Legacy plans underway for Pyeongchang 2018

The organising committee for the Pyeongchang 2018 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (POCOG) has detailed legacy plans for venues used during the events.

Less than six months have passed since the Games came to an end in South Korea, and following the conclusion of the events all 12 competition venues were handed over to Gangwon Province and Gangneung City.

A number of the venues have since been turned into community centres, recreational sports facilities and high-performance sports complexes, such as Gangneung Curling Center, Alpensia Sports Park and Kwandong Hockey Center.

Pyeongchang 2018 noted that efforts are ongoing to ensure a lasting Olympic legacy for the region and the country amid media reports that have raised concerns over the maintenance costs for the Gangneung Oval, Gangneung Ice Hockey Center and Jeongseon Alpine Center.

Another issue of contention is whether or not the forest area at the site of the Jeongseon Alpine Center should be restored, with the central government and Gangwon Province having a different view on these matters.

A taskforce has been set up to oversee legacy plans for venues, with the central government having commissioned a feasibility study from the state-run Korea Development Institute to decide whether more subsidies should be provided for the province. Pyeongchang 2018 said that both the central government and Gangwon Province have agreed to stand by the results of the study so that the host nation and local community can both benefit from the legacy of the Games.

Additionally, the Korea Forest Service and environmental groups have pledged to restore the hillside and replant thousands of trees on the site of the Jeongseon Alpine Center, with Gangwon Province and Jeongseon County to maintain the alpine venue.

POCOG officials have also visited previous host cities of winter Olympics in the US, Canada and Japan to sample how venues are generating a profit post-Games.

POCOG spokesperson Sung Baik-you said: “We are happy that the figures show that Pyeongchang 2018 achieved a balanced budget and estimate a financial surplus. As legacy plans are underway to utilise snowsports venues in Pyeongchang and ice venues in Gangneung that form a compact compound to benefit visitors from around the world as well as the local community, POCOG aims to create a sustainable legacy that extends beyond Korea as well as the local community.”

Image: Andrew Schutzman