2010 security costs rising 

ISU mum on security measures in RMOW

The total cost of security at the 2010 Games will be well above the previously-cited $175 million figure, according to Canada’s minister of public safety.

Stockwell Day, the minister in charge of bodies such as the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) was in Vancouver on July 22 for the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region Summit. He told reporters outside the conference that the cost of security would be “clearly” over $175 million, though he did not elaborate.

“We’ve got some numbers that we just finalized and are going over with the B.C. government,” Day said, according to a transcript provided by a spokeswoman.

“It’s going to be more than $175 million, clearly, and the exact numbers will be out pretty soon. We’re just going over some fine details.”

He then addressed questions related to border issues and the arrest of a Serbian war criminal and did not speak any further about 2010 security.

Day’s Vancouver visit came at a time when people are looking to learn more about how security operations will affect them during the 2010 Games. But the Integrated Security Unit (ISU), which is comprised of members of the RCMP, the Vancouver Police Department, the West Vancouver Police Department and the Canadian Forces, is not being specific as to how people’s lives will be affected by security operations in Whistler during the Games.

“Our two key goals for this whole venture are going to be one, protecting and safeguarding the Games, the Olympic family and the public, which includes residences and business who live and operate near Olympic and Paralympic venues,” said Cpl. Gursharn Bernier, a spokeswoman for the ISU.

“We are going to ensure that people are able to walk to the grocery stores and have unfettered access to their workplace and their homes,” she said.

At events in Canada where international dignitaries have been present, the RCMP and other security organizations have put up large barriers that have impacted the ability of people to move freely.

When asked whether large areas will be fenced off in Whistler, Bernier could not say for sure.

“It has to be understood as well, though, that security measures will be in place and details as to where barriers will be and fencing will be is not something I can speak to at this moment,” she said.

“Some of this information is secure information, but it should have nothing to do with people’s access to their homes and to their business and to the grocery store.”

Bernier stressed that the last Canadian Olympics, Calgary ’88, took place before 2001 and that operations could be very different for 2010, adding operations will also be taking place for a 60-day event, including the Paralympic Games.

“Definitely access to work and businesses should be free,” she said. “Our goal is to minimize any kind of impact of security on residents and businesses.”

When asked how security organizations plan to do this, she did not provide a specific response.

“Those are detailed issues but how we’re going to do that is to ensure that residents can walk or drive to work or be able to go to the grocery store,” she said. “I can’t tell you specifics, a lot of that’s still secure information and I don’t want to jeopardize any kind of security issues.”

Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act by Chris Shaw of 2010 Watch show that the “Olympic theatre” will span 150 kilometres and that security planning has been based on a “medium threat level.”

They show that $2,161,600 has been put towards facilitating the Torch Relay between November 2009 and February 2010, with $336,000 going towards vehicles, including marked and unmarked police cars. They do not, however, specify the number of vehicles, nor the cost per vehicle, as the latter field has been redacted.

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