Thursday September 4th, 2014

A Rio de Janeiro court ruled Wednesday that defendants in a lawsuit against the city and the developer of the 2016 Olympic golf course must decide if they can accept a proposal to modify the course, according to the Associated Press.

Public prosecutors brought the suit due to concerns over damage to the environment, as the course is being constructed in an area of rainforest in a Rio suburb. The construction process has already been beset by legal challenges over land ownership, criticism over its location and other concerns.

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Judge Eduardo Klausner said that defendants must return to court Sept. 17 with an answer to the proposal, which calls for a 400 meter-wide corridor to protect animals between the wooded areas on the sides of the course. Klausner ruled that construction can continue, but no new areas of vegetation could be removed.

"It is in society's interests that the Olympics take place and it's also in society's interests that the environment be preserved," Klausner said. "What has to be observed is legality, and within legality is respect for the environment."

Golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 at the Rio games. Workers have been installing grass on the course with the hope it would be finished by the end of this year, in time for a test event in late 2015 or early 2016.

The Rio Olympics have been beset by multiple construction issues and had fallen behind in preparations, though the IOC said in July it was encouraged by the success Brazil had in hosting this summer's FIFA World Cup.

The Rio Summer Olympics are scheduled to begin on Aug. 5, 2016.

Ben Estes

 

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