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SpongeG Feb 11, 2009 6:44 AM

Vancouver is starting to feel Olympic

Posted by Scott Russell

We were at the Pacific Coliseum for the ladies free skate at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and our sorceress of research, Barb Strain, leaned over my shoulder and passed me a handwritten note.

“It feels Olympic in here,” was all it said.

I smiled and then as Yu-Na Kim of Korea went to the ice, I uttered those very words on the airwaves. It was exactly my sentiment. The stands were close to being full and there were thousands of Canadians of Korean heritage cheering for the brightest star of winter sport their country has ever known.


Kim nailed her routine and amidst Japanese and Korean as well as a healthy spattering of Canadian flags, which decorated the venue, she brought the fans to their feet. Bouquets of flowers flew out of the air and littered the ice while the sounds of excellence resounded in the place that had once been home to the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.

It was a stirring moment and reminded me that the so-called “Olympic” state of mind occurs not because the buildings are nearly ready or because the rings are omnipresent but instead because the world’s greatest athletes are in the house.

Quality of the field

The level of competition is what gives the Olympic city its credibility and its energy. This was the kind of feeling that pulsated in the arena throughout the week.

You could hear it in every word the skaters spoke. “It’s good to get the feel of Olympic ice,” said Patrick Chan, who dazzled to win the gold medal handily over the valiant Evan Lysacek of the United States.

It was in the quality of the competitive field. The top skaters were there from the United States, Japan, China, Korea and yes, Canada. Four Continents is a championship that has often been skipped by the best performers in the past.

Not this time. Not a chance.

On this occasion, Four Continents boasted, with very few exceptions, the skaters who will contend for the gold medals in all four disciplines come the beginning of the Games in almost exactly a year’s time. World champions like Mao Asada of Japan were there as well as the best of the Canadian aspirants who might have otherwise been excused for their absence.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the ultra-talented ice dancers, are still struggling to regain their top form. She has lingering pain in her legs from off-season surgery. But the world championship silver medallists were not about to miss an opportunity to skate in the hothouse environment that will greet them next year when it counts the most. They didn’t disappoint and probably gained invaluable experience as they delighted the partisan and delirious faithful.

World takes notice

The other thing that is truly astounding is the attention afforded these athletes when we in the media get a sniff that the Olympic season has begun.

Along with Mao Asada, Yu-Na Kim and Evan Lysacek came broadcasting entourages from Asia and America. The watchful eye of television opens a little wider when the best athletes gather in the place that will create enduring memories.

And so it is that scrums ensued as well as increased security measures and exclusive mixed zones where rights holders got the first crack at post-performance reaction.

Just as it is with the stars of sport, you get that Olympic feeling because the lights are brighter and the whole place crackles with an air of expectancy and importance. They call it a “test event” for the Games. But it means something special because it’s a test that athletes want to pass.

Impressive and telling was the performance of a 19-year-old Canadian named Jeremy Ten. He won the bronze medal at the national championships in Saskatoon a couple of weeks back in order to earn a spot at Four Continents and at the upcoming world championships in Los Angeles.

Ten is born and bred in Vancouver and you can bet he’d die for a chance to skate in the Olympics on home ice. But that’s a lot of pressure to put on a kid so this dry run was being watched carefully by the powers that be at Skate Canada.

Here’s the thing. Jeremy Ten had the skate of his life and flourished in the sizzling confines of the Coliseum. He brought the house down and took his place in the upper echelon of contenders for the podium at the 2010 Games.

Afterward, he was breathless and ecstatic. His coach Joanne MacLeod was moved to tears at the brilliance of his performance and maybe more significantly, at the young athlete’s fortitude.

“I love you Vancouver!” Ten shouted from the “kiss and cry” after he accepted his marks.

Why wouldn’t he?

The whole place is starting to feel very Olympic, indeed.

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/2009/...g_to_feel.html

SpongeG Feb 11, 2009 6:46 AM

If you go to Vancouver

updated 7:20 a.m. PT, Tues., Feb. 10, 2009

Getting there
Vancouver International Airport receives flights from around the world. However, a December snowstorm paralyzed the airport, and official 2010 Games airline Air Canada canceled hundreds of flights. Several border crossings serve Washington state. Ferries also arrive in B.C. from the state's Olympic Peninsula.

Getting around
The city's newest light rail line will connect the airport with downtown in late 2009. A ride on the Skytrain can be a great way for an initial exploration — as well as providing incredible views. Buses are generally efficient, but the best way to explore the accessible city center is to bundle up and walk. Even if it's raining (and there's a good chance it will be), the city core has plenty of underground malls.

The figure skating arena is about 20 minutes by bus from the city center. Event tickets will include local transit fares. Snowboarding and freestyle skiing events on the city's North Shore will be tougher to reach. Alpine events are 90 miles away in Whistler, but an Olympic fleet of buses will be running. Traffic will be strictly limited on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, which was recently redeveloped at a cost of nearly $500 million.


What to eat
Vancouver's multiethnic population provides for an unequaled dining adventures. Chinatown offers a taste of the Orient for all price ranges, The Punjabi Market at 49th Avenue and Main Street delivers the spicy tang of the Indian subcontinent, and Little Italy on Commercial Drive provides a distinctive Mediterranean flavor.

Where to stay
During the Olympics, even mountain-lovers may have to stay in Vancouver because of the shortage of shelter in the hills. Both Vancouver and Whistler tourism officials are expecting more accommodation to open up as 2009 progresses. Many will appear on www.2010destinationplanner.com.

CoSport — www.cosport.com — is handling much of the accommodations, event tickets, airport meet and greet services, meals, ground transportation, and host services.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29017542/

SpongeG Feb 11, 2009 6:47 AM

Olympic update: One year and counting

Beat the clock (and the crowds) by going now

The clock is ticking, the venues are ready and athletes, officials and sports-minded travelers are turning their attention to the southwest corner of British Columbia. The 2010 Winter Olympics are now one year away (February 12-28, 2010), and the buzz is building from the streets of Vancouver to the slopes of Whistler.

But why wait for the big event (for which tickets are already scarce and pricey)? This winter, you can slap on the skis, skates or snowboard and check out many of the venues yourself. Better yet, if your visit coincides with one of the following events, you can get a taste of what’s to come without the Olympian crowds or high costs. (All prices are in Canadian dollars.)


Snowboarding
The venue: Thirty minutes from downtown Vancouver, Cypress Mountain has long been known for its easy access and stunning city views. During the Olympics, it will also serve as the venue for the Games’ snowboarding and freestyle skiing events.

Though relatively small — six chairs, 52 runs and 2,010 vertical feet — Cypress dishes up plenty of big-mountain fun with a halfpipe, two terrain parks and rollicking runs like Fork and P.G.S. (sites of the Olympic snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom, respectively). Last year, the resort added a high-speed quad chair and nine new runs; this year, a new daylodge offers relief when it’s time to relax or recharge.

The competition: If you show up February 12–15, you can also watch the world’s best snowboarders compete during the 2009 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup. Whether it’s the mass-start mayhem of snowboard cross, the split-second timing of the parallel giant slalom or the aerial antics in the halfpipe, there should be thrills and spills in equal measure.

The nitty-gritty: Daily adult lift tickets at Cypress are $56–$60 and provide entry to World Cup events. For non-riders, daily event tickets are $10 and include roundtrip bus transportation from West Vancouver.

Nordic skiing
The venue: A year from now, several hundred cross-country skiers, biathletes and ski jumpers will head to the Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley, 16 kilometers south of Whistler. They’ll be joined by thousands of spectators accommodated in three temporary stadiums to be constructed on site.

This year, though, you’re more likely to have the place just about to yourself. You can ski 55 kilometers of trails, tour (but, alas, not go off) the ski jumps and even take a crack (shot) at the odd-couple, cardio-marksmanship sport of biathlon.


Click for related content


The competition: This season, upcoming events include the IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country World Cup, a precursor to next year’s Paralympics, March 4–7, and the IBU World Cup Biathlon March 11–15. Admission is free.

The nitty-gritty: Adult trail passes are $20 for cross-country skiing, $8 for snowshoeing. Tours, lessons and rentals are available on site.


Click for related content
Vancouver counts down to 2010 Games
If you go to Vancouver ...


Downhill skiing
The venue: Originally conceived in a bid for the 1968 Olympics, Whistler grabbed the brass ring six years ago when Vancouver was named host city for 2010. Now, the Olympic rings themselves are flying as the resort prepares to host the Games’ alpine skiing events.

The resort will also host the Games’ sliding events (bobsleigh, luge and skeleton), but the best place to test your personal mettle is on the Dave Murray Downhill course. Dropping 3,200 vertical feet in approximately two miles, it’s considered one of the toughest courses on the World Cup circuit, although at mortal speeds, a strong intermediate can handle it.

The competition: Many of the athletes who will participate in the 2010 Paralympic Games (March 12-21, 2010) will be competing in the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup March 9–14.

The nitty-gritty: Single-day adult lift tickets are $89, with discounts available by ordering online or as part of a lift/lodging package. Click here for details.

Speed skating
The venue: While many Olympic events in Vancouver will utilize existing venues, the Richmond Olympic Oval, south of downtown, was built from scratch. Overlooking a channel of the Fraser River — and designed to echo the river’s flowing curves — it opened in December and will host the (long track) speed skating events in 2010.

In the meantime, the facility is open for public skating during select hours, which means you can lace up the skates and hit the 400-meter track yourself. And if you really feel the need for speed, public speed skating sessions are offered several days a week. Rental skates and helmets (highly recommended) are available.

The competition: The Oval will host some of the world’s fastest skaters during the Essent ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships March 12–15. Among the highlights will be the Team Pursuit races, which joined the official Olympic roster in 2006.

The nitty-gritty: Daily admission to the Oval is $12.50 (ages 22–65) and $8 (ages 13–21). Tickets for the Championships are $32 per day or $100 for a four-day package.

Rob Lovitt is a frequent contributor to msnbc.com. If you'd like to respond to one of his columns or suggest a story idea, drop him an e-mail

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29104212/

mr.x Feb 11, 2009 6:15 PM

366 Days!

Denscity Feb 12, 2009 11:48 PM

365!!! :cheers:

Canadian Mind Feb 13, 2009 12:04 AM

Still don't know who the final torch bearer will be...

metroXpress Feb 13, 2009 2:35 AM

364 and 23 hrs now

mr.x Feb 13, 2009 2:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canadian Mind (Post 4084459)
Still don't know who the final torch bearer will be...

If we did at this point, there would be a problem....

Locked In Feb 14, 2009 5:38 AM

Quote:

Bramham: Olympics putting B.C. ahead of the curve but what will taxpayers get out of it?

By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun - February 13, 2009 8:01 PM

http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465...n?size=620x400
Vanoc CEO John Furlong is joined by Swatch group's president George Nicolas Hayek, the I.O.C's Jacques Rogge, and Omega's Stephen Urquhart for the official 365-day countdown.
Photograph by: Mark van Manen, Vancouver Sun



What’s the spinoff economic benefit of the 2010 Winter Olympics? Four billion dollars. That’s the number Premier Gordon Campbell uses and it’s in the latest briefing notes from the B.C. Olympic Secretariat.

That’s more than the government’s official estimate of money spent on the Games — $580 million directly on Olympic venues and the $3 billion being spent this year and next by the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee on Games operations.

And when every day seems to bring more stories of bankruptcies, layoffs and recession, it seems the Olympics have put Vancouver and British Columbia ahead of the economic-stimulus curve.

But there has been a much larger infusion of money than the province lays claim to. A tally of spending on Olympic venues and Olympic-related projects by all levels of government done by The Vancouver Sun is in the order of $6 billion and rising.

That total included municipal spending on everything from tree planting and the Olympic oval to Crown corporations’ Olympic sponsorships to the billion-dollar projects — the Canada Line, the Sea to Sky Highway improvements, the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre. All of which are amenities that British Columbians will use and enjoy for decades to come.

The $6 billion, however, did not take into account the expected massive increase in security spending beyond the $175-million initial estimate or the $85.3-million repairs at Robson Square where Olympic celebrations will be held.

So, what can taxpayers expect in return for the expenditure of these dollars? For an answer, we have to rely on two economic impact studies, which have been done. Both were completed in 2002. Both were covered by the caveat that it’s almost impossible to quantify economic benefits from so-called “hallmark” events like the Olympics.

It’s not only B.C.-government-funded studies that bear this caution. It’s writ large in the British government’s analysis of the impacts of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, which noted: “Despite the wealth of information about the Olympics, empirical academic research around the legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is surprisingly rare.”

It leaves economists like Robert Hogue of RBC and Ken Peacock of the Business Council of B.C. to guesstimate what the real impacts might be. And those guesstimates can range anywhere from $4 billion to nearly $11 billion to much more, depending on what you count, how you count it and over what period of time.

RBC’s January forecast for the B.C. economy said the Olympics will provide a “meaningful boost,” pushing GDP growth to 3.5 per cent in 2010.

But when asked what “meaningful” is in dollar terms or in percentage points of GDP growth, Hogue said: “I don’t have a number to give you because the impact will be over a number of months.”

The senior economist said the bank (which is an Olympic sponsor) has not done an economic impact study and doesn’t have the capacity to do that kind of economic modelling.

“Any comments are a little vague because you need to work out the mechanics [of the economic impact],” Hogue admitted. “You can’t just pull numbers out of the air.”

He said the forecast is based on the expectation that there will be a major inflow of tourism spending in February and after the Games as well.

Tourism figures are dropping because of the recession. But Hogue said because the Winter Olympics are held only every four years and because most of the spectators are affluent, the global recession should not affect the turnout and, so far, ticket sales have been good. However, he conceded that there may be some slippage at the margins.

Peacock makes what he describes as a “reasonable assumption” that the Olympics’ impact could be an increase of anywhere from 0.5 to one percentage point of the province’s gross domestic product of $192 billion. That’s an increase of $960 million to $1.92 billion in 2010.

Peacock says even if the Winter Games benefits provide only a $960-million bump, it’s still fortuitous in these tough economic times. Without the Games, he said it’s a possibility that British Columbia’s economy, which roared along at nearly four-per-cent growth annually from 2004 to 2007, might not be growing at all.

Like Hogue, Peacock says the wild card is tourism, which has always been considered the Games’ single biggest generator of economic benefits both now and in the future.

The genesis of the $4-billion estimate is a January 2002 study done by John D. Gray in B.C.’s ministry of competition, science and enterprise.

“Very little academic research focuses on quantifying the long-term economic impacts of such hallmark tourism events and little data exists to permit comparison of forecasts with actual results,” Gray noted.

It’s almost impossible to quantify the psychological lift that hallmark events such as the Olympics or Expo provide, he said. And it’s almost equally hard to determine whether any extraordinary changes in foreign direct investment and exports are directly linked.

Gray rejected an “input-output approach” since it assumes none of the workers, machines and material used for Olympic-related projects would have been used without the Games; it does not account for other projects being delayed or scrapped because of the Games; and, its doesn’t allow for “leakage” that may result from workers being brought in from other provinces or countries, or subsidiary companies sending profits to other jurisdictions.

Another impossibility, he said, is tracking whether British Columbians spend more in their own province enjoying new facilities such as the Callaghan Valley’s Nordic centre, the Whistler sliding centre, new rinks in Vancouver and Richmond, the curling facility at Hillcrest or improvements at Cypress Mountain.

Nevertheless, these facilities are all legacies that British Columbians will enjoy now and in years to come. These facilities will also allow B.C. to host future international sporting events. Those events all have positive economic impacts, attracting athletes, coaches, fans and media from around the world.

Gray pointed out that there is no simple way to quantify other benefits such as reduced travel times, fewer accidents and new businesses that result from transportation improvements.

That said, Gray’s estimate of economic spinoffs over a 20-year period beginning in 2002 to 2020 was $2.7 billion to $3.5 billion in increased GDP, 59,000 to 83,000 more jobs and $529 million to $982 million in additional tax revenue.

Intervistas Consulting Group was hired to take another look and its subsequent analysis was released in November 2002. (Both studies are available on the Olympic Secretariat’s website.)

Its best-case scenario assumed a million more visitors than Australia got as a result of the much larger Summer Olympics in Sydney in 2000 and double the number of tourists at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Its final estimate is the one Premier Campbell and Vanoc use — $4.2 billion in GDP growth, 99,000 person-years of employment and $1.15 billion in tax revenue.

But Intervistas also added in the benefits of the new Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, which the B.C. government does not. But with it, the numbers jumped to $10.7 billion in GDP growth, 244,000 person-years of employment and $2.6 billion in tax revenue.

It’s still worth noting that even though a quarter of a million jobs sounds fantastic, that’s spread over 18 years in a province that has a current labour force of 2.4 million people.

Obviously, the 2002 studies could not have foreseen the steep rise in worldwide demand and prices for building materials during the Games construction phase any any more than they could have anticipated a global recession. InterVISTAS did provide a model that the province could have used to update its study. However, in 2007 the B.C. Olympic Secretariat hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to do another economic impact forecast. It has yet to be released.

Until it is, it’s anybody’s guess how the current worldwide economic problems will affect the anticipated returns on Olympic investment for Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada.

dbramham@vancouversun.com
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Source: Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun

raggedy13 Feb 14, 2009 9:02 AM

^Love that proper sourcing. :slob: ;) Thanks, Locked In.

Is it just me or does it seem a little ridiculous that they're counting such things as tree planting into Olympic costs?

mr.x Feb 14, 2009 8:05 PM

^ The auditing is a bit screwy, and to include things like the Canada Line? Really???


Anyhow, I was watching a news clip about the Richmond oval's private one-year countdown celebration.....and they had performers singing High School Musical....nuff said. And it was a $500,000 production (that we, the public, did not get to see thanks to APC antics).
http://churchcrunch.com/wp-content/u...alm_picard.jpg

SpongeG Feb 15, 2009 9:10 PM

they also had those things car dealers use to attract attention to their lots

spandex and ribbon dancers thats what I see for the opening

lol

mr.x Feb 15, 2009 9:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpongeG (Post 4089451)
they also had those things car dealers use to attract attention to their lots

spandex and ribbon dancers thats what I see for the opening

lol

http://matangii.tripod.com/sitebuild...ictures/al.jpg

mr.x Feb 18, 2009 12:50 AM

Highlights:

- B.C. will pay substantially less than half of the total 2010 security budget, expected to be released within a week.

- B.C. has advanced the federal government part of its share in the security budget. It had originally planned to pay Ottawa next year the remaining $64 million of its original $87.5-million budget. However, in its third-quarter forecast for 2008-2009 the government said that moving the $64 million balance up by one year completes B.C.'s original cost-sharing agreement.

- The budget shows B.C. expects next year to spend all but $10 million of the $79-million contingency fund remaining in its original $600 million all-inclusive Olympic budget. There is no indication what the contingency fund will cover, but provincial staff say it will be for a variety of items.

- the government said it will begin funneling significant amounts of a renovation fund to Pavco, the Crown corporation that owns and is rebuilding BC Place Stadium. Last year, Pavco announced plans to spend up to $365 million on renovations and the conversion of the iconic air-supported domed roof to a retractable fabric one. However, most of those changes won't take place until after the Olympics. The budget shows B.C. advanced $38 million to Pavco last year, and will spend $327 million over the next three years, including $125 million this year on pre-Olympic upgrades.

- The $883-million convention centre project is expected to be substantially finished next month. Pavco expects to spend $88 million over the next two years, with much of that going towards upgrades on the existing convention centre at Canada Place.


Quote:

Olympic security costs escalate in B.C. budget


By Jeff Lee, Canwest News ServiceFebruary 17, 2009 3:01 PM

The provincial government has included tens of millions of dollars in its new budget for the escalated costs of security for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

But it won't tell anyone how much or where it is being hidden because B.C. has not yet signed a revised budget agreement with the federal government.

Finance Minister Colin Hansen rebuffed repeated questions from reporters Tuesday on where the province's share of an estimated $1-billion security budget will come from.

All he would say is that he had already allocated sufficient funds in the provincial budget for the revised costs and that he was eager to publish the figures once the new security agreement is signed by both governments.

"I can assure you that all of our obligations with regard to Olympic security can be accommodated within this fiscal plan that is before you today," he said.

He expressed frustration over not being able to reveal the full provincial costs, saying he had told the federal government several weeks ago he wanted an answer soon that he could include it in his budget.

"Quite frankly, I was expecting, I was hopeful, that we would have had that all concluded about three weeks ago and I wanted to actually have that out there before today," he said.

"There is probably nobody in this room more anxious to have that on the table than I am. I wish we could have gotten there before today. We are not there."

With less than a year to go before the 2010 Games, the cost of policing the Olympics has become a significant public relations problem for the Ottawa and Victoria.

For more than a year the federal government has acknowledged it is reworking the original $175-million budget, which it now admits was vastly underestimated by government security planners working with Vancouver's Olympic bid committee.

Under the old agreement, each government contributed $87.5 million. But last fall then-public safety minister Stockwell Day told The Vancouver Sun the revised budget would fall somewhere between $400 million and $1 billion. More recently, those connected with the discussions say the figure is closer to $1 billion.


Of that, the province is only responsible for a portion directly related to security of Olympic venues, but not for national defence, border-integrity programs or protection of internationally protected people.

The two governments are finally close to an agreement. In fact, a senior RCMP officer told reporters two weeks ago that he expected an announcement at the end of that week. And senior executives at the Vancouver Organizing Committee had told Ottawa and Victoria they wanted the new budget revealed before the one-year countdown to the Games last Thursday.

But at the last minute a glitch in negotiations apparently developed, leaving Hansen unable to discuss the deal in his new provincial budget.

Hansen said the bill the province must pay to Ottawa will be substantially less than half of the overall budget.

When asked if he was hiding the revised figures in a contingency fund, Hansen said the provincial cost is lower than people might think.


"I think people are looking for a number that is much, much larger than our obligations amount to," he said. "As soon as I have signoff from the federal government on our arrangements, we will be sharing it with everybody."

Still, the province is taking steps now to prepare for the significant boost in Olympic security spending. It had originally planned to pay Ottawa next year the remaining $64 million of its original $87.5-million budget. However, in its third-quarter forecast for 2008-2009 the government said that moving the $64 million balance up by one year completes B.C.'s original cost-sharing agreement.

It comes at a time when the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit has to spend a significant amount of money on accommodations, equipment and training.

Victoria's decision to move up spending is one of the few significant changes in its Olympic and tourism-related plans.

The budget shows B.C. expects next year to spend all but $10 million of the $79-million contingency fund remaining in its original $600 million all-inclusive Olympic budget. There is no indication what the contingency fund will cover, but provincial staff say it will be for a variety of items.

Elsewhere in the provincial budget, the government said it will begin funneling significant amounts of a renovation fund to Pavco, the Crown corporation that owns and is rebuilding BC Place Stadium.

Last year, Pavco announced plans to spend up to $365 million on renovations and the conversion of the iconic air-supported domed roof to a retractable fabric one. However, most of those changes won't take place until after the Olympics.

The budget shows B.C. advanced $38 million to Pavco last year, and will spend $327 million over the next three years, including $125 million this year on pre-Olympic upgrades.


Pavco has said all of the money will be recovered from redevelopment plans, including market condominium projects on the stadium property's corners.

Also, the government has handed over the last significant funds for the over-budget Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre expansion project.

The $883-million convention centre project is expected to be substantially finished next month. Pavco expects to spend $88 million over the next two years, with much of that going towards upgrades on the existing convention centre at Canada Place.

jefflee@vancouversun.com

OLYMPIC SPENDING

B.C. is advancing the last $64 million in its security budget by one year. It is close to an agreement with Ottawa on a revised security budget that experts say is in the order of $1 billion. B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen said the province's share will be substantially less than half but won't say where in his new budget he has allocated the money.

B.C. also expects to spend $69 million of a $79-million contingency in its $600-million Olympic fund next year. The remaining $10 million is designated for post-Olympic costs.
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
http://www.vancouversun.com/Sports/B...228/story.html

SpongeG Feb 25, 2009 11:32 PM

I was looking on kijiji - a friend of mine is needing a shoit term 3 month rental... - and I saw a condo for rent for February 2010 - they are asking $20,000 for the full month - 2 bedroom condo

lots of other places are listing with prices but not showing the price for feb 2010 - they say to contact them about the rates during feb 2010

sounds like some people might think they can cash in

03SVTcobra Feb 26, 2009 12:32 AM

I'd rather stay home and watch the Olympics on tv than attend an event in person. I want to see how Vancouver is viewed by the American and foreign media.

raggedy13 Feb 26, 2009 10:13 AM

^I'm also quite interested in seeing the coverage from international media - though there's no way I'm going to pass up the chance to attend an actual event. :yes: I doubt I'll have a chance to attend any other Olympic games in my lifetime, unless Vancouver hosts the summer games in the future. :cool:

Locked In Feb 28, 2009 4:32 PM

Quote:

An Olympian returns to form

Posted Friday, February 27, 2009 10:22 PM ET
By Gary Mason, The Globe and Mail

http://www.ctvolympics.ca/mm/photo/p...2/6242_m05.jpg
VANOC president and CEO John Furlong
Canadian Press file photo/The Canadian Press



VANCOUVER - The good news is the colour has returned to John Furlong's face. The bad news is he's resumed the 100-hour-plus weeks that drove him to exhaustion a couple of months ago.

Until now, few knew just how sick the president and CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Games had become. Although many could tell something wasn't right.

After his annual videotaped Christmas message, people remarked on how ghostly white and tired Mr. Furlong looked. It was shortly after that when he hit the wall.

"It was around the 23rd [of December] and I remember thinking, ‘I've got a week off. This is going to be great,'" Mr. Furlong recalled in an interview this week. "And the very next day it was boom - I just crashed, physically and emotionally. I was really quite sick. Almost got pneumonia. I slept almost the entire time."

And then there was a cancer scare. In the last couple of years, and as recently as this past fall, Mr. Furlong has had to undergo surgeries to remove lesions from his face. Five in total, all benign. After each treatment, he said, he looked like he'd gone 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali.

"All pictures have been destroyed," he said. But scarring from the surgeries is evident, particularly on the upper left side of his face.

Another lesion has popped up recently that he said he "should probably go get looked at." At 58, it's all made Mr. Furlong, a former athlete, take a renewed interest in his health. A regular workout regime that had fallen victim to insanely busy days and torturous travel is back. Now he's up at 4:30 each day, getting in a workout before plunging into work around 6 a.m. Most days he's still firing off e-mails at midnight. And this has been a seven-day-a-week routine for the better part of six years now.

"The only difference between Friday and Saturday is what I wear," he said.
Yet, for all the hours and the ridiculous pressure that comes with being the Olympic boss, he remains impossibly upbeat, able to give one of his spine-tingling talks about the power of the Games with little prompting.

As if organizing an Olympics wasn't tough enough, his team has to bring the Games home amid a punishing global recession that seemed to arrive out of nowhere at breakneck speed.

"It was around the first of October that everything started shifting and a lot of people started freaking out," said Mr. Furlong, explaining for the first time what was happening behind the scenes at VANOC. "We were trying to put a budget together for the final year and we just stopped. The problem was nobody knew what was coming through the door. Nobody knew what this thing was going to look like.

"We were looking at some of our key players and saying: ‘What could happen to them? Could they get into trouble? What if they get into trouble? Is it worth putting together a Plan B? Is it worth the time and expense it would cost to put it together?'"

Instead of a Plan B, Mr. Furlong and his team decided to start the budgeting process over, looking for every nickel of savings they could find. It was, he said, "the most exasperating, exhausting, unsettling, ground-moving, earthquake-like experience for everybody that you can imagine."

In the end, VANOC was able to trim costs in some areas, find newmeans sources of revenue in others and maintain its $1.7-billion budget. Now, barring any unforeseen catastrophes, Mr. Furling is hopeful that VANOC will be able to stage the Games and break even, give or take a few million.

Until this fall, Games' preparations had been relatively controversy-free, a testament to Mr. Furlong's leadership and one of the strongest executive teams ever assembled for a Winter Games. However, news of financial overruns on the Olympic village seemed to set off a chain reaction of questions about just how much the Games were costing. There would be a political firestorm over the escalating security budget, which now sits at $900-million.

Even though most, if not all, of these matters were outside of VANOC's direct control (the federal government is handling security and the city of Vancouver is responsible for the Olympic village), they managed to taint the organizing committee's record that had been mostly pristine.

It remains a source of immense frustration for most everyone on the VANOC team, which did a masterful job getting the Olympic venues constructed on time and mostly on budget and raising a record amount of money through ticket sales and sponsorships.

What has bothered Mr. Furlong most have been the claims of some commentators that the Games are costing taxpayers $6-billion, a total arrived at when you include the price tag for the light rapid transit line that is being built, as well as a new convention centre and upgrades to the Sea to Sky highway.

Not only were the projects ones that would have commenced at some point regardless, but the $6-billion estimate doesn't appear to attach any value to the enterprises - it's as if the rapid transit line and convention centre will never generate a single dollar to offset their costs.

"That whole debate has been dispiriting," Mr. Furlong admitted, in what is the closest you will ever hear him sounding dejected.

Instead, the relentlessly cheery Olympic CEO prefers to add his voice to the growing chorus of those who believe that the timing of the Olympics couldn't be better.

Not only are they providing the kind of economic stimulus B.C. desperately needs right now, but by next February the Games may well end up offering the country a badly needed emotional lift.

"It will be great to have something to cheer about for a change," Mr. Furlong said.

And that is what keeps John Furlong going, at a hellish pace, one that many have told him to slow.

"That's what I think about when I get up every morning. The duty to bring this project home and at the end leave Canadians feeling like, ‘Oh, my word, does it feel good being one of us today.'"

Source: Globe and Mail

mr.x Feb 28, 2009 6:09 PM

I have quite a bit of respect for Furlong, and I always will. Great article.


Quote:

Not only were the projects ones that would have commenced at some point regardless, but the $6-billion estimate doesn't appear to attach any value to the enterprises - it's as if the rapid transit line and convention centre will never generate a single dollar to offset their costs.
Me too, Mr. Furlong. Me too.

johnjimbc Feb 28, 2009 8:01 PM

That is an excellent article. He does sound like a very talented and genuine man. He says some very valid things without sounding overly defensive or angry. One of the reasons I tend to have a sympathetic (though I can still be critical) view on major undertakings is because of my own stint as a project manager some years ago on large but relatively minor efforts compared to some of the monumental efforts discussed here.

It is so easy for someone on the outside to quote selective figures or reference old project plans (for long-revised project scopes) or just flat-out ignore valid and reasonable risk assumptions from original bids to paint whatever picture they want of how things are proceeding - even if in fact all is going relatively well.

When the effort is completed successfully, all that tends to be forgotten though sometimes the critic has successfully "tainted" the image of the project in a negative light even if it really isn't valid. I fear that is what will happen with some of these Olympic efforts.

I am not saying that projects are always run well. Some frankly our horribly mismanaged and deserve boatloads of criticism. But I'm always a bit wary of the critics who jump all over every bit of bad news, particularly if it is abundantly clear they NEVER supported the project in the first place.

I think in the long-run Vancouver is fortunate to have such a major undertaking underway right at the time of this economic situation. I think it will do a lot to carry the city through a turbulent time around the globe.

officedweller Mar 1, 2009 1:42 AM

From the Vancouver Sun Feb 28th - anyone know where this is located exactly?

http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465...n?size=620x400
Workers lift the first of five giant Olympic rings into place at Vancouver International Airport on Friday.
Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Sun

zivan56 Mar 1, 2009 2:25 AM

^^ Right where the "Welcome to BC" sign is when leaving YVR.

officedweller Mar 1, 2009 3:56 AM

Thanks.
Expo legacy and Olympic legacy(?) next to each other.

Yume-sama Mar 1, 2009 4:08 AM

Wow that is cool!

mr.x Mar 1, 2009 5:24 AM

^ omg, that is awesome! i wonder if it's coming from YVR's budget or VANOC's look of the games budget.

Yume-sama Mar 2, 2009 7:27 AM

They look to be done now :)

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3591/...5bfd8239_b.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/41645839@N00/3320021443/ < EuroNorb

I wonder if they light up at night in the real colors!

raggedy13 Mar 2, 2009 7:32 AM

^Awesome, thanks Yume-sama. I'm sure they'll light up and look great at night. I'd love to see a few more of those around the city, especially somewhere visible from downtown. It would be great to have a little extra night lighting to look at for the next year at least.

mooks28 Mar 2, 2009 7:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raggedy13 (Post 4117806)
^Awesome, thanks Yume-sama. I'm sure they'll light up and look great at night. I'd love to see a few more of those around the city, especially somewhere visible from downtown. It would be great to have a little extra night lighting to look at for the next year at least.

Whatever happened to hanging them off of the Burrard and Lion's Gate bridges?

mr.x Mar 2, 2009 8:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mooks28 (Post 4117823)
Whatever happened to hanging them off of the Burrard and Lion's Gate bridges?

Well, it's still a bit early. :p I would think you'd see them hanging off the Burrard Street Bridge and Lions Gate Bridge.



If you look carefully at the picture, the Olympic rings at the airport are edged with what appears to be lights....so they definitely do light up at night.

It also appears that the rings are held up together by tension cables.....I could so see some crazy protester going near it with clippers.

raggedy13 Mar 2, 2009 8:28 AM

^In that case I'd hope it becomes unstable and falls on them. :rolleyes:

djun Mar 2, 2009 10:12 AM

Looks wonderful. I'm sure there will be other Olympic related landmarks scattered across the city.

On a side note, how was your training/orientation X2? I'm not sure if I saw you or not (I was checking people in...).

mr.x Mar 2, 2009 10:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djun (Post 4117890)
Looks wonderful. I'm sure there will be other Olympic related landmarks scattered across the city.

On a side note, how was your training/orientation X2? I'm not sure if I saw you or not (I was checking people in...).

I was actually in a car accident on the way there, a guy on a cell rear ended me....didn't make it to the orientation unfortunately.

djun Mar 2, 2009 10:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mr.x2 (Post 4117893)
I was actually in a car accident on the way there, a guy on a cell rear ended me....didn't make it to the orientation unfortunately.

That's very unfortunate! I hope you're okay as with your car. I think someone will be in contact with you to make rearrangements, but I think you can contact the Volunteer Information Centre (I forget the phone number, it's on the 2010 site somewhere) and mention your unfortunate circumstances (I'm not sure if they're able to make the changes, but you can always try).

Do you recall if you were coming in for the 1pm session?

mr.x Mar 2, 2009 10:27 AM

Yea, I signed up for the 1pm session.

Left home at around 12.30ish, got hit from the behind a few blocks away, had to deal with the whole insurance/photo evidence/argument crap for 30 minutes, drove back home, felt crappy, and decided not to go....and transit would also have taken more than an hour from UBC, by the time I get there more than half of it would be over.

I'm planning on calling them tmrw to hopefully sign up for another session. argh.

Kodii Mar 2, 2009 4:57 PM

The Volunteer Center is 1-866-925-8657

It's on my cell phone... I pestered them

twoNeurons Mar 2, 2009 6:32 PM

When will they outlaw using a mobile and driving at the same time? Even if 50% of people obeyed it, you'd see a reduction in accidents.

mr.x Mar 3, 2009 1:00 AM

argh....got home late, office is closed.



Quote:

More than 6,000 signs to help direct Olympic visitors


By Damian Inwood, The Province
March 2, 2009 4:02 PM


More than 6,000 temporary street and transit signs will be put up to help people find their way to the 2010 Olympics.

The signs will include Vancouver 2010 transportation operations at depots, compounds and park-and-rides, TransLink and B.C. Transit routes, municipalities around Greater Vancouver and the Sea-to-Sky corridor and celebration zones.

According to a tender document, TransLink will need between 3,378 and 3,598 signs, Vancouver will need 1,030 signs, Richmond will need between 706 and 997 signs, Vancouver 2010 will need 475 signs, West Vancouver will need 250 signs, the B.C. Ministry of Transport will need 69 signs and the University of B.C. will need 67 signs.

The number of signs needed in Whistler is still to be determined.

The signs need to have "visual uniformity" and integrate Vancouver 2010's "look of the Games."

They will be installed between Aug. 1 this year and Jan. 31, 2010.

The request-for-proposals document lists competition venues in Vancouver, Whistler, West Vancouver and Richmond.

It also lists non-competition venues, including four official hotels, Vancouver International Airport, B.C. Place Stadium, the Main Press Centre at Canada Place and the Olympic Villages at False Creek and in Whistler, celebration sites and three Vancouver practice rinks.

dinwood@theprovince.com
© Copyright © The Province
http://www.theprovince.com/More+than...786/story.html

Delirium Mar 4, 2009 1:59 PM

here's a pic showing the completed olympic rings at the airport (with lighting)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thephotowalla/3327075015/

mr.x Mar 4, 2009 5:47 PM

^ in another forum, there's this member that keeps insisting these rings are the same ones from Torino.:rolleyes:
http://www.iciclevillage.com/media/t...ngs_torino.jpg

Yume-sama Mar 4, 2009 6:54 PM

Can I guess who the member is? :haha:

They do look similar :P

mr.x Mar 4, 2009 11:10 PM

Behold: The First of Five Giant Olympic Rings to be Erected in Vancouver
Posted by Vancity Buzz | Tuesday, March 03, 2009 | Olympics, Vancouver
http://vancitybuzz.blogspot.com/2009/03/5-...-vancouver.html

A buddy of mine was flying in from Toronto the other day to job hunt here on the west coast when he noticed a giant Olympic ring being erected near the "Welcome to BC" sign. This is the first of five Olympic rings to be installed in time for the Olympics. The Lions Gate and Burrard Bridge are other two candidates. I don't know the other two locations just yet, but I heard that the North Shore mountains might get them, something similar to the Hollywood sign.

As you can see the rings have bulbs around them and will light up at night. This is the beginning of the Olympic public art initiative. I can't wait to see the rest, I'm sure the rest of the buzzers feel the same.

I wonder how long it will be before the APC come and vandalize the rings? You know chew up more tax dollars in cleaning/replacing them. A drain on society they are indeed...




Interestingly enough, one of the blog replies were: "Yeah fucking rights we are going to rip the cables right off those abhorrent things you call "art"!"





Burrard Street Bridge before
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3479/...6965f7a568.jpg
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1376/...8424ff519b.jpg


Burrard Street Bridge after
http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/9682/oly1uu0.jpg



Lions Gate Bridge before
http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/7992/oly5np5.jpg
http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/6400/oly6wh9.jpg


Lions Gate Bridge after
http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/3852/oly2vu6.jpg



Side of Whistler Mountain after
http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/6216/oly3io6.jpg




Canada Place/Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre/Main Media Centre
http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/4024/oly4ar1.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3648/...ed25052d_b.jpg




Grouse Mountain (the middle mountain) will have massive Olympic rings atop its peak
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3193/...07591a2675.jpg

LotusLand Mar 5, 2009 2:31 AM

Whoa I totally missed that article on VCB. I guess I was to busy on "reading" the Vancouver Model Profiles these guys do ;)

http://vancitybuzz.blogspot.com/2009...-carolina.html :tup:

LotusLand Mar 5, 2009 2:50 AM

I haven't read that blog in a while seems like they have some decent Olympics stuff on it. Much better than the left wing bloggers who like to pan the Olympics any chance they get.

Here is another link if you fancy a gander:
http://vancitybuzz.blogspot.com/2009...vancouver.html

its about the real cost of the Olympics.

Delirium Mar 5, 2009 4:45 PM

i came across this article today..
full article here; http://travelvideo.tv/news/more.php?id=16915_0_1_0_M

Wondering where the party spots will be during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games? Below is a preliminary run-down of where the fun zones will be in Vancouver during February and March 2010.

Robson Square – GE Ice Plaza (Robson Street, between Hornby and Howe streets) Robson Square’s outdoor ice rink is being reopened for the 2010 Winter Games thanks to sponsorship from the Province of British Columbia and General Electric. The GE Ice Plaza (opening in November) is expected to be one of the major gathering points during the Games and will feature athlete demonstrations, family events and BC-focused programming. In addition, Robson Square will be the location of CTV Canada AM’s daily broadcast and home of the BC International Media Centre (for journalists not accredited by the IOC).
---
not for anything but couldn't Canada's "olympic network" find a better place to broadcast from like coal harbour or in the convention centre? the views in robson square would show....?? lame.

mr.x Mar 5, 2009 5:40 PM

^ well, it's only Canada AM.

metroXpress Mar 5, 2009 5:46 PM

^ Great pics and info. Thanks!

officedweller Mar 5, 2009 8:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Delirium (Post 4124342)
not for anything but couldn't Canada's "olympic network" find a better place to broadcast from like coal harbour or in the convention centre? the views in robson square would show....?? lame.

If they are high up the view would be good - like at the Law Courts Inn restaurant (south end of the pond)

jlousa Mar 6, 2009 1:53 AM

Lets be honest the only people that watch Canada AM are well, Canadian. They don't need to advertise Vancouver to the rest of Canada. Let's let the international media get the good locations.

Delirium Mar 6, 2009 6:03 PM

agreed. i didn't clue in it was canada AM. i thought it was CTV's main olympic desk so yeah, robson square makes sense.

Locked In Mar 9, 2009 1:30 PM

Quote:

Hope fading for funding of Olympic live sites in Vancouver

Finding sponsors for $4.5 million project 'increasingly more difficult' amid downturn

By Bruce Constantineau, Vancouver Sun - March 8, 2009

http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465...70/1368284.bin

Each live site will have at least one large 45- to-50-square-metre video screen that will broadcast live Olympic events, particularly those featuring Canadian athletes.
Photograph by: Andy Clark, Reuters


VANCOUVER — A City of Vancouver plan to attract $4.5 million in sponsorship money for two Olympic live sites has hit a global-recession roadblock.

Officials haven’t abandoned the goal but acknowledge it’s a tougher target now as potential sponsors tighten their belts in a challenging economy.

“We still hope to obtain that [$4.5-million] number but it’s becoming increasingly more difficult,” city Olympic operations general manager Dave Rudberg said in an interview. “We haven’t revised the number down yet but we are faced with the realities of the market.”

The province of Manitoba is a confirmed participant in the live site near Georgia and Beatty, while Coca-Cola is committed to the David Lam Park site. Rudberg said the city is negotiating with several others now but no new deals have been completed.

The budget for the two live sites is expected to be around $20 million — including $15 million in funding from the federal and city governments — and any cuts to sponsorship revenue would force cuts to Vancouver’s live site plans.

“We have to manage costs to reflect the revenues we have because we can’t run a deficit,” Rudberg said. “So we’d have to look at adjusting what we want to do, in terms of things like entertainment and the look of the sites.”

Each site will have at least one large 45- to-50-square-metre video screen that will broadcast live Olympic events, particularly those featuring Canadian athletes. During breaks in action, the screens will also broadcast highlights from past Olympics as part of a variety of daily programming expected to run from noon until 11 p.m. or midnight.

The sites will also feature interactive sponsor pavilions, meant to engage visitors, and stages with daily entertainment events.

Rudberg said city officials have found a production team to handle the live site entertainment and city council is expected to consider hiring the team at its March 24 meeting.

He said the live sites will be marketed largely through social networking channels and the city has hired Vancouver ad agency Karyo Edelman to help in that regard.

Both Vancouver live sites will be alcohol-free, although sponsor pavilions might serve alcohol at certain invitation-only events behind closed doors.

“We want family-friendly sites where we don’t have to worry about people overdrinking or bringing alcohol onto the site,” Rudberg said.

He said the no-drinking policy has probably cost the city some sponsorship revenue.

“I think some potential partners — people that could have provided pavilions — have probably turned away because there is no alcohol,” Rudberg said.

Whistler has established a no-alcohol policy for its Celebration Plaza live site while Richmond’s O Zone celebration site will also be alcohol-free, with the exception of Holland Heineken House to be located within Minoru Arena. West Vancouver has not yet set a policy for its live site, although it wants a “family-friendly environment.”

No alcohol was served at the main live site for the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, mainly because the four-hectare site was donated by the Mormon church.

bconstantineau@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Source: Vancouver Sun


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