The British Columbia provincial government is reneging on verbal pledges to support the 2011 Outgames in Vancouver.
When planning the games in 2007 and 2008, Outgames chair John Boychuk says representatives from “ministries associated with sport” initially made a verbal promise to contribute $400,000 to the event. Eventually that verbal commitment was reduced to $150,000 to $200,000. “A year later they told us that things were a little bit tight but on track,” Boychuk says. “After 18 months they said, ‘We can’t continue to commit to any amount.'” Boychuk says the uncertainty surrounding government funding pushed Outgames organizers to move from planning a volunteer-run event to working with a corporate partner. International Conference Services (ICS) will now provide secretarial, sponsorship, accommodation, registration and accounting services for the event, according to Boychuk.
The partnership with ICS will also give Vancouver’s Outgames the backing it needs to secure facilities for the event. “In order to be secure a hotel contract you have to have money to be able to back up what you’re asking for,” Boychuk explains. “So if you’re asking for 250 hotel rooms for five nights you have to put up a bond or credit card. We don’t have the cash to do such a thing so we have to have someone with that line of credit.” Boychuk is still hopeful that the 2011 Outgames will receive provincial funding.
The 2006 Outgames in Montreal ended C$5.3M in debt.