Former IOC Member Concerned Over Spiralling Costs of 2015 Pan Am Games
January 4, 2012
Paul Henderson, former leader of Toronto’s failed 1996 Olympic bid and a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is worried about the spiralling costs of the 2015 Pan Am Games and has wrote a letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to inform him changes need to be made.
He wrote, “the magnitude of the total taxpayers exposure should wake up those involved to the fact that major TO2015 restructuring must be done”.
Henderson, who lobbied for the Pan Am Games to help future athletes, says, “costs will, when all taxpayers’ exposure and student taxes are totalled, be at least $4 billion, adding that “in these difficult times, consultants and others looking for jobs, will tell the various political arenas what they want to hear, not what they should be clearly told”.
Lise Jolicoeur, a spokeswoman for the Premier said, “Ontario, along with the federal and municipal governments, have given TO2015 a mandate to deliver on time and on budget. TO2015 have submitted a business plan which is currently under careful review”.
Henderson reportedly has suggestions that could save $750 million and possibly $1 billion. He said $300 million could be saved by running the Pan Am and Pan Para Games simultaneously from July 31 to August 16, and using more existing facilities not requiring major installations.
He also suggested a review of “over-the-top facilities” including the “two major white elephants” in the swimming pools and velodrome.
He said “temporary swimming pools required should be built outdoors…with temporary seating as was done in Athens, Barcelona, Los Angeles” and “moved after the Games to modest buildings in Scarborough, Markham, Hamilton”.
Another suggestion is to “double up venues using facilities already designated”.
He added, “”it is over two years since Toronto was awarded 2015 Pan and Pan Para Games” and “no firm contracts have been signed with either the various construction consortia or with the stakeholders who represent the many levels of taxpayers’ dollars that will fund and operate the multitude of venues”.