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Vancouver mayor jumps into cauldron uproar

February 16th, 2010 · 12 Comments

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson caught the media’s attention today with a brief answer he gave at a scrum after a totally different newser (Olympic village gets certified as greenest neighbourhood in North America by U.S. agency).

Yes, he was concerned about the cauldron being inaccessible to visitors. And he made a call to John Furlong about it. And everyone jumped on it. Me too.


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  • Wayne

    This is just lame. How much did the doomahickey cost? Years in the planning and no doubt a price tag of tens of thousands of dollars. And no one at VANOC said ‘just a second boys, it’s going to look pretty tacky with chainlink fencing around it” ?

    VANOC can’t spin this, it’s just plain stupid.

  • Denis

    Vanoc and thinking in the same sentence. Wayne, you must be dreaming. We all pay the freinght for the big circus and only selected folks get close to a metal stuck together which has a fire in it. Maybe Furlong was planning to take it with him when his overpaid job ends shortly

  • jimmy olson

    Who in their right mind would put a butt ugly chainlink fence around the flame of eternal hope? Flametartds!

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    Good for the mayor to make that call. I went down on Saturday night with my son and there was a throng of people crowded around the fence and just about everyone was cursing and calling it utterly pathetic and shameful. Way to go VANOC, the Disorganization Committee!

    What made it even worse was the fact that there were about 8 or 9 folks who had full access inside the gates and they were posing and taking all kinds of pictures and videos without any kind of restrictions, and acting totally oblivious to the hundreds of folks pressed against the fence trying to get a clear shot. Didn’t Furlong say in his opening speech something like, “My greatest hope is that this Games will be for the many, not just for the few.”? Like Gordo, this is a guy completely out of touch with the reality of normal folks.

    I’m starting to get the feeling, as the snafus begin to add up, that this Games might end up being the model for how NOT to run an Olympics.

  • gmgw

    I’m happy to say that not only could I not care less about the cauldron furore (talk about tempests and teapots– is it possible for us to look more small-town?), but I don’t even know where the damn thing is located.
    And that’s *not* a request for the information. I’ve worked hard to know this little.

  • This is a story?

  • Dennis O’Bell

    The mayor gets gold for short distance bandwagon jump.

    Perhaps someone can get the log out of Gregor’s own eye so he can see the chain link fence and airport screening around the city’s free for all live site venues with unnecessarily long line ups and wait times to get in.

    Metal detectors? The Concord Pacific site and Robson Square are okay without it.

    More likely protection to corporate sponsors from people walking in with off-brand items… like non-Dasani (Coke) water bottles.

  • At the train platform, it was people yelling at us, herding us toward a chain like fenced area…
    behind it, we could see the smoke of a huge chimney…at this time we didn’t know what it was…

    It looks that the nazi era propaganda seen in the Vanoc clip was not that much an accident…

    Day passing by, and it becomes more obvious that the Vanoc doesn’t even pretend to pay care at the local public…I means even developers fence their construction site by nicer looking fence than the Vanoc does…

  • Lots of glitch stories. It is unfortunate that some really great news was been lost in an afterthought comment about the torch.

    Check out this fellow taxpayers…

    and then spend a few minutes here…

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    Ah, I hate to be such a naysayer, when I’m actually having so much fun, but….

    After checking out Dave’s feel good links about the venues — commendable indeed — head over to another Dave’s site, that is, the Suzuki foundation’s site, and read just how “carbon neutral” the games really are. The back story on this one (including the Sauder School’s creation of Offsetters to accept all the carbon offset $$$ from VANOC, and their replacing of Suzuki to produce a much more favourable environmental report for VANOC) should be pretty tough for taxpayers to swallow, but, of course, it’s been totally under-reported, too.

    AGT, I realize symbolism is often a little too subtle for some people to grasp, especially those who prefer to write with a blunt instrument in one hand, and a feather to tickle their ego with in the other, so let me walk you through why this cauldron story is notable:

    – The economic raison d’etre of the Games is that Vancouver and BC will be portrayed as “the best place on earth”, thus attracting 10 billion in spin-offs and corporate investment.
    – The Olympic flame is one of the most recognizable symbols of the Games.
    – Thousands of people from all over the world view the cauldron as one of the best photo-ops of the Games.
    – Currently, as I can attest, thousands of visitors each day are visiting the flame and cursing the ridiculous fence, thus leaving a very bad and indelible impression about Vancouver’s Olympics.
    – The photos they share with all their friends back home will likely suck, and be accompanied by more cursing, compounding the negative image.
    – All the major media outlets are jumping on this as a very recognizable symbol of the poor planning and excessive security this Games is becoming known for.

    In other words, it creates horrible PR for Vancouver. And bad PR, poor planning, and negative optics don’t usually help secure billions of dollars in investments.


  • Lewis N. Villegas

    They just screwed up.

  • MB

    The plaza is huge and could easily have accommodated a raised podium for the flame, with a decorative wrought iron perimeter fence to keep the climbers off. The issue to me is not access to the flame, but access to a public plaza.

    Interactive video and public art could have been a part of it too.

    The issue is that it’s a product of last minute planning — despite the fact they had over 6 years. Or maybe it was design-by-committee.

    In any case, it’s obviously an afterthought.