Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another chapter in VANOC history about to close

One step closer to the end of the secretive, government-funded agency that organized the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Here's the official media invitation:

Media Advisory – VANOC Board to review final financial and sustainability reports on Friday, Dec. 17

VANCOUVER, Dec 13 /CNW/ - The Board of Directors for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) will meet in downtown Vancouver on Friday, Dec. 17th. The meeting will include a review of the final financial report for the Games and receipt of the final sustainability report. Following the meeting, and assuming their approval, VANOC will hold a media briefing to release the two reports, provide comment and answer questions.
Media are welcome to participate in the media briefing in person or by teleconference. If attending in person, please advise VANOC by Wednesday, Dec. 15th at to help organizers ensure adequate space and technical preparations are in place.

When: Friday, December 17, 2010
Approximately 11:30 am (Pacific Time)

Timing note: (Please note that the media briefing might start at this time or possibly later based on the duration of the meeting.)

Where: BC Hydro offices
333 Dunsmuir Street
Vancouver, BC
Media registration will be in the lobby at street level

By phone: 866-226-1792 or 416-340-2216

Who: Rusty Goepel, VANOC Board Chair
John Furlong, VANOC CEO
John McLaughlin, VANOC Chief Financial Officer
Terry Wright, VANOC Executive VP Services and Games Operations
Ann Duffy, VANOC Corporate Sustainability Officer

VANOC would like to thank BC Hydro for providing office space for the Board meeting and news conference as part of its sponsorship for the 2010 Winter Games.

Previous reports:
Past reports that include a comparable level of details to the reports expected to be issued on Friday are available at the following links: Financial (January 2009): Sustainability (2008-09):

BC Hydro and VANOC share an interesting relationship. VANOC's executive vice-president of construction, Dan Doyle, became the Crown corporation's chairman last year. In May 2010, VANOC deputy CEO Dave Cobb became the BC Hydro CEO. One of his first hires was Renee Smith-Valade, the VANOC vice-president of communications. Smith-Valade, in turn, hired ex-VANOC communications staffers Chris Brumwell, Greg Alexis and Jennifer Young.

VANOC has made Canadians wait until the last Friday before Christmas -- when shopping and holidays are top-of-mind -- to make its first financial disclosure since Dec. 21, 2009. The Games operating budget is expected to break-even, but with a great deal of unforeseen help from taxpayers.

By comparison, the B.C. government released the post-Expo 86 financial report just over a month after the world's fair ended. On Nov. 17, 1986, Finance minister Mel Couvelier said the fair’s deficit was $349 million. On Oct. 9, 1987, the final deficit was reported as $336.7 million.

Other arms of the government were carrying the debt load. In March 1987, the Social Credit government disclosed that B.C. Place Corp. had a $194 million debt while B.C. Development Corp. owed $190 million. B.C. Place Corp. built B.C. Place Stadium and the Expo 86 site and was in charge of the legacy buildings the Roundhouse, Expo Centre and Plaza of Nations. BCDC backed the Whistler ski resort development.

More recently, the organizers of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics issued their post-Games financial report on April 24, 2002 -- only two months after the Olympic flame was extinguished.

They showed a $40 million profit on a $1.39 billion operating budget.

The Vancouver Winter Games festival ended when the Paralympics closed March 21 in Whistler. The decision to withhold financial reports for so long must be rooted in VANOC's notorious fear of embarrassment. No corporation, no government, nobody waits so long to convey good news.

Except when it comes to the Bailout Games.

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