Pan Am report says games still under budget
TORONTO – The overall capital building program for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Games continues to stay in line with their budget, the organizing committee said Friday in its fourth-quarter financial report.
It spent $92.8 million in the quarter ending March 31, including $66 million on venue construction during the quarter.
Venue construction spending is $387 million so far, about 53 per cent of the total original capital budget of $730 million, the committee said.
It includes $83.5 million for a Hamilton soccer stadium, $148.4 million for an aquatics and field house and $24.8 million on an athletics stadium in Toronto and $53.9 million for a facility in Markham, north of the city, that will host badminton, table tennis and water polo competitions.
Operating expenses during the quarter were $26.8 million, mostly spent in the areas of corporate, technology, transportation, events and ceremonies and community and cultural affairs, it said.
Corporations have also put in an “incremental $43 million in value” worth of in-kind sponsorships for delivery of the Games, the committee said.
TO2015 said it has spent $126.9 million to date, about 15.7 per cent of its total operations budget of $810 million.
Saad Rafi, the chief executive officer of the organizing committee, said the Games are expected to create 26,000 jobs.
“So far, of all the funding spent to procure the goods and services we need to make these games a success, 84 per cent has gone to Canadian companies,” he said in a statement.
TO2015 reported $4,159 in travel and hospitality expenses for the quarter, bringing the total since last July to $23,136.
The 2015 Pan Am Games will take place at 34 different competition venues across the Golden Horseshoe, from Niagara in the south to Orillia in the north, running from July 7 to 26, followed by the Parapan Am Games Aug. 7 to 15.
The organizing committee has been under fire in recent weeks over delays in completing the Hamilton stadium, a key venue for the Games.
Tim Hortons Field was slated to open this month, a year before it was to host all 32 men’s and women’s soccer competitions.
But it’s not expected to be completed until August or September, forcing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats football team to use a smaller facility for the first two home games of the season.
The governing Liberals have blamed a prolonged winter for the setback, but added that taxpayers won’t be on the hook for any cost overruns.
New Democrat Paul Miller said he doesn’t believe that.
“How can you say you’re under budget when it’s gone past the completion date?” said Miller, who represents a Hamilton riding.
The Ticats are also taking a financial hit for every game they can’t play in the new stadium, he said.
The team will have to use Roy Joyce Stadium at McMaster University, which has 6,000 permanent seats and temporary seating for another 6,000.
Tim Hortons Field would have 22,500 permanent seats and a potential capacity of 40,000 through temporary seating.
“Who’s going to cover that cost?” said Miller. “The city of Hamilton? Infrastructure Ontario? The Pan Am committee?”
The Liberals have also come under fire in recent months over the cost of security for the Games, admitting that the original $113 million built into the Pan Am budget was just a best guess and it may climb above the latest estimate of $239 million.
The report glosses over the construction delays, inflates the number of jobs that will be created and doesn’t mention the amount of money that will be spent on security or transportation, Miller said.
“Every time (the Liberals) talk about it, they talk about the positive side of it,” Miller said. “And that’s fine, but they don’t talk about the hidden negative side and they don’t want the public to know that.”
The total budget for the Games, including security, transportation and the athletes village is currently estimated at $2.5 billion.
© The Canadian Press, 2014