Toronto’s Pan Am victory infuriates coalition group

Toronto has won the 2015 Pan Am Games, but not everyone is thrilled with the result.

A coalition called “No Games Toronto” argues that the Games will divert precious resources away from combating homelessness, social housing and tuition fees.

No Games spokesperson Joeita Gupta believes that the event will present trouble.

“The poor get pushed aside. The marginalized get pushed aside,” Gupta said to the CBC.

“The relevant priorities of the city get pushed aside, all to make room for fluff.”

Gupta, who is also the vice president External of the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students at the University of Toronto, feels that the Games do not matter to most people in comparison with other needs.

“Everyday people don’t need velodromes as much as they need the assurance there will be a hospital bed there when they need it,” Gupta said to the National Post in August.

“It’s unacceptable to spend billions of dollars on a week-long sporting bonanza when we have so many bigger needs.”

Costs for the competition, as well as the para-Pan Am Games are estimated to be around $2.4 billion.

$1.4 billion of that total will be used directly for the event and the remainder pays for the athlete’s village.

At this point, both the federal and provincial government have pledged $500 million apiece for the Games. The rest will come from Toronto, Hamilton and other municipalities where events will take place.

A prime example of escalating expenses for a high-profile event can be found at the other end of the country. Vancouver, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, will put the $1 billion cost for its Games onto the taxpayers.

Since then, the city itself has taken over financing the project, planning to eventually sell the condos that will make up the athletes’ village. Original financiers, Peter and Shahram Malek, have already needed a bailed out.

As of earlier this week, $750 million worth of condos had yet to be sold, according to the Globe and Mail.

A legitimate concern for both Vancouver and Toronto will be to avoid falling too deep into debt. Montreal found itself mired in it following the 1976 Summer Olympics, needing decades to pay off expenses.

There is no word at this point if No Games Toronto will continue its fight against the Pan Am Games, but city politicians can expect major opposition any time further spending for the event takes place.