VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - The construction of competition venues for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver has been completed, and within the C$580 million budget, organizers said on Thursday.
Officials opened the final facility, which will host curling events in the both the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, saying they had met their goal of having all the venues ready for testing a year before the Games begin.
The Games on Canada’s Pacific Coast will have nine competition venues in Vancouver and surrounding communities and in the nearby mountain resort of Whistler.
Several of the facilities have already been tested by hosting international competitions.
Vancouver’s bid for the Games had budgeted C$470 million for venue construction but that was raised to C$580 million in 2006 because of high construction costs caused by a building boom in the city.
Organizers were also able to cut C$85 million from their original design plans, much of it by getting international ice hockey officials to allow the Olympic competitions to take place on the smaller North American-sized ice surface.
The federal government and British Columbia split the cost of venue construction.
Work continues on facilities that will house athletes and support staff in Vancouver and Whistler, which is about 120 km north of the city.
The city of Vancouver has had to take over financing of the C$1.2 billion athletes village, which saw its private financing dry up because of the city’s real estate slowdown and the global credit crunch.
Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson