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Athletes village plans ready for public

Open house scheduled for January 11

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The updated plans for the athletes village, the biggest municipal project on the books, will be ready for the public on Wednesday.

The Whistler 2020 Development Corporation, which is responsible for building the athletes village, has been hard at work in recent months to reduce the footprint of the site, find efficiencies and ultimately reduce costs.

The proposed housing units are now smaller, there are fewer roads and the site is more compact. Despite those efficiencies it will still cost roughly $250/square foot to build.

The 2020 Development Corp. has reduced the size of the village footprint in the Lower Cheakamus 150,000 square feet, for a new total size of 355,000 square feet.

To build this footprint alone will be almost $90 million.

But, cautions Mike Vance, the municipality’s general manager of community initiatives, that does not include items such as contingencies, construction cost escalation, municipal fees and charges and carrying costs, all of which will drive costs up.

Vance is confident that the community will see a financially sound business model at the upcoming open house, though the business plan, developed in conjunction with the Vancouver Organizing Committee, is still in the works.

"The plan that we’ll be presenting at the meeting will be one that is economically viable," he said.

One of the difficulties is planning for an employee housing development that won’t be sold for at least another four years. Keeping in mind that the future demand for housing may change, Vance said they are ensuring that the plan stays flexible in order to adapt to changing market conditions.

"A key part of this is to maintain maximum flexibility so that we’re able to adjust to changing market conditions," he said.

The municipality is looking for the community’s input on the changes to the athletes village and what will become of the permanent resident neighbourhood.

The open house lasts from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at the Spruce Grove Field House. Development Corp. board members and municipal staff will give a formal presentation at 5:30 p.m.

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