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Markham's Pan Am centre proves popular as Games approach
Jan. 13, 2015
Brea Bartholet

Since the official opening of the Markham Atos Pan Am Centre on Nov. 23 – which attracted more than 3,000 intrigued guests – city staff have continued to work diligently in preparation for the upcoming Games.

This week city council was provided with an update on Markham’s plans for the Pan Am Games from now until the end of September.

Commissioner of community and fire services, Brenda Librecz, began by outlining the use of the Atos facility.

“From now until May 15, the city will have full operations of the Pan Am Centre,” she explained.

“On May 15, TO2015 organizers will take over with the support of city staff, in order to run table tennis, water polo and badminton events. On Sept. 15, the city will regain full operations.”

From now until the Games, however, the building will be used almost every weekend for organized sporting tournaments, swim clubs, corporate team building sessions, a volleyball league, seniors groups and various international events, to name a few.

A specific event schedule for the centre for the duration of the Games was also provided.

From July 7 to 9, water polo will take place between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. From July 11 to 16, water polo and badminton will take place between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. From July 19 to 25, table tennis will occur from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., followed by Para table tennis from Aug. 8 to 13 between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Angus Glen Golf Course will host golfing events from July 16 to 19 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

With less than 200 days until opening of the Games, both the city and region have key elements they must collaborate on in order to ensure the Games’ success.

“We need to focus on the routes of transportation for the athletes and spectators between all of the facilities,” Librecz said.

“There are three major areas we are looking at. City department readiness, York Region readiness and community activation.”

As for transit planning, TO2015, the MTO and Markham have partnered to create three working groups: the Pan Am transportation team, the venue transportation working group and the unified transportation coordination centre.

Each will address issues such as general oversight of transportation, transit plans between both Markham venues and transportation support if any problems arise.

Librecz says the city is in the midst of talking with the TTC, in an attempt to get free transit for patrons who have tickets to Games events.

From a fire services standpoint, a Pan Am services agreement has been set for all municipalities. Venue fire safety plans and venue response training are in the midst of being finalized.

“Our emergency operations centre will also be open with staff readily available to address any issues,” Librecz said.

“A zero waste policy will also be put in place and we are working with TO2015 to have all other Pan Am venues adapt as well.”

As for community involvement, ticket sales have seen steady progress. TO2015 has also been able to exceed their call for 20,000 volunteers, though they are still looking for more to fill various positions throughout the Games.

Meanwhile, retailers are selling Pan Am merchandise throughout the city.

TO2015 Pan Am Day will be held for elementary schools on June 12, while the Games will be recognized nationally the following day and celebrated with a CBC broadcast and over 1,000 events nation-wide.

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