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Police to Receive 'Olympic Legacies'

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Issue: 67 Section: Canadian News Geography: Canada, West Vancouver Topics: olympics, security

February 26, 2010

Police to Receive 'Olympic Legacies'

Vancouver, Richmond Police Departments to move into Games-related digs

by Dawn Paley

The Olympics Organizing Committee's headquarters will soon become the home of the Vancouver Police Department. Photo: VANOC

VANCOUVER—As soon as the 2010 Olympic Games are over, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) will be moving into the facility now occupied by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (VANOC). The Richmond Police Department (RPD) will be taking over the headquarters of the Integrated Security Unit, a 2010 Olympics-specific police unit that comprises the RCMP, the VPD and RPD, and the Canadian Forces.

“This move has been long anticipated and we are very pleased that the timing was such that our new building will be a valuable and cost efficient legacy of the 2010 Winter Games,” said VPD Chief Constable Jim Chu in a January 18 press release.

Planned space of the Force Options Training Center in 2007. Photo: City of Vancouver

The move to reward police with new office space doesn't surprise critics of the Games.

"It's very appropriate that the police would move into the VANOC headquarters, since [VANOC is] their little puppet master for the duration of this Olympic regime that they've imposed on the city," said Gord Hill, the editor of no2010.com and member of the Olympics Resistance Network.

"They also got other facilities...including the Force Options Training Centre near Clark Drive and First Avenue," said Hill. "So you see a real expansion of the police forces here in the city, as a result of the Olympic security budget they put in place." The Force Options Training Centre was scheduled for to be complete for the Olympics.

Chris Shaw from 2010 Watch told the Vancouver Media Co-op that rewarding police with new equipment and new offices paid for by taxpayers was typical of the Olympics.

"[International Olympic Committee President] Jaques Rogge was very clear about this, he said you get a 'Security Legacy' and he's exactly right," said Shaw. "Unfortunately most of us don't want that."

The federal government will contribute $5 million to upgrading police facilities, and the City of Vancouver will contribute $10 million, money that critics say could have been better spent.

That the 2010 Olympics would leave a positive legacy for Vancouverites, specifically for poor people in Vancouver, has long been forgotten.

In addition to the boost for local police, tangible Olympic legacies for Vancouver will go to real estate developers like Bob Rennie, who developed and is marketing the 2010 Athletes' Village through his company Rennie Marketing Systems, and to the corporations that got in on the flurry of Olympic spending while the getting was good.

Dawn Paley is a journalist based in Vancouver.

For up-to-the-minute Olympics resistance coverage, check out the Vancouver Media Co-op, and the 2010 Convergence website. Follow the VMC on twitter!

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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