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Renovations underway at Calgary’s WinSport despite funding uncertainty

Olympic athletes are voicing concerns about the future of Calgary’s sledding track. Cami Kepke reports.

Renovations are underway at WinSport in Calgary, with crews removing parts of the bobsleigh, skeleton and luge track on Wednesday.

The first five corners of the Olympic Track are being demolished, according to Dale Oviatt, WinSport’s senior manager of communications and stakeholder engagement.

Calgary’s WinSport sledding track redevelopment begins without full funding
Calgary’s WinSport sledding track redevelopment begins without full funding

Funding breakdown

Funding for the renovations has been an issue, with the total project expected to cost $25 million.

While the province and federal governments have contributed nearly $17 million, where the other $8 million is coming from is unclear.

Winsport said Wednesday that funding separate from the track project became available and that’s what has allowed this part of the project — removing the top portion of the track — to proceed.

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The remainder of the track redesign, including the critical refrigeration plant upgrades, are on hold until that $8 million is secured.

Parts of the track at Calgary’s WinSport started to be demolished on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019.
Parts of the track at Calgary’s WinSport started to be demolished on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Global News

Athlete reaction

Athletes are concerned that WinSport has started with renovations without locking up the funding to complete the entire track.

Bobsleigh, skeleton and luge athletes will be gathering at WinSport on Thursday morning to talk about the importance of the track to Canada’s success and the city.

As for athletes that would normally start training this week at WinSport, they’re in Whistler or the U.S. to prepare for the upcoming season.

– With files from Global News’ Michael King