When it undertook the 2010 Olympic Oval project, the City of Richmond, Vancouver, summarised its Olympic project mission: “To use the Olympic opportunity as a catalyst to transform our city to international stature, and create new social and economic capital that significantly enriches Richmond’s quality of life. We will do this by blending the spirit of Olympism with inspired leadership, and seamlessly combining a world class site, a sport and wellness agenda and innovative community planning to create the premier legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
From the outset, The City of Richmond viewed the Olympic project from the perspective of what such a facility could contribute to Richmond’s long-term development in the post-Games period. The City’s central goal was to use the project to accelerate its vision to transform its city centre into an even more dynamic urban core that embraced its waterfront connection by creating a new mixed-use residential precinct on the banks of the Fraser River, anchored by the iconic Oval construction. Post-Games, the Richmond Olympic Oval was designed to meet the city’s long-term needs for sports, recreation and wellness facilities, as well as to provide a boost to the community’s business development and add to its inventory of cultural amenities.
There are valuable lessons to be learnt from the Richmond Olympic Oval experience about community planning, construction project management, environmental design, economic sustainability and community engagement surrounding a Games venue, which should be useful for any Olympic host or venue city.