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Celebration Plaza programming being negotiated

VANOC to save $5 million by holding medal ceremonies at sports venues

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With the municipality now in charge of programming at Celebration Plaza during the Olympics, the Vancouver Organizing Committee’s (VANOC) monetary contribution will likely decrease by $5 million, if not more.

According to Melissa Darou, senior communication officer for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, those numbers are still under negotiations.

At one time, VANOC planned to foot half the bill of the $19.9 million party that will take place at six sites in Whistler, including Celebration Plaza, during next year’s Olympics and Paralympics.

But in late December, the Olympic organizers decided to move the nightly Olympic medal awards from Celebration Plaza to the sports venues. The change is estimated to save VANOC $5 million.

VANOC will also no longer provide the infrastructure for the plaza performances during the Olympic Games; but they will let the RMOW use their Paralympic equipment for Olympic programming.

Darou stressed the organizing committee will also still spend their promised $4.2 million to help the RMOW build Celebration Plaza, located next to the Brewhouse in Whistler village.

During the Winter Games, the $13.6 million Celebration Plaza will contain a large performance stage, seating for 2,000 people, and an Olympic cauldron. Another 5,000 people will be able to stand in the square.

It will be the largest of six “celebration sites” located throughout Whistler Village. Together, the sites will showcase “hundreds” of performances by musicians, dancers and artists, as well as recognize Olympic athletes for their accomplishments.

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