Only superficial damage to athletes' village 

$14 million left in budget for retrofitting units and other things

The world's athletes took very good care of their temporary homes away from home during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Recent inspections with Whistler's athletes' village developers and Olympic organizers proved that very little damage was done to the units while the athletes were in Whistler competing.

"The units are all in very, very good shape," said Joe Redmond, president of the Whistler Development Corporation (WDC).

"We had anticipated that there might be more damage done to them... The athletes have taken good care of them."

He attributes that not only to the calibre of the brand new units but also the welcome pictures and notes left by the homeowners, local employees who will take possession of the units after the Games.

Some athletes, in return, left notes and gifts for the homeowners.

The managing director of the Olympic villages for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Games (VANOC), Tim Morrison, heard the praise first hand.

"I got comments back from people appreciating knowing that they were staying in someone's home, that they were staying in a home that somebody actually owned," said Morrison. "I think putting the pictures up was in some respects a nice touch and a nice welcome but it also provided an opportunity for the athletes to understand that it's someone's house so let's respect it.

"The villages shone and the facilities shone with regards to what was delivered here."

The Whistler athletes' village is still under VANOC security for the next two months but there is a chance that the WDC could get in earlier to start the transformative work of changing the athletes' village into a residential neighbourhood.

Redmond explained that first all of the temporary walls in the units need to be removed, then the kitchens and appliances need to be installed. The last piece is to do final painting.

"Starting in May we'll have crews working on probably all the units... we expect most of the units will be ready the latter part of August/early September," he said.

One of the first buildings to be handed over the new owners is the hostel, scheduled for hand over to Hostelling International this summer.

The retrofitting process represents about $7 million to $8 million worth of work.

Redmond said there's about $14 million in the budget still, or about 10 per cent of the $161 million project. Money is still being paid out for things such as interest costs and real estate commissions.

"We don't think that we'll be over budget," said Redmond.

In the end, he added, the municipality will also have about a $20 million asset in hand because there will likely be some serviced single family lots not yet sold and about 100,000 square feet in residentially zoned, serviced land that can be sold at a later date.

Also in the works is the search for someone to run the 2,500 square foot restaurant and 1,000 square foot convenience store at the village.

A call for expressions of interest was released and Whistler Real Estate Co. is now working with four parties who have responded.


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