Options, requirements laid out 

The Vancouver Organizing Committee has given Whistler two extensions to make its decision on the Paralympic arena.

By the end of October council must decide on one of three options:

• take $20 million from VANOC and build an arena to host the Paralympic sledge hockey events in 2010; or

• take $8 million from VANOC and build a practice ice sheet at Meadow Park, which would cost roughly $10 million; or

• forgo building either an arena or a practice ice rink and take $2 million from VANOC to be spent wherever the municipality decides.

The $20 million/$2 million options were negotiated as part of the Venue Agreement, signed by Vancouver 2010 and the RMOW, during the bid phase.

The $8 million option is relatively new, and part of a larger deal which once involved giving Squamish the chance to build the arena. Council learned this week that VANOC’s $8 million contribution is now in writing, which should give taxpayers a level of comfort that the money will be forthcoming should council choose that option.

VANOC’s requirements for the facility include:

• 2,750 seats, which has decreased from the original requirement of 3,500 to 5,000 seats; and

• an international sized ice surface, which is 15 feet wider than the NHL size;

• media space during the Games; and

• it must be built for test events by November 2009.

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