PARIS – The construction of the Athletes’ Village is on time and on budget as organisers promise to deliver a safe Games, the general director of Paris 2024 said on Friday.
“Most of my colleagues in the past were stressed about the delivery of the infrastructures. I must say I’m not on that side with Paris 2024. I’m very cool and serene, we will deliver on time and on budget,” said Etienne Thobois, who is also a French former badminton player.
“We will take over the village one year from now. The construction will be finished in January and the village will be fully delivered in March.
“We discussed with the local authorities to build a new neighbourhood for the future in this area and then to adapt to make an Olympic village.
“The idea was to build a neighbourhood that would be used as an Olympic village, not the other way around. It guarantees that we will live up to expectations.”
Some 6,000 will live in the neighbourhood, which spans over the suburban cities of Saint-Ouen, Saint-Denis and L’Ile Saint-Denis.
In December, the organising committee, which is largely privately funded but also receives some public money, increased its budget by 10 per cent to €4.4 billion (S$6.31 billion).
“The various buildings here will have a final use that will be different, some will be social housing, some will be private housing, some will be offices, so will be public services,” Thobois added.
“And during the Games the use of the building might be different, because we will need as many beds as possible. So, that will mean overlay, that will mean a transformation. It’s a bit of extra work but that’s again the guarantee that the legacy will be best addressed.”
Nicolas Ferrand, director general of Solideo, the public body responsible for delivering the Olympic and Paralympic infrastructures, believes that “since 2017 (when Paris won the bid to host the Games), budget has remained the same in constant euros”.
There will be no air-conditioning in the athletes’ rooms at Paris 2024, held in the summer, but a cooling system will be used instead.
Security, however, has been a hot topic following the 2022 Champions League final debacle at the Stade de France and amid tensions over the reform of the pension system.
“Safety has also been an issue in previous Games and it’s been at the heart of our thinking from the start,” Thobois said.
“I understand we have a pretty lively democracy in France and it is definitely things we take into consideration.
“There will be a police station within the village, and the ministry of interior launched a programme around pet crime. There will also be extra security in public transports.” REUTERS