The stark juxtaposition of these two images brought to mind the second Pre-Games Results Report released by researchers at UBC last week. Part of a series of four "Olympic Games Impact Studies" mandated by the IOC (two prior to and two following upon the Games), the report concludes that the Olympics have so far had "a very slight positive impact." Mostly this has been felt in the area of athlete preparedness and competitiveness, with the federal government's "Own the Podium" campaign having successfully positioned Canadian 2010 Olympians to excel in their individual events next February. On the subject of homelessness and affordable housing, however, the report is far less laudatory, noting that reliable data suggests that homelessness in the city has more than doubled in advance of the games, that the legacy of 252 social housing units from the Olympic Village is in jeopardy, and that while statistics suggest the number of social-housing units per 1,000 people in Vancouver increased from 35.6 to 39.4 between 2001 and 2006, in Metro Vancouver it decreased from 22.3 to 21.8.
So much for the Inner-City Inclusivity Statement that all three levels of government signed back in 2002 committing them to a net increase in social housing and an elimination of street homelessness as a concrete legacy of the Games. In the following video posted to YouTube by Am Johal and the folks at the Impact on Community Coalition, we are reminded of just how many promises have been broken in advance of the Olympics (kudos to the IOCC gang for getting in some hard-hitting stats at the end of the video on the arts and culture cuts in BC):
Meanwhile, I read in the paper today that VANOC has signed a deal with Concord Pacific allowing it to use the vacant CP-owned lots on North False Creek between GM Place and Science World for official Olympics-related events. This solves an accessibility and security nightmare for VANOC at the 11th hour, brings CP on board as an "official supplier," and of course gives CP a public relations windfall in being able to do some advance marketing on the final piece (quite literally) of their post-Expo 86 redevelopment of the downtown core of Vancouver.
And who says hallmark events like these don't benefit everyone?