Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

IOC satisfied housing and road problems resolved

with 3 comments

Vancouver Sun

Oh well that’s all right then. The games can go on. Just forget everything that Vanoc and the IOC said about sustainability and legacy and all that environmental stuff. Some of us were cynical enough at the time to think that was just window dressing and the IOC have now shown that we were right.

The games – if it snows – will go ahead and the tv revenues will roll in – and the sponsorships are all sewn up now so there’s plenty of cash and hospitality suites for the fat cats.

Of course, we still face a major housing crisis in the region, but there will be enough beds for the athletes and the tv crews. At least for the few weeks that the IOC actually gives a damn about.

The legacy will be a much faster highway. There will be lots of expensive condos popping up along it for years to come and those people will quickly fill it up and slow it down again. Which is probably a good thing since the only problem with the old highway was the lack of common sense among those who feel themselves to be exempt both from the laws of the road and those of physics.

Oh and the highway might well have a hydrogen filling station on it too. Won’t that be nice. One of the sponsors may well manage to borrow a hydrogen car for a day so they can have a photo op. It won’t be much use after that but it will have served its purpose.

Meanwhile CN will have got out of its commitment to operate the rail line. There may or may not be agreement to keep the odd tourist train running now and then. After all the type of tourist it attracts is not too bothered by the fare. There will not be any kind of real passenger service of course: nothing to offer the now booming population growth of the area any kind of alternative to the Sea to Sky which will still see horrendous accidents and rock falls. And irregular, unpredictable closures. Though they may be able to clear up the mess a bit quicker by relocating some cops.

2010 could have been an opportunity to do better and to showcase to the world how serious we were about it. Instead they are going to see us for what we really are.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 14, 2007 at 10:31 am

Posted in Olympics

Tagged with , , , ,

3 Responses

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  1. Yee-ouch.


    September 16, 2007 at 11:58 am

  2. Sorry Stephen for the two comments… but I wanted to post this link to show just how “committed” both major provincial parties are to environmental concerns – especially as related to automobiles.

    This is from the Environmental Protection Division of the Ministry of the Environment…

    Note the date of the last update. That’s pre-NDP and well before the current batch of Fiberals.

    The entire “Division” seems like some sort of laughable joke, existing only for the purpose of showing that at least at some point it *did* exist. Why not just get rid of it?
    I don’t mind “big guvment” so much when I can see that it has a function and strives to perform it. I *do* mind government agencies that exist solely for perception. *That’s* the true fat cat squad.

    In a related vein, I think it’s time to pull off the gloves on Kevin Falcon and his cronies. I want anti-Gateway people to start talking and advertising about respiratory disease in the Fraser Valley. I’d like to see them tell talk about how many dead people we can expect yearly from respiratory failure due to contaminants, or talk about how much dollar value was lost due to crop damage from people “scooting” to a corner store two miles away for a jug of milk in a Ford Explorer.
    The continuing relation of “doing the right thing” as a measure of moral superiority is a failure.
    Lets get people into elementary schools with rotted lung tissue in a jar of formadyhyde to show the kids and let them know that “no- it’s not from smoking – it’s from living in the Fraser Valley” ; just like the anti smoking crowd did years back.
    Bring in a bunch of dead birds from the latest train “accident”.
    Or show the kids some clogged, fat ridden hearts from a life time of burb living drivers.
    “Nice” doesn’t cut it any more.
    There is a real, demonstrable cost to the activities we’ve endorsed throughout the last 50 years and the expectation that people will change their lifestyle patterning because of some potential impact at some indeterminable time is not working – and will not work.

    It’s time to get “grotesque”.


    September 16, 2007 at 12:29 pm

  3. VANOC will violate International Olympic Committee
    mandate for ecological sustainability

    San Francisco, CA, September 12, 2007: The Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) must immediately begin implementing a plan to record baseline measurements at Olympic sites in order to gauge the effectiveness of itpromised “Sustainability Commitment,” according to Guard Fox Watch,an international environmental watchdog group.

    2010 Winter Olympics organizers are neglecting to develop a system to measure changes in pollution, energy, and sewage levels, plant and animal species, soil and water quality, and natural habitats.

    Environmental monitoring must continue on a regular basis prior to the Games, while the Games are in progress, and after events have concluded.

    “Without baseline measurements and an ongoing monitoring operation, VANOC will not be able to modify or correct its efforts before, during or following the Winter Games,” stated Peter Berg of Guard Fox Watch, an NGO association of groups and individuals working to mitigate environmental impacts of outdoor sports.

    All outdoor sports venues, media and Olympic villages, cables and lift facilities, roads and transportation, water and waste facilities, energy facilities, and other support systems need to be included to make these measurements comprehensive and meaningful.

    The impact of Winter Olympics spectators also must be accurately gauged in order to assess whether the Games fulfill the International Olympics
    Committee’s mandate for an ecologically sustainable Olympics.

    “Ironically, VANOC could actually contribute to global warming at a time when the snow and ice that the Games depend upon is disappearing,”
    says Berg.

    The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics should not add to further environmental destruction. Rather, in keeping with the IOC mandate, the Winter Games should reduce Greenhouse Gases and protect the fragile ecosystems that exist in mountainous places.

    In addition, the Games should leave behind significant ecological means for achieving local self-reliance and sustainability. Development and use
    of solar energy, non-fossil fuel transportation, recycling geared to local remanufacturing, water catchment and re-use, habitat protection, and
    regional organic food sources are some of the means that can be employed, according to Guard Fox Watch.

    But VANOC’s Sustainability Report, issued earlier this year, lists no provisions for monitoring ongoing environmental impacts of the Games, and this winter is an urgent starting date to observe changes. Unless VANOC immediately schedules monitoring of natural conditions at all 2010 Olympics sites, it fails to meet IOC requirements that the Games are environmentally sustainable.

    VANOC’s Sustainability Report also reveals present lack of VANOC oversight responsibility at more than half of the venues involved in the Winter Games.

    “This is a recipe for disastrous environmental damage of the kind that has been demonstrated at preceding Winter Games, and hardly worthy of
    Vancouver’s ranking as one of the world’s greenest cities,” says Berg.

    Guard Fox Watch has visited, monitored, assessed, made recommendations about, and reported on the 1998 Nagano, 2002 Salt Lake
    City, and 2006 Torino Olympic Winter Games.

    For more information, contact:
    Peter Berg

    P.O. Box 31251, San Francisco, CA 94131 USA

    Tel: 415.285.6556

    Stephen Rees

    September 16, 2007 at 3:06 pm

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