Something borrowed, something new as Nanjing hosts Youth Olympics
Updated: 2012-08-31 08:10
By Cang Wei and Song Wenwei in Nanjing (China Daily)
Nanjing will emulate London's use of temporary buildings and its frugality when the East China city hosts the Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2014, according to the city's top officials and the event's organizing committee.
Yang Weize, Party chief of Nanjing and executive president of the games' organizing committee, said the city will watch its spending when it constructs new competition and training venues.
The announcement comes as some residents are saying they believe the city is spending too much to prepare for the event.
"No new venues will be built if old ones can be renovated; no new facilities will be purchased if old ones can be repaired; no equipment will be bought if they can be rented, and they won't be rented if they can be borrowed," Yang said after visiting London, the host of the recent Summer Olympics.
Liu Yi'an, deputy secretary-general of the organizing committee, said that 25 out of the 34 competition and training venues will be renovated. Five temporary venues will be disassembled or replaced after the games end, and the four new ones will be opened to the public.
Nanjing has put forward a games-related budget of 2 billion yuan ($315 million). A financial supervision committee has also been created.
The 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games is only the second such event. Singapore hosted the inaugural event in 2010.
"Singapore has given its ticket-checking machines to Nanjing, and we may also give our facilities to other host cities of major sporting events for reuse," Liu said.
"Nanjing will spend no more than Singapore, whose games were noted for their frugality," said Ding Ming, director of the organizing committee's publicity department.
Public suspicion of extravagant spending arose after the Nanjing government revealed its traffic-easing and cleanup programs.
In August, Nanjing announced a massive plan to deal with the city's environmental problems, such as dilapidated buildings and illegal construction. About 10 million square meters of floor space will be demolished and more than 1,000 residential buildings will be renovated.
To relieve traffic pressure, four viaducts, due to their limited transport capacity, were also demolished in downtown Nanjing for the construction of a tunnel. Among them, one 724-meter viaduct was in use for only 16 years.
A total 68 billion yuan will be invested in the city's urban construction in 2012, while in 2011, 62 billion yuan was invested, according to the Nanjing-based newspaper Modern Express.
Ding denied that the urban construction has a connection with the games.
"The demolition of viaducts was planned four years before the city won the right to host the games (in 2010), and the urban construction of the region where the games will be held has been carried out for more than 10 years," Ding said.
Nanjing resident Yao Jianye, 62, said he's not convinced.
"The mass demolition and construction are scheduled to be finished before the opening ceremony of the games," Yao said.
He said that the viaduct's demolition was suddenly carried out despite public opinion against it.
"The city should learn more from Singapore in promoting the Youth Olympic values and sport's benefits of a healthy lifestyle," he added.
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(China Daily 08/31/2012 page5)