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Feb
26,
2010

International games are good for business

I trust, like me, everyone is thoroughly enjoying the Olympic Games. What a spectacularly successful showcase for Vancouver, and after a shaky first week, our Canadian athletes certainly began to pour it on during the second half of the Games. It finally appeared that we were going to live up this year’s theme “Own the Podium.” The Olympics is a massive undertaking that creates thousands of jobs and provides valuable infrastructure that can be utilized for years to come. Vancouver is realizing the dream today, from Richmond to Whistler.

Here at home, our time will come. We have something on the horizon that, although it will be on a smaller scale, will nonetheless have a major impact on our local economy just as the Olympics is having on Vancouver. Our own local boom will increase demand for homes and increase property values. I’m speaking about the 2015 Pan Am Games. While they are still five years away, work will begin soon enough in order to have facilities and accommodations completed for 2015 – everything from the athletes village on the Toronto waterfront to a new $170 million stadium in Hamilton. Billions of dollars will be poured into the Golden Horseshoe, creating jobs and providing new infrastructure for housing, commercial and recreation once the games are over.

The Pan Am Games are anticipated to be a catalyst for a major building boom all through the Golden Horseshoe. About $2.5 million in new recreation and public facilities will be constructed to host the games – $1 billion evenly split by the federal and provincial governments and the rest being financed by municipalities and private enterprise. According to Jagoda Pike, president and COO of Toronto’s bid committee, “Preparing for and staging the games will trigger 10,000 jobs in construction and games operations. The games will draw 250,000 tourists and 10,000 athletes and officials and the region will have $700 million in new and improved sport infrastructure for athletes and local communities to use for generations. The economic impact will be relevant for years to come with new opportunities for hosting high-calibre sport events becoming attainable.”

This spending boom comes at a time when more than $200 million worth of federally funded capital projects in Halton have got underway. These initiatives will keep Oakville and Burlington economically buoyant for many years and could very well be the answer to a struggling manufacturing base. The bottom line is that more jobs means more people which results in more demand for homes.