To Russia for the environment 

Passionate environmental advocate travelling to Sochi

click to enlarge SOCHI READIES: Tina Symko, a former senior environmental management and sustainability manager with VANOC, is flying to Sochi to talk about how to make the 2014 Winter Games greener.
  • SOCHI READIES: Tina Symko, a former senior environmental management and sustainability manager with VANOC, is flying to Sochi to talk about how to make the 2014 Winter Games greener.

A Whistler resident is taking her knowledge and experience in Olympic sustainability to Sochi for a week.

Former Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games (VANOC) employee Tina Symko is scheduled to fly to Sochi, Russia for a week on March 26 to do some work with Olympic organizers in Sochi.

Symko was a senior environmental management and sustainability manager with VANOC. She said she has been consulting with the Sochi organizing committee since the summer of 2010. Her consulting work with Sochi 2014 has consisted of sporadic short-term projects. Symko is going to Sochi to lead a workshop on the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The FSC manages an international forest products certification and labeling system that promotes responsible management of forests around the world.

Wood and paper products from FSC certified forests are tracked all the way to the point the products are purchased by an end user. The products carry a FSC logo after harvesting and through the process of production to the marketing stage and ultimately to final sale.

The FSC has strict environmental and social standards. Symko said she is going to spend a day with external and internal players working toward the execution of the Games in 2014.

"I applaud them in their environmental efforts," said Symko.

The snowboard park and freestyle centre venues at Sochi are expected to be ready for use in September and the cross-country facility is to be in use by June of next year. According to the Sochi 2014 website, the ice dome, the arena, the curling facility and the speed skating oval are all due to be ready this year. The Olympic Stadium is due for completion at some point in 2013.

Dmitry Chemyshenko, president of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee wrote on the Sochi 2014 website that the Games will create a new level of environmental awareness in Russia.

"Games preparations are performed in accordance with rigorous local, national and international environmental regulation and IOC requirements as well as in line with the proposals and recommendations of public ecological institutions," he wrote on the Sochi 2014 website. "Moreover, Sochi 2014 opens the doors for the best practice and experience of environmentally friendly and efficient development."

Symko said she expects this trip will be a one-time only event but she plans to continue consulting for Sochi 2014 so if they call on her again she wants to help.

"I would never pass up an opportunity for another team to be successful with their goals," said Symko.

The Games in Sochi begin on Feb. 14, 2014.

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