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Local construction companies anticipating Olympic contracts



Facilities in Whistler valued at more than $300 million

As the board of the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG) comes closer to filling the CEO position, some work is already underway to address Olympic marketing issues and lay the groundwork for Olympic venues.

Earlier this week the OCOG issued a request for qualifications from engineering and design firms interested in bidding on the design of the Callaghan Nordic Centre and the sliding centre at Blackcomb.

"At this stage, we are seeking to identify and prequalify teams of design professionals to transform our great vision for these facilities into a tangible, workable design," the RFQ ad states in part.

Although it’s unlikely that any construction will get underway this summer on Olympic venues, the bidding process for Olympic construction contracts is expected to get underway in the next few months in order to break ground by spring of 2005. Whistler’s construction companies have indicated that they want to be part of that process.

Whistler alone is slated for $313 million in new facilities, not including any residential development that may be part of the land grant tied to the Games.

The list of facilities include:

• The $102 million Callaghan Valley Nordic Centre, which will host cross-country, biathlon, Nordic combined and ski jumping events, with a spectator capacity of 12,000 in two outdoor stadiums. Construction is expected to begin in April of 2005 for completion by June of 2007.

• The Whistler Olympic/Paralympic Village, at a location yet to be decided, is budgeted at $83 million, accommodating 2,000 athletes and coaches in 554 dwelling units.

• Some $23 million in upgrades are planned for Whistler-Blackcomb for alpine skiing venues. The mountains will start to modify the runs in June of 2005 for completion by November of 2007. Temporary viewing areas will also be required for about 15,000 spectators on each mountain.

• The Whistler Sliding Centre, home to the luge, bobsled and skeleton events, will cost an estimated $55 million. Construction is supposed to start this summer to be ready for the fall of 2007 to allow two seasons of training.

• A new $40 million Multiplex arena has been proposed for Whistler to host the Ice Sledge Hockey. The arena would seat between 3,000 and 5,000 spectators.

Although none of the bidding has opened as of yet, local contractors are watching and waiting for their chance to be part of the Games.

Jim Charters, the president of Whistler Construction Co., believes that local companies are in a good position for the Olympics.

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