Economic boost seen from 2010 Games preparations

Thu Nov 5, 2009 4:06pm EST
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Preparations for next year's Olympics have given Vancouver an economic boost that's comparable to those enjoyed by past host cities, according to a study released on Thursday.

Venue construction and other preparations for the Games from 2003 through 2008 helped create an estimated 15,875 to 20,780 jobs, bolstering the area's already strong economy.

The four-part report by PricewaterhouseCoopers is the first to study the economic impact of the Games on Vancouver and other parts of Canada.

Organizers of the Canada's bid for the Games touted its potential economic benefit in their efforts to win local support for hosting the 17-day international event, which holds its opening ceremony on February 12.

Pre-Games work generated between C$684 million to C$884 million in real economic activity in the host province of British Columbia and up to C$170 million in the rest of Canada,

The federal and provincial governments paid C$525 million for construction of competition venues during the study period, and there was about C$600 million in other construction by groups and companies related to the Games.

Taxpayers also funded major highway, transit and convention center projects, but government officials argue that is not Olympic spending because it would have been done eventually even without the event.

The researchers, who were contracted by the federal and provincial governments, did not look at the impact of those projects.   Continued...

<p>A statue of Canadian athlete Harry Jerome frames the Olympic Rings lit up in the waters of Coal Harbour on the Vancouver, British Columbia waterfront November 4, 2009. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>