May 31,2014(ISN) – Public prosecutors in Brazil have called for the suspension of work on the Rio 2016 Olympic golf course over environmental concerns.
Rio de Janeiro’s Public Ministry notified the State Government’s Environment Secretary of its recommendation yesterday, Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported.
The move casts fresh doubt over the planning for the Games, just weeks after International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates described preparations for the event as the “worst he had seen”.
According to Rio prosecutors, the project breaches laws that protect the site, Reserva de Marapendi in Barra de Tijuca, located on the heritage-listed Atlantic rainforest.
The Ministry called for work to be halted until a new environmental study was concluded.
Earlier this month, Rio 2016 officials had claimed the troubled project was back on track after the grass-planting process on one of the 18 holes begun on the course designed by Gil Hanse.
In March International Golf Federation President Peter Dawson claimed he was confident the venue will be ready for the Games itself but remains “dissatisfied” with the slow progress which means the chances of a test event being held before the sport returns to the Olympics after a 116-year absence are slim.
Construction was originally due to begin on the course in October 2012 but, following a legal dispute over the ownership of the land between Italian developer Mauro Pasquale and Elmway Participacoes, it was not given the green light until April 2013.
Officials now have ten days to reply to the latest request and provide additional documentation to prevent work being suspended.
Rio Government officials refused to comment until they had officially received notification of the action.