The City of Vancouver is holding a special public meeting today on the future of the troubled Olympic Village development.
On Friday, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson announced the city is financially and legally committed to completing the $1-billion project.
It means taxpayers could be on the hook for as much as $875 million, unless the city can renegotiate the loan between financer Fortress Investment Group and Millennium Development.
“We know we’ve been dealt a very tough hand, but I believe we can meet our obligations,” said Robertson in a statement Friday. “We’re working very closely with our partners — VANOC, the province and the federal government — to maintain the financing for the Olympic Village project and deliver it in time for the Games.”
The special council meeting begins today at 2 p.m. at city hall with a presentation on the Olympic Village by new City Manager Penny Ballem. Robertson said the city was in the middle of “urgent and delicate negotiations,” but promised to provide as much public information about the finances as possible without compromising those negotiations.
According to Robertson, Vancouver’s previous council voted in 2007 to guarantee the project’s completion. Fortress, legally within their rights under the loan agreement, stopped advancing money in September.
And as a result, in October, city council approved in-camera a $100-million bailout to keep construction rolling.
Only about one-fifth of that money remains and will run out later this month. Construction could halt as early as mid-February.