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Olympic rings to be replaced to address safety issues

RMI monies to pay for upgrades to 2010 legacies



A new set of more durable Olympic rings is in the works in an effort to address safety concerns at the now iconic Whistler landmark.

Signs will also be installed stating the rings should not be climbed on.

The replacement cost is $57,420.

That's good news to second homeowner Kleo Landucci who wrote a letter to council in August outlining her concerns for safety at the Olympic rings after watching people climb all over them.

"It's great, it's nice to see the municipality taking action on it," she said, after reading this week's municipal announcement.

"Our primary concern was the safety of visitors... and being able to enjoy the legacy that the Olympics have brought to the village.

"It's great that we can enjoy that safely."

The new rings will be a more durable replica of the original $64,000 structure, initially commissioned on short notice and for a short "Games time" lifespan.

Since their installation in 2010 the municipality has been spending $6,000 a year on maintenance costs related to surface cleaning, removal of graffiti and dirt, snow removal and ice clearing.

Those maintenance costs are expected to decrease with the new, more durable rings and the structure itself is expected to have a longer lifespan.

A further $30,200 will be spent this fall on refurbishing the Paralympic Agitos at Whistler Olympic Park.

The almost $90,000 budget will come from provincial Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) funding.

"The Olympic Rings and Paralympic Agitos are some of the most popular and photographed spots in Whistler Village," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. "These legacies of the 2010 Winter Games allow both visitors and residents to recapture a bit of the magic we all felt in 2010. The replacement and refurbishment of both artifacts ensure they remain a part of the Whistler experience for a long time."

The rings will be replaced from Dec. 14-16 while the Agitos will be removed Nov. 26 and re-installed Dec. 14.

According to a Tourism Whistler visitor survey, visiting and photographing the Olympics Rings or the Paralympic Agitos are the most popular Whistler activities associated with the 2010 Games.

The original rings will be recycled and the revenue from the recycling will be used to offset the capital costs for replacement.