Call for fuller use of Olympic facilities

The use of the 20-odd Olympic installations for staging international events is the only way to pay off such a huge investment, experts said yesterday. Senior managers and engineers involved in the projects told a National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) conference on the institution’s contribution to last summer’s Olympic Games and prospects in the post-Olympic period that the government must see this major issue in the perspective of further development. This would involve not only the completion of projects in surrounding areas but also planning for more that will improve the installations’ links with the local communities. It appears that the dialogue on how to best tap the Olympic potential is not restricted to the various installations and facilities. It is extended to the human resources, the engineers and other technical staff that participated in the construction of unprecedented projects in Greece, so that such valuable know-how is best utilized. Members of the Civil Engineers Association of Greece (SPME) told the conference that many dozens of their colleagues have been laid off by the construction companies since the completion of the projects and that their professional prospects appear seriously in doubt. «We worked hard and managed to surmount huge problems in a very short period of time. All this human potential must not be left to languish,» said Spyros Gouloumis, SPME’s vice president Others called for very careful planning and dialogue with all agencies involved. «The piecemeal approach is mistaken. Beyond concerns about the projects paying off, there must be ideas for further development. The stadiums we built can become international training centers and host big sports events,» said town planner Vassiliki Batsou. She urged more investment in green spaces, as in the old airport complex at Hellenikon.