Thursday, January 29, 2009

Richmond's Uh-Oh Zone

Richmond proudly boasted Wednesday that it would save almost $4 million of taxpayers' dollars by moving its O Zone live site from the riverside near the Richmond Olympic Oval to the city hall/cultural centre/Minoru Park area. Nice to save money, but Richmond has effectively turned a regional celebration that could've drawn thousands from downtown Vancouver into a community party on Lulu Island.
The Richmond Oval is the only new competition venue building worthy of a postcard, thanks to Bob Johnston and his Cannnon Design team. Since it was announced Feb. 12, 2008, the O Zone has been heavily promoted by Richmond as a celebration stretching from the Aberdeen Canada Line station along the shores of the Fraser's Middle Arm.
Mayor Malcolm Brodie wasn't available to talk about this on Thursday. Brodie is one of the Lower Mainland's most-affable politicians. He doesn't always answer every question directly (hey, he's a politician after all), but he is normally accessible and loves his community.
Could the new VANOC budget have any connection to this? Security and transportation planning?
Many questions. Answers could come Friday morning.
By the way, what kind of budget cuts could VANOC be making? Will there be one less face in the executive suites? Will the Paralympics be spared?
VANOC's board okayed the budget on Jan. 21 -- almost 10 days ago. A Friday news conference is often employed in British Columbia when the government is releasing unflattering information. The hope is that the public and media will forget by Monday.

Exclusive: Too many cooks in 2010 transportation kitchen

Who are the people who are (supposed to be) determining how people will get around town during the 2010 Games?
More than two-dozen people comprise the Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team. The Games' transportation plan was supposed to have been a done deal more than a year ago. Just like security budgeting, it's taking longer and probably costing more. Methinks it's a case of too many cooks in a kitchen too hot and too small.
If you're a downtown Vancouver merchant or resident or live near a bridge you think might be closed, you might want to look these people up and give them a call or an email and let them know what you think.
Since 2006, the organizers of the London 2012 Summer Olympics have held two open calls for public comment on transportation planning. Vancouver? Zilch. Zero. Nada.
Time is running out. Let your voice be heard. Bellyaching and whining about closed streets and sidewalks in February 2010 will be futile.
Here's the lineup:
Executive board: Terry Wright (VANOC), Doug Kelsey (TransLink), Penny Ballem, Tom Timm (City of Vancouver), Bill Barratt (Resort Municipality of Whistler), John Dyble, Peter Millburn (Ministry of Transportation), Bud Mercer, Al Niedtner (RCMP Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit).
Senior Leadership Team: Irene Kerr (VANOC), Mike Madill (TransLink), Jan Jansen (RMOW), Mike Rattray (RCMP V2010 ISU), Steve New (BC Transit), Jerry Dobrovolny (C of V), Michael Proudfoot (MoT).
Program Integration Team: Sveto Plavsic (VANOC), Sandy Forman (BC Transit).
Program Team: James Campbell (VANOC), Anna Dean, Joy Coronado, Matt Craig (TransLink), Sandy Forman, Jo-Anne Stone (BC Transit), Dale Bracewell (C of V), Brian Barnett (RMOW), Joyce Chang (MoT).

Exclusive: Olympic torch unveiling in Whistler

The Bombardier-designed Olympic torch for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and the HBC-designed uniforms for torch-bearers will be unveiled at a ceremony in Whistler on the morning of Feb. 12, the one-year countdown day to the 2010 Games.
The RBC and Coca-Cola-sponsored torch relay's Canadian leg begins Oct. 29 in Victoria.

Monday! Monday! Monday!

The Super Bowl is Sunday.
They say a billion people will watch the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Arizona Cardinals on worldwide TV. Viewership of the big game tends to be closer to 100 million and concentrated in the United States and Canada.
Meanwhile, the Bud Bowl is Monday.
Security spending for the 2010 Winter Olympics was supposed to cost $175 million, but it has skyrocketed to $1 billion.
RCMP Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit chief Bud Mercer will show off some of the toys and techniques that will be used during the Feb. 9-13 "Operation Silver" security exercise. It's a multi-agency, cross-border dress rehearsal to prepare for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Time and location are to be announced.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do tell, Nortel

Nortel Networks, the Toronto-based telecommunications equipment giant in bankruptcy, has returned to General Motors Place.
The company sought court protection from creditors on both sides of the border on Jan. 14. The Nortel logo was conspicuously absent from the GM Place rink board outside the penalty box and from the wifi log-in page .
Both have returned tonight, the first Vancouver Canucks' game after the All-Star Break.
Nortel owes billions of dollars to those in a phone book-sized list of creditors that was filed with bankruptcy court in the State of Delaware. Among those are the National Hockey League, Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Arena Limited Partnership. GM Place and the Canucks are owned by the Aquilini family and will host the 2010 Games' hockey tournament in February 2010.
VANOC is on the creditors' list for an undisclosed sum. Executive vice-president of revenue, marketing and communications Dave Cobb said it's in the range of $1 million and $5 million.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Exclusive: the 2010 Tally

Sixty-percent of the estimated 56,627 Olympic family visitors to Vancouver 2010 could be sponsors, according to a report obtained from Vancouver city hall under Freedom of Information.
The VANOC Transportation Premise Document used data from Salt Lake 2002 and Torino 2006 to estimate 34,000 sponsor personnel and their guests would arrive between Feb. 2-26, 2010. It is the largest of nine client groups listed.
The May 23, 2008 report predates the global economic crisis. VANOC executive vice-president of revenue, marketing and communications Dave Cobb said last week that ticket and hotel spending by sponsors could decline.
Times may be tougher than Cobb will admit. Earlier this month, VANOC's foreign ticketing agent CoSport sold 43,004 tickets in the United States after receiving requests for 160,000-plus tickets. The public pool benefitted from the shift of 15,000 tickets from the sponsor allotment of CoSport's parent company Jet Set Sports.
Translation: Sponsor demand crashed. Consumer demand remains healthy.
Other 2010-bound groups include: athletes (2,750), national Olympic committees (3,307), international federations (510), broadcasters (9,232), press (2,812) and IOC (4,016).
The peak date for arrivals is expected to be "Games Eve" Feb. 11, 2010 with 5,853.
More than a third of the Olympic family -- 21,600 people -- is expected to get outta town on March 1, the day after the Games end.
The report includes the IOC's client priority hierarchy. Athletes and team officials are listed first, followed by:
technical delegates and team officials;
rights-holding broadcasters;
IOC, NOCs and IFs;
marketing partners;

In ninth and last position? Drum roll, please. Residents and local business, general public.
Message to Jon Doe, Jane Q. Public and Joe Sixpack. Feel glad you're not in 10th place.

Blog Archive