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Toronto 2015 Changes Original Plan

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The Toronto Star reports that as many as 60 per cent of the planned venues for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games have now been scrapped.

According to the Star, by eliminating stand-alone venues and running multiple events at the same location organizers will save significant costs, ease transportation problems, have better security and a better experience for the fans.

Although he doesn't grant many interviews, Ian Troop, CEO of TO 2015 told the Star Thursday, "I'd say we've changed 60 per cent from what was in the bid to improve it, which is not uncommon".

He added, "when you've got a team working hard to make good progress and you've got so much good news to talk about, seeing things coming from self-styled experts which (are) so outrageously wrong - you start trying to ignore them (but) it's so consistently wrong and consistently negative, that I guess it's time to stand up and talk about it".

Troop also wanted to respond to an open letter from Paul Henderson, head of Toronto's failed 1996 Olympic bid, who has suggested the 2015 Games are anywhere between $1.4 billion and $2.5 billion over budget. The original budget, which didn't include the $1 billion athlete's village, was $1.4 billion, reports the Star.

As for the Para Pan Games, Troop says the Para Pan sports body wants the Games run separately so they can "have their time in the sun". According to the Star, a provincial source says the TO 2015 team had initially proposed a parallel Games.

Toronto 2015 has been criticized for its secrecy. Troop says the organization's hands are tied until government approvals have been given.

The federal government approved the most recent business model which was written last July, last week and the province of Ontario is expected to do so by next week.

Troop said, "once that's done we'll be able to be much more transparent", adding that organizers will soon be able to reveal the new clustered venue map.

The original plan called for as many as 50 potential venues to be scattered across the region, with the majority of events taking place in Toronto. Troop said, "for the most part" organizers have been able to cluster events "without sacrificing the regionality".

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