Protocol proposes temporary aquatics centre as Paris 2024 bids to control costs
A protocol for controlling costs of preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, due to be signed by the participants at the Paris city hall tomorrow, aims to remain within the scheduled budget of €6.8 billion ($8 billion), with a public contribution of €1.4 billion, in part by ditching plans for an expensive new aquatics centre and making use of temporary facilities instead, according to a nine-page document seen by L’Equipe.
The protocol follows the publication of a government report in April that warned that the cost of organising the games could run €500 million over budget.
Among other concerns, the report warned that the planned aquatics centre, next to the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, a poor suburb to the north of Paris, and surrounding developments were at risk of running as much as €170 million over budget. The proposed budget was €130 million.
Swimming events will now be held in a “temporary aquatic stadium seating 15,000” on the western part of the Plaine Saulnier site, while, close by, the water polo and diving events will be held in “a new aquatic stadium offering a 50-metre pool of 10 lanes and a 25-metre diving pool with 5,000 spectator seats,” according to the new protocol.
The government report by finance, sports and infrastructure inspectors had also called for the site of the planned Olympic Village in Saint-Denis to be revised, claiming that the site, which is intended to house the athletes and then become 3,000 affordable housing units after the games, is close to a planned construction of a metro extension, which contains archaeological remains, and as such could cause delays.
However, the protocol maintains the village as planned, with only a minor reduction in the size of the media village recommended.
Throughout the bid phase, Paris 2024 championed its claim that 95 per cent of venues for the games either already exist or will be temporary, meaning cost overruns were unlikely. However, two of the biggest construction projects were the athletes’ village and aquatics centre.