than you do,” the more political this will be.

  • Wagamuffin

    It appears that the answers are in the Sun today (yes, I aways believe everything I read)…

    As for coming clean, and if they are so brave and really have the courage of their convictions, why didn’t one of the Vision counsellors break the details as they see them? Could it be because this project is covered off 10 ways to Friday?

    As for Raymond and Estelle’s exact relationship, I will leave that to you to spin a little bit longer. I understand she is enjoying a nice holiday in Hong Kong and won’t be returning until the day after the election…timing is everything, yes?

  • In the know

    One thing to note, Tim Stevenson did request prior to the Oct 14th meeting that the session be opened and NOT be held in-camera. And again after the meeting he again requested that there be transparency, Both times he was ruled out of order by the NPA.
    And I do know that there is more to come on this story, that will place solid blame on the NPA. But that will probably hit the news, let’s say Thursday, while Peter Ladner is pulling pints at the Cambie.

  • fbula

    Hello all,

    As the owner of this blog, I would like to add my request here that people refrain from slagging each other’s personalities or typographical idiosyncrasies. There are lots of interesting issues to discuss here. We don’t need to get into playground name-calling.

    Yours in harmony,

    Frances

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    Right, so back to some points:

    1) Wagatoast and muffin raise excellent points…but will we get any answers? I think not.

    2) This whole mess is taking on a life of it’s own. Regardless of political motivations, Judy Rogers has a whole lot to answer for…she micromanages everything.

    3) Sources at the city tell me that Estelle Lo is gone and has about two weeks left, if that. I have no idea why Peter continues to say that her employment status hasn’t changed. The worst kept secret in the world is that she was not happy with the arrangement with respect to commitments for the Olympics.

    4) Think about what better a province and city we’d have if $2 billion was spent feeding the hungry; housing the homeless; curing the addicted; healing the sick (mentally and physically)…it’s, frankly, sickening when you think about it.

    5) For the last month, The Nutty Mayor hasn’t been able to keep his mouth shut…infrastructure funds for Skytrain; the Grits convention; pushing (not just figuratively) his CAST fantasy (in whatever metamorphosis it sits as today)…but not a word about $100 million dollar loan facility to a private company.

    6) Here’ s what the electorate will remember going into the voting booth:

    (a) The PEFund was used as a loan base to cash up a developer–it has become a private bank of sorts, in a downward spiral of an economy, where everyone is cutting and slashing, be it corporations of families.

    (b) While the city may own the land still (as a joint-venture partner would, with the builder paying the soft costs), how much of the $750 million (sub total) are we responsible for if anyone over at Millennium chokes over eggnog not to long from now?

    The precedent is not a good one: Any city credit or equity can be used to facilitate the bailout of any de facto JV partner the city might be engaged with.

    Someone needs to revisit the covenants of how staff operates.

    And that should begin with two senior firings.

    Even if the economy was buoyant, that money belongs to the people of Vancouver.

    This was not a garden variety major decision, notwithstanding the risk to value ratio.

    The city is aching for help in almost every neighbourhood. We could find money, we were told, for a child advocate, or more police, but we popped up $100 million like we were shooting fish in a barrel.

  • TOM

    Heres the bigger question.Did the NPA or anyone involved in the NPA or the Peter Ladner for mayor campaign receive any contributions from anyone connected to the Olympics,Millinnium or Fortess? Just have that question answered and we will know how far this goes.

  • Wagamuffin

    The choices are clear:

    A) Cancel the project. Cancel the Olympics. Put an immediate stop to all the infrastructure projects that employ all those people in those nice, high paying jobs. Ensure that people are put out of work. Make sure the world understands that we are absolutely incapable of working through tough times without tearing each other apart. Hunker down for a few years (or more) with a can of beans, a tarpaulin and some matches. And pray to the deity of your choice.

    Or…

    B) Finish the project, hold the Olympics, convert the project into its intended use of market and social housing, leverage our city’s triumph and “can-do” profile in order to attract more investors and business folks who will provide more well paying jobs in things like infrastructure and IT, gamer jobs etc. etc. etc.

    Time is of the essence. Are we going to shred this city’s reputation, sow deeper seeds of fear and also try to find a new contractor to finish this job in a year? By the way, I understand from Jeff Lee’s article in today’s Sun that Millenium does not get a farthing/sous/drachma unless or until they finish the project.

    So, what’s it gonna be, people?

  • Alvaro

    Wagamuffin, I think you’re absolutely right. This deal may taste bitter to many people, but the fact is that it’s been done. By committing to 2010, Vancouver NEEDS to finish what it started, for the good of everyone concerned. It is essential for every Olympic venture that the atheletes’ village be completed before the actual start date. What are we going to do, host them at Best Westerns?

    The point is that the village needs to be built on time. The alternative is too disastrous to contemplate. How much of a laughingstock on the international stage would our humble city be if we couldn’t even provide the athletes (who are, after all, pretty much foreign delegates) with something that EVERY COUNTRY who wins the Olympic bid is expected to provide?

    Extra spending on an athletes’ village is not something “extra” tacked on to the bill. In camera or not, it would have had to be done anyway, if that meant being able to complete everything in time. Can we please stop panicking whenever Mom and Dad happen to decide on something for the good of the family in private? There are no fascist undertones here. This is just plain common sense.