Olympics cost B.C. $925M

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games cost the B.C. government $925 million to stage and host, according to the latest figures released on Friday, but the tally does not include billions in additional costs associated with the Games.

B.C. says 74% went toward sports venues, transportation, other investments

The Olympic Oval in Richmond was built to host the speed skating events at the Games. ((Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press))

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games cost the B.C. government $925 million to stage and host, according to the latest figures released on Friday, but the tally doesn't include billions in additional costs associated with the Games.

The report said the province spent $765 million staging the Games, and an additional $160 million for activities "designed to maximize the benefits of hosting the Games."

In 2002, as part of the Olympic bid, the province originally committed $600 million to host the Games.

It increased its commitment to $765 million in February 2009 as part of a deal to help the federal government cover skyrocketing security costs in exchange for transportation infrastucture investment.

The government said 74 per cent of the cash spent went to long-term investments in the province's sports venues, transportation projects and municipal and First Nations developments.

The single largest cost was $290 million to build the Olympic venues, including the Richmond Oval.

Tourism promotions included in costs

The report said the additional $160 million was spent to promote tourism during the Games, host the outdoor celebrations at Robson Square in Vancouver, expand the torch relay and other community sports programs, and run several pavilions.

Canada and British Columbia shared a $6-million log pavilion in Turin during the 2006 Winter Games. (CBC) ((CBC))

Friday was the first time the province acknowledged that expenses such as pavilions at the 2006 Olympics in Turin and 2008 Olympics in Beijing were part of B.C.'s cost for playing host to the world in 2010.

Previously, the government's public budget estimates for the Olympics only covered venues in B.C., entertainment sites and services such as medical assistance and security.

Other costs not included

The provincial tally of $925 million did not include money spent by the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee on the Games, although it did include a $25-million startup contribution for VANOC.

VANOC has said previously it expects to come close to breaking even on its $1.7-billion budget because corporate sponsorship money covered most of the cost of running the official Games events, but the final tally of those figures is expected this fall.

The Canadian Armed Forces played a large role in security at the Games in Vancouver and Whistler. ((CBC))

The provincial tally also does not include all the money the federal government spent on security costs, which were estimated to hit nearly $1 billion.

The provincial tally also does not include the cost of the $1.9-billion Canada Line rapid transit system built to connect Vancouver's airport with downtown, or the $600-million or more upgrade to the Sea-to-Sky Highway that connects Vancouver with Whistler.

Nor does it include the almost $900 million spent to build the Vancouver Convention Centre, which was used to host all the official Olympic broadcasters.

Critics have said the three massive infrastructure projects were part of the Olympic bid and should have been included in any final cost of staging the Games.

Also not included in the provincial tally is any municipal spending on the Games, such as the $554 million Vancouver spent as host city for the Games.