jeff hodson/metro vancouver


Stephanie Valentinuzzi, a construction engineer, adds her signature to a section of roof installed at the Richmond Oval yesterday.

Richmond celebrated an Olympic milestone yesterday morning as the final section of the ice oval’s massive undulating roof was fitted into place.

The section carries more than 8,000 signatures from Richmond residents and others who signed it this weekend.

"This is, without a doubt, the signature venue for the 2010 Games," said John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee.

The oval, Furlong said, is a "rare occurrence" where the vision of community "has been completely surpassed by what has been achieved."

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said it was always envisioned that the roof would be constructed of wood, but because of higher costs, initial specs called for metal.

The difference in price was covered by a $1.5-million grant to promote the use of B.C. lumber.

The roof, which will be covered with plastic to make it weatherproof, is built from 19,000 sheets of plywood and more than one million board feet of pine killed by the mountain pine beetle.

The ice oval, which is about 60 per cent completed, will open to the public this fall.