Recommendations made by the Impact of the Olympics on Community Coalition to the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation and its Member Partners

August 2002

 

Impact of the Olympics on Community Coalition

© 2002 Impact of the Olympics on Community Coalition

 

Introduction

 

The Impact of the Olympics on Community Coalition (IOCC) is an independent organization dedicated to ensuring that environmental, social, transportation, housing, economic and civil rights issues associated with the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Olympic Bid are addressed from a community perspective.

Historically, hallmark events have had a profound affects on cities and regions. In the face of such massive investments and ramifications concerning hosting the Olympic Games, the public needs a process independent of the Vancouver 2010 Bid to ensure that community issues are raised, presented and addressed.

From the debt ridden Summer Games of Montreal, the evictions during Expo 86 in Vancouver and the failed 1996 Toronto Olympic bid, we've seen what can happen if an Olympic Bid is a product of poor process, poor planning and a lack of community involvement.

The IOCC will act as a public watchdog over the bid process through to its completion in the summer of 2003. The IOCC will also seek out creative programmatic and legislative remedies to issues that arise during the bid process. Coalition members who will work towards solutions include organizations such as the Tenants Rights Action Coalition, Better Environmentally Sound Transportation, the Carnegie Action Project, Society Promoting Environmental Conservation, the Southeast False Creek Working Group, members of the academic community and concerned citizens in the Lower Mainland and Whistler regions. The IOCC will raise issues in the public interest through public forums, media relations, research and report writing.

The IOCC has created this document outlining its recommendations for incorporation into the planning processes of the 2010 Winter Olympic Bid. The IOCC and its members are conducting studies and looking at past hallmark events to make these and further recommendations ensuring that Games benefit all. We want these recommendations addressed in the final Bid Book being submitted to the International Olympics Committee in January 2003.

 

Accountability and Transparency

 

1. Give people a choice. Hold a referendum to let BC tax payers decide whether or not we should spend up to 6 billion dollars on the Vancouver Whistler Olympic games.

2. Provide information on the true cost of the Bid. The Bid Corporation and its member partners must, every quarter, fully disclose costs related to the Olympic Bid.

3. Maximize benefits for all British Columbians. Guarantee that any returns on investments go back into social programs, health and education.

 

Safety, Security and Sovereignty

 

4. Ensure the safety of the athletes, spectators and the residents. Implement measures to ensure the safety and security of all Olympic venues and services (e.g., transportation). The safety of residents in communities surrounding Olympic venues must be also be considered in all safety planning measures.

5. Canada must be in control of all security forces. Ensure that Canadian sovereignty at all times. At no time should our internal security rest in the hands of non-Canadians.

 

Transportation

 

6. Make sustainable transportation legacies. The Bid Corporation advises that this bid is

all about legacies. Ensure that legacies from the Olympics include at least as much longlasting transit and active transportation investments as road investments. It is not acceptable, for example, to build roads on the one hand, and rent temporary transit services on the other hand. The Bid should leave a legacy of transportation investments that are environmentally sensitive and appropriate to a major sporting event, for instance a network of greenways, urban trails, etc.

7. Those who benefit, pay. Ensure that areas, companies and individuals who benefit from transportation investments shoulder the costs of those investments.

8. Environmental Assessments for major projects. Any proposed investments in projects costing more than $100 million must, before proceeding to a detailed planning stage, undergo a review by the Auditor General, and a full environmental assessment by an independent body that considers:

• The impact of the project and alternative ways of meeting the needs the project is

meant to address.

• The impacts of carrying out the project and of alternative ways of carrying out

the project.

• The impact of the costs of construction and operation of the project on the future

moneys available for buses and other transit and active transportation

investments in the region.

 

9. Improve regional rail capacity and service. Improve the speed, frequency and capacity of passenger rail from Vancouver to Whistler and Seattle.

See Appendix A for an outline of BEST’s Principles

 

Community Economic Development

 

10. Protect small businesses. Small businesses in the downtown core can be negatively impacted by hallmark events such as Olympics. For example, restricted access to Olympic areas both before and after the event can result in loss of business. The Bid Corporation and its partners should create an insurance fund to protect local small businesses against losses incurred due to the Olympics.

11. Leverage community economic development initiatives for under employed individuals and First Nations. The Olympics provide a world stage for local business, art, culture and tourism. The Bid Corporation and its partners should use their purchasing power, as well as adapt progressive local procurement policies to support small, local and emerging businesses. The Olympics should also be used to showcase the rest of the province's art and culture and tourism opportunities so that economic benefits flow to all areas of the province.

12. Provide training and employment for local underemployed citizens and First

Nations. Mega-projects such as the expansion of the convention and exhibition centre (an integral component of the 2010 Bid) provide excellent training and skill building opportunities for local under employed and First Nations residents. The Bid Corporation and its partners should establish training and skill building programs for individuals currently out of the workforce in construction related trades, as well as service jobs. In addition, the Bid Corporation and its partners must ensure that these trained individuals are given the opportunity to find employment before the games (during construction), during the Games (hotel and other service jobs) and after the games (in the on going operation of the expanded Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre).

 

Environment

 

14. Olympic bid efforts should not detrimentally affect air and water quality in the region. Winter Games can be particularly destructive to the environment since they take place outdoors in relatively isolated, snow-covered mountains that are then suddenly overwhelmed with increased automobile traffic, waste production and energy consumption. Increased infrastructure, attractions and accommodations will undoubtedly have environmental repercussions. The bid process should incorporate waste reduction and recycling systems with respect to planning for its multiple sites. In addition, the bid process should consider more environmentally friendly methods of transportation (walking, transit and ridesharing).

15. Environmental legislation should not be vetoed in the name of Olympic development. Environmental studies are frequently deemed too lengthy during the accelerated period of development that occurs with the Olympics. As a result, the Bid Corporation and its partners must ensure that any development resulting from the 2010 Winter Olympics be subject to the environmental assessment act. Environmental legislation and enforcement of that legislation is necessary in order to maintain environmental standards.

16. Energy conservation strategies must be incorporated from the onset of planning for

the 2010 Winter Games. In order to ensure that environmental impacts are minimized, the Bid Corporation and its partners must develop a comprehensive waste management program including the minimization of waste generation and recycling all appropriate materials.

 

Civil Liberties

 

17. The Olympic Bid Corporation and its partners, in cooperation with the Vancouver Police Department, must put protocols in place that endure the rights of homeless and other marginalized persons affected by events in their area. The impact of a successful

bid on the civil liberties of all Vancouver residents, especially those of marginalized persons who are most likely to be adversely affected, must be minimized. The fundamental liberties of persons to reside, move about and engage in their livelihoods should be protected. This means that there should be no "street sweeps" to remove homeless or drug-addicted persons from city streets, nor should sex trade workers be harassed or otherwise forced to move from their regular places of business without adequate compensation.

18. Uphold the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protects fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly. These fundamental freedoms must be respected. There must be no bans on expressions of dissent and protest. Meaningful opportunities for persons who wish to protest must be provided, for example, designated protest areas within reasonable proximity to the events and people against which persons wish to protest.

19. Implement the Four-Pillar Plan. The City of Vancouver has been a leader in formulating progressive means to address the problems associated with drug use. A successful Olympics bid would provide the City, together with the senior levels of government, with an opportunity to showcase its leadership in this area through the full implementation of the Four Pillars plan, in particular through the provision of adequate and effective prevention and treatment and harm reduction programs. All levels of government, with the support of the Olympic Bid Corporation, should act immediately to demonstrate their commitment to overcoming one of Vancouver's most pernicious social problems.

 

Housing

 

20. Introduce SRO conversion and demolition regulations in the City of Vancouver. Low-income tenants in SRO hotels in the downtown core are vulnerable to Olympic related homelessness by the conversion of their homes to tourist use prior to and during the games. The City of Vancouver has the ability and is responsible to ensure that the 2010 Olympic Games do not increase homelessness in Vancouver and regulations need to be in place prior to the games to prevent this from happening.

21. Prevent market driven displacement of tenants prior to the games. Prior to most hallmark events, many tenants are subject to substantial rent increases or eviction for minor cosmetic renovations. This displacement enables landlords to cash in on Olympic related temporary residents willing to pay inflated rents. The provincial government must maintain rent increase protection and close the loophole in the Residential Tenancy Act permitting eviction for cosmetic renovation.

22. Create a meaningful Olympic housing legacy. A percentage of housing at the proposed Athletes Village will be converted to future affordable housing. Provincial housing programs were recently cancelled and the waitlist for available units continues to grow. The province should work with senior levels of government, the private sector and the community to create 2010 units of affordable housing around the province for low-income families, singles, seniors and people with disabilities prior the games taking place.

 

Appendix A

 

B.E.S.T. TRANSPORTATION PRINCIPLES

 

A. Local long-term priorities. Follow long-term regional transportation needs and priorities identified in regional plans that received significant public consultation and were formally adopted prior to the Olympic Bid Corporation being established (including the GVRD's Livable Region Strategic Plan and TransLink's Strategic Transportation Plan adopted in 2000). Do not let locally-determined priorities for the future be over-run for a two-week event.

B. Legacies. The Bid Corporation advises that this bid is all about legacies. Ensure that legacies from the Olympics include at least as much long-lasting transit and active transportation investments as road investments. It is not acceptable, for example, to build roads on the one hand, and rent temporary transit services on the other hand. The Bid should leave a legacy of transportation investments that are environmentally sensitive and appropriate to a major sporting event, for instance a network of greenways, urban trails, etc.

C. Those who benefit, pay. Ensure that areas, companies and individuals who benefit from transportation investments shoulder the full costs of those investments.

D. Optimize locations. Select event venues, locations and accommodation on the basis of making best use of existing transit and planned transit services as identified in regional plans. Guarantee that all Olympic site locations are accessible by public and active modes of transportation.

E. Transportation demand management. Increasing supply is not the best form of traffic congestion management. Emphasize and prioritize demand management measures so as to minimize expensive new infrastructure costs. For example, Olympic transportation plans should include promotion of work-hour adjustments, closure of non-essential services and some government offices, and providing free public transit with venue tickets.

F. Assessments of major projects. Any proposed investments in projects costing more than $100 million will, before proceeding to a detailed planning stage, undergo a review by the Auditor General, and full environmental assessment by an independent body that

considers:

• The impact of the project and alternative ways of meeting the needs the project is

meant to address.

• The impacts of carrying out the project and of alternative ways of carrying out

the project.

• The impact of the costs of construction and operation of the project on the future

moneys available for buses and other transit investments in the region.

 

G. Active transportation first. Include cycling and pedestrians facilities in all transit, bridge, rail or highway projects (including upgrades to existing facilities). These facilities must be built to meet or exceed recognized standards for such facilities. All new and upgraded locations must have secure bicycle parking for at least 6% of their capacity. Allow bicycles on all transit vehicles (boats, trains and buses). Connect Whistler facilities and accommodations with a network of trails that can be used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, and cycling, walking and inline-skating in the summer. Provide spectators, volunteers, employees and athletes with the opportunity to easily and affordably rent cross-country skis and snowshoes, and temporary facilities to securely store them.

H. Clean vehicles. Any new or leased transit or other vehicles should be zero emission, and must at the least be very low emission, such as hybrid or state-of-the-art CNG (compressed natural gas).

I. Maximize environmental and community benefits. For large scale projects, where there is a choice between minimizing costs and spending a small percentage more to maximize the environmental and community benefits of the project, spend the extra and obtain the benefits. Minimize environmental impacts of all transportation spending.

J. Plan ahead. Plan projects well in advance, and allow ample time for project construction, in order to minimize costs, maximize benefits and allow for meaningful public consultation.

K. Protect communities and neighbourhoods. Minimize construction and operational impacts of projects on the communities and neighbourhoods that they pass through.

L. Burrard inlet. Do not construct a fixed link crossing over Burrard Inlet unless the crossing is rail only.

M. No roads in watersheds. There must be no new highways or roads constructed in valleys used as water supplies for residents in Greater Vancouver or Whistler.

N. Public road spending only for repairs and maintenance. Limit any publicly funded improvements to highways to those required solely for safety reasons. Any safety improvements must include wide shoulders as they improve conditions and safety for cyclists as well as motorists. No public funds or government financing shall be used in the planning, construction or operational phases of new roads or increases in road capacity.

O. Improve regional rail service. Improve the speed, frequency and capacity of passenger rail from Vancouver to Whistler and Seattle.

 

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