Time

Let the Bailout Games Begin
Time

Paid for, thank you very much, by the taxpayers of Vancouver. More than any other project in recent Olympic history, the $1 billion residential complex represents the risks that urban governments face when trying to host one of the world’s biggest parties. The city planned to invest about $47 million in the project back in 2006. However, cost overruns and the recession forced Vancouver to step in and bail out the private developers who were charged with financing the project. The city avoided the humiliation of welcoming the world with a half-built Olympic Village, but at a great price: in early 2009, new Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson declared that taxpayers were « on the hook » for the $1 billion project.

Three figure skaters from Great Britain are playing video games in the corner, and when they’re asked about life in the Village, they sparkle like they’ve just landed a triple lutz. « It’s amazing, » says David King, a pairs skater. « We have the best view ever. The big bay windows are massive. » Jenna McCorkell, another skater, chimes in, « It’s strange, coming into the Olympics, you don’t know what to expect. The rooms are everything and better. » Rave reviews from the Olympians, for sure. But the taxpayers of Vancouver may sharply disagree.