Pan Am Games: 1 year of preparation remains
Organizers start the countdown to Toronto's 2015 Pan Am Games
In just 364 days, Toronto will welcome 10,000 athletes and coaches from 41 different countries across the world to the 2015 Pan Am Games.
Organizers say these games will be bigger than Vancouver Winter Olympics — which means a lot of preparation.
While excitement builds among athletes, concern grows about whether the Pan Am Games can have all of its facilities ready for games time.
Pan Am CEO Saad Rafi says most of the construction on the 10 new venues is progressing well. The Aquatic Centre, which will house two 10-lane, 50-metre pools, is on track to be done well before the Games.
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"It will be substantially completed at the end of this month, and the community will probably start using it in September," said Rafi.
Milton's Velodrome is also slated to be finished this fall in time for test events.
But there are delays in Hamilton, as the main soccer stadium and new home of the CFL's Hamilton Ticats is about two months behind schedule.
But Rafi estimate they are 85 plus per cent complete
The total cost of the games — pegged at $1.4 billion — doesn't include the cost of the athlete village or security
That will cost an additional $750 million, with the province paying the balance.
Rafi says the organization has found $56-million in capital savings and says just one venue is over budget — a BMX Park bike course that is estimated at $2.6-million over budget.
But with almost all builds on schedule to be open months ahead of the July, 2015, games, Rafi says organizers have an edge.
"You get to test drive [the venues], how they work for people getting in, sight lines, where do you want your cameras," he says.
The Pan Am organizers are hosting a countdown event for the year left till the Games begin in Nathan Phillips Square that will feature activities like athletic competitions during the day and concerts into the evening — not to mention a giant countdown clock.