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VANOC may axe Whistler ceremonies

A Whistler forest may have been cut for naught.

Medals are supposed to be awarded nightly at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver and the Celebration Plaza next to Whistler Village during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Vancouver 2010 organizers -- faced with unprecedented recessionary pressure for a North American-held Games -- may cancel the Whistler ceremonies to save money.

So-called Lot 1/9 was logged last June to make way for Celebration Plaza. The forest was originally eyed for the Paralympic hockey arena, but that project was canceled in 2006 when costs ballooned to $60 million.

VANOC executive vice-president of services and operations Terry Wright said Vancouver 2010 and the Resort Municipality of Whistler "always envisioned and planned for the Whistler Celebration Plaza as a special place to celebrate the spirit of the Games and to showcase Whistler."

Wright said that all Games venues and operations are under review for a new budget expected to be approved at the Jan. 21 VANOC board meeting.

"It would be inappropriate to comment on specifics," Wright said.

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver's 24 hours.

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