Friday, February 5, 2010

Unlucky Horseshoe

The Olympic torch relay slipped ever so quietly and quickly in and out of Horseshoe Bay in the afternoon of Feb. 4 via the Coastal Renaissance. The ship with Apolo Anton Ohno on the hull was seconded from its regular service on the route to Nanaimo so it could carry the Olympic flame from Langdale on the Sunshine Coast.

B.C. Ferries’ CEO David “The Million Dollar Mahn” Hahn posed on-board for a photo opportunity with employee Bill McCormick, who wheeled the torch onto the ferry at Langdale. A propane-powered community cauldron was lit and O Canada sung. Helicopters captured the moment on the empty-of-vehicles upper deck.

The main vehicle deck was nearly full of VANOC, RBC, Coca-Cola and RCMP vehicles.

I even spotted one with Georgia licence plates and identification for Cooper-Atlanta Transportation Services.

The cauldron was extinguished and whatever thought of a stop in Horseshoe Bay was scuttled. Lions Bay was the first stop for the torch in the Lower Mainland, as it winds its way to B.C. Place Stadium for the Feb. 12 opening ceremony.

Gee, I wonder why?

VANOC claims the 2010 Games will be green, but who can forget the Save Eaglridge Bluffs movement and protests? The controversial plan to expand the Sea-to-Sky highway via an overland route overlooking Horseshoe Bay instead of a tunnel had locals furious in 2006. They camped out to stop Kiewit vehicles from doing their work. Many were arrested for civil disobedience, including the most raging grannies of them all, Betty Krawczyk and Harriet Nahanee. Conrad Schmidt’s Five Ring Circus and George Orr’s Chasing the Dream include dramatic, emotional footage from those heady days.

Nahanee died not long after she was released from prison in early 2007 and is the closest to a martyr that anti-Olympics protesters have. She was the inspiration for the 2007 theft of the Olympic flag from Vancouver city hall.

Anyway, the $600 million-plus highway work was done, the wetlands ruined and travel time reduced between the Olympic city and the Olympic resort.

I didn’t spot any protesters in Horseshoe Bay on Feb. 4, but I think VANOC just didn’t want to pour salt in an old wound that may never heal with residents of West Vancouver’s westernmost village.

For those keeping score, there is another relay winding its way to Vancouver. The Poverty Olympics are a satirical event that exposes the true sadness of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside ghetto. A toilet plunger is being handed person-to-person until it arrives for the 1 p.m. Feb. 7 third annual Poverty Olympics at the Japanese Hall in Vancouver. This is what the first one looked like back in 2008.

On Feb. 5, the Poverty Olympics plunger will be kayaked across Indian Arm to Deep Cove in North Vancouver at 3:30 p.m. Sustainable transportation carrying a worthy message.

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