A Warning From Montreal

People from around the world have visited the No Games blog and voiced their support. Here is one comment from a person in Montreal who is warning us NOT to repeat their error of 1976.

Montreal also had a long time mayor who wanted to establish his legacy and viewed the Olympics as a way to bring glory to him and the city.Montreal didn’t really need that because we had hosted a very successful World’s Fair -Expo 67- in 1967. Undaunted, our mayor wanted the grandest stadium he could find and personally (without any bids or competition) picked an avant garde architect from France who had a very futuristic design in mind. Despite initial projections in 1970 that the stadium would cost only C$134 million to construct, strikes and construction delays served to escalate these costs.  As opening day approached, it was clear that the stadium was way behind schedule.  Drastic steps had to be taken. The critical path planning was totally scrapped. Hundreds of suppliers had to be mobilized, most working on no bid, double or triple rate contracts. Concrete trucks would stand around for hours waiting to unload. It became a madhouse and a license for suppliers to steal. Many delivered sub-standard materials and components. It became impossible to audit the mountains of documents. Contractors were sending invoices for goods that were never delivered. It was the Tower of Babel incarnate. The total expenditure (including repairs, renovations, construction, interest, and inflation) amounted to C$1.61 billion. That’s 12x the initial estimate and approximately  C$4.2 billion in 2009 dollars. It took until 2006 to finally pay off the stadium’s costs. To add insult to injury, the original retractable roof was never installed. It sat in storage for years. The now defunct Montreal Expos played in this stadium without a roof.  in the last few years of operation large chunks of concrete started breaking off because of hastened, shoddy construction. Fortunately no one was killed. The stadium is now a tourist attraction, something like the pyramids. Perceived by many to be a white elephant, the stadium has also been dubbed The Big Owe, Uh-O or The Big Mistake.

By the way, I live in the southern suburbs but I think Chicagoans should know the risks involved in signing on to this.  London and Athens have had similar experiences. Beijing didn’t have to worry about cost, it was all paid for by the central planners and besides, what else was there to do with the trillions of $US they have sitting in their vaults?

Jake E.
Montreal
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