Construction completed on 2010 Olympic sites

Updated Sat. Dec. 15 2007 10:02 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Vancouver's Olympic committee is celebrating this weekend after the end of construction on three 2010 Games venues.

The Whistler Sliding Centre, Whistler Olympic Park, and Whistler Creekside, which will be used for bobsled, luge and skiing events, are now fully constructed, two years before the start of the games.
Olympic officials say Canadian athletes can soon start using the sites for training purposes leading up to the games.

The Whistler Olympic Park -- formerly called the Nordic Centre -- officially opened Saturday. The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) kicked off the celebrations by holding a race for cross-country skiers, the facility's first officially registered competition.

Nestled in a compact one-square kilometre area just south of Whistler, the venue will host ski jumping, cross country skiing, and biathlon events.

"This is 'the' venue and the most exciting one -- bar none in all the venues," said Denise Imbeau of the Callaghan Valley Local Organizing Committee.

The Olympic venues are expected to cost a little more than $250 million.

The Whistler Olympic Park is the most expensive venue being built for the Olympic Games with a cost of $120 million. VANOC and local organizers say they hope that significant taxpayer investment will pay off before 2010 and afterwards.

To that end, local residents are promoting the area as a new world class destination for cross country skiing.

"The scenery in the Callaghan is second to none," said Imbeau. "When people come from around the world they are going to be blown away by what we have here."

The 2010 Olympics will cap a two-year tourism marketing drive to put the region on the map.

The venue will also be the site of the country's first Paralympic competition course. VANOC says it was specifically designed for athletes with physical disabilities.

"I feel privileged that I'll be among the 100-plus athletes to be the first to compete at this venue," Paralympic athelete Colette Bourgonje said in a media statement (external - login to view).

Bourgonje, a multi-medal winner at previous Games said, "This venue is going to be spectacular for the Games, but this first race is the best example of the legacy the venue will leave for the region. Nordic skiers of all ages will be skiing here for decades to come -- I know I will."

Good for BC. Obviously the Mafia doesn't control the BC constuction unions, unlike in Montreal.