14 Jan 2009

Money worries for Winter Olympics in Canada

9:23 am on 14 January 2009

The financial crisis is hitting preparations for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada.

Vancouver city authorities are seeking emergency powers to borrow up to $C458 million to finish the construction of the main Olympic athletes' village.

Private financing is stalled and residents may have to pay to complete the project on schedule.

The BBC reports the original plan for the athletes' village was for a private developer to build 1100 up-market flats on the Vancouver waterfront. These would then be sold, after the games, at a profit.

Now a drop in housing prices, a sharp rise in construction costs and the global economic situation mean funding for the project is in trouble.

In the meantime, city officials have loaned money to the developers to keep the builders on site - but that cash is due to run out.

Guarantees that Vancouver will finish the project on time mean that if the building stops, the council will have to fund the construction itself.