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Whistler athletes' village takes shape

VANOC money coming in as WDC starts spring construction

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By Clare Ogilvie

The roads are roughed in, the sites are cleared and ready for building, and much of the money is in the bank.

Now it is full-steam ahead building the athletes’ village for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games at what will become the Cheakamus Legacy Neighbourhood.

“We got the venue agreement signed at the end of March,” said Eric Martin, chair of the Whistler 2020 Development Corporation, which is the municipal organization charged with delivering the village.

With that agreement came most of the funding promised by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Games, which has pledged a total of $35.5 million toward the $130 million neighbourhood.

Most of the remainder of the funding will be raised by selling the village units off as homes for Whistler residents. The price will be capped and it’s hoped the housing will help address the long-standing problem of high-cost housing for resort workers.

National sport teams have already visited the site said Nejat Sarp of VANOC. The team from the UK, he said, faxed back a letter after the visit saying the village would be a dream place to experience the Games from.

“This has a sense of place here, a sense of the alpine, which is fantastic, “ said Sarp following a tour of the area Monday.

The village will house nearly 2,500 athletes for the Olympics and about 330 for the Paralympics, which follow two weeks later, in March of 2010.

It is hoped, said Martin, that the village project will be accepted as a pilot project for LEED’s (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) new neighbourhood category.

“We think this is important, especially from our perspective as we stay with our vision (for sustainability),” said Sarp.

If accepted by LEED it would be the first of its kind. The designation takes into account transportation routes, how storm water is handled and the design of the neighbourhood.

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