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Olympic Village receives top sustainability certification

The Olympic and Paralympic Village has received the highest certification for sustainable community development from the U.S. Green Building Council, announced Mayor Gregor Robertson Tuesday.

Platinum certification was awarded to the $1-billion, 32 hectare South East False Creek neighbourhood development project based on a variety of factors including its proximity to the downtown core, affordable housing, green buildings and habitat restoration. The Olympic Village is the second development in the world to receive Platinum certification. Dockside Green in Victoria was the first.

"If we want to stand up and make Vancouver the greenest city in the world we are going to need some serious resources and aspirations," said Roger Bayley, design manager for Merrick Architecture, the architects behind the project. "But I have no doubt that [the Village]is going to be profitable."

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Millennium Development Corporation's head, Shahram Malek, said that the real-estate market would ultimately dictate if similar projects could be profitable in the future.

"It costs much more to build sustainable every time but it is a cost savings for the user," Mr. Malek said. "We were building in a very hard construction environment and future projects will depend on the environment. We have a lot to learn."

A $700-million bailout was required from the City in order to finish the construction of the Olympic Village, generating concern for the profitability of future LEED development projects.

The community has been lent to VANOC for the Olympics to accommodate the needs of 2,800 athletes. However, half of the development belongs to the City and will be handed back following the games for 16,000 mixed-income residents.

"We will definitely have an affordable housing legacy following the games," said Mayor Robertson.

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