01/12/2012 03:20 EST | Updated 03/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Toronto unveils plans for Pan Am athletes village

Toronto has unveiled its plans for the village where 10,000 athletes will stay during the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Charles Sousa, the provincial minister responsible for the event, said Ontario is on target with its preparations for the forthcoming Games.

“Today, we are marking the first major Pan Am project and a key step towards delivering a successful 2015 Games,” Sousa said Thursday, during a groundbreaking ceremony in Toronto.

The village is expected to cost $500 million to build and will be located in a former industrial site in the West Donlands, where the Gardiner Expressway meets the Don Valley Parkway.

When the Games are over, the village will be converted into hundreds of affordable housing units and condos, as well as residence spaces for 500 college students. It will also be home to a new YMCA.

“This project will benefit the city by transforming a former industrial site into a vibrant and environmentally sustainable community on Toronto’s waterfront,” said Sousa.

Sousa said the athletes village is the largest construction project of the forthcoming Games.

Some critics say the Games could end up costing Ontario more than the $1.4 billion that has been budgeted. But Sousa said preparations are fully on track.

“It’s going to be done on time and it is going to be done on budget,” said Sousa, when speaking with CBC Radio’s Here and Now later Thursday.