Pan Am boss promises smooth construction

The man in charge of venues for Ontario’s 2015 Pan Am Games says his event won’t have a construction delay fiasco like the one happening at the Commonwealth Games in India.

TORONTO — The man in charge of venues for Ontario’s 2015 Pan Am Games says his event won’t have a construction delay fiasco like the one happening at the Commonwealth Games in India.

Bob O’Doherty says officials in Ontario will do heavy pre-planning and constantly monitor construction to make sure everything stays on schedule.

With less than two weeks to go before India’s events begin, a bridge collapse has left dozens of workers injured. The athletes’ village is only half finished.

At least two Canadian athletes have dropped out of the Games in India, and others are being told to delay their trips for their own safety.

O’Doherty said Ontario officials will avoid such snafus by updating their business plan this spring and learning from people who planned February’s successful Vancouver Olympics.

“The better job you do at the front end and preparing through your business plans and other tools as a management team, the better off you’ll be down the road and hopefully you won’t run into any of these nasty surprises,” he said.

O’Doherty said the first item on his agenda is finding a place for a new stadium in Hamilton. Officials in the city have yet to agree on a location.

He said his goal is for the Pan Am Games to rival the professional sports leagues when it comes to fan fun.

“You want the venues to have the look and feel of the world class event that it is and then you want to provide the type of entertainment that the spectator should enjoy over and above the competition itself,” he said.

O’Doherty starts his new job Monday as vice-president in charge of venues, anti-doping and officiating for the 2015 Games.

He most recently served as general manager of the International Ice Hockey Federation championships in Ottawa last year.

O’Doherty is a former Winnipeg Blue Bomber and has held management positions at such events as the Ontario Summer Games and the Special Olympics.

The Pan Am Games will take place in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton and Welland in 2015.