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Canadian Government Breaks Ground on Green Venue for 2010 Olympics

The Honourable David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, today participated in a groundbreaking ceremony at Hillcrest/Nat Bailey Stadium Park.

The venue will be one of the most eco-friendly projects for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"This impressive facility, designed following best environmental and business practices, is a fundamental part of the overall goal of setting a new green standard for the Games," said Minister Emerson.

The project incorporates a range of specific measures to improve water and resource consumption, make the venue more energy efficient and minimize the impact on local ecosystems. These measures were identified in a study commissioned by the Government of Canada and VANOC. The study identified the most cost-effective measures to increase the facility's overall environmental performance, as measured by the LEED Green Building rating system - a broadly accepted certification system developed by the US Green Building Council and the Canadian Green Building Council.

Hillcrest/Nat Bailey Stadium, which will be fitted with temporary seating for the 2010 Winter Games, will host both the men's and women's curling events for the Olympic Games, as well as wheelchair curling for the Paralympic Games. Construction on the new arena starts in spring 2007 and be finished by fall 2008. Funding for the new facility is provided by the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver.

"While the focus is on preparing for the Games, it's very important that we look at how its legacy can benefit our communities and benefit Canadians," said Minister Emerson. "After the Games, this venue will be turned into a recreation centre for both local residents and athletes to enjoy."

After the 2010 Games, the curling venue will become a multipurpose community recreation centre that will house an ice hockey rink, gymnasium, library and up to eight sheets of curling ice. The new community recreation centre will later be connected to an aquatic centre with a 50-metre pool and a leisure pool, which will be managed by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

Among the other participants in the ceremony were the Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of the province of British Colombia; Mr. Jack Poole, Chairman of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC); Mr. Tewanee Joseph of the Four Host First Nations Society; and City of Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan.

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