South Korea to spend $71 million demolishing $200 million Olympic venue
The Jeongseon Alpine Center is set to be demolished so that land it sits on – from which more than 58,000 trees were removed – can be restored to its original state. The $200 million development was constructed for the 2018 PyongChang Winter Olympics, hosting the downhill, Super G and combined alpine events.
According to an article in Powder Magazine, the venue was built by the Gangwon Provincial Government under an agreement with the Korean Forest Service (the land’s owners) that the forest would eventually be restored. That time has now come, with a restoration plan for Mount Gariwang – the mountain upon which the development sits – due by January 31, 2019.
The demolition of the venue and restoration of the area will cost $71 million.
Gangwon Province is reportedly pushing back on its agreement with the KFS, claiming that it would be difficult to restore and that residents would like to see the gondolas and slopes preserved in an effort to bolster local tourism.
The KFS has said that it will continue to persuade them into agreeing with the plan.
The destruction of the 500-year-old forest on Mount Gariwang was one of the more controversial issues in the lead up to PyeongChang 2018 and was, at the time, met with strong resistance from the Korean public and international athletes. Canadian Olympic legend Jean-Luc Brassard was a vocal opponent, telling listeners during a commentary assignment that “for a two-week event … I don’t think it’s worth it at all”.