Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Looking back at half a decade since Vancouver's "excellent and friendly" Games

Five years... has it really been five years? 
The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics opened at B.C. Place Stadium Feb. 12, 2010. 
While we fondly look back at the memories of the Games, it is also the time again to gauge the costs and benefits. The legacies. 
In the latest edition of Business in Vancouver, I look at the burgeoning residential district around the Richmond Olympic Oval and the recovery in the tourism industry. While the Richmond Olympic Oval itself requires subsidies to stay open, it is the anchor of a new community by the banks of the Fraser River's middle arm in similar fashion to the Vancouver Olympic Village at Southeast False Creek. 
Along the way, this became one of the world's most-expensive cities. Across the region, the benchmark price for a detached house was $800,796 in 2010. By December 2014, that had inflated to $1,002,200. 
The Games didn't bring the $10 billion boost that ex-Premier Gordon Campbell said they would. From 2003 to 2010, about $2.3 billion was added to the economy. Campbell's lofty goal of an $18 billion tourism industry by 2015 is unlikely, after 2013's $13.9 billion estimate. The 2008 recession turned many estimates upside down.
In the Georgia Straight on Feb. 12, I revealed some secrets of the VANOC archives. You too can go and thumb through the files at the City of Vancouver Archives in Vanier Park. But, be warned, the juiciest files that contain minutes of board meetings, financial statements and legal correspondence are closed until Oct. 1, 2025. Some files are even closed until 2111 -- the year after the Games' centennial!  
News1130 senior reporter Martin MacMahon kicked-off a feature series on the Games' legacies Feb. 10, including an interview with me conducted at Cypress Bowl. Nobody will be attempting to ski the freestyle slope there like Alexandre Bilodeau, the first Canadian to win Olympic gold at home. It is another El Nino winter, just like 2010. On Feb. 11, Martin pondered the price of the GamesHis Feb. 12 instalment looked back at the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. 
Thanks to CTV News Channel for having me on Feb. 14. You can watch it at this link. and thank-you to Global's BC1 for having me as a guest in studio on Feb. 12. Here is the interview below. (Skip to the bottom for a special, limited-time offer on the Red Mittens & Red Ink e-book.) More to come...

Get your copy of Red Mittens & Red Ink: The Vancouver Olympics now. To mark three years since its release, buy it from Smashwords for the special price of $5.99 -- a savings of $3! Use coupon code ET289. Offer expires March 1, 2015.

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