Athlete’s village changes hands

Vancouver’s financially troubled athlete’s village, which has become a liability for the city and for public perception of the 2010 Winter Games, was officially handed over to Olympic organizers on Wednesday.

VANCOUVER — Vancouver’s financially troubled athlete’s village, which has become a liability for the city and for public perception of the 2010 Winter Games, was officially handed over to Olympic organizers on Wednesday.

In 100 days, the $1-billion village will house the Games’ athletes, but the waterfront development has been overshadowed by controversy as costs increased, post-Olympic condo sales stalled and the city had to step in with additional financing to save the project.

However, it was all smiles at the handover ceremony Wednesday morning at the waterfront development that featured aboriginal music, a youth choir and a giant gold novelty key.

“Of course there were challenges, and many of them from far off, but we’ve come through all that and now we’re extremely proud of what we have here,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

He used anger over the village’s financial woes to fuel his election campaign last fall.

“I’ve always been very gung-ho on the project. We’ve had a very difficult financial piece that we’ve had to come through, and it’s on good, solid footing right now,” he added.

Just how solid that footing remains won’t be known until after the Games when the city tries to recoup its money through condo sales.