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Building at Nordic Venue site ‘out of commission’

VANOC launched investigation into structural problems in maintenance building

A building at the site of the 2010 Olympic Nordic venue is collapsing.

“The (Vancouver Organizing Committee) team and partners are aware that a metal maintenance building at the Whistler Nordic Competition Venue is currently out of commission,” said Renee Smith-Valade, vice-president of communications, adding that the building provides on-site warehousing and auxiliary support.

“We’ve been aware of and have been monitoring the situation since late last month and separate measures have been taken for both staff and equipment.”

It’s not clear at this time exactly what the problem is or what the cause is, said Smith-Valade.

“All we know is what we’ve seen through initial reviews and we know the building has had some building stress. But what the cause is, (well) we are looking into that.”

The materials housed in the building include a variety of construction materials needed for the Nordic venue and associated with its operations.

The building is a permanent structure, which is needed to support events due to be held at the venue site starting with the 2008-09-winter season. The events to be held there include biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, and Nordic combined.

With feet of snow at the venue site construction has been halted for the winter season. The snow is also hampering VANOC’s effort to get to the bottom of what happened.

Asked if VANOC had any concerns about the quality of construction Smith-Valade said: “We are at a pretty early stage of the review so what we know now is that the building has some structural stress on it.

“So we have put some safety measures in place so that anyone who might happen to go near it are well aware of the risk.”

At this point said Smith Valade: “…There will not be a material impact on VANOC's overall budget nor will it delay construction timelines.

“We are confident that once we get in to the venue with a cleared access road that we can take remedial measures.”

She would not comment on who the contractor is.

The 2010 website states: “As a result of the commitment to provide significant contracting opportunities in the 2002 Shared Legacies Agreement, Newhaven Construction, a Squamish Nation-owned company, has been contracted to build the Day Lodge and other technical and maintenance buildings at the Nordic Centre. Newhaven is also building the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in the Resort Municipality of Whistler.”