Games not green, AWARE says 

The Olympic Games are not green and need serious change, three organizations said in Whistler on Monday.

Struggling to be heard over the sounds of a high school marching band nearby, representatives of the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, the Council of Canadians and Whistler Watch held a brief news conference outlining environmental and security-related concerns about the Games.

The 2010 Olympics, said AWARE representative Claire Ruddy, may be the greenest Games but reforms need to take place at the IOC before the Games can be truly considered environmentally friendly.

"These are not green Games," she said.

Some reforms she recommended included tighter regulations around protection of habitat and species, as well as requiring that Olympic sites and venues be located on previously developed land.

Other recommendations from AWARE include staging the Olympics in the same location every four years and having spectators witness events through new media technologies, rather than see them personally.

Meanwhile Pina Belperio, a Whistler resident and board member of the Council of Canadians organization, said the level of security is not providing a conducive environment for people to speak out against the Games.

"The amount of security in this town does bother me to a huge extent," she said. "I think it's way over the top. Now they're doubling up police officers on corners. It's a bit of overkill, so I don't know if that's their way of showing taxpayers how their money is being spent but to me it's a big source of intimidation."

Sara Jennings, speaking in her capacity as a representative for Whistler Watch, said an officer with the Integrated Security Unit has repeatedly contacted her to have a conversation about Safe Assembly Zones at Olympic venues but she has refused to meet unless there's a member of the media present.



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