VANCOUVER, Canada – With the 2010 Winter Olympics a mere two years away, Vancouver is a busy place. More than a half-dozen higher-end hotel projects will open in the next few years from Vancouver to the resort town of Whistler, about 80 miles to the north, where the Alpine and Nordic races will be held. Most hope to open before the Olympics.
It’s all part of a larger construction boom around British Columbia, although much of the activity is centered on greater Vancouver: between July and September 2007, there were 843 major capital projects planned or under way province-wide, worth a record 135 billion Canadian dollars, about the same in U.S. dollars, according to the province’s Ministry of Economic Development.
But the construction hardly ends at stadiums and ski runs. Workers are pouring cement for pylons on a 16-station, north-south light-rail line that will connect downtown with Vancouver International Airport and Richmond. Another project is under way that will triple the size of the city’s convention center, and allow it to be used as the International Broadcast Center during the Olympics. And a 65-mile stretch of the cliffside Sea-to-Sky Highway between west Vancouver and Whistler is being made straighter, wider and safer with a 600 million-dollar effort.
The latter two projects, planned before Vancouver got the Olympics nod, were sped up because of the Games. With so much happening in the area, when the Olympic cauldron is set ablaze on Feb. 12, 2010, even Vancouverites may not recognize the skyline lighted by its glow.
SOURCE: New York Times