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.

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