August 21, 2006
Olympic venues are in active construction mode at Whistler
While Vancouver is getting the world’s attention in the countdown to 2010, construction is also underway in Whistler on two new venues. The Sliding Centre and the Nordic venue are in active construction mode, and the site slated for use by the skiing competitions is undergoing upgrades.
Construction of the venues officially began last year, but active building didn’t ramp up until this year. And since venues must host athletes for training two years before the games begin, adhering to the schedule is critical.
But Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) executive vice president of construction Dan Doyle is exuding optimism that the projects will be finished in due course.
“The construction in Whistler is going exceedingly well. In particular, the two major construction projects of the Sliding Centre and the Nordic venue have made excellent progress over the last few months, and we expect to finish on-time and on-budget,” Doyle said.
The Sliding Centre will play host to the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton events, and is scheduled to be finished by the middle of 2007.
Halfway through the summer, over 40 per cent of the facility’s 350 track footings were in place, according to VANOC. Construction continues on support structures, including the control tower, refrigeration plant, and administration buildings.
The Nordic Competition venue has cleared and graded the ski jump landing structures, and the foundations are scheduled for completion by the end of summer. Work also continues on the day lodge and other support buildings.
Competition trails for cross-country and biathlon events are also planned for clearing and grading by the end of the year.
“Our success is dependent on the hard work and commitment of our staff, our contractors and our construction crews. All three are doing an outstanding job,” Doyle said.
But some events are running into snags. Whistler’s town council recently debated scaling down a sledge hockey arena intended for use with the Paralympic games.
At a cost of $45 to $50 million, the municipality isn’t sure it can afford the venue, and if scrapped, Paralympics events would have to be moved to Vancouver.
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