POLITICS

Pan Am Games under budget for capital infrastructure, quarterly report says

05/22/2015 12:19 EDT | Updated 05/22/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Organizers for this summer's Pan Am Games say they're about $53.5 million under budget for capital infrastructure spending, largely because bidding for major venues was done four to five years ago.

In its fourth-quarter financial report released Friday, the TO2015 organizing committee said it has spent $551.7 million of its $672-million capital budget, which includes venue construction, with only two venues still to be finished.

"We were fortunate to have gone out early in the process, I think in the year 2010-11, to solicit bids at a fixed price for major project builds and those builds came in under budgeted amounts," TO2015 CEO Saad Rafi said in a conference call.

"Then later, meaning last year, we went out to bid on a smaller few other facilities, such as the BMX facility, and they came in a little over budget as the market had come back in terms of post-recessionary time," he said.

"Because those are very small projects, we've had the benefit of getting advantageous pricing and delivery based on the alternative finance and procurement model," a type of public-private partnership, he said.

"So that was really the principle reason behind the savings."

Only the Pan Am shooting centre in Cookstown and the Toronto track and field centre at York University remain to be completed, with 49 days to go before the international competition, the committee said.

An event to mark the completion of the Hamilton soccer stadium was held Friday afternoon.

Operating expenses for the quarter were $128.9 million, spent largely on overlay, technology, sports operations, event and ceremonies, transportation and logistics, TO2015 said.

In total, the committee said it has spent $344.5 million or 44.7 per cent of its operations budget of $770 million.

The operations budget increased by $10 million from the last quarter to reflect value-in-kind support from corporate sponsors, TO215 said.

It said, however, that because its financial reporting follows the fiscal year, the bulk of its operating expenses will be paid after the Games.

The Pan Am Games will take place from July 10 to 26, and the Parapan Games from Aug. 7 to 15.

So far, more than 400,000 tickets — about 45 per cent of what's available — have been sold, with several events completely sold out, the committee said.

"Considering we haven't announced all the team members, we're pretty pleased," Rafi said.