Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hopcott, not hopscotch

There was an opening ceremony on Oct. 10, 2008, but I can't find any news conference invitation in my files. Maybe it was lost in the email? Or maybe VANOC thought it was too boring for the media.
Anyway, that was the day VANOC opened its main distribution centre. A warehouse for logistics, technology equipment, medical supplies, and all other items one needs to stage an Olympic Games. It's at 7530-7550 Hopcott Rd., in the Tilbury Industrial Park in Delta.

VANOC transportation sites revealed

The Metro Vancouver and Sea-to-Sky Olympic lane network -- lanes for approved Olympic cars, trucks and buses only -- could be public in February or March. Judging by the far-flung transportation nodes, it will be vast. The Olympic lane network is the reason why VANOC CEO John Furlong made a mid-November plea for companies to change work hours, allow telecommuting or take a vacation during the Games. Without a massive reduction in so-called "background traffic," gridlock is guaranteed.
2010 Gold Rush has learned that sites as far east as Pitt Meadows and Abbotsford are in the transportation mix. Here are key locations from the Oct. 18, 2008 VANOC Master Site List (version 25).

Main commissioning/decommissioning fleet depot for 3,500 vehicles and motorpool operations at No. 8 Rd. & Blundell Rd., Richmond;
Spectator park and rides: Empire Bowl parking lot, Vancouver; Capilano University, North Vancouver; Garden City Lands, Richmond; 192 St & 32nd Ave., Surrey.
Secondary bus yard for 480 buses at south foot of Boundary Road, Vancouver.
Secondary fleet depot for 250 vehicle compound and motorpool operations under Burrard Street Bridge, Vancouver (Seaforth Armory and Molson Brewery lots, perhaps?)
Main bus yard for 310 buses at Lougheed Hwy & Allen Rd., Pitt Meadows;
Tertiary bus yard for 200 buses at Oakridge bus depot, Vancouver;
Fourth bus yard for 200 buses at Abbotsford Trade and Exhibition Grounds;
Tertiary fleet depot for 50-100 vehicles at Cottrell St., Vancouver;
Park and ride #2 at CN Rail/BC Rail site, North Vancouver;
Integrated Command Centre at 11411 No. 5 Road, Richmond "where the (RCMP) Vancouver 2010-Integrated Security Unit will centrally manage security issues on the Olympic Theatre at Games-time."
National Olympic committees for Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, U.S.A. will have hospitality centres of varying sizes. Some by invitation only, others will welcome the public. Locations to be announced.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

5 solutions for Olympic Village financing follies

5: "Edgewater Casino -- now featuring suites across the Creek!"
4: Forget the Village -- free futons for Olympians on the fast ferries!
3: "The Best Place on Earth Presents: The World's Biggest Brothel!"
2: Fix the Downtown Eastside? Free Southeast False Creek housing for all the homeless.
1: Hang a "Mission Accomplished" banner and pretend it's finished and paid for.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Gregor All-Star XI

Mayor Gregor Robertson plays soccer. He has selected 10 of the city's property development elite to join him on a team to rescue the Vancouver Olympic Village. Cost overruns, financing, scheduling... it's a nightmare and it has to be finished Nov. 1 for handover to VANOC so it can become the temporary home of 2,800 athletes and officials in February 2010. 
Here is the lineup, including positions as chosen by me.

Forwards: Ward McAllister (Ledingham McAllister Properties) and Maureen Enser (Urban Development Institute)
Midfielders: David Podmore (Concert Properties), David Negrin (Aquilini Investment Group), Andrew Grant (PCI Development), Rob Macdonald (Macdonald Development); 
Defenders: Eric Martin (Bosa Development), Al Poettcker (UBC Properties Trust), John Mackay (Strand Properties), Peeter Wesik (Wesgroup Income Properties).
Goalkeeper: Robertson (Vision Vancouver/Happy Planet Juice Co.)

It should be noted that Concert was one of the five companies that were shortlisted to build the village, but withdrew in 2005 to avoid conflict of interest because the company's chairman is also VANOC chairman Jack Poole. Podmore is a busy fella. As chairman of B.C. Pavilion Corp., he is overseeing the construction of the $883.2 million Vancouver Convention Centre and $365 million renovation of B.C. Place Stadium. Both are Olympic venues. 

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