Olympics On time and On budget?

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The attached link is to a national Globe and Mail article about the Vancouver Olympics being on time and on budget, including 100Million in contingency that is not allocated right now.

The following post contains a direct link to the VANOC budget page:

Note, this does not address those people who believe the money should be spent in the first place. However it's an interesting crow-cake for those who believe the budget has already been blown and that massive over-runs are imminent.

I created this separately because having the link in the original post made the text unreadable and off the screen.

Although then I discovered that you can't edit the post once a reply has been posted. Fortunately I could delete the reply, delete the link, then move it to a new reply.

Too bad our forum software is so bad.

Actually, you can edit it, Dugly...someone enlightened me some-time last year.

Just copy/paste this link into the browser...include the post number that you see when viewing the thread, and voila!

http://www.vul.bc.ca/v3/forum/forum_message_edit.cfm?MessageID=22992

Good tip, thanks Mortakai! I think it was Temple who found that the first time, but nice find to whoever it was.

Fortunately my 3 step process worked for me as I'd forgotten that.

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - The Vancouver Park Board has shot down the option of borrowing money from a future project to top-up the growing budget for an Olympic venue. Rising construction costs have forced the budget for the Trout Lake rink to balloon by nearly three million dollars.
Park Board staff recommended that 1.2 million be reassigned from the fund intended for upgrading the change rooms at Renfrew Pool.

Park Board Commissioner Marty Zlotnik voted against the idea, "With respect to taking money from one pot and putting it in another, I think it's a very bad habit. It seems to be something we've been doing with quite a bit of regularity. Even though I think it's sometimes a desperate measure, it puts communities in an awkward position."
The Board voted to ask Vancouver City Council to instead allocate nearly three million dollars from VANOC funds intended for converting the Hillcrest curling venue into a community centre and library.
City Council will make their decision Tuesday.

REPEATED FOR EMPHASIS

The Board voted to ask Vancouver City Council to instead allocate nearly three million dollars from VANOC funds intended for converting the Hillcrest curling venue into a community centre and library. City Council will make their decision Tuesday.

Nice joke here - Park Board Commissioner Marty Zlotnik says ""With respect to taking money from one pot and putting it in another, I think it's a very bad habit."

Now the Park Board is asking the Council to "allocate nearly three million dollars from VANOC funds intended for converting the Hillcrest curling venue into a community centre and library" For Trout Lake. I guess Marty's objections have a lot to do with where the money is coming from and going!

I understand that a vocal minority are against the Olympics, however these projects (Trout Lake, Hillcrest) are Olympic related venues that will serve their communities for Decades after 2010 in a very positive way. The Vancouver Curling Club has occupied it's current location for more than half a century, and moving to the post Olympic venue (FYI - "converting the Hillcrest curling venue into a community centre and library" also will be changing 1/2 that building into the new VCC). At Trout Lake upgrades to the Ice Rink will be something that will have a long term positive impact on Hockey at all levels.

When spending money on these items it's never good to think that saving a few $$ now will be a good long term investment. These facilities will be the best long term legacy of the games no matter how the Olympics work out. As a Vancouver Tax Payer I have no problem paying for these buildings.

m2c

The 'vocal' minority is nearly half of those who cast a vote in the 2010 referendum. That's just Vancouver residents. There are no numbers for how many other British Columbians and Canadians think a snow sports party won't be worth the money spent.

"These facilities will be the best long term legacy of the games no matter how the Olympics work out."

So we can corner the international market in bobsled and luge tourism? ;-)

"The 'vocal' minority is nearly half of those who cast a vote in the 2010 referendum."

1) You are quite happy that the voice of the people was listened to though right? You're glad
that your voice was heard and, because the majority wanted it, the olympics are going to
happen, right? If you had a magical button that would cancel the olympics and refund all the
money to the taxpayers, would you use it?

2) As an aside, what's your estimation (let's say in Van only) of the percentage breakdown of
Yes/No votes of those that didn't vote in the referendum? Of the people that didn't vote, do
you think the percentage Yes/No would be the same, or would it be skewed more to one side.
I'd guess that a much higher percentage of people that didn't want the olympics voted against
it than the percentage of people who did want it voted. Do you honestly think than nearly
50% of all of Vancouver is against the olympics? Just curious.

"So we can corner the international market in bobsled and luge tourism? ;-)"

I know this is tongue in cheek, but the sentiment is shared by most that are against the
olympics. There are an awful lot of things that our governments spend our tax money on that
you and I will never see any 'benefit' from. I think that if you're going to use the "so little
benefit to so few" argument, you should apply it to all government programs that 'benefit' so
few. Personally, I'm happy to pay for lugers, and I'm happy to pay for some contemporary
art grant to a guy who makes stuff I really don't understand, but which I have a strong
feeling sucks.

emd By emd

See link for your tax dollars hard at work!! Much better than paying for a useless sports centre or library, eh?

"You're glad that your voice was heard and, because the majority wanted it, the olympics are
going to happen"

I'm not sure the majority did want it. A small margin of Vancouverites said yes in the
referendum. The rest of B.C. wasn't given a vote.

"I'd guess that a much higher percentage of people that didn't want the olympics voted
against it than the percentage of people who did want it voted. Do you honestly think than
nearly 50% of all of Vancouver is against the olympics? Just curious."

I think you're wrong on the first supposition. Yep, I think at least half of the people I talk to
see it as a waste of money and a fait accompli.

I don't have a problem paying for things I might not ever use, need or appreciate, but paying
for something so expensive that serves little purpose beyond being an advertising billboard
(the entire event) shouldn't be the job of the public IMO, but rather the people who truly do
benefit the most (Olympic-associated advertisers).

Comparing a painting to a luge run doesn't make much sense. To use that comparison the
gov't would have to be building art schools not handing out tiny grants.

Temple: "Do you honestly think than nearly 50% of all of Vancouver..."

Stump: "Yep, I think at least half of the people I talk to..."

Heh, I've missed chatting with you. :)

if you want hard numbers...

Roughly 60 percent of the nearly fifty percent of eligible voters who cast a ballot on the referendum voted for 2010. That's only Vancouver voters however.

That's about a quarter of the people expressing a pref. for the games... in one city out of the whole province. It's hard to view that as an overwhelming endorsement IMO.

Stump said:

"Comparing a painting to a luge run doesn't make much sense. To use that comparison the gov't would have to be building art schools not handing out tiny grants."

So you mean almost EVERY university in Canada then, right? You do realize that essentially every post secondary institution in Canada is funded primarily through taxes? And you must therefor admit that very significant numbers of dollars are spent encouraging and promoting arts in Canada. That's not even including the hundreds of millions that are given to the Arts Council.

Perhaps Stump, you'll see that the logical extension of your argument is to remove Music and Arts programs from all schools. Oh hey! Looks like we've already headed down that path, I'm sure you'll be glad that your aversion to funding things that not everyone equally benefits from is coming to fruition.

Personally, I believe we should continue to fund the arts programs, as well as the sports programs, science programs and for that matter, government funded day-care.

Why doesn't it surprise me that "at least half of the people you talk to see it as a waste of money". I guess it's completely inconceivable that we'd all generally associate with people that share many some of our views.

Jon By Jon

Really Stump? Really?

Cuz, ya know, roughly 40% of the nearly 50% of eligible voters who cast a ballot on the referendum voted
against 2010. That's only Vancouver voters however.

That's less than a quarter of the people expressing their dislike of the games.... in one city out of the whole
province. it's hard to view that as an overwhelming denouncement of the games.

Nicely done Jon.

You have to know that even Stump will smile and laugh at that touché...

"I'm sure you'll be glad that your aversion to funding things that not everyone equally benefits from is coming to fruition."

I haven't expressed such an aversion.

"Perhaps Stump, you'll see that the logical extension of your argument is to remove Music and Arts programs from all schools."

I don't see. Spell out for me how expecting the Olympic Games to not be supported by taxpayers leads to the removal of arts and music from schools.

"Why doesn't it surprise me that "at least half of the people you talk to see it as a waste of money". "

Certainly one's milieu is a consideration, but I am hearing negative opinions regarding the 2010 Olympics from many people across all walks of life, rather than just one slice of the population.

Regarding your comparison of Olympic funding to universities, I'd have to say it doesn't work. Universities are home not only to the arts but also to science, sport, medicine etc. A better comparison would be to compare gov't (read taxpayer) funded infrastructure such as galleries, theatres, and concert halls. Or advertising budgets.

Jon:

I think the split is about 50/50 frankly. I don't think characterizing the anti-Olympic side of that equation as merely a vocal minority is entirely accurate. I think the pro-side however has more resources to publicize and promote their P.O.V. so we get the impression that the whole province can't wait for the big day.

Stump

1) Do you disagree that Universities art departments are funded by public funds? Universities art departments are definitely funded for the betterment of art in our society.

2) Many people believe this is a waste of money, as they do not believe that art has a positive impact on society (presumably economically, however I won't speak for them)

3) The VAST majority of people I speak to about this topic support the Olympics, I would estimate well over 80%. However many of us have reservations about the efficiency of the operation (and how it is being managed). I regularly speak to people of many walks of life and political affiliation. This is a personal experience and I don't pretend (as you do) that this is representative of the general population.

4) You state the following in response to me:

"

"I'm sure you'll be glad that your aversion to funding things that not everyone equally benefits from is coming to fruition."

I haven't expressed such an aversion.

"

However, previously you state this:

"paying for something so expensive that serves little purpose beyond being an advertising billboard (the entire event) shouldn't be the job of the public IMO, but rather the people who truly do benefit the most"

I believe the logical conclusion of your position is that the public should not support anything that does not benefit everyone in society the same amount. It is for all intents and purposes the same as stating in relation to fine arts education:

"paying for something so expensive that serves little purpose beyond being a place to teach fine arts shouldn't be the job of the public IMO, but rather the people who truly do benefit the most"

The basic premise of your argument is that there is a limited scope of benefit. Thus the public in general should not have to support this. This premise could be applied to anything that couldn't be shown to benefit society equally.

"I believe the logical conclusion of your position is that the public should not support anything that does not benefit everyone in society the same amount."

That's a pretty big leap to make. Although it's inaccurate, making such a supposition does however, allow you to bolster your inaccurate interpretation of what I'm saying.

I quoted what you said so that you could easily verify that you did in fact say that.

Despite that your position is ONLY with respect to the Olympics, you'd have to be pretty blind to not see how that relates to any program. You obviously have a personal vendetta against the Olympics. You should realize that your argument against it applies equally well to many many programs. If you don't want to see that, that's OK with me.

When you're upset or confused about why someone would want to cut other social programs perhaps you'll realize it's because of the same argument as you're applying to the Olympics. If you fail to make that connection I fear you're bound to be bitter for the rest of your days.

"Despite that your position is ONLY with respect to the Olympics, you'd have to be pretty blind to not see how that relates to any program."

You'd have to be stretching the comparison to equate a massive spending of capital on a short event with the ongoing funding of programs, social or otherwise, that provide a tangible benefit or safety net to all Canadians. As opposed to funneling tax dollars into debatable infrastructure improvements that mostly benefit a select few for instance.

"When you're upset or confused about why someone would want to cut other social programs perhaps you'll realize it's because of the same argument as you're applying to the Olympics."

My argument against the 2010 Olympics is pretty simple. I think it's an investment in things we don't need at a time when fiscal prudence and long-term planning should take precedence over funding a wintery sports circus for prestige and a short term, localized boom in the economy. I don't think it's the role of our government to take on that job or spend our money in that manner. I don't think that argument is unreasonable. Further, my initial impression of the 2010 Games... that it would cost more than estimated and deliver less than promised remains pretty valid at this point, so why would I being changing my mind?

My argument against the _Fine arts building at university X_ is pretty simple. I think it's an investment in things we don't need at a time when fiscal prudence and long-term planning should take precedence over funding _pretty pictures_ for prestige and a short term, localized boom in the economy. I don't think it's the role of our government to take on that job or spend our money in that manner. I don't think that argument is unreasonable. Further, my initial impression of the _Fine Arts Building_... that it would cost more than estimated and deliver less than promised remains pretty valid at this point, so why would I being changing my mind?

Jon By Jon

Dug, that's kind of fun, isn't it?

Your analogy is interesting, Dugly. It may be relevant when trying to make a point of principle, but to me it's not that relevant when considering differences in scale.

Olympics: $2-3 billion - http://tinyurl.com/298ygd (Vancouver Sun)

A building: $10-20 million - http://tinyurl.com/27mwf3 (UBC) or http://tinyurl.com/24jscg (Ottawa)

There are many debatable government initiatives that cost millions of dollars, but few that cost in the billions. I'm excited the Olympics are coming and am generally in support, but also wonder what a few hundred million could have done for other challenges in BC.

Jon: That was almost too easy to be fun ;)

Craig, I'm glad to have more people from any perspective engaging in this discussion, thank you for chiming in.

I agree that the relevant point is about principle. It is indisputable that the total cost far surpasses that of any single building.

I appreciate that you obviously looked for some figures regarding the costs. However I suggest that the figures are also somewhat misleading.

I'm genuinely curious about what the actual cost to tax-payers will be, from the Olympic's official FAQ the following

"The capital infrastructure budget covers the construction of new venues and the renovation of existing facilities. As of January 2006, the federal and provincial governments had each committed $255 million to the capital budget for a total of $510 million."

I hope we all take that with a grain of salt, and clearly it does not include
the city's contribution. But regardless it seems unlikely to be in excess of a billion. Furthermore, it's unclear how much of that would have had to be spent regardless. So I'm also curious about how much is being spent specifically on Olympic related expenses that are unrecoverable in any meaningful way. That amount will clearly be much much smaller and I believe is the amount that we would have to offset with direct revenue in order to make the Olympics "Worth it".

I'm also not certain that we don't desperately need many of the infrastructure improvements that this money is paying for. I believe the RAV line (which I'm not on, and will undoubtedly rarely take) is necessary. I'm also certain that the additional money from that budget being put towards affordable housing will have a positive impact beyond the advertising opportunities that seem to be such a sticking point. Not to mention the venues that are being built to be cross purposed throughout the city.

So in response, I think that the Olympics have presented the opportunity to apply a few hundred additional dollars for BC, being spent on programs that are only very loosely associated with the Olympics themselves. I believe this is in response to some of the criticism, and so many of the critics can pat themselves on the back for having driven this, however it's equally clear to me that none of these things would have been possible if the answer was simply "No Olympics".

Did you read the Sun article I posted? It refers to a report last year from the BC auditor-general, a much more neutral source than VANOC:

"The immediate headline from the report is the $2.5 billion-and-counting estimate of the cost of the Games to the taxpaying public."

The infrastructure improvements (transit, roads, facilities), whether they were 'desperately needed' or not, will undoubtedly be welcomed and used by many people, myself included. What's unclear is whether the Olympics will benefit everyone as promised: http://tinyurl.com/38sog2 ("housing report triggers alarm" from cbc.ca)

Dugly wrote:

"I agree that the relevant point is about principle. It is indisputable that the total cost far surpasses that of any single building."

I'm waiting for someone to come up with a reasonable explanation of how one can compare Olympic infrastructure building with ongoing social programs and/or education facilities. Both in real benefits to our country and level of access available to the average citizen the two scenarios are so different that, for the Olympics to deliver even a fraction of the benefits of other, cheaper programs, it would truly have to be the 'magic bullet' of athletic spectacles. I think you need to rethink the comparison.

and:
"I appreciate that you obviously looked for some figures regarding the costs. However I suggest that the figures are also somewhat misleading.

I'm genuinely curious about what the actual cost to tax-payers will be, from the Olympic's official FAQ the following

"The capital infrastructure budget covers the construction of new venues and the renovation of existing facilities. As of January 2006, the federal and provincial governments had each committed $255 million to the capital budget for a total of $510 million."

I hope we all take that with a grain of salt, and clearly it does not include the city's contribution. But regardless it seems unlikely to be in excess of a billion. "

Take it with a hefty grain of salt. Not counted in those figures, security costs (the current low-ball estimate $177m), the higher prices consumers can expect as Olympic sponsors and advertisers recoup their $$$ (what, you think that's coming out of share dividends? Don't make me ROTLMAO), and the higher prices BC residents are paying for things like home construction due to the demand for labour. The cost for 2010 is a lot more than VANOC wants you to consider.

"My argument against the _Fine arts building at university X_ is pretty simple. I think it's an investment in things we don't need at a time when fiscal prudence and long-term planning should take precedence over funding _pretty pictures_ for prestige and a short term, localized boom in the economy."

Which multi-million dollar fine arts bldg currently under construction are you referring to?

security costs for comparison (numbers lifted from a Georgia Straight article)

"(security costs for the) 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics rose from US$84 million to US$330 million. The Greek government says it spent US$1.5 billion on security for the 2004 Summer Games."

Rather than refer to the article that refers to the BC Auditor General's report, I'll refer to the
interesting parts of
that report:

http://www.bcauditor.com/PUBS/2006-07/Report2/Report2%2020062007.pdf

BC Auditor's current estimated Olympics capital costs: $2,506m. Let's break that down,
because the individual
items each have different scope, breadth, and length of worth to our city/province/country:

Of the $979m for Venues (includes $67m 'contingency', so let's assume that to be as close to
a final number as
we can get), I'm going to break that down into 'sport facilities' and 'olympic-specific' costs
(based on my
reasoning below "Venue Cost Breakdown").

$562m for 'Sport Facilities' (facilities for lasting athletic and community use).

$350m for 'Olympic-Specific' venue costs (athlete/olympic villages).

$67m for venue contingency costs.

$775m for Sea-to-Sky highway improvements.

$40m for Olympic Live Site Events ("for projects that provide opportunities for communities
outside
the Vancouver and Whistler areas to participate in the spirit of the Games.")

$40m for Paralympic Grant

$562m for "Outside Costs" (Essential Services, Security, 'Other').

$110m 2010 Games Operating Trust.

-- Venue Cost Breakdown

Let's break that down. $562m goes towards completely sustainable venues that will be used
for years (includes
no athlete's, or olympic village costs):

UBC Hockey Arena, Misc Training Venues, Hastings Park Skating Arena, Hillcrest Curling,
Cypress
Freestyle/Snowboard, Whistler Alpine, Whistler Nordic Centre, Whistler Sliding Centre, Sledge
Hockey, Speed
Skating Oval in Richmond (which is being designed to "have lasting legacy benefits to the
community over and
above the cost of having just a speed skating surface ready for the games").

I hope that nobody would argue against the fact that each of these facilities will benefit the
athletic and general community (each
to a different degree) long after the games have ended.

--

Next for venues, there's the remaining $350m for 'Olympic-specific' venues. This money
includes The Whistler
Olympic and Athlete's village, the Vancouver Olympic village, the Whistler Media centre,
Venue Planning, BC
Place Upgrades, and 'Sustainability'.

--

Now let's look at those broken-down costs and discuss those numbers.

It's unfair to say that $2.5b is being spent on a two week event, when that number obviously
has quite a bit of money spent on lasting infrastructure for the province and it's communities.

First of all, I think the $775m spent on the Sea-to-sky highway be immediately removed
from the consideration. This is a project, that has been a very, very long time coming. Long
before there was talk about Vancouver 2010, there was a lot of talk about improving the Ski-
to-Die. This is a pure public works project, and it will undoubtedly have lasting benefits for
many years to come.

Next, we should look at the venue costs. First off, just the $562m for my so-called 'Sport
Facilities'. Please pipe up if you think any of those listed venues aren't going to have lasting
benefits to the community and athletes for many years to come. There was a reason that
there was a curling rink at Hillcrest, hockey rinks at UBC before, it's because the community
wanted them, and they added value. The olympic-specific sliding facilities arguably have less
of a community need, but if Calgary has shown anything, it's that 20 years later, they're
providing a lasting benefit to both Canadian athletes from around the country, as well as local
tourism.

I don't think that anybody could reasonably dismiss the $562m spent on these facilities as
having no lasting benefit.

What about the Athlete and Olympic villages? Well, while the future use and thus worth is
debatable. From what I understand, these villages will be used for many years to come as
community neighborhoods and commercial/tourist centres (like Granville Island).

--

The list goes on, There's $110m set aside for future costs to keep all that running, $40m in
grants to paralyzed
athletes, $40m set aside for local governments or non-profits to 'bring' the 2010 games to
communities across Canada, etc.

Certainly there are one-off costs for the olympic period. But just as certainly there is some
non-zero
value in the olympic period to the City/Province/Country (it will be different for each person,
but one cannot deny there is value).

To use a number like $2.5b, is using far too myopic a view. Let's point our money arguments
at the actual costs of that which we're arguing against. The discussion will be better served.

Costs for Trout Lake rink triple. G. Straight article linked below. Note the third from last para. pointing out estimated costs for future operation are likely to rise as well.

Temple:

If you are truly keen on fixing the problems of the Sea to Sky highway I urge you to consider why so many accidents occur on that road. You'll find that driver behaviour has more to do with the death rate than the road itself. Making it easier to go faster on that road may not turn out to be the best solution, esp. when you consider how much the death rate rises with a few km/h increase in speed. In fact, if you look at most car accidents, driver error or inattention plays a much larger role than road design.

"If you are truly keen on fixing the problems of the Sea to Sky highway"

Who said I was?

Anyway your argument is like suggesting that you don't have to eliminate lead paint from
homes, only educate people to prevent their children (themselves) from eating it.

I've no interest in debating the value of public works. I don't really care if McBride BC needs
another stoplight. I was just pointing out the fact that painting all 2.5b with the same brush is
exceedingly short-sighted, and weakens your other, valid arguments.

On the other hand, it also distracts from his other, erroneous arguments, so maybe it's a wash.

"Anyway your argument is like suggesting that you don't have to eliminate lead paint from homes, only educate people to prevent their children (themselves) from eating it."

No it isn't. My argument re: Sea to Sky, is suggesting that we address the problem, not the symptom.

"On the other hand, it also distracts from his other, erroneous arguments, so maybe it's a wash."

Which erroneous argument would that be? Coming from the guy who equates hospitals and universities with ice rinks and ski jumps, your statement is validation that my arguments are spot on.

"I've no interest in debating the value of public works."

The return to the taxpayer on their investment in these 'public works' is the most important aspect of the debate. All the rest is just an elementary school sports day with bigger stakes and more dedicated athletes.

"Coming from the guy who equates hospitals and universities with ice rinks and ski jumps"

It's clear that you didn't comprehend what I've been saying what so ever. I specifically stated "Fine Arts Building" several times not "universities" and I never mentioned hospitals. There is probably zero direct evidence that a fine arts program in a University has any economic benefit. (I say probably because I'm not going to bother trying to prove it). I personally think we should continue to fund fine arts, music and various social sciences because it is my belief that society benefits in ways other than economic. I don't believe that money is the best way to keep score.

I also never equated the facilities to ski jumps or ice rinks. If you still can't see how one individual's whining about the Olympics is no better than another individual's complaining about the Fine Arts building, then so be it. You can whinge all you want, but it's still going to happen.

And where did you get hospitals from anyway? Oh, that's right, you made that up. Another waste of time from you Stump, now you seem desperate to achieve some kind of validity. I know you can offer more, so why don't you?

Dugly:

You said earlier:
"Despite that your position is ONLY with respect to the Olympics, you'd have to be pretty blind to not see how that relates to any program. You obviously have a personal vendetta against the Olympics. You should realize that your argument against it applies equally well to many many programs. If you don't want to see that, that's OK with me.

When you're upset or confused about why someone would want to cut other social programs perhaps you'll realize it's because of the same argument as you're applying to the Olympics. "

Sorry, I guess when you said 'any program' or 'social program' I didn't realize we were only allowed to use fine arts buildings as examples. I would place hospitals and universities under the category of social programs.

First you say the Olympic funding compares to spending on social programs and "many programs" now it's just fine arts buildings. Could you choose please?

"Another waste of time from you Stump, now you seem desperate to achieve some kind of validity."

It must suck to have a gun held to your head and be forced to read what I write.

"If you still can't see how one individual's whining about the Olympics is no better than another individual's complaining about the Fine Arts building, then so be it."

If you can't spot the difference between the two scenarios it's pointless to try to have a debate on the topic.

And, I don't have a personal vendetta against the Olympics. I just have an ongoing distaste for corporate welfare projects.

full story linked below

Calvert promises 2,000 new daycare spaces

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 | 12:29 PM CT

CBC News

The Saskatchewan New Democrats are promising to add another 2,000 daycare spots over four years if they are re-elected.

-snip-

It will cost $25 million over four years to add the new daycare spots, Calvert said.

swiped from a thread on the Tyee (tyee.ca)

"In the May 31,2002 issue of the Georgia Straight, VANOC's Jack Poole is quoted as saying (in 2002) to Frank O'Brien, Western Investor editor," the real purpose of the 2010 Olympic bid is to seduce the provincial and federal governments and the long suffering taxpayers into footing a billion-dollar bill to pave the path for future real esate sales."

I thought about referencing that Straight article earlier in this thread. The attribution is slightly incorrect, though. To be fair, that's a quote from O'Brien editorializing what Poole said, not from Poole himself.

http://www.straight.com/article-93176/developers-are-the-games-real-winners

But the point is still valid: the Olympics will benefit may people, including many members of the general public who use community centres, but they'll benefit some groups (those involved in real estate) a lot more than others (the homeless, those who can't afford to play hockey or ski at Whistler, etc). Should we care? Another article from the Tyee references a BC Gov study which estimates "provincial taxpayers spend up to $40k annually per homeless person" for a total of ~$90M per year, compared with up to $28k to provide supportive housing for each of them. So there are compassionate AND financial incentives to getting people off the streets.

http://thetyee.ca/Views/2007/01/08/HomelessSolutions/

Temple, thanks for the breakdown of costs for that $2.5B. I wasn't sure what it covered, and I agree big lump sums can be confusing. My point was, though, that if gov'ts can find that much money to support the Games (and that doesn't include the Convention Centre or the RAV line), then surely we could find even $25-$50M to make significant inroads into homelessness. Let's spread the love. :)

[edit: I should acknowledge that the total number of homeless in Canada is estimated to be about 150,000, or only ~0.5% of the population. So one could argue against spending $50M on homeless by saying there are numerous other groups that could benefit from similar sums of money, and there may not be enough for every group to get such a share of the pie. I think the "ROI" on such an investment would be quite high, though, especially from a "triple bottom line" perspective (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_bottom_line), but I don't have a list of other issues to compare against. Anyone else?]

"To be fair, that's a quote from O'Brien editorializing what Poole said, not from Poole himself."

In my haste to pillory these greedheads I missed that. I stand corrected. Great article however (in the Straight) and recommended reading for anyone who thinks 2010 is about benefiting the average taxpayer in B.C.

emd By emd

That is an interesting article...thanks for pointing it out.

emd By emd

Just so Stump doesn't have to point out all the articles...article from the front page of the Vancouver Sun about how the gov't knew about the convention centre overruns long before they admitted it.

I think a huge part of the issue is the perspective that this 2Billion dollar pie could be shared in a better manner. From my perspective this is just a slice of the much much larger pie form which the needy DO get an _enormously_ larger share per year, so over the 5 years of spending on the olympics that'd be 250M

Vancouver 6% of 850Million Community Services = 51.5M
http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/corpsvcs/financial/

BC: About 2 Billion over 4 years on helping with housing (This will include a lot that aren't homeless shelters etc. but it's all helping the situation)
http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2007/pdf/2007_News_Release.pdf This doesn't include vast sums spent on other programs specificially to help the needy, including welfare, Social assistance, training etc.

Canada: Billions per year in social transfers for people in need of social assistance. 9.5 Billion for Canada Social Transfer (which includes social assistance and social services, and early childhood development and early learning, childcare and post secondary education) http://www.fin.gc.ca/FEDPROV/cste.html. If you assume BC gets about 15% of that based on population, you'd be looking at about 1.5 billion per year. Opposed to the 250million/year from the Olympics Assuming the 2.5 Billion is spread over 5 years. Not to mention the fact much of that money would have had to be spent regardless.

And this doesn't even include a huge amount of the money being spent in mostly 1 off expenditures (which are regularly announced, if not continuously funded, kind of like the Olympics)

So each year we spend over 2 billion on social programs in BC alone. Over the 5 years that the Olympic budget is posted (and not more than that) perhaps we could have spent a small amount more on one sector or another, but it seems to me that 2 billion a year on these programs should be enough.

I have a number of issues with Stump's version of hypercharity, and it's hypocritical standards. Basically it seems that Stump's criteria for spending tax monies is to not spend it on anybody but the "poor". I believe that we as a society are trying to do enough for the poor. And while I realize it's not his position, it really seems like Stumps criteria for social spending is "the rich won't like it".

I have some insight into the "poor" but not homeless in at least one part of town, and while they qualify for remarkable amount of assistance, they still have cars, TVs, video games and honestly more 'stuff' than I do. Their attitude of "gimmie, I deserve it" which Stump echos so consistently definitely has the effect of turning people off from helping them. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way.

If your only metric is to help the "needy" then at what point is enough enough? Do I really need a new iPod? or should that money be given to some charity?

Which brings us back to the Triple Bottom Line article that Craig brought up. The people and corporations that actually PAY the taxes (the homeless do NOT pay taxes, there's not a single homeless person who makes enough money to pay taxes but not enough to afford shelter) The wikipedia article states that "the business entity should be used as a vehicle for coordinating stakeholder interests, instead of mzximising shareholder profit". I view Stumps position as only maximizing the interests of one SPECIFIC sector of stakeholders, while ignoring the rest of society. To that position I state "Tough beans. Sometimes people with money get to share in the wealth that they generate." People who wilfully cannot recognize that everyone deserves to share in our society should be ignored completely. (Be they Stump, Developers, right wing nutjobs who don't think we should fund schools let alone healthcare or any other special interest that's all "ME ME ME ME ME"). I don't think it's too much to ask that the middle class finally gets a small piece of the pie.

"(the homeless do NOT pay taxes, there's not a single homeless person who makes enough
money to pay taxes but not enough to afford shelter) "

The homeless pay taxes on their purchases just like anyone else. In fact, being homeless can
mean you end up paying more taxes for certain things, like having to buy food ready-made
because you have nowhere to prepare un-taxed grocery items.

"I view Stumps position as only maximizing the interests of one SPECIFIC sector of
stakeholders, while ignoring the rest of society."

We all benefit when we tackle poverty and homelessness. Surely you don't need that
explained to you?

"If your only metric is to help the "needy" then at what point is enough enough? Do I really
need a new iPod? or should that money be given to some charity?"

Three questions. Here's three answers.

1) When we see results
2) No
3) Your call.

"I don't think it's too much to ask that the middle class finally gets a small piece of the pie."

Oh, the poor, dispossessed middle class. Gimme a break. If you're that hard-up the Ipod
money should be going to groceries, not gadgets.

You state it's enough when we see results? That's great news! Let's take away ALL social spending, since you obviously don't believe any of it is achieving any results at all. Or if you DO believe that there is good being done, then we ARE achieving results, and I guess we've done enough! The absurdity of the position "when we see results" lies in the fact that parity of lifestyle is the stupidest measure of a fair society ever invented. It removes any incentive to do anything, which is already a reason for so many low-income households.

Despite the fact that there are thousands of people living below the local "low income" line due to circumstances outside of their control, there are also thousands of "low income" people living in these cirumstances due to their own choices. I believe that there are things we could do better to assist people who are trying hard to climb over the low income line. An easy, but expensive thing would be universal child-care. I think that's really the only thing lacking from our social safety net that I believe would have a dramatic impact. I think with parents who could rely on free child-care we could get people back into jobs more quickly. There's also the simple fact that if someone is capable of holding a job, then in our current economy there are jobs for them to have.

"The homeless pay taxes on their purchases just like anyone else" except for the fact that the GST/PST isn't applied to most necessities. Why shouldn't anyone able to buy an iPod pay the same tax? And you're right about (2) I didn't need a new iPod. But then again, I don't drink (much) or smoke (at all) so even if I were on welfare I guess I could save up all my beer and cigarette money.

"Oh, the poor, dispossessed middle class. Gimme a break." So you got a hate-on for the middle class, that's not enough reason to deny the majority of the population their piece of the pie. Not every penny should go to fixing one problem, and clearly throwing more money at this isn't a solution. I believe there is more than enough $$ being spent in the system to adequately address the situation, it just could be spent more efficiently.

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