DAVID BLACK: Private citizens step up to cover potential Commonwealth Games cost overruns

Budgeting done conservatively; province, Greater Victoria municipalities would receive new revenues

Victoria 2022 Commonwealth Games bid committee chair and Black Press owner David Black continues to work toward bringing the competition to the Capital Region. Don Denton/Black Press

This is the second in a series of opinion columns detailing a restructured Victoria 2022 Commonwealth Games bid.

It is time for sober second thoughts about Greater Victoria hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Part One of this op-ed series spelled out the enormous financial benefits for Victoria and B.C. Today’s part 2 shows that the cost of the Games to the B.C. Treasury is almost negligible.

Some folks have said the budgeting for the Games has been done too quickly and may be wrong. The government of B.C. is also concerned about the budget because it has been asked for $400 million and a cost overrun guarantee.

READ: 2022 Commonwealth Games bid boasts lasting legacies across Victoria

The budgeting has been done carefully and conservatively. It has also been thoroughly checked by Games experts. However, we understand B.C.’s position. With all the work it is doing on its new provincial budget, there is no time for B.C. staff to analyze our Games plan.

Therefore several private citizens, led by longtime former Subaru dealer Bob Saunders, have stepped forward and offered to provide the needed guarantee with their own funds. They are all experienced business people with strong financial capability. There is no reward in it for them, but they want to give back and help Greater Victoria get the Games. They believe the financial opportunity for the city will be the single best benefit in our history.

Fortunately the Province of B.C. will reap many advantages from the Games. On the financial side, after the economic multiplier effect, the sales tax and income tax coming back to B.C. from the event will bring in $275 million according to senior University of Victoria business professor Brock Smith. So the net cost to B.C. over five years will be $125 million, or $25 million per year. This is less than one-twentieth of one per cent of B.C.’s normal expenditures.

Prof. Smith says Victoria’s municipalities will also benefit with $100 million of new property tax revenues.

We must move quickly if we want to take advantage of our one-time chance for these Games. If you are supportive please let people know. Contact your friends, your MLA, municipal councillors, the media and others. We have to work together.

David Black is chair of the Victoria 2022 Commonwealth Games bid committee and the owner of Black Press, which publishes this newspaper.

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