When tickets for the Vancouver 2010 games went on sale I didn’t even ante up as I was looking forward to covering the games from a community perspective – not necessarily from inside the rink (although okay, that would be amazing). Sharing stories and capturing the excitement from local pubs, restaurants, parks, friend’s homes, and group gatherings while celebrating the mix of culture all descending upon the city would be the ultimate coverage for someone like me.
There was talk of having “live sites” around the City where the general public can gather to watch events on big screens and celebrate the triumph of their nation’s athletes but recently there have been murmurs that funding has been cut and the “live sites” will not be as grand as expected.
In early March, they were still cautiously optimistic…
â€œWe still hope to obtain that [$4.5-million] number but itâ€™s becoming increasingly more difficult,â€ city Olympic operations general manager Dave Rudberg said in an interview. â€œWe havenâ€™t revised the number down yet but we are faced with the realities of the market.â€ The province of Manitoba is a confirmed participant in the live site near Georgia and Beatty, while Coca-Cola is committed to the David Lam Park site. Rudberg said the city is negotiating with several others now but no new deals have been completed. [Vancouver Sun]
Although last week, the cuts were approved…
Vancouver is scaling back plans for public parties during the 2010 Games while leaving their budget to wine and dine politicians and corporate executives untouched. City council voted Tuesday to cut $5 million from their $23-million budget for public entertainment sites, citing trouble raising sponsorship money. Economic challenges and competition from other so-called live sites also means the city won’t rule out shutting down the smaller of the two planned sites to stay within the new $18-million budget. [Canadian Press]
The two planned sites were at David Lam Park in Yaletown and the former Bus Depot site on Beatty Street.
Cutting back on the budget for the public, who are in fact paying quite a handsome sum out of their pockets for the games, may not sit well. There are those that couldn’t care less about any kind of hoopla or fanfare during those two weeks next February but if even this past weekend’s Juno Fest is an example, the public love their outdoor events in Vancouver (especially when we can get that sun to shine).
Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs wrote on his site with regards to the cut backs:
“… council approved cuts to the two-site budget March 24 and left the door open for further reductions, including possible elimination of one site, if reduced budget projections fail to pan out. The next day this warning from the IOC: Vancouver is planning more downtown â€œactivationâ€ for the 17 days of the Games than any previous Olympic city, summer or winter. â€œTheyâ€™ve made the observation that we may not need as much as is being planned,â€ VANOC executive vice-president Dave Cobb told reporters. Huge sections of the downtown peninsula are scheduled to be converted to free or limited access party areas, including the two city parks, a large Concord Pacific area between Science World and the Plaza of Nations, long stretches of Robson and Granville, and Robson Square. Thatâ€™s not to mention the countless national â€œhousesâ€ for visiting teams and other Olympic-related installations. It may not be sustainable.” [Hat tip: Chris from 6S]
Quick show of hands – or mouse clicks, as it were – how important do you believe the “live sites” are to the Games or will be to your personal experience overall?