Vancouver 2010 legacy lives on
More than two years after it hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Vancouver is still benefitting from being an Olympic city thanks to the legacy plans that were put in place by the Vancouver 2010 Organising Committee (VANOC), local stakeholders, and with the support of the IOC.
From new sporting venues and infrastructure improvements to environmental and economic benefits, the city used the Winter Games as a catalyst to create a number of lasting legacies.
Perhaps the most evident is the sporting legacy that the Games provided. As well as the construction of new facilities – such as the Richmond Olympic Oval – Vancouver 2010 also helped get more young people involved in sport, thanks, in part, to the successful performance of the Canadian Olympic team.
“After the Games, kids were on their way to skating rinks the next day and signing up for curling and skiing and ski jumping, and this is what the Olympics can do,” said John Furlong, VANOC CEO, in an interview in February 2011. “Ultimately you hope that, as a result of the Games, every child will get a chance to experience sports.”
Richmond mayor hails legacies of Vancouver 2010
The mayor of Richmond, which hosted the long-track speed skating events during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, has highlighted the long-term legacies that the Games can create in an Olympic host city.
In particular, Mayor Malcolm Brodie highlighted the benefits that Richmond has enjoyed as a result of the 2010 Winter Games, such as the Richmond Olympic Oval, which was built especially for the long-track speed skating events and has since become a highly successful community facility that includes an indoor track, two ice rinks, badminton courts, volleyball courts and a 23,000-square-foot fitness centre.
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.
Three thousand stanchions, 1,200 media positions, 1,000 signage pylons, 100 benches, 12 medal presentation podiums, one Nordic finish line structure, wheelchair ramps, sports racks, on-hill warming huts, fencing, street barricades, picnic tables, judges’ chairs, commentator positions, luge sled box, bobsled podium, rifle lock-ups, sled hockey shelves, mascot stands.
These are the kinds of custom-manufactured, visually prominent wooden items that every Winter Games requires in order to bring the venues to life and to complete the athlete and spectator experience. Normally the Games Organising Committee works with a fabrication facility that is overseen by its Overlay Department to produce and supply these items.
What is unique in the case of the Vancouver Games is that over 11,000 of these items were manufactured (at competitive prices and industry standards of quality) in a fabrication facility that was established by the Organising Committee in partnership with its National Partner, RONA, as part of a programme which included a 30-week community-based training course providing carpentry skills training and employment experience to individuals who, because of various life challenges, had not yet had success in the workforce. It also co-hosted a six-week community-based construction readiness programme for people with barriers to employment.
These two programmes, created through multi-party collaboration, allowed the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop (“RONA Fab Shop”) to achieve its most important output, providing the “tools of life” to more than 200 predominantly young adults. In this way, VANOC’s operational needs created legacies of improved economic and social conditions for disadvantaged groups as a result of this Olympic collaboration.
During the planning and preparations for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, a major mass transit infrastructure project was undertaken to establish 19.5 kilometres of new advanced light rapid transit (ALRT) service between downtown Vancouver, Vancouver International Airport and the City of Richmond.
The City of Richmond is a municipality within Metro Vancouver and was a venue host city for long-track speed skating events at the Richmond Olympic Oval. This new ALRT link was planned as an important addition to the Metro Vancouver transport infrastructure operated by Translink, the regional transport authority. The infrastructure project was developed by senior governments and transportation agencies through a public-private partnership.
The new transit service, now called the Canada Line, began operations in August 2009, six months in advance of the 2010 Winter Games, and was a critical component of delivering an efficient, reliable, safe and sustainable transport programme for the Games.