DAVID BLACK: More money for affordable housing in Victoria with Commonwealth Games bid

Applying for funding using the traditional route would yield far less, bid chair says

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 third in a series of opinion columns detailing a restructured Victoria 2022 Commonwealth Games bid.

It is time for clear thinking about hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Part 1 of this op-ed series spelled out the enormous financial benefits for Victoria and B.C. Part 2 showed that the cost to the B.C. treasury is almost negligible.

Today we want to address other issues. Some people keep saying we should focus our taxpayer money on building affordable housing and not on hosting the Commonwealth Games. There is, however, a problem with this. Where will the necessary money come from?

If we host the Games we will get 2,000 housing units, $225 million of new athletic facilities, roughly $90 million of net cash for our municipalities and a great many other benefits. The total cost to Victoria taxpayers of all this will be $7 million, or $8 per household each year for five years.

If we do not host the Games, these needed facilities would cost about $900 million. The federal government claims it will fund up to $11 billion of new affordable housing across Canada and if they do, our share of that would be $110 million. This is a long way short of $900 million. The only way to raise the money would be to tax each home $1,100 per year for five years.

Some of the smartest business people in Victoria recognize the enormous benefits to be gained from hosting the Games and have put their wealth on the line by providing cost overrun guarantees for the Games. Now you can understand why.

This opportunity to host the Commonwealth Games will likely never come again for decades. We need to move prudently but quickly to take advantage of our one-time chance.

Please get involved and tell people you want the Games to come back.

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

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