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Whistler’s contribution to high performance centre climbs

Extra $270,000 will be taken from Celebration Plaza’s construction budget

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Whistler will now shell out $400,000 extra for the high performance centre gymnasium in the athletes' village, bringing the municipality's total contribution to the building to over $4.3 million.

According to Martin Pardoe, manager of parks planning, the extra monies are being kicked in to prevent any methane entering the centre from the nearby closed landfill.

"The stress originated from additional methane requirements that were identified late as a result of some construction delays," said Pardoe, adding the building is almost complete.

But the municipality only budgeted $4 million for its contribution to the project, so municipal staff plan to take money from the Celebration Plaza's construction budget to bridge the gap.

"We are going to reduce the contributions from the hotel tax to the Whistler Celebration Plaza project by the same amount, and we'll address that in a future budget amendment bylaw," said Pardoe.

"We are in a fortunate position because at this point we have not tendered a lot of the (Celebration Plaza) budget, so we have a lot of opportunity to adjust costs and delivery."

The high performance centre is the gymnasium, a mandatory training facility for athletes during the Games, but it will become the permanent home for the local gymnastics club and other community groups following the Olympics.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) is covering all other costs of the centre, and the Whistler Legacies Society will operate it after the Games.

The high performance centre is part of the $45 million athletes' centre being constructed by VANOC within the athletes' village. Beyond the gym facility, the athletes' centre includes a lodge and townhouses.

Broken down, the municipality is spending $3 million on the gym, $530,000 towards landscaping for the athletes' centre, $400,000 for methane mitigation, and $147,000 towards other costs.

No contingency fund was included.

"We allocated funds to the project based on the best information that was available," said Pardoe.

"As it has evolved, and this project was still designed and constructed during a period of extreme construction escalations, the funds allocated where insufficient to provide a project contingency."

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