games may be a bargain but theyre not free

The Canada Winter Games may have delivered a dose of reality to the Yukon. Nothing is ever free. Yukoners are sometimes tricked into believing…

The Canada Winter Games may have delivered a dose of reality to the Yukon.

Nothing is ever free.

Yukoners are sometimes tricked into believing otherwise.

Sure, Whitehorse has benefited from the Games.

The national sporting jamboree has brought more than $85 million in government investment to Whitehorse.

The city’s public facilities are exceptional.

And, in building them, contractors have profited, workers have been paid, retailers have made money, the territory and city have received more tax revenue.

The city is looking better these days — it was forced to spruce itself up for the visitors.

And, during the Games, the entire community will, for a brief moment, work together for a common goal.

That social networking represents an X-factor that could generate a host of benefits — ideas, entrepreneurship, common understanding, friendships — that are impossible to pin down.

And these benefits will extend well into the city’s future.

Of course, so will the tax increases.

In a moment of candour, councillor Doug Graham suggested city taxes may have to go up five per cent over the next two years to pay for the Games.

That, too, will be its legacy.

Homeowners will have to pony up another $300 a year, give or take. A stiff increase indeed, but property taxes will still be comparable to, or lower than other affluent Canadian towns.

Besides, tens of millions of extra federal transfers flowed into the territory to underwrite this three-week spectacle.

And so, the Games has taught Whitehorse residents that nothing is ever free.

This transfer-payment-addicted territory often thinks otherwise.

The Games have brought benefits at considerable cost.

Anybody who hoped to receive something for nothing was conjuring a fantasy.

The Yukon comes close, but not as close as many once thought. (RM)