Costs skyrocket for key 2010 Games facility

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Vancouver( British Columbia) Oct 26: The rush to build Vancouver's new convention center, which will be home to the media during the 2010 Winter Olympics, has caused the project's costs to skyrocket, a report said.

The government-funded facility was initially expected to cost C$495 million, but the estimate has been raised several times and now stands at C$883 million ($914 million) -- a price tag that British Columbia's auditor general warned yesterday may rise again.

The facility being built over the water on the city's harbor will be the headquarters for international broadcasters and other media during the Games, but the government does not consider it part of the C$1.6 billion budget for hosting the event and building sports venues.

Plans for the convention center were announced in 2002, while Vancouver was still bidding for the Winter Games. The provincial government then agreed the facility would be ready in time for the Olympics.

The initial announcement by provincial and federal officials to spend C$495 million on the project was made before detailed cost estimates had been completed, and the budget has since been buffeted by inflation and design changes, the auditor's report said.

The decision to speed up work and complete it well before the Olympics begin has pushed up the cost of purchasing for the project, and a fixed-price contract with the construction firm was not signed until this year, according to the report.

The Vancouver Organising Committee, which is not responsible for the convention center's construction, has said the Olympic sports venues remains on budget and on time.

UNI

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