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IOC evaluation report leads to changes in Whistler

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"If you look at it, it is the only significant change to our whole concept that they have recommended," said Wright.

"Compare that to some of the other (candidates).

"On a $1.3 billion operating and $600 million capital – on a $2 billion dollar event – and after a four day exhaustive review (by the evaluation commission) to have to make one change is pretty acceptable."

Having a media village in Whistler also gets rid of the headache of rounding up reporters, technicians and others in Vancouver and bussing them to Whistler everyday.

There will also be a temporary broadcast centre at Base II on Blackcomb. Other media, including print, will work out of the renovated conference centre and perhaps another location.

And there is another silver lining to the creation of the media village. If you add the accommodation in the new village to the proposed athlete’s village in the Callaghan Valley it represents almost 100 per cent of the rooms needed to host the Paralympics.

"This really means the resort is back to normal a lot sooner," said Wright.

Originally the media and others attending the Paralympics would have been staying in the village.

The other major cost addition to the Games is the establishment of a doping centre in Vancouver.

Originally the bid corp. planned to fly samples back to a lab in Montreal but Olympic contracts suggested the doping centre needed to be closer to the Games.

The cost: $2.5 million.

"We are probably somewhere in the range of a total exposure of between $7 million and $10 million dollars here," said Wright referring to the total cost of changes.

Another change, which affects Whistler, is the decision to have a medal plaza in the resort.

"We had hoped all along to give out the medals here," said Maureen Douglas, director of Community Relations for the bid corp in Whistler.

"We were actually going to make a presentation to the IOC proposing that the medals be given out here."

The 2010 bid book had suggested medal winners in Whistler be flown down to a medal plaza in Vancouver. But evaluation team members weren’t convinced that was a good idea. Instead they suggested handing them out in Whistler at the festival plaza which will be created in the Whistler Golf Club’s driving range.

"It is really exciting and it would become part of the night-time festivals," said Douglas.

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