Taxpayers won't be on the hook for an estimated $60 million in cost overruns on construction of the athletes' village for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, a City of Vancouver official said Monday.
The city doesn't think Millennium Development Corp., responsible for the Southeast False Creek and Olympic Village project, will go bankrupt as a result of its reported financial troubles, said Michael Flanagan, the city's director of real estate services.
"The responsibility clearly falls onto the developer," Flanagan said Monday. "It is their responsibility to deal with project overruns, and the city maintains that position."
There are reports the developer is facing cost overruns estimated at $60 million. Flanagan admitted that the project is not on budget, but the progress of construction is on time.
City officials are watching the situation but are not concerned taxpayers will have to foot the cost overruns, he said.
The Work Less Party, a 2010 Olympics watchdog group, said taxpayers could be hammered by a variety of extra costs.
"There's actually a clause in the city's agreement with Millennium that says, if they are behind schedule, the city will provide the resources to hire more people and hire the equipment," spokesman Chris Shaw said.
"If anything goes wrong on this project, and Olympic projects always go over-budget, taxpayers are on the hook for it," he said.
The Southeast False Creek development site comprises 32 hectares of land, seven of which will be temporarily transformed into the Olympic Village during the Games. The village, which will contain 15 to 20 permanent buildings and other temporary structures, will be a residential community but will also include commercial and retail space.
Flanagan said it's Millennium Development's responsibility to address the cost overruns, but he would not discuss what the city will do in the event the developer runs out of money.
The Urban Development Institute of B.C. is raising concern about the uncertainty of Millennium's financial situation.
"The details we hope for what will happen here is that the details of those cost overruns will be dealt with efficiently," said Maureen Enser, the institute's executive director.
"And there was an expectation that the city and Millennium will move forward and come to some formal agreement shortly," she said.
Millennium Development Corp. cannot be reached for comment Monday.