The controversy over the Olympic Village has been tremendous as some people have called it our version of Montreal’s Big O; silly readers. Sure it didn’t help when Mr. Happy Planet claimed it would cost the taxpayers a billion dollars, but c’mon that was a political ploy and you all knew that, didn’t you? Realistically it will cost us Vancouverites a cool $200 million, not something I look forward paying for as a taxpayer but that amounts to $333.00 per person in the COV, just to put things into perspective. If that is what it takes to showcase to the world what we are capable of in Vancouver so be it. Politicians waste that kind of money all the time; at least we have something to show for it this time.
I thought it would be cool to check out what other host cities did for Olympic housing and the costs.
Keep in mind I did not adjust the cost for inflation, nor did I care too and all costs are approximate. Anyways, here is a look at some of the Olympic villages from past host cities:
Salt Lake City
Cost: $191 million CDN (completed in 2001)
Features: Kick-ass vinyl siding, later used as dorm housing for University of Utah.
Conclusion: Vancouver builds better social housing than this vinyl monstrosity.
Sydney, Australia (Summer Olympics)
Cost: approx. $580 million CAD
Features: Worlds first solar powered neighbourhood
Conclusion: Comparing this to the Winter Olympics is not accurate as the Summer Olympics are three times the size. However, having solar power features was neat. The design and setting is not comparable to Vancouver’s. Our village is on prime waterfront real estate and built with high design standards. All in all Sydney had a good Olympic village.
Turin, Winter Olympics
Cost: approximately $260 million CAD
Conclusion: Again, we build better social housing than that.
Beijing, Summer Olympics
Cost: remember this includes cheap Chinese labour, approx. $1 billion USD
Conclusion: Again it’s the Summer Olympics so direct comparisons can’t be made. However, look at the cost jump between Sydney and Beijing, almost double, not factoring in the cheaper labour component. The village does look good though.
So in summary in comparison to the crapolla we’ve seen in Salt Lake City and Turin, Vancouver’s Olympic Village is otherworldly, however that does come at a hefty price tag. Haters of the Olympics are going to whine and that’s fine, but next time you complain try to present the facts rather than distorting them to fit your truth. To do that is stoop to the politicians’ levels. In the end, the only thing I would change is perhaps a firm commitment on the social housing for Vancouver but not at the Olympic Village site, somewhere else, perhaps more at little mountain. Just give the developers a density bonus on site and everything will be fine.
photo courtesy of TZTag